Social media in the B2B tech space has become much more like it’s B2C counterpart in the past few years as companies take a more human approach and are much more active in their social media marketing efforts.
“It’s getting harder to stand out,” said Stephanie Chavez, global chief marketing officer for Zen Media.
“When we started in 2009, we were one of the only ones doing social media [in the B2B tech space].
“Now it takes a lot more. It takes about 21 touch points before you’ll be able to get someone on the phone. Those touch points could be on social media, they could be email, it could be an ad that they see. You need to be everywhere.”
And “being everywhere” doesn’t mean developing a static social media presence, Chavez added. “We have one client, for example, right now, who is trying to reach out to distributors in the distribution industry. We post five to six times per day on LinkedIn.”
But there is a fine line between being active and being too active on social media, because B2B social media marketing differs significantly from B2C social media marketing.
Another recent trend in B2B tech marketing is showing the humanity of the company, according to Chavez. “That used to be taboo, but now it’s becoming acceptable to do that.”
So B2B social media sites today are discussing not only the company, with information about the organization’s background, basics on products and services and links to other marketing collateral, such as blogs, published articles, etc. — but will also have details about the company’s top personnel, delving not only into their backgrounds, but also their hobbies, interests and other personal information to better humanize the company in the eyes of its customers and business partners, according to Chavez.
However, she cautioned that any credentials or other details posted on social media be authentic, anything that isn’t will be exposed – to the detriment of the business.
Tech companies are now also using social media more to share information that will help their business partners, such as integrators succeed in their own businesses, according to Chavez.
“Let’s say there’s a company whose target audience is real estate agents. You will want to share to share information to help those real estate agents be more successful. If you can help them build their business then they’re going appreciate that and be more willing to look at his whatever service or product you’re selling. Just be educational.”
Chavez added that social media became a much more important part of a tech company’s marketing arsenal as the COVID-19 pandemic halted trade shows which will only slowly start to come back this fall for the first time in some 18 months.
“You weren’t getting in front of all of those people that you used to at a show, so you had to find another way to stand out and reach them,” Chavez said. Social media helps amplify any podcasts, top tier press interviews and other marketing efforts.
Pre-COVID, B2B tech companies were using a combination of social media, online advertising and trade shows and other in-person events to build their brands and generate leads, said Ioana Benea, a social media director for Bernard & Company
Now, they are using social media and looking at their websites to ensure they are communicating the [desired] messages.
Since the pandemic, social media has become the first place people are looking for leads, said Amie Burke, a social media director for Bernard & Company.
“Before COVID, between social media and the trade shows, it seemed like the trade shows were more important as in more people spent more money at them, or there was more connection. Social media was an afterthought.”
Since the pandemic hit, social media stepped up to fill the trade show void, according to Burke, a social media director for Bernard & Co.
“You don’t have the opportunity for eye-to-eye contact. But you’re able to use social media to post articles, things that you are doing with your shop and have interactions with your community. It has become more of a priority. Social media has become almost the first-place people are looking for sales leads.”
Social media helps elevate the brand, much like trade shows used to do, Chavez added.
Burke agreed: “Social media has become more of a priority. Digital marketing is going to be a key in building post-COVID; utilizing social media in order to do that is going to be a huge thing.”
“Social media has definitely proven itself to either be on par or maybe a little bit better than some of the trade shows,” Burke said. “With social media, you’re capturing people where they’re comfortable. They obviously follow you they like what you’re doing, they may interact with what you’re doing.”
Additionally, social media has become more important in establishing solid relationships with customers in B2B tech marketing, much more so than in B2C marketing, where the relationships are more superficial, Benea said.
“This is where you can start marketing funnel awareness.”
Social media should be used to help establish a brand personality, which should be consistent across other marketing channels, Benea emphasized.
“Conduct research on who you are targeting, because the decision makers can be very different from company to company.
“Social media has definitely proven itself to either be on par or maybe a little bit better than some of the trade shows,” Burke said.
“With social media, you’re capturing people where they’re comfortable. They obviously follow you they like what you’re doing, they may interact with what you’re doing.”
Burke added: Now business owners are deciding whether to continue to invest as much in the trade shows or to shift at least some of those marketing dollars to boost marketing via social media.