Over the past two years, social’s role in B2B marketing has become more difficult to ignore: Up to 84% of C-level/VP executives have used social media or online professional communities to facilitate purchasing decisions, according to IDC’s Social Buying Meets Social Selling report.
If you need more validation, consider this: When asked to share the role that social media played in their researching strategies, respondents to Demand Gen Report’s 2015 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report said they:
- Browsed existing discussions to learn more about the topic (73%)
- Connected directly with potential vendors (53%)
- Connected with individual thought leaders to ask their opinions (43%)
- Asked for suggestions and recommendations from users through sites such as LinkedIn (38%)
As buyers go through their social discovery process, it is imperative that you share relevant content and resources across key social networks. Social sharing and syndication should be an integral part of your content and messaging strategy, especially as more Millennials enter the workforce and become B2B decision-makers (your target audience!). As of 2014, 18- to 34-year-olds account for approximately half of all buyers, Google revealed.
So, are you ready to give your content a social life? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Understand your buyers’ watering holes: Like groups of animals gather around an actual watering hole, your target buyers gravitate to specific social networks based on their respective industries and roles. Once you discover their preferred networks, you can learn what sites to focus on. But just so you have some context, buyers used the following networks most frequently to research purchases, according to Demand Gen Report: LinkedIn (61%), Facebook (50%) and Google+ (46%).
- Learn what makes each network valuable… and stick to it: LinkedIn is valuable because it allows you to connect one-on-one with buyers and peers from around the world. With Twitter, you can send one message and instantly reach hundreds (if not thousands) of people — but shorter, more quick-hitting messages resonate. Tailor your thought leadership and outreach for each network so you can connect with buyers in a more meaningful way.
- Build a calendar: If you want to succeed at social, organization is key! Build a content calendar so you have a set number of times to share content throughout the day. Outline which assets you plan to share on different accounts, and add the commentary or message you published with the content. That way, you can track your messaging and ensure you’re not duplicating efforts.
- Get involved in discussions: In addition to sharing content on your company’s networks and your own personal accounts, you should also generate awareness and build thought leadership by participating in relevant groups or networking opportunities. LinkedIn has an abundance of groups based on specific topics, industries and associations, and Twitter is a hub for lively digital chats on a number of different topics. Inserting yourself into these conversations and sharing valuable content can help you build relationships and, hopefully, business!
- Test and learn: The best part about social media is that there’s always a new best practice or up-and-coming network. Dedicate some time to researching new tactics and sites you can incorporate into your social strategies. If it doesn’t work, move on. If it does work, integrate it into your overall strategy!
Well, what are you waiting for? Unleash your content and give it the social life it deserves!