Brand New World: The Paradigm Shift in B2B Communications – Part IV

Social Media and the Transformation of Communication

 The Business world is firmly focusing on digital transformation. Companies are feverishly assessing and reconsidering current revenue models, operational processes, customer engagement and marketing strategies. By 2020, one million new devices will go online every hour. As a consequence the digital experience has become a new reality that creates disruptions as well as significantly more data. In the new digital world 83 percent of B2B buyers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Four out of five customer purchases are starting online. And an estimated 60 percent of the journey to a buying decision is traveled before a supplier is even contacted.

In this fourth part of our five part series we want to show how you can leverage social media in order to raise your brand´s awareness and improve your sales. An astonishing 90 percent of people and corporations surveyed for the “Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2016” believe that “social media is important to their business” and that networking online helped them to grow their exposure. Almost two out of three participants claim that they were able to build a loyal fan base through online community building. And “more than half of marketers who´ve been using social media for at least two years report it helped them improve sales.” – Clearly, these are numbers no one can afford to ignore.

The best way to provide real-time and engaging quality content is through social media. Blogging, as well as joining the conversation on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter helps to build online influence and enforce your digital marketing strategy. Digital studies show that more than half of inbound marketers have obtained leads from LinkedIn or Facebook and almost half from Twitter. Of course, setting up a new account is much easier than running it effectively. If the available staff is scarce and the budget is tight, focusing on the most effective platforms is unavoidable. For B2B companies the best results may be achieved on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Lack of Skills a Main Obstacle

Social media as a marketing and content channel are clearly neglected. Only one out of three marketers tracks sales on social media. Lack of skills is one of the main obstacles preventing the best use of these channels. A survey of 150 senior marketers in the UK in April 2017 found that 61 percent of companies are actively generating leads through social media, but 90 percent are not setting targets. Still, there is an explosion of user-generated content and therefore a great chance to be part of the interaction instead of only pursuing one-way communication. Every minute there is more than 400 hours of videos uploaded on Youtube, 3.3 million Facebook posts and over 422 000 tweets.

Social media is changing our world and the way we communicate. It is one of the biggest shifts since the industrial revolution. But it is only getting started, as the rapid expansion of the user base shows. Social platforms have already played a major part in deciding important elections, like in the U.S., in Iran and in India. The message for marketing executives is that the various platforms can be a significant catalyst to empower brands as well.

Lots of Practical Advice

There is lots of practical advice out there on the internet to help you get started and make sure your brand succeeds through social marketing. Spend time interacting. Two thirds of all active companies are investing between one and ten hours per week to social media marketing. You need to learn as much as possible about your audience. Boost your efforts by encouraging your followers to express their suggestions and wishes. The more engaged they become, the more you learn about their preferences. If you want your blog posts to become more shareable, adding related hashtags is just one way of proceeding. If you visualize your content it will become several times more likely to get shared. If the necessary capacities are available set up a Youtube channel and become your own broadcaster. Live reporting from events, or speeches given by your managers, will receive astonishing feedback and significantly raise the interactions on your site. Facebook is perfectly suited for that with its live function. And it´s easy to learn. The cover photo on the main page can be changed to direct the attention to special events. Finally, it is necessary to build a community around the brand. There is a whole universe of active users out there to get in touch with and source ideas, suggestions or feedback from. A fan page might be helpful in order to constantly grow your fan base.

Coming Up in this five part series:

Part V:  B2B Data Management