One of the most frequently asked questions when B2B businesses decide to develop a social media strategy is, which social networking platform is best? With an abundance to choose from, the choice between Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn can become very overwhelming. Each of these platforms offer business value in their own way, so we’re going to review these sites to help you decide which offers the most value for your business.
When it comes to using social media for B2Bs, the underlying key to success is to drive thought- leadership, credibility and provide targeted engagement. In order to do this, a B2B organisation must firstly have chosen the right platforms and have a solid social media strategy in place that defines the market position and offers something different to their competition.
The online brand that will be delivered through social media channels must align with a B2B organisation’s mission, promise and value. However, choosing the appropriate channel/channels for your brand comes down to a number of factors:
Tone of the Network
Engagement Levels of Network
Twitter : B2B **** B2C *****
For busy marketers, professionals and CEOs, Twitter’s micro-blogging tool is the fastest way to get your message out. Twitter is where the news breaks. It is where real time conversations are happening, enabling you to receive information quickly, with links back to relevant sites, and making it the best social media tool for covering events and running live events.
Twitter is a great place for B2B businesses to find and engage with their targeted media. When marketing on the internet, you have to take into consideration three components – your online reputation, thought-leadership and a strong online brand as well as offline. Twitter is very useful for addressing all three of these areas.
The marketing of conferences, exhibitions, seminars and workshops are crucial to the success of any B2B organisation. Twitter’s search algorithm and use of the hashtag makes it easy to find subjects and news.
However, Twitter followers are nowhere nearly as substantial as a LinkedIn connect.
Facebook : B2B * B2C *****
Facebook is by far the number one choice for B2C social networking. However, although Facebook is not primarily used for B2B, it does serve to deliver client services, event announcements and online promotions.
Businesses building a B2B Facebook strategy will need to heavily engage with their audiences and target organisational groups, pages and events to be recognised. Creating a direct B2B sales relationship from Facebook can be done with a certain amount of persistence and effort, but it is nowhere near as effective as LinkedIn or Twitter.
LinkedIn : B2B ***** B2C *
LinkedIn makes it easy to build relationships with your audiences and target prospectives. It’s main objective is to create and develop business partnerships, and as a result, it’s fast becoming the Facebook of Business.
LinkedIn provides businesses with the opportunity to engage with company followers on a one to one level. The real networking however, happens in groups and in the context of comments and engagement – but the key to making your brand stand out on LinkedIn is to provide valuable support to your connections and groups on a daily basis.
The most compelling feature on LinkedIn for anyone in the B2B sector is that it gives you the ability to learn everything, on a professional level. But it is important to remember that networking on LinkedIn doesn’t necessary work on its own. So, it is crucial that once you have developed relations via LinkedIn, you use more personal methods such as a phone call or email to close the deal.
So Which Comes Out On Top?
To sum it up, LinkedIn is the ultimate social networking tool for business professionals. LinkedIn is the only social networking site that was developed specifically to build B2B sales relationships.
Whether you choose Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram or Pinterest, it is essential that you have the right strategy in place. A social media strategy needs to reflect the professionalism of your business so that those in your prospect bubble – both contacts from the past and future – think of you in this way and also trust you as an organisation when they come to make their next purchase.
This post was written by IBA International – the parent company of iBAengage, a global social media service dedicated to B2B for smaller businesses and start-ups – kick start your social media campaign today.