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The Industrial Marketer


Social media in B2B marketing

Social media is the buzzword of the day, so what does it mean for companies in the B2B space?

The term refers mainly to the use of Internet-connected services to foster social communication and interaction. It's a phenomenon that has created hyper-growth companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

However as B2B marketers we need to cut through the hype and understand what it can realistically do for us, so we don't blindly follow that slick hot shot marketing consultant we hired who says: "you like gotta have a Facebook page man. It's so cool!"

In a marketing context, Facebook lends itself more to B2C companies than B2B. That's not to say a B2B company couldn't have a Facebook ad or page, however people are busy socialising with friends on Facebook and business is the furthest thing from their mind.

Also, when someone joins a Facebook group or page, its logo is displayed for friends to see, acting as a type of badge of honour telling people what they're interested in. Therefore Facebook users are not inclined to join an obscure B2B-themed Facebook page like 'ABC Industrial'.

LinkedIn and Twitter are more aligned to B2B, but these sites at the moment don't have a critical mass of B2B users outside industries like; communications, media, IT, recruitment and finance. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be used, but they only reach certain sectors so should be prioritised as such on your marketing schedule.

The concept of Social Media however is very powerful and will evolve in all sorts of interesting ways. Our own social media 'Follow' feature whereby site visitors can Follow companies on our directory is becoming increasingly popular. Followers receive a monthly bulletin highlighting any new content from their network of followed companies, who in-turn grow their followers by placing a follow button on their own website or email signature.

These sorts of social media developments are important and will develop even further. It's a moving goalpost so it's important to keep an eye on what's happening and to continue to adapt your online marketing strategies to suit.

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