As most PR agencies know, social media is not just for B2C companies anymore. The B2B landscape is changing, especially for technology brands. B2B tech companies typically deal with sophisticated and knowledgeable customers. They’re under pressure to differentiate their brand communications to reach high-priority audiences in more thoughtful and effective ways. With the help of social media, a B2B brand in the tech sector can establish a distinctive voice and build a unique community of followers. Most importantly, social media helps B2B companies gain the trust of their audiences and gives them a reason to keep coming back.
Reaching the right audience
The B2B marketplace is shifting – starting with customer demographics. With an audience now younger than ever, B2B communications is almost fully digital. There’s a misconception, however, that only high-level executives at customer businesses have purchasing power. B2B tech brands are sometimes hesitant to dive into social media, as they may not see its value. For those who do take part, they may limit involvement to LinkedIn, where business leaders tend to engage most frequently.
But the reality is that B2B companies can benefit enormously from being active on a range of social platforms. Now 81% of millennials have a say in company purchasing decisions, according to ThinkWithGoogle. And social media can play a large role in reaching that younger, more empowered business customer.
Finding the right platforms
The first step for many B2B brands is knowing where to reach their business customers. A platform like Facebook, for example, may not be a fit for a business audience, but that can only be determined through demographic data. Only by analyzing the data do we learn where prospects engage on social media, where website visitors learn about a business, what type of content works best, and what, if anything, they’re saying online about a given brand or category.
While data alone will not provide all the answers, asking the right questions to collect the data will. For example, a question as simple as where customers get their news –through their phones, TV or elsewhere — can reveal a great deal about where and how to focus digital marketing efforts.
Twitter and LinkedIn are two of the most commonly used platforms for B2B brands, as they typically attract more business-focused audiences. Yet with more than one billion users and counting, Instagram is quickly becoming a very effective social media platform for companies of all kinds. With B2B audiences now skewing younger, Instagram can be powerful. For a bold content strategy, some even argue that Tik Tok should be in the consideration set because its clever, entertaining content reaches a whole new generation. A Tik Tok campaign can potentially separate a B2B brand from the pack, as it shows a willingness to take a risk, be bold and creative, and deliver content on a more personal and engaging level.
Producing the right content
How can B2B brands take full advantage of social media? The first step is to understand the best environment for sharing content. It’s essential to be community-minded. Sharing content in an educational and service-oriented tone, rather than a sales-driven one, will help build trust with an audience. Unique, inspirational stories and content that reveals a brand personality can grow a community of followers and keep a B2B company top-of-mind and relevant.
Some B2B tech brands that have done a great job establishing a distinct social media presence are Adobe, Google, Cisco, General Electrics (GE), and Salesforce, to name a few. Cisco, for example, stands out on YouTube with a variety of videos on service providers, business trends, industry solutions and product training. GE’s Twitter account invites user engagement with entertaining content that is more informative, rather than sales-related.
The B2B tech landscape includes social media
In B2B tech, there is a myth that social media won’t work because the industry is just too “boring.” That is simply not true. If anything, this stereotype should serve as an incentive to take full advantage of social media and what it can do for your business. A “boring” B2B brand that embraces Instagram or TikTok is anything but that. With more than one billion people around the world on social media, a slice of that population will engage with your business, but without social media you may never reach them.