The following is a guest post by Asad Ali.
We are now well into 2018, and the digital marketing gurus predict that it is going to be another great yet challenging year for internet marketers. SEO and PPC will continue to dominate, whereas social media will play a more significant role in B2B and B2C marketing.
However, this year is also anticipated to be a game changing year particularly for social media marketers. Today, people want brands to interact with them in a timely manner and also expect marketers to come up with more and more creative content. This means that it’s time for social media marketers to updates themselves by strategizing and formulating new and innovative ideas to stay relevant and competitive.
Importance of Social Media for B2B Marketers
It would not be wrong to say that social media is now no longer an option for B2B enterprise marketing; it’s a must have. In fact, some experts even regard it to be more important for B2B enterprises than their B2C counterparts. The reasons are pretty obvious. While most B2B enterprises may have a relatively smaller customer base, they have a more significant price point and lead time is longer on average. Moreover, in a B2B market, the customers demand more information, support, and trust-factors to get into the sales funnel.
This is where social media comes into action. It has bridged the communication gap, and now connecting with others’ business is as comfortable as sending out a tweet.
On top of everything else, social media makes it easy for brands to collaborate and find common ground on certain issues, such as current events and social causes. It also provides the opportunity to take suggestions and queries from your customers and tell them more about your latest products.
B2B Social Media Marketing Statistics 2017
It is always a good practice to take a look back and see what progress we have made in a year. 2017 was arguably a good year for social, and here are some of the B2B social media marketing statistics you need to know:
- Almost 70% of all B2B enterprises use at least one of the “Big 4” social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) to distribute content. (Source).
- 54% of B2B marketers said that social media has been helpful and they’ve generated a good number leads from social media. (Source)
- 78% of companies say they have hired dedicated teams for social media. (Source)
Social Media B2B Marketing Trends 2018
It’s March already and as of now, it is quite difficult to say that which trends will rule 2018. However, as a part of our ongoing research, we looked at certain perspectives and here are our predictions for 2018.
1. Real-Time B2B Marketing
Real-Time B2B marketing through social media is not a new phenomenon and has been in the mainstream since 2015. Before social media, it was not possible for brands to steal the limelight by responding to happenings in real time.
This rising trend has gained immense popularity as it provides the opportunity for brands to make themselves relevant by taking advantage of an emotional time, such as a major political development or a sporting event. It generates interest and provides a significant boost to your brand.
IBM is prominent for its reactive real-time storytelling during popular sporting events. IBM took its Instagram account to share that US Open Tennis Championships collects data leveraging the company’s technology.
This is an effective real-time marketing case, as the US Open was top on minds of so many people and anyone following the #USOpen hashtag was likely to come across this post. This way, customers form an association with the brand and the event.
2. Interactive Content
Content is still the king in 2018 and is not giving up its throne anytime soon. Lately, we have many B2B companies taking initiatives to infiltrate the online world with highly interactive and engaging content. Moreover, users demand personalized content. This might put a pressure on content marketers to utilize other forms for content distribution like webinars, polls, Q&A sessions, demos, live-streaming, video blogging, etc.
Video content is ruling 2018, and a whopping 96% of consumers say that videos are helpful in making purchasing decisions. However, you cannot afford to overlook other content forms as well. For example, if you go to General Electric’s Facebook page,, you will see they post a lot of images, videos, and stories. Moreover, they used Facebook Live to show their presence at Radiological Society of America (RSNA) conference, the world’s largest radiology conference, where General Electric Healthcare created awareness around 3D printing in healthcare. In addition to that, GE regularly shares blogs and articles which give a humanized feel to their brand.
3. Customer Satisfaction
Whether it’s a B2B brand or a B2C, you can not undermine the importance of customer experience and satisfaction. Customer centricity is the cornerstone of any successful social media marketing initiative. However, only a few B2B companies focus on providing a seamless user experience, and they instead focus more on their products and take a similar approach in social media initiatives as well.
2018 is the year of informed consumers and customers will take more control of the process. Whether it’s your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, blog, or any other platform such as YouTube channel, prospects will expect easy-to-use web properties and very clear calls-to-action. Moreover, a consistent tone and rhythm of marketing messages are important as well.
4. Real Time Responsiveness
Responsiveness also plays a critical role in customer experience, and social media has provided an opportunity for brands to reply to customer queries in real time.
The official Facebook Page of Bluehost – one of the leading web hosting service companies – has almost 132k likes and 1.31k followers in early 2018. If you take a closer look, you can see how dedicated their social media team is. They are putting in a lot of effort and reply to questions and queries asked in the comments section.
5 The Rise of Quora
You owe me thanks for this one because this is pure gold. The most challenging part of any professional B2B marketing campaign is to build brand’s authority in their particular niche or industry. The best way to achieving that is by simply answering people’s question. If you have a good knowledge of your products and your industry, Quora is a great place to start.
Why Quora? This is a question many people are asking. Well, there are a handful of incredible reasons why Quora is a platform worth considering:
- It provides your brand exposure to Quora’s 200 million monthly unique visitors worldwide
- An opportunity to demonstrate your expertise on almost any topic
- You can give direct answers to anyone asking about your business, products, or services
- Quora answers can also get featured in the Google snippet box
- Influencers like Neil Patel and many others generate tons of leads from Quora
The reasons to use Quora are endless. To demonstrate you the power of Quora, I will give you the example of one of our businesses.
You can see in the screenshot above that a user; who seems to be a prospective online store owner asked this question about checkout process. One of my colleagues responded to the question and subtly introduced the brand FME Extensions. Now as you can see that he replied to this question in July 2016, since then, we have generated more than 10 leads for our product and one just came in February this year. This is like evergreen marketing and never gets old. And with more and more people coming to Quora, it’s time for you to make a significant brand presence on Quora.
To be honest, there is no one size fits all strategy when it comes to social media marketing. However, it is essential to stay on top of trends and make a powerful brand presence, in order to increase conversions and ROI and step up your game in 2018.
Asad Ali is a digital marketing expert with an extensive experience of 7 years in eCommerce SEO, design optimization and user experience. He is currently working at GO-Gulf, that top-notch web development firm based in Dubai corporate sector. You can reach him on LinkedIn.