The B2B industry and Era of Social media
In recent years, there has been a growing use of social media platforms as marketing channels due to their ability to reach, interact and engage with millions of customers worldwide. With potential consumers actively turning to social networks to avail of public information about businesses services and products, B2B organisations have had to quickly develop marketing communications strategies to reach competitive advantage and an extensive online presence. Research has found B2B organisations have been slower to include these strategies into their marketing plans than B2C organisations due to traditional B2B marketing methods such as face-to-face or direct selling being highly effective in establishing sales. Although these marketing methods may be helpful in lead generation and sales, they have become outdated and are insufficient in developing brand awareness with a global or international audience. For this reason, B2B organisations must utilise SMM channels and implement social media more if they are to reach their brand awareness and brand recognition objectives and aims.
This digital transformation has seen marketing professionals driving to a two-way interaction with consumers via social media platforms. Social media is continuing to push boundaries of time and space within the interactions of businesses and potential consumers by promoting feelings of closeness. With the right marketing strategy and set of activities, B2B companies can stand out against their competitors in this rapidly changing digital future.
Why you should develop brand awareness
Research has shown that brand awareness significantly drives market performance; therefore, to ensure this, all organisations should adopt marketing communication tools. Alongside this, brand awareness reduces the time, and risk consumers will spend searching for services or products to purchase. From this perspective, consumers will choose the brand they have the most information on. When looking at an organisations level of brand awareness, one must look at it from four views: brand recognition, brand recall, top of the mind brand and dominant brand.
Brand trust and an online presence
In branding, nothing matters more than building trust with your audience. Trust is needed to create long-term relationships with customers and increase brand loyalty and market receptiveness. With technology advancements allowing businesses to expand from local to national to global audiences, the business world has become a more competitive marketplace with endless choices for consumers. This level of choice often leads consumers to purchase a brand of service or product they have already established trust with due to both convenience and loyalty. Research has found that customers lack trust in organisations with no online presence. They believe it highlights a company as underdeveloped and not willing to adapt to change. Nevertheless, if your organisation engages with information sharing and content marketing it’ll increase the level of certainty and information symmetry and the level of predictability of brand action, in turn establishing brand community and trust. The comprehensive nature of social media-based brand communities allows for long-term relationships to be established without losing relationships that are often accompanied by offline environments.
The most effective Social Media tools
Utilising multiple social platforms
Each social media platform has different tools, benefits and audiences; therefore, your B2B organisation should have multiple social media channels on the go. Nevertheless, it is vital to ensure all platforms are interlinked and highlight the business in a positive light and tone. In doing this, consumers will have a well-rounded idea of what the company does and why they should use your services above competitors. The main factor that may affect an organisations choice of platform structure is content diversity. Nevertheless, whether a company adapts a strategy to share the same content on each platform or use different platforms for different content means, they are still reaching a wider audience by posting on each channel than they would if they only posted on one platform.
Paid advertising and sponsored ads are powerful marketing tools in reaching and building long-lasting relationships with professionals. More so, they can be used to capture the attention of your organisation’s target audience and develop brand awareness, in turn, driving leads to your business. Social platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook have an extensive algorithm and precise targeting, enabling your organisation’s campaign/advert to be viewed by thousands of members who display similar interests or behaviours in the content being sponsored. This advertising tool presents unique opportunities for B2B marketeers in reaching an organisations marketing objectives. Such social platforms also allow your business to set your objectives before the advert goes live to ensure maximum benefits. Therefore, these adverts are objective-based as they focus on delivering the ad to individuals who are most likely to take the desired action. Nevertheless, although a campaign advert may reach a significant audience, the content within needs to have relevancy and quality to ensure further company page engagement.
Employees typically have ten times the reach of a company LinkedIn page, therefore by amplifying their voice, a business can build trust, engagement and awareness. Employee engagement with business content can be a viable asset in marketing and brand awareness. When an employee leverages the power of their personal social networks, the company whom they work for can magnify their brand presence and enhance a good reputation. Research has shown that individuals tend to trust a business more if their employees interact with company content and share personal content about the company. User trust comes from the attitude that since an employee is engaging with employer content, they believe in the value of the content being shared. When employees share the organisation’s value proposition, values and culture with their social networking, users are more inclined to click and engage with the company page to see if their values match their own. More so, employees who promote the company they work for by displaying their job title and company name on their personal profile generate awareness by reaching audiences with similar titles or job positions. It allows for individuals to be grouped by LinkedIn’s algorithm and organised into standardised titles individuals may search for or use in campaign targeting.
Social media content directly represents the quality and tone of your business. Without relevancy and quality content, it decreases the level of engagement and reach your business may potentially gain. Research suggests that B2B firms should create content to develop their brand story, differentiating themselves from competitors. By engaging with storytelling content rather than simply producing content describing the service or product a company is selling, the company underlines their values as a business. Therefore, your company should pay attention to detail and follow a quality control strategy or content roadmap when producing content. Research has shown that 45% of business decision-makers decide to work with a B2B organisation as a result of reading its thought leadership content. Therefore, your B2B organisation should also display thought leadership to represent its business as trustworthy and authoritative. By conducting these actions, your business demonstrates that you have put time and effort into researching your customers. You have developed an understanding of your audience’s information needs and purchase consideration cycle. Furthermore, by planning and executing a SMM plan to create quality content, consumers are more likely to trust that your company ensures quality across the board. Brand awareness and consumer trust are key objectives of content marketing. In developing valuable content, B2B firms better their brand reputation, leading to positive long-term customer relationships. Valuable content is practical, relevant, compelling and timely.