Social media has affected our lives in more ways than we could have possibly imagined when the networks first began to emerge. However, the technology community has been slow to adopt social media. Many business executives view Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as suitable only for personal connections or think they just apply to consumer marketing. According to Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, though, 92 percent of marketers said that social media is important to their business.
So, it’s clear that social media is having a huge impact on many companies – but what are for business to business (B2B) technology companies really gaining from their social presence?
Examples of Technology B2B Companies Using Social Media
There are plenty of examples but here are a few examples that Forward Vision Marketing as been involved with personally. Companies like Texas Instruments are using social media to better reach engineers to share tips, issues and designs on their semiconductor products. RAIN RFID Alliance uses social media as an essential marketing and advertising platform to gain members, promote events and resources. New start-ups like Xerafy leverages social media as an essential marketing and advertising platform to increase their brand awareness and online presence.
Top Five Benefits of Marketing with Social Media
- Increased Exposure – The top benefit reported by 91 percent of those who participated in the survey was increased exposure. Many marketers said that an increase in exposure resulted from spending as little as six hours a week doing social media marketing. By using social media, companies can both maintain their presence with existing customers and grab the attention of new ones.
- Increased Traffic – Three-quarters of those surveyed said that marketing with social media increased traffic to their website. However, it’s not easy to get social media users to click away from their news feeds and visit your site directly. Many businesses that are successful on social media use well-formulated ads along with engaging content in order to direct traffic to a specific site. A compelling call-to-action can occasionally be helpful as well; however, social networks and their users have become increasingly intolerant of blatant sales copy.
- A Loyal Fan Base – Social media services such as Facebook and LinkedIn have made it easier for marketers to target specific demographics based on things like interests and job titles. Marketers can then tailor their social campaign directly to users who are most likely to engage with their products or services.
- Market Insight – Marketers report that social media provides valuable insight into whatever industry they happen to be working in. In fact, 63 percent of those surveyed said that they gained useful market insight after only one year of social media marketing. This percentage increases as marketers spend more and more time on social networks.
- Lead Generation – Among those who have performed social media marketing for a year or more, over 50 percent said that they were generating leads. This is the one benefit that has the largest impact on a business’s bottom line. To get to this point, a company must develop an engaged, trusting customer base.
Top Three Social Platforms
When marketers were asked what the most important social platform for businesses are, the results weren’t much of a surprise: 52 percent reported that Facebook was most important, followed by LinkedIn at 21 percent and Twitter at 12 percent. However, many technology B2B companies have found the most success on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. After all, YouTube can arguably be considered the second most popular search engine and technology companies can share training videos, product explainer videos customer interviews and thought leadership through YouTube.
When it comes to paid advertising options, the top three platforms are Facebook Ads at 84 percent, Google Ads at 41 percent and LinkedIn Ads at 14 percent.
Social Media Marketing Tools
There are dozens of tools available for analyzing the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns. Some are free, while others require a monthly or yearly payment. Here are four of the top tools for tracking and analyzing your campaigns:
Hootsuite is one of the leaders in managing social media marketing. It displays all your social media accounts in multiple streams, and provides many different analytics metrics for assessing the effectiveness of your social media campaign. You can also schedule posts for future publishing as well as monitor trending topics related to your industry and brand.
PostPlanner allows you to schedule posts for Facebook and Twitter. Many marketers use it to find the most shared videos, photos and site pages in your industry at any given time. You can then post these to your own social media accounts to increase consumer engagement.
Sprout Social offers terrific reports for analyzing your social media campaigns. You can also manage your social messages with their mobile app, and it has a convenient publishing system. It supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
Spreadfast is another popular social media tool that allows you to manage multiple accounts, gather intelligence about your social audience, integrate social media into your business and content campaigns, and increase audience engagement.
Many studies have shown that the results of social media marketing justify the resources invested in it. However, a successful social campaign requires plenty of research, planning, monitoring and analysis. Simply creating a Facebook profile will not gather the large, engaged, and ready-to-convert audience that you need to make social media worthwhile. However, when done right, social media can be an invaluable part of your online presence, helping you reach unprecedented numbers of targeted customers.