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Here’s a 360-Degree View of Social Media and B2B Sales

Angeline Rast
18 February 2019

As a B2B professional, how many times have you shared the more technical aspects of your brand with fellow professionals on LinkedIn or maybe created a YouTube channel for your company? Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are no longer just for B2C marketing but B2B marketers are also coming in for a share of the pie. 

And according to a survey involving over one hundred marketing specialists, almost 80% of the participants indicated that social media was the most effective channel for their B2B marketing roles, while another 38% noted that any extra budgetary allocations would be channelled to social media. They attributed attaining their objectives, building deep customer relations and developing thought leadership to social platforms. 

All these reasons make it imperative that marketers who are targeting the social media option fully understand how the various platforms work, and dedicate their precious time and resources to the appropriate use of social networks for B2B marketing purposes. But what exactly are the advantages and disadvantages of Social Media when it comes to B2B Sales?

Let’s take a look:

The Advantages of Social Media in Relation to B2B Sales

For review and considerations, most people make their first stop at a company’s website, in order to make an informed decision, whether they will do business with them or not. In this regard, the collective effort of other platforms is therefore not only to get a reaction but also to drive people back to a company’s website. 

Comparatively, LinkedIn is considered to be 277% more effective than Facebook and Twitter, when it comes to lead generation. This is informed by the fact that the platform is a grand meeting point for professionals. By making use of SlideShare Presentation app on LinkedIn, presentation slides can easily be imported and the content shared with other professional members! Using RSS feed also grants more visibility for blogs, while making use of the weekly group emails, allowed only once per week on LinkedIn. 

But apart from effectiveness, there is also the question of relevance and preference. In a 2016 research, 24% of those interviewed revealed that their decisions around making purchases start with taking a look at Facebook. More particularly, one out of four people would resort to Facebook. 

The other platform of interest is Pinterest, where you can pin product pictures, charts, infographics, book covers, and data. Does this ring a bell? Yes, and it should, because visual content is the in thing nowadays, and it’s getting huge by the day, especially when the digital generation is the target market. 

The tiny blue bird, call it twitter, is a favourite social media platform for many others, because of the ease of quickly posting tweets and the retweeting feature, both of which can be done in a matter of seconds and be seen or read by many people in a moment. The buzz around live events can be generated using hashtags, which make it possible for attendees to network and provide real-time feedback.

The Disadvantages of Social Media in Relation to B2B Sales

Although many B2B marketers acknowledge the importance of social media, finding the right footing is still an uphill task. And while the struggle continues, it must be noted that total excellence in business cannot be left to online platforms alone, because they too have their own challenges. Perhaps this would explain why the report by Robert noted that only 26% of B2B marketers adopted social networking for marketing purposes, revealing that it is not the mainstream yet. 

One of the major challenges is the ever changing nature of social media platforms, which are constantly being updated with new features, resulting in policy changes, and therefore, keep influencing how companies approach campaign tactics.

Take for instance the case of YouTube. Little airtime is given to this platform in marketing discussions, largely because many marketers do not have skills or the bandwidth or the funds to keep up with the creation of high-quality videos. Others simply think they have no content worthy of creating videos.

To traditional B2B companies, social media is not only informal, but they also find the pace and the tone quite disconcerting. To others, running accounts on multiple social platforms is a costly affair, one that may not always result in increased revenue.

There is also the risk of negative reviews that are nothing but malice, the danger of hacking through, compromise of passwords, potential litigations from misuse or abuse of social platforms, leads generated may not be the right fit, and stiff competition from other businesses within a given industry.

Conclusion

When all is said and done, it must be noted that social media brings with it great potential for employer branding, boosting external communication, improving customer service relations, and promoting effective marketing strategies that can translate to increased revenue. The bottom line is always to remember that social platforms revolve around storytelling and distribution, hence the need to keep a close watch over your prospects, enhancing your email signature, use direct messages via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, among other strategies. 

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