Why Social Media Has To Be Part of Your B2B Marketing Mix

Bantio_June 8The current estimate is that 50 percent of B2B marketers have finally embraced social media as a way to attract leads. And for good reason – social media helps to reduce marketing expense, improve sales, boost search rankings, grow business partnerships, establish thought leadership and generate leads.

And that’s not all – 90 percent of B2B marketers point to the collateral effect of increasing overall brand exposure. Getting your brand in front of as many people – at a cost that’s affordable – has to be the goal of any marketer, not just the B2B marketer. The actual numbers behind these social media platforms are staggering – Facebook has 1.5 billion users each month; Instagram has 500 million active monthly users; LinkedIn has 400 million users (* big asterisk mark here — only 25 percent are active monthly users); and Twitter has 300 million users.

The question has to be: How can your organization make social media part of your marketing mix and tap into these tens of millions of users? For now, 90 percent say social media is the best way to response to customer service inquiries; 54 percent say it’s a great way to generate leads; and 72 percent say followers are likely to make a future purchase.

Social media has a reach that’s not possible to replicate elsewhere. Businesses can now interact with customers, wherever they are, or whatever platform they’re using. Even when they’re commuting to and from the office, you can reach them with well-timed updates on Facebook.

One way to visualize all this is with a sales and marketing funnel: social media not only elongates and widens the top of the funnel by virtue of all those extra leads – it also widens the bottom by virtue of all those added conversions. That 72 percent figure is especially dramatic – it says that social media can dramatically boost your conversions. Just hang out on Facebook, Twitter and watch the sales pile up. Your fans and followers will soon be making purchases.

The sticking point, if there is one, is that it’s way time consuming to be on every social media platform at once. And the time costs become even more significant when you consider that every social media platform is a 24/7 platform. How exactly are you going to spread out your time 24/7 to optimize your use of social media?

Among B2B marketers, the favorites now are Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Of these, the allure of Instagram may be the least obvious, especially for B2B brands. But considers how big infographics are online – that’s the perfect type of highly visual, engaging content to put up on Instagram. And now Instagram has passed Twitter, with its 500 million monthly users.

That’s the type of thinking that has to inform social media usage by B2B brands. They have to spot how their always-on customers are using social media, and adapt to changing patterns. Go back to the Instagram example – just 6 months ago, most people probably would have said that Twitter, not Instagram, was part of the Big 3. But Twitter has been having its navel-gazing moments, not quite sure what it wants to be to people, and Instagram has taken over some of its momentum.

Going forward, pick the social media platform you want to focus on, and then work on building engagement with people across that platform. You’ll be surprised at how it can lead to B2B marketing success!

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