social-media-iconsDelivering thought leadership programs for Henry ranks among the more interesting regular assignments in our calendar. Working with technical consultants to develop their story-telling techniques and applying research to bring their solutions alive are both gratifying. Lately, we have been getting more questions about the role social media plays in B2B technology sales.

Are social platforms relevant?
It seems social networking is used for pretty much everything, from crowdsourcing investigative reporting to raising awareness of innovative solutions. Whether you want to promote you or your company, sell a product or simply make your customers feel they are part of a larger like-minded community, the world of social networking opens up a new realm and a broader audience spectrum. However although there are many positive attributes to businesses, there are still questions that need addressing with regards to B2B social choices. Social media marketing is not just for targeting consumers. B2B marketers are discovering they can engage with huge numbers of potential clients by cultivating their brand and having a more personal approach through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora and Google+

Connecting with business owners and managers
Google+ and LinkedIn are both seen as strong contenders when it comes to driving immediate traffic to your blog or website. Whilst contributing to LinkedIn, your profile can be seen by thousands of your targets. LinkedIn is also going to great lengths to ensure that users spend more time on the programme – so all that you share within the site will be viewed and appreciated by other users. Google+ communities on the other hand are not yet as developed as LinkedIn, but have the advantage of boosting traffic to your site through SEO improvements. Search engines are now taking social media shares into consideration when ranking websites in their search results. The more social shares your content is getting, the more likely it is to be boosted in the search engine rankings.

Audience size versus engagement
LinkedIn’s community today stands at 225 million whilst Google+ membership is estimated at 500 million, though a large number are considered inactive. More important than the size of the communities are the leve of engagement. With topic specific groups driving engagement, many marketers report better results with LinkedIn.

Q&A as the sharper knowledge sharing format
Quora is a platform where members ask questions and are rewarded for answers that are most popular. Members are free to moderate tags for questions, suggest edits to answers, and then add an opinionated view of both questions and answers. LinkedIn has a similar Q&A facility that gives the opportunity for an answer to get a “best” tag which then promotes the person’s expertise in that field.

Looking ahead
B2B marketers are learning a whole new language as they turn to social media with customer engagement becoming the success for B2B marketing. Domain experts who step up and become thought leaders will have to include some level of social media engagement in their arsenal. If you are part of the technology industry’s experts, we’d love to hear from you about platforms you have found most useful.

Image credit: Wplift

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