Social Media Channels for B2B 101

What are the different kinds of social media channels for B2B? What's the right mix for your business?

Social media is pretty pervasive. Most people spend at least some time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on every day, and these channels have made a real difference in the way we communicate with each other – and that includes in the business space.

Unfortunately, that limited view is what most businesses understand social media to be – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and maybe LinkedIn. However, social media goes a whole lot deeper than that, with several B2B social media platforms available. So, what are the best social media channels for B2B?  What else is there, and how do you use them?

Types of B2B social networks

Firstly, there are the network-type social media channels. These are your basics like Facebook for social use and LinkedIn for professional use, where you can get in touch with friends and family, or with other professionals who could be useful to your business. These are great platforms for sharing anything from short content to links to longer content and are some of the best social media channels for B2B, especially when used as a lead-in to more detailed content.

Twitter falls into the microblogging category – sharing updates that are restricted to a small number of words and are not conducive to long content. Links to long content can, of course be shared – and often are – but Twitter and the like are best used for quick commentary or on-the-go updates. When building your B2B social network, this one is a pretty important component, because it allows for quick-response marketing and crisis management.

Next up are media-sharing channels, such as YouTube or Vimeo, Instagram, Imgur or Flickr, or Pinterest. Video-sharing can be used for a massive variety of content, from just a few seconds to several hours, while image-sharing can include a wide range of commentary or promotional material. These are very popular in many B2B social media plans, although they usually work best in conjunction with network or microblogging.

News-sharing sites, such as Digg and Reddit, allow users to share links to external news items and upvote their favorites, creating a stream of popular and trending news-based content. These can be quite complex to incorporate into your B2B social media strategy, as you need to build up a reputation for your own content through these, while also sharing external content.

Related to news-sharing but also quite different, are bookmarking sites, which allow users to find and bookmark interesting websites and content for their own use and also to share them publicly. Examples of these are Pocket and StumbleUpon, both of which suggest content based on user preferences.

Many special-interest groups or communities have forums where they interact and these are many and varied. This is where people with similar interests come to discuss topics related (or unrelated) to their interest and share information.

Unless you have a lot of time and enough resources to use all of these different types of channels, it’s best to carefully investigate each and choose which will work best to create successful B2B social media campaigns. To make the decision easier, it helps to research what your competitors, customers, providers and collaborators are doing and to focus your energies there.

One final tip: Whatever channels and strategies you use, remember that it’s not called “social media” without a reason. Whatever you put out there is out there and is usually extremely difficult to take back, so plan your strategies carefully and never react without thinking it through.

How are you using social media to market your business effectively? Leave a comment, I read every one.  

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