You’re going to be hard-pressed to find anyone that argues against social media being a marketing necessity in today’s digital-heavy B2C climate. It’s a great way to connect with customers, and its advertising revenue cannot be ignored since, according to a report from the IAB, social platforms reached $7 billion in the first half of 2016, up 57% from the same period in 2015. So why are many B2B businesses still shying away?
We understand the hesitation and frustration of B2B-based social media, we really do. Whereas ecommerce seems to have it made in social media, selling to another company can be an uphill battle. Consumer-facing businesses have widely-accessible, oftentimes low-cost product that customers can get excited for and are more willing to engage with. It’s not a huge reach to envision that a music venue promoting concerts is going to have an easier time with garnering fans that lead to sales than, say, a company that sells the red plastic used for emergency exit signs.
It’s not that there isn’t a demand for that plastic, but why would potential customers want to follow you on social media – especially on their own private social media accounts? You can put out amazing content about your product and try to engage, but sometimes it’s just hard to move the needle. Eventually, most businesses become disheartened and end up ditching their social efforts since they can’t justify the ROI. But what we try to stress is that social media has different uses for different companies. It may be a futile effort to get sales directly from social media for your red plastic making company, but it is in no way a lost cause.
No matter what your business is, branding is important. It’s also important for search engines to recognize your brand for the product or services you sell, and this is where your social media presence can pay off. Various social media channels that are regularly updated can help your brand authority within search engines and increase how much real estate your business controls on branded and potentially even service- or product-related keyword searches. Why settle for just your website coming up in the search results when you can also have your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other social channels listed as well. This leaves less room for competitors to impede on the territory you’re trying to own.
Another great advantage of having a social media presence for your company are the social links that can show in in Google’s Knowledge Graph (the sidebar you occasionally see on the right hand side of the search results). Beyond the map, address, and hours, the Knowledge Graph is now capable of showing availability for social “Profiles” and “Reviews from the Web,” that can include Facebook, amongst others. That can be your play. Positive reviews can be a game-changer for a business, and having clients see them show up in the eye-catching Knowledge Graph can be the determining factor on whether you get their business or not.
This is another important one that can also be viewed under your company branding. Some folks try to say that any press is good press, but we beg to differ. What if someone that worked for your company got into some scathing tabloid-esque trouble or a disgruntled former employee decided to bash the company on one of those trashy websites that allow folks to anonymously submit unsubstantiated negative claims on your business? Now when people search for your company name, that shows up on page 1 of the results. It’s not a good look. But by utilizing social media networks, you have the potential to create powerful new pages in the search results and hopefully bump those nasty remarks off of page 1.
The takeaway here is that utilizing social media is a necessity for all businesses, but what the goals are and how the company utilizes social media can differ dramatically. Looking at the broader advantages, businesses that once thought they couldn’t benefit from social media are now able to attain an acceptable return on their investment – even if it’s not the one they first envisioned.