You’re Dead Wrong if You Think B2B Companies Aren’t Using Social Media

It’s understandable, in a way.

We naturally associate social media with our personal lives. We keep up with friends on Facebook, and upload funny videos to YouTube.

As for B2C companies on social media, that seems reasonable too. We can see why a company selling us spaghetti sauce might want to use social media. We might even friend them and go to their Facebook page to see if there any coupons on offer this week.

But B2B companies? Companies selling trucks and engines? Engineering companies? Companies selling office lighting fixtures? Companies selling Enterprise Resource Planning services, whatever that might mean?

You might well think these kinds of business would have no use for social media, and wouldn’t need help in building their social media presence. But you’d be dead wrong.

Social media is huge in B2B.

How come? Because companies selling to other companies need to be top of mind during all phases of their prospects’ buying cycles.

More about that in a while. First, let’s look at some examples of how B2B companies are getting involved with social media.

And how about kicking off with something really dry and technical, like ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning? Kinaxis does that. And yes, some of the sales text on their website may leave your head spinning.

“Large manufacturing companies with complex supply chain networks and volatile business environments rely on RapidResponse for collaborative planning, continuous performance monitoring, and coordinated response to plan variances across multiple areas of the business.”

But when it comes to social media, they rock. If you don’t believe me, go to YouTube and search for Kinaxis Suitemates. They created a series of 3 to 4 minute videos that are incredibly funny, on message and totally memorable.

Or how about Scania, a Swedish manufacturer of trucks and industrial engines? Again, you would be surprised. They have over 137,000 likes on Facebook, over 9,000 followers of Twitter, and their YouTube videos have been viewed over 4 million times.

UPS keeps in touch with its business customers through Facebook, with over 420,000 likes.

The Indium corporation publishes over 15 topic-specific blogs, each of them written by engineers.

Cree Lighting has a dedicated social media page on their site, streaming their tweets, Facebook updates and YouTube videos. The video alone have been viewed over 438,000 times.

You get the picture? Smart B2B companies completely understand the power of social media, and invest in it heavily.

The thing about extended buying cycles.

If you are involved in B2B, you already know that their websites rarely include Buy buttons. Making business purchases is rarely as simple as reading a sales page online and taking out your credit card.

In B2B, buying cycles are longer. That’s why lead generation is so important to these companies. These companies need to generate leads, nurture those leads and then convert those leads into buyers. It takes time.

You’ll see all three of these stages of the process at work in social media.

UPS uses its Facebook page to generate leads by offering new White Papers on a regular basis.

Scania keeps in front of trucking companies through all of its social media properties, with its videos taking the lead role.

And all B2B companies use social media to make it easy for prospects to get in touch when the time is right to talk about making a purchase.

Put another way, social media does the same for B2B companies as case studies and newsletters. It represents a way to grab and hold the attention of their prospects, build their brand, and smooth the way to the point of sale.

And the good news is … the examples in this article are exceptional.

I have deliberately featured companies which are doing a great job with social media. But there are hundreds of thousands of other B2B companies out there which have yet to figure this out.

And it shouldn’t be very hard to sell them on the idea.

Any B2B company that understands the lead generation, lead nurturing and lead conversion funnel can be shown how social media can help every step of the way.

Like I said at the beginning, there is something counterintuitive about the idea of B2B companies using social media.

But when you scratch through the surface, you’ll see it’s the perfect fit.

[Editor note: Nick Usborne’s popular program, How to Make Money as a Social Media Marketing Expert will give you a solid foundation and all the tools you need to walk into any B2B company and deliver a comprehensive social media strategy.]

Make Money as a Social Media Marketing Expert

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Published: October 11, 2012

2 Responses to “You’re Dead Wrong if You Think B2B Companies Aren’t Using Social Media”

  1. Great article, Nick!

    I went to YouTube like you suggested.

    Merging video with the best benefits of case studies and white papers makes a LOT of sense. Potential customers have everything they need to be fully informed. Plus, seeing what you plan to buy in action will naturally spawn a ton of detailed questions that are specific to your business. What a great way to create a neverending supply of highly qualified customers! And everyone knows how loyal B2B customers are...

    Thanks again!

    RNin2013October 11, 2012 at 11:38 am


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