Social Media B2B

This section aims to answer some of your questions about Social Media B2B. You can skip to answers on key questions here:



Why?

Social Media is now a significant element in Internet Marketing and, for some businesses, it is the most effective way to reach the target audience. For others it can be a massive waste of time and money. The first step is in understanding all the opportunities social media presents, which are most useful for B2B in general and which will work for your business in particular.

One of the big advantages of Social Media is that some aspects of it are free to use. Of course it’s not really free, there’s the cost in man hours of whoever is running your social media.


How to use Social Media

To determine how best to use Social media for your business you first need to understand the different elements. We can break most Social Media into two sides, Engagement and Advertising. The main functionality of most Social Media sites is built around engagement, or interaction with others. With Facebook this is primarily aimed at friends and family, whilst Linkedin and Ecademy are focussed more on business contacts and colleagues.

Again there are exceptions, but engagement is generally most effective in building and maintaining relationships with an existing audience and using that audience to virally expand your reach. The latter is very much dependant on what your message is. If you’re selling paperclips and that’s all you have to talk about, don’t expect too many people to be rushing to help you spread your social media presence (unless you’ve created something beyond the normal level of interest in paperclips). Even then it has to be something sustainable in order to create ongoing engagement rather than a one off.

Most Social Media experts will agree that simply trying to sell via Social Media doesn’t usually work. It’s about building awareness and trust, by earning a reputation as an authority in your field, or as a business which cares about more than sales.

That’s engagement and it is a slow process, which can be time consuming. On the other side of Social Media we have the Advertising opportunities. In the case of Linkedin the demographic filters you can use to determine who you show ads to are what makes this type of advertising very effective for some businesses. The better you can define your target audience, the more effective this type of advertising is likely to be for you.

If, for example, you are a selling a product or service which is mainly purchased by companies in the travel and leisure industry and you know from your previous sales that the decision maker is usually in the role of sales manager/director, the company could be based anywhere in the UK and is likely to be of a size where it would employ at least 50 people. All that data can go into the demographic filters, to produce an ad campaign, on a pay-per-click basis, showing only to your real target audience. This can be a very powerful and cost effective tool if used correctly.

People will use Social Media in different ways and there are always exceptions; but, for most B2B campaigns, results will be better if you are using a platform like Linkedin or Ecademy, where people are in ‘business mode’ whilst using these sites and are therefore naturally more receptive to a business message.


How much should you spend on Social Media?

Budgets for this can vary dramatically, so the following is an idea of the cost elements rather than actual costs.

If you have the internal resources to carry out an engagement campaign, the cost can be negligible other than man hours to create and continue the campaign. If not, or if you don’t know where to start, you’ll need to engage expert help to create your ‘voice’ and determine where it will be most effective. Depending on the scale of your campaign, you might also want to track the reach using a specialist service or software to monitor your social media presence. You’ll also want to be sure you have analytics in place to track visitors from your social media activity who visit your website and determine the quality and value of visitors generated. This could be Google Analytics or something more sophisticated.

If engagement alone is not going to generate a high volume of potential new business, you should set aside some budget for a trial on one of the advertising platforms, such as Direct Ads on Linkedin.

Whatever route you choose, you’ll need to do more than simply putting your profile on Linkedin or Ecademy to generate any significant results.

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