B2B marketing has a reputation for being more complicated than B2C – and rightfully so. We have to market complicated products and services, bridge a serious knowledge divide and illustrate the value of things so niche we’ve never even heard of them. Unsurprisingly, this poses real problems for B2B social media marketing.
Whilst many B2C marketers can spread their efforts across any social media platform they choose, we B2B marketers need to be more selective. These 4 social media platforms are some of the hardest to effectively use in the B2B market, and if you’re trying to maximise the ROI of your B2B social media marketing, they might be best avoided.
Given Facebook’s staggering 1 billion+ user base, this is going to be a contentious choice. From a B2B standpoint however, these users aren’t all that lucrative. Instead of hunting out brand updates and looking for new business connections, these users are fundamentally concerned with family, friends and B2C products.
Facebook’s organic reach has also been steadily declining since the end of 2013. Where businesses could once expect their shared content to reach between 4 and 12% of their total audience, newly published content now flounders between 2 and 6%.
So why did Facebook halve their organic reach? My marketer’s intuition tells me that it may have something to do with the $20 billion Facebook added to its share price over the same period.
With businesses now struggling to communicate with their audiences (despite the fact that each and every audience member has opted-in to receive brand updates), it’s become essential to promote each and every post. With real, actual money. What was once a truly free-to-use SMM powerhouse has degenerated into a pay-to-play network reserved exclusively for big businesses with big budgets.
With an estimated 250 million users, Pinterest isn’t the underdog it used to be. As a result, you’re probably tempted (along with thousands of other marketers) to get involved, and starting pinning yourself silly. If you’re a B2B marketer though, you should probably spend your marketing budget elsewhere.
Pinterest’s demographics are very heavily skewed towards female usership, with it’s female members outstripping male users at a ratio of 4:1 (clocking in at 33% and 8% of total social media users respectively). This translates into a very specific set of popular topics – with the majority of Pinterest’s brand and business engagement falling under the categories of Home, Arts and Craft, Food and Fashion.
Very few of these sectors are geared towards B2B businesses; and there are even fewer B2B service providers that fall under these headings. Whilst it’s more than possible that your target audience’s own demographics will reflect a female bias, it’s pretty unlikely that your service offering will be both popular and suitable for the super-visual nature of Pinterest.
With its monthly users estimated to weigh-in at a mere 100,000 people, Instagram is the underdog of this list. Of those users, 68% are reported to be female – reflecting another female-heavy skew that seems typical of the more visually-orientated social media sites. The age of these users is even more strongly weighted, and over 90% of Instagram’s users are under the age of 35 – including a huge proportion of teenagers.
With such a young demographic, Instagram presents a unique problem for effective B2B social media marketing. With few B2B businesses targeting the teenage demographic, and even fewer service providers catering to this niche, there are very few opportunities for meaningful engagement with the site’s audience. With virtually no ability to engage through text, all of your B2B social media marketing has to be done visually.
Interestingly, Instagram is now owned by Facebook – leading many commentators to believe that Instagram’s organic reach will take a similar plummet in the coming months. We’ve been warned!
4. Google Plus
Google Plus is one of the fastest growing social media networks – and targets a demographic that, at first appearance, should appeal to B2B marketers. Tech sector and design-orientated businesses are two of the largest proponents of the site, with a primarily young male user base. Unfortunately, the benefits of this audience are severely limited by the size of the G+ network – and despite it’s high growth rate, it still loiters near the bottom of the social networking pile. With 120,000 estimated users, most other social media networks outstrip it in terms of active usership.
Its true that there are benefits to be had from Plus’s relationship with the Google search engine – with your G+ engagement directly influencing your search ranking. However, the benefits of this dynamic aren’t as powerful as they once were. With the decline of Google Authorship (forcing us to say byebye to our attractive faces appearing next to certain search results), there are fewer reasons to focus our B2B social media marketing efforts on Google Plus.
If you’d like to increase the ROI from your B2B social media marketing spend, get in touch! I’m a freelance marketing copywriter, and I write blog content for the UK’s best B2B marketing agencies. Get in touch for your free content consultation now!