B2B Articles - January 18, 2016
78% of respondents said that companies’ social media posts impact their purchases. – Forbes
There are some pretty big misconceptions floating around about using social media to engage IT buyers. For example, many B2B tech companies believe that their target audience isn’t active on social media – but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually very common for IT buyers to use social media throughout their purchasing process. In fact, on LinkedIn alone there are 88,000 IT leaders and C-level executives active each month.
Another misconception is that while social media is a great tool for consumer marketing, it’s not an effective strategy for B2B companies. However, this too is simply not true. The reality is that social media offers a terrific opportunity for B2B companies in particular to engage with prospects.
Why? Because most of the B2B buying process is now done online, by researching vendors, services, and solutions.
Today’s business buyers do not contact suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process is complete.
That means by the time your sales team engages with a lead, the decision has pretty much already been made. By engaging on social media, you can enter the conversation much earlier – when your prospects are still doing their research and making their decision. As such, you can use social media to influence their decision, offer relevant information, and demonstrate your company’s value.
And if you’re still not convinced that social media is a great way to engage IT buyers, consider these statistics:
Now that you know why social media is an effective strategy when it comes to engaging IT buyers, here’s how to get started:
1. Focus on the social media sites IT buyers use. In general, IT buyers are most active on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. However, they use each of these sites for different purposes, so it’s important to be aware of these nuances and keep them in mind when you’re engaging with prospects. Digital marketing for IT buyers is greatly enhanced by social platforms such as Linkedin and Twitter--both organic and paid.
LinkedIn: On LinkedIn, IT buyers typically spend their time asking questions and looking for opinions and recommendations from their peers. As such, you could engage by offering advice, posting helpful content, answering questions and participating in industry discussions.
Facebook: On Facebook, IT buyers comment about industry-related topics and seek out the advice of their peers, so your company can get noticed by answering questions, sharing links to interesting content and engaging in related discussions.
Google+: In general, IT buyers use Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest technology and business trends. Your company can grab their attention by being a trusted source they can turn to for industry-related news, trends and information.
Twitter: On Twitter, IT buyers tend to spend their time sharing technology and industry-related news and articles. As such, your company should invest time and resources in actively engaging with these individuals – commenting on their tweets, sharing your own timely content, commenting on trending topics and participating in industry debates and discussions.
2. Optimize your social media pages. The reality is you can’t just create social media pages and wait for the leads to roll in. Social media is more interactive than that – and you have to really appeal to your target market if you want your efforts to have an impact. With that said, if your goal is to influence buying decisions and drive sales, create pages that offer the information your prospects are looking for. Instead of filling your page with general information about your company, post statistics, data, reviews from satisfied customers, and product insights – anything that demonstrates your position as an industry leader and gets them interested in exploring your solutions.
3. Share useful – not promotional – content. IT buyers on social media aren’t looking for you to blatantly promote your company. They want you to share helpful and relevant information that solves their problems. Always remember that you’re not just competing with other companies in your space, but also with your target customers’ friends, family, and favorite news sites. You have to share high-quality content that’s going to cut through the noise and grab their attention. Strive to be useful and interesting – and buyers will engage.
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