Business to business is taking off in online marketing as most business buyers start their research online. In the past, social media features and advertising systems were geared towards business-to-customer (B2C) marketing instead of B2B marketing. However, that is beginning to change.
LinkedIn is the best social media platform for B2B. This is because the entire audience is already pre-selected to a certain extent. Almost all LinkedIn members are professionals or have higher education, and have a much higher chance of working in a decision-making capacity at a company than, say, people on Facebook. LinkedIn is also better at analyzing demographics by occupation than other platforms because people are more likely to keep their employment status on LinkedIn up to date.
LinkedIn has also introduced features to help the B2B marketers on their site. The SlideShare Infographics Player makes it easy to share lots and lots of infographics, helping your data reach more people in less time. Even better, Sponsored Updates lets you put content on the homepages of people who don’t yet follow you. Sponsored Updates can even be based on profile updates like occupation and location. If you only want to advertise to, for example, procurement managers in Boston, then LinkedIn is the social media network to try first.
Tumblr is a good platform to share multimedia content like photos, infographics, and videos. The ability to reblog content is particularly attractive to business professionals, making Tumblr a good choice for a little extra B2B marketing.
The only downside of Tumblr in the last few years is that it is lagging behind other sites in terms of data collection and analytics. However, this is starting to change. Tumblr has introduced new features that let you graph your likes, reblogs, and find your top fans and posts. If you’re not using Tumblr to help distribute your content, now is a great time to start.
Twitter still is much more committed to B2C. However, one of their recent ad tools shows a lot of promise for the B2B marketer. This is the ability to focus ads towards Twitter users who have shown an interest in your brand in the past. While this feature is still primarily designed for B2C, it is also ideal for the tightly focused world of B2B marketing.
Facebook, Done Right
Facebook is not built for B2B, but some B2B marketers have used it well. If you want to rock at B2B on Facebook, you have to be willing to let B2C slide a little bit. You need all your content to be informative and you need it all to stimulate debate between business leaders. You also need to focus your Like acquisition on industry professionals and associations. A good example would be American Express’ Facebook Page. One consequence is that you will very likely lose some followers who don’t know or care as much about your industry as business leaders do.
Still, the success of some B2B marketers on Facebook shows that strategy matters more than platforms. LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Twitter have some great tools, but what really makes B2B campaigns successful is a commitment to interesting content.