“Social Media is one of the most powerful weapons in a marketer’s arsenal when it comes to boosting brand awareness, particularly for consumer-focused brands but for the first time it has also come out as the most effective digital channel for B2B marketers” (Marketing Week, October 2014).
Alison Ori, IBM’s UK vice-president of marketing, believes that social media plays the same role in B2B as it does B2C, “because as business people we operate in the same way as consumers”. It is important to remember that behind every business lies a group of people who are looking to digital marketing to research the industry and communicate with relevant individuals and businesses.
The way we communicate is changing. In order to connect and engage with an ever more experienced, connected and informed audience, we must come up with more sophisticated marketing activities and find new ways to break through the advertising clutter. Whilst relaying your businesses services and expertise is obviously a must, it is crucial to remember that over-selling on social will disengage people.
Social media has become a very important channel for engagement. There is a need to understand who your customers are, what their interests are and how they interact on social media. We must listen to what they are saying and build relationships proactively based around their needs and wants. With nearly 2 billion monthly active users across the different platforms, and figures still on the rise, social media is a marketing tool that has the ability (when used effectively) to penetrate a larger audience faster than traditional methods.
Research undertaken by digital agency Omobono*, found that 79 percent of respondents believe social media is the most effective of the four main digital marketing channels, followed by website development (74 percent), email (67 percent) and online video (62 percent).
The priority for B2B marketers today has shifted from deepening customer relationships (61 percent) to strengthening thought leadership (63 percent). For businesses to grow, people need to know who you are. Having visibility online is essential, and to do this successfully, you must be recognised as a thought leader, having the expertise that your prospects require.
Whilst social media allows you to freely advertise your business, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to listen and engage with others. To successfully attract your target audience, sharing relevant and engaging content provides you with a means to educate your audience and builds your own credibility and authority, positioning you as a thought leader and increasing brand awareness and trust.
Investment in digital marketing is on the rise; with research showing that 39 percent of B2B marketing spend is targeted at digital and with a further 38 percent expecting to spend their extra digital budget on social media, B2Bs are increasingly recognising the need to build their brand and relationships to stay ahead of the competition.
Contact us to discuss an effective Social Media strategy for your company.
*The research conducted by Ombono was done via online interviews with 115 B2B marketers (screened to ensure involvement in B2B digital activity).