Social media in B2B. Why it matters.

You have a B2B business, so social media marketing isn’t relative to you. End of story, right?

Maybe to some degree. While Snapchat and Instagram may not be the best option for your business, there are other channels that probably make sense to start working with.

As the workforce ages, especially in the manufacturing industry, many business leaders agree that social media is just not a channel worth investing in. Primarily because their customers – the decision makers at these companies – are not active there. They don’t have time for it, aren’t interested in it, or simply don’t want to mess with learning a new technology. And it’s completely understandable.

That mindset is going to have to change, though. As these decision makers start to retire in the next 5-7 years, if not sooner, they are going to be replaced with people who are interested in social media and actively use it as a resource to educate themselves on products, vendors, sales reps, etc.

Much of the younger generation doesn’t even want to talk with a sales rep (dang you, millennials!), and when they do need to talk with an actual person, they’re already about 70% through the buying cycle.

That means they’ve been doing research online and have already identified who they want to talk to before ever attempting to contact anyone.

As a millennial myself (I cringe a little writing that as I straddle the line between Gen X and millennial, but still), I naturally start at a company’s website and social media profiles to gauge whether I’m interested and see potential value in what they offer.

It’s only going to become a more common practice, too. As younger people move into that decision maker role, they are going to go online first to decide whether they want to even consider your business as a viable option.

If you aren’t there with an active, consistent presence, they will likely move on to the next vendor who is.

That doesn’t mean you should be on every social media channel and mimic what a consumer brand is doing. But it does mean that you have to find what fits best with your business and marketing strategy and commit to it.

In most cases, an active LinkedIn profile is sufficient. That’s where business people are most active when it comes to work-related social media. But oftentimes Facebook, Twitter, and others make sense as well.

Ultimately, you know your business and your buyers better than anyone. But the people you work with now aren’t going to be in their job forever. They’re probably going to be sipping drinks on a beach somewhere in a few years. That’s why it’s important to start looking at who is going to replace them when that time comes and develop a strategy on how you’re going to reach them.

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