Did you know there are over two billion active social accounts?
That’s what makes social media is a great way for businesses to find customers. We all thought social media was something for teens, but quickly realized our B2B audience was there too. Through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, B2B buyers are interacting with brands on a much more consistent basis.
This creates a unique opportunity for B2B marketers to position their businesses as a credible brand. A good example of this is General Electric’s B2B social media strategy. Instead of boring its audience with the products and services they offer, GE consistently puts out creative and engaging content that focuses on the technology and innovation behind their business.
Of all the B2B marketers using digital marketing strategies, a whopping 92 percent of them are using social media. So, how can your businesses take advantage of this growing potential?
Here are five ways to build brand credibility with social media.
Whatever marketing efforts you currently have going have already presented your business in a carefully designed image. This brand image needs to remain consistent with all your social media accounts. If your social media networks have an amateur look, your business will be viewed as amateur.
- Keep your username or URL consistent across all channels.
- Use similar profile images, and match covers/headers to your website branding.
- Keep a unified voice on all company descriptions.
Take a look at MailChimp’s Instagram page. Rather than promoting a product or service, the company promotes its culture and voice. MailChimp’s quirky millennial brand image is portrayed perfectly through its account.
Social media for B2B is all about connecting and communicating with your audience. When a customer contacts you through social media, they usually want an immediate response. Responding quickly and effectively to both positive and negative messages will not only show you value your customer, but builds credibility as well. Responding to negative messages may not be the highlight of your day, but it can prevent backlash from the same customers in the future.
In an interview with Forbes earlier this year, a Verizon executive explained that their customer service teams have adapted to use Twitter, Facebook, Google+ to answer customer service questions from consumers and small businesses alike. The 24/7 team managed more than 400,000 social media interactions in 2014 alone.
Social media provides a unique way to connect with your customers. To make the most of this publish interactive content like videos, infographics, images, and contests, rather than relying on only text posts. You can increase your online engagement by fostering conversations and being a go-to for a specific subject. This is especially effective for B2B businesses looking to become subject matter experts among their audience.
Take a look at GE’s Instagram page, for example. Despite the stereotype that old companies can’t keep up on the Internet, GE humanizes its brand through amazing photos on its Instagram account. They also run contests there to keep the conversation fun and keep their audience engaged.
Whether you’re just starting out on social media or looking to change your existing strategy, connecting with industry influencers will help keep you in the loop for what’s popular on social media among your competitors. You can start building a relationship with these accounts by sharing and interacting with their content the same way you would want them to do with your content. By engaging with industry leaders, you not only build a relationship with a valuable social media partner, you increase your credibility among your industry.
IBM might be the most well-known B2B company in the world. However, when it came to joining social media, the IT consulting giant was a bit late to the game. Then in 2013 they overhauled their social media marketing efforts and trained sales teams to use the platform. The result? A 55% jump in Twitter followers and a staggering 2 million followers on LinkedIn. The “Made With IBM” campaign brought in influencers of all industries and pushed content through all social media channels.
If you’re trying to increase your credibility on social media, content will be your main driving force. However, don’t lose sight of your goals by pushing too many self-promotional messages. A good rule to follow is 80% non-promotional content and 20% promotional content. Presenting yourself in a self-serving manner is going to do nothing for your credibility, if not decrease it. If you’re not providing content that is relevant to your audience, then your audience will not be engaged. Increase your credibility on social media by posting high quality informational content that is relevant to your audience.
Last year, Airbus was nominated for a Shorty Award for its social media campaign. Airbus’ approach to social media was similar to that of B2C campaigns and captured a huge audience. They credit their success with adopting to the new medium quickly and having flexibility to experiment with how they post. The content they publish is often related to current events and has resulted in their brand name trending on Twitter several times.
Social media can be a great tool for B2B marketers, however, it can also backfire if not used correctly. If businesses want to be successful on social media, they need to develop a comprehensive plan and ensure it’s executed properly. Not only will this increase their credibility on social media, it can increase their bottom line.