Friday 25 May 2012

The 7 reasons why B2B companies should be on social media

Social media are not only designed for B2C companies, and here are 7 reasons:

#1. Social network use is still increasing
That's a fact, the creation of Facebook eight years ago has considerably changed the way we live, the way we spend time on internet, and the way we consume information. The result is that we pay less and less attention to traditional media, such as TV and press. Therefore, B2B marketers must be present where customers, workers and leads are and spend their time in order to reach them more efficiently.

#2. The buying process has changed
Buyers do not simply trust commercials and salespersons anymore. They are more and more informed and before making a choice, they look for peer reviews and advices and information on forums. Furthermore, there is a social validation phenomenon that is occurring. If a buyers (and that is true for B2B and B2C markets) cannot find enough information about a specific product or service, the presence and visibility of the company on social media is important, because it can be understood as popularity and trust.

Thus, it is critical for companies to be present in this early step of the buying process in order to provide information to influence buyers' opinions. Today, with the development of inbound marketing strategies, social media have become a critical element in lead generation.

#3. Social media help B2B companies to demonstrate thought leadership and expertise
B2B companies are often niche specialists and have a very specific knowledge and expertise. Because credibility is such an important element in B2B, social networks are a good way to leverage a firm's knowledge by spreading it in order to become recognized as an industry expert. This tactic is even more efficient if a company has a specific and well trust worker to put "on stage" to humanize its voice.

#4 Social media build brand awareness
In a time where differentiation is more and more difficult to achieve, social media presence help marketers to reach people in an unexpected way and convey brand's values. Being present on social media shows that a company is modern, open on its environnement and tries to be closer to its market.

#5. B2B professionals are persons too
They spend more and more time on social networks. B2B companies must try to reach them with any tools and tactics available, and social media is one of the most easy to implement in order to bound directly with them and listen what they have to say. 

#6. Social media strategies implementations are low costs
In periods of marketing budget decreases, marketers are looking for tactics that can be implemented very fast, with budget shrinking but with the highest marketing ROI as possible. Therefore, a social media strategy is with no doubt the only one to meet all these requirements.

#7. Competitors will be or are already on social media
Even if it is not the most relevant argument, the threat of competition is always a strong driver of marketing policies. If you are not following the social media trend, you will let your competitors enjoy first mover advantage and the time to build awareness and a strong community before you do. 

The bonus one: Social media activity dramatically increase visibility on the web 

Being on social media, updating status on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, sharing presentations on Slideshare or having a company blog are cheap ways to get better ranking on web browsers. Social media are now critical tools for SEO optimization.