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What is the value of social media in B2B marketing?

A new report from eMarketer found B2B marketers believe social media is important to their work. However, there is still some confusion around how exactly social media helps close sales. Most brands focus on engagement and awareness in their social media campaigns, rather than relying on the channel for serious lead generation. There are many possibilities in the B2B social media space, which is still evolving, as the eMarketer report makes clear. Here are just a few.

Tell the brand's story
Social media is ideally suited to telling stories. Whether they're short or long, narratives on social media arise naturally through text posts, links to other content and visual features like photo and video. Ideally, a company's social media page tells its story to visitors in an engaging and easy-to-digest way. This is a vital function of social media marketing. It is never advisable to make assumptions about customers, and assuming they know the story and voice of a company is not helpful in creating a marketing strategy. Instead, B2B marketers can rely on online networking sites to help them tell a story that will get prospective leads interested in what a brand can do for them.

Go viral
Widely shared content is the goal of many online marketing campaigns that focus on social media. The holy grail of these endeavors is the viral video or post, one that is shared at huge rates by a large number of users. According to Social Media Explorer, it is possible to set content up for virality, though it is very difficult. The whims of users play a role in whether a post goes viral, and those whims frequently change. However, even B2B marketers, whose efforts are not likely to be as edgy as their B2C colleagues', can aim for wide sharing. While the message is important, so is the product. If it does not meet certain criteria, marketing materials for it going viral is highly unlikely. To meet these criteria, companies should ensure a product is helpful, aspirational, cost-effective or backed by superior customer service. When one or more of these conditions are met, however, users may be excited enough to share content widely on social media.

Keep exploring
Social media is a staple in B2B marketing, but it is still relatively new ground. Innovative marketers can discover and create new functions for social within the sales funnel with a little trial and error.

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.