Social media offers substantial benefits for B2B communication, because these markets often comprise highly complex products and services that require extensive explanation. Expertise is in demand, which is why informative content with added value is usually welcomed and shared. Therefore companies can publish articles and reviews on a regular basis to achieve increased market penetration bit by bit. It's worth investing in this work: the more acceptance the published content receives, the more attractive the channel becomes for the company.
Almost all social media platforms can also be used for B2B purposes. But when it comes to using social media budgets as effectively as possible, emphasis should be placed on these platforms:
XING, LinkedIn, etc.
Professional business networks reach the desired target group, but therefore also have a shorter range than Facebook and other similar channels. That's why companies should pursue a dual strategy in this regard. On the one hand they should publish articles using their company profile and at the same time they should encourage their employees to share the articles on their own personal profiles. Sales and marketing employees in particular often have personal contact with (potential) customers and influencers – and thus the best conditions for "being heard".
Facebook, Google+, etc.
Company profiles on Facebook and Google+ are increasingly being used to complement the role of the traditional website to convey information and image. The difference here is that this "web site" invites interaction, communication and participation. It's all about attracting "fans" and continuing to satisfy their interests – with a user-friendly publishing rate and content that offers added value or entertainment to the target group. The advantage for the company itself consists of direct feedback and an uncomplicated way to keep in touch.
One of the most efficient channels and the backbone of social media marketing is one's own company blog. It provides the foundation for publishing the company's own content, which is then linked to on the other channels. Once readers have found something interesting, they like to keep referring back to the blog or even embed it in their own blogs.
There is hardly a social medium as controversial as Twitter and particularly German-speaking countries have been very reserved with regard to it. But the benefit grows with use: among other things Twitter is particularly well suited for advertising social media content in other channels (corporate blog, product information, videos, etc.).
The weak point is that Twitter is not an end unto itself that simply runs automatically and in which tweets just have to be "filled". The important players here are only those who consistently interact with their followers, actively pursue interesting contacts and retweet and comment on posts.
The relevant channels for one's own company have to be filtered from this varied mix. The decision always has to be made on an individual basis and varies depending on the industry, the business form and the objectives. But no company can completely renounce social media now or in the future. However, it is important to approach the topic with a clear objective, good content and a structured plan.