At first glance, social media may not appear to be an ideal marketing platform for B2B and enterprise businesses. This is because for a long time now, social media has been a content consumption platform. While consumer brands looking for branding opportunities see great value in this medium, enterprise businesses that rely on their sales network may not readily see visible traction from their social media investments.
But this mindset is so yesterday. Over the past few years, there has been a significant change in the way enterprise customers seek their products and services. While word of mouth references and reputation continue to be the primary criteria for decision making, the relevance of social media has steadily risen over time. Here’s why:
Customers Seek Validation
Regardless of whether you sent an outreach to the customer or if they reached out to you, customers inevitably seek references and validation about the business they are about to deal with. This includes the traditional route of checking with other businesses and partners they deal with as well as seeking references online. A robust social media strategy ensures that your business has transparent engagement with existing customers that prospective new customers can look at. In addition to this, public reviews and customer support provide new customers the reassurance that your business is approachable.
Inbound Marketing Is Quintessential
Social media along with content marketing are pivotal in your business’ inbound marketing strategy. Both these marketing strategies feed off one another and helps ensure that your business is visible to the prospective customer when they are seeking out a product or service. In a recent webinar, an executive at XMedius revealed that the success of their infographic about FoIP on social media helped them with inbound enquiries from a large number of businesses that did not hitherto know about the existence of IP based fax solutions. Not only that, a robust inbound marketing strategy helps your business establish yourself as an authority in the industry – so much so that your business can serve as the benchmark other competitors in the field measure themselves by. In short, social media marketing is quintessential to your inbound marketing strategy which is, in turn, important for enhancing the brand equity of your business.
Everybody Does It
Whether you like it or not, every business, enterprise or otherwise, are now on social media. From a customers’ perspective, a business with a thriving social media presence may appear more reputable than one that is not active on such platforms. Also, social media makes it possible for businesses to get in touch with customers for urgent announcements (downtime, for instance) and updates much quicker than alternate channels. In the absence of a social media presence, businesses have to rely on your PR machinery that may not be as agile as the new-media alternatives.
From an investment perspective too, inbound marketing provides vastly higher returns compared to dedicated on-the-ground sales network. This has forced a number of businesses to increase their investments on the digital platform of which social media forms a pivotal part. By not investing in social strategy today, enterprise businesses risk losing their future sales to newer entrants who have better online visibility.