An important step for a start up is the launch through a strong social media campaign. This can make a huge difference in your success depending on you being able to reach the right audience. Social media is one way to build a brand, gain exposure, drive traffic and engage through a more personal channel.
This is why it is so important to choose the right networks to use. Check out the top 7 networks for B2B:
1. Pinterest & Other Image-Based Networks While Pinterest may be primarily a tool to connect with consumers, it plays a role in the B2B world, as well. Check out this excellent Social Media Examiner case study on how Constant Contact is leveraging Pinterest for B2B marketing. Other popular social media platforms with a visual spin include Visual.ly and Instagram. The lessons for succeeding on visual networks are simple:
- Find the visual angle to your brand. Whether that’s showcasing your products or your zany behind-the-scenes office culture, taking a visual approach can supplement all your other branded work.
- Leverage data and case studies to create infographics and other visual explorations of your work.
- Expand your understanding of branding. It goes beyond your logo and website, and instead helps answer the question, “How can I visually tell the story of who we are, who we serve and what impact our products and services have in the world?”
2. Video Networks Such As YouTube & Vine: If you’re interested in video, there’s never been a better time to use it as a medium to connect with customers. B2B firms have a wide range of options available via video, but I recommend the following with 2014 social media trends in mind:
- Experiment with different video lengths, from ultra-short Vines to more in-depth video content.
- Cross-promote video content on mainstream networks leveraging the latest video oriented tools. These include Twitter Cards and featured videos on LinkedIn profiles.
- Try both scripted and unscripted videos. Sales copy can translate in a powerful way to the video medium, while moments of genius can emerge when the camera is rolling in unscripted moments.
3. LinkedIn: LinkedIn remains the top network for business-focused social media marketers. Having an active presence isn’t enough; B2B marketers need to think about creative ways to leverage innovative features like:
- Target the decision makers: Numerous features on LinkedIn let you connect directly with decision makers. This is your chance to bypass gatekeepers and connect directly with the people making purchasing decisions and critical recommendations.
- Use The News Feed: Remember that LinkedIn’s newsfeed has become a content delivery mechanism. Utilize it for that purpose.
- Publish Your Content: LinkedIn now has a feature that allows you to publish your content directly to the network. Consider LinkedIn as a critical component of your publishing strategy and potentially a good location to syndicate your content.
- Target Your LinkedIn Strategy To Personas: Have you created a LinkedIn persona strategy yet? If not, it may be time to think about who is accessing your content via LinkedIn and consider enabling access via LinkedIn’s credentialed sign in for a more customized, segmented experience. To learn more about personas, check out Are You Using B2B Personas Effectively?
4. Twitter & Facebook: Twitter and Facebook remain among the top players in the social landscape. Having an active presence on these networks gives you access to tremendous scale. Prioritize value-rich and customer-focused updates and whenever possible, connect your work to the broader conversation. For more help with Twitter and Facebook, see “How to Maximize ROI on Your Facebook and Twitter Campaigns.”
5. Niche Networks: No B2B social strategy is complete without taking stock of the niche networks that dominate a space. It’s potentially hard to weigh the impact; networks tend to be smaller, but also have very active communities. Depending on the context of the network and your campaign goals, niche network participants can also offer a highly qualified lead pool.
6. Google+: Matt Cutts’ recent confirmation that Facebook and Twitter signals don’t contribute directly to SEO was a revelation for many. This just reinforces the importance of a Google+ profile. If you’re active on Google+, the top things to remember are:
- Take advantage of Google Authorship. Along with Authorship Markup, this is one of the most important advantages of the platform currently.
- Follow Intel’s example and use hangouts and chat tools to foster robust discussions about new technology, product launches and more.
- Integrate features such as communities and video for a richer user experience.
7. Location-Based Networks: Finally, don’t expect location-based networks to go away – especially for local businesses. If you’re offering B2B services at a local or regional level, for example as an accountant or a commercial building management service, your local presence is critical. Being active on local networks like FourSquare can give you an advantage.
How do you analyze which networks work best for your company?