There was a time in the not too distant past when B2B businesses wondered whether to make a website or not and whether it will give them the returns they were looking for? Today many of them are wondering the same thing about social media.
As a B2B marketer, you’ve got your work cut out for you. You are not targeting a group of individuals but a group of businesses. This essentially means you haven’t got a large playing field as far as marketing tactics go. With more and more businesses veering towards a more strategic marketing strategy, where does this leave social media as a marketing tool? And more importantly, as an online marketer, how do you leverage the huge potential of social media for B2B marketing? Well, the first thing you need to do is to sort out some of the prevalent myths that surround social media and its use as B2B marketing tool.
This will ensure you are able to use social media as a critical component of your B2B marketing mix.
Let’s take a look at these myths:
- Social Media Doesn’t Work for B2B
Take a good hard look at the above image. The number of active social media users has surpassed 2 billion, and that is a quarter of the world population. It will be fair to assume that this figure also includes business owners, who are a part of your target market. So social media hasn’t become redundant at all for your B2B needs, in fact, it’s become even a bigger platform for reaching out to a wider audience. And it continues to become bigger.
Reality: If social media isn’t working for you, then probably you aren’t making it work for your B2B business.
- A Presence across All Social Media Channels Helps
Facebook is by far the most popularly used social media network followed by WhatsApp and the others. The question is – which social media should you use for your business? Is it Facebook? Or Twitter? Or is it LinkedIn or a combination of all three? The problem here is if you choose to go with some 4-5 different channels, you will be spreading yourself too thin. The question to ask yourself in such cases is – Can I do justice to all the channels I am using?
When you are defining a social media strategy for B2B, you need to pick Facebook (no brainer) purely because of the reach it commands. Then you take a closer look at the other social media channels and pick the one that can drive your brand engagement efforts. But there can be some confusion there are as well.
‘Instagram delivers a better engagement ratio for brands as compared to Facebook.’But does this mean you pick Instagram over Facebook or pick both, but give more attention to your Instagram efforts?
If you are a products based company, wherein it’s the product visuals that can attract buyers, by all means, go ahead and use Instagram, but if you are providing services, then Instagram is probably not a good idea for you. I am talking purely from the B2B perspective here.
Reality: Pick and choose wisely. You don’t need a presence across all channels, but need a presence on the right channel.
- No Budget for Social Media
After all the money invested in a PR campaign, radio spots, interviews and video marketing, you might say to yourself, “hey, I don’t have a budget for social media.” That might be the case, but the fact is you don’t have to really invest the moon for creating a social media presence and making it work. The fact is, you might not have given due importance to social media as a marketing tool and therefore relegated it to the back benches when it comes assigning budgets.
You have the budget, but don’t want to assign it for your social media efforts. You can start out with a campaign that doesn’t focus too much on paid social media (bad idea, but you can go slow on this one), and move on to paid campaign when you think your social media efforts are delivering results.
Reality: There is no hiding away from social media as an important marketing weapon, so make sure you identify a budget for your social media plan.
- Social Media is Only About Lead Generation
Nothing can be farther from the truth. According to a study by Eccolo Media, while 31% of B2B buyers will use social media in the pre-sales phase, a massive 25% of buyers will use social media in the mid sales phase when they are actually considering vendors and are identifying the right solution for their needs and requirements.
Can you ignore these buyers? The answer is evident – you can’t. When it comes to B2B purchases, there are a substantial number of buyers who won’t buy a product or service after the first conversation they have with you. They will need to be convinced about your product and that will require more communication (read buyer engagement). Social media makes this possible and makes this process more personal, something that plays a huge role in making sure target buyers trust your products and/or services over that of your competitors.
Reality: Social media will help you in all stages of your sales funnel. This might be the only marketing tactic to do so. As can be imagined, this is something you ignore at your own cost.
So here they are, 4 myths about social media for B2B marketing that have been busted. Do you have any myths that you think are important? Let us know.