The role of social media in B2B technology marketing

By Paola Gulian - 16th April 2014

A successful content marketing strategy includes the careful mapping of a target audience to their purchase journey to better understand how to communicate to them in the content distribution stages. However, when it comes to execute the process of content distribution through social channels, there has been a history of careless adoption, either because of hype or the misinterpretation of data. There is a big difference, for example, between knowing that a company’s potential audience are using certain social networks and then presuming they use these channels for information gathering and for aiding their decision making.

social-media-users

This chart averages specific social media channels utilised for business purposes across a large sample of B2B technology decision makers in North America and Western Europe. The numbers for each channel are relatively high in each case but you have to ask yourself two things.

1. How is it used in B2B technology marketing? What are those people using it for?

2. What are the marketers who are not using it actually using instead?

3. What is the real impact of social marketing in B2B decision making? 

social-media-impact-in-decision-making

If we then subsequently delve into the detail around what each channel is physically used for, we can see that each channel has a distinct prominent set of uses that can be summarised and ranked collectively as:

  1. Networking and personal profile building
  2. Sharing articles, stories or news
  3. Staying on top of trends within the industry
  4. Posting, giving and receiving technology advice
  5. Reading/watching product reviews to help make a technology purchase decision

They each very much have their place in creating brand awareness, driving lead generation and establishing thought leadership but are limited in certain areas.

Another important factor to consider is frequency, as they all have a very different frequency of usage as shown in the chart below:

B2B-decision-makers

Finally, the erroneous perception of these channels as “free” sometimes could lead to an unplanned deployment of tactics and waste of resources. They need to be used appropriately based on how the audience expect to be communicated with on that channel.

Only by understanding how audiences interact with social and what they use it for can we properly compare the effectiveness of it performing a certain function in our overall media mix against all other media channels available. A well balanced mix of paid, earned and owned channel usage for content distribution that’s appropriate to the size of audience on each will maximise your exposure and returns.



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