Are you confused about the social media platforms you should be using for your B2B business?

We all know that social media marketing is now essential, but it can also be overwhelming and incredibly time consuming – and there are both pros and cons to using the various social media platforms for a B2B business.

So, where do you start? And on what should you focus?

We’ve put together a list of the social media platforms your B2B business should be engaging in – and explain how they can help to lift your profile, generate leads and get you noticed.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn-UseAbove all other social media platforms, LinkedIn is a must for B2B businesses.

A recent survey of LinkedIn members by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found that LinkedIn is considered the most effective social network for delivering B2B content.

But we’re not just talking about having a great professional profile or a company page. With its continual enhancements and added functionality, LinkedIn is a powerful business-networking tool. It’s also fast becoming a leading publishing platform.

This makes LinkedIn perfect for connecting with and engaging a growing network of professionals with quality content, and for building and cultivating relationships globally.

Our top tips for harnessing LinkedIn for your B2B business are:

SlideShare

SlideShare was created with the simple aim to share knowledge online in the form of slideshare presentations, but has since grown to become the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and other professional content. In the fourth quarter of 2013, SlideShare averaged 60 million unique visitors a month, and 215 million page views.

Use SlideShare to share content, ideas, projects, presentations or knowledge with colleagues, other businesses, clients, and followers.

SlideShare is also a great way to establish you and your business as an expert or industry leader, which attracts leads – as everyone wants to work with the best in the industry.

How to get started

Create a SlideShare account, set up a profile, and get sharing! SlideShare is also a great way to share repurposed content. Got a list post that went viral? Convert it into a slide pack. Got some handy tips and tricks to share? That’s it – collate them into a slide pack! Just remember: don’t compromise on quality, and make sure that your slide packs align with your corporate branding.

Google+

When it comes to B2B marketing, Google+ has often been an afterthought. But whether you like it or not, Google+ is now the world’s second largest social network, with over 340 million active users worldwide.

G+

Why Google+?

It all comes down to visibility. Google+ is one of the main social media platforms that will help to increase your visibility by getting you, your business, and your brand seen in search results. And who doesn’t want that?

So get on board the Google+ train! Create a company, as well as an individual profile, and start sharing content and interacting with other Google+ users. Pay close attention to SEO critical items such as keywords and get into the habit of using hashtags. And build your circles – because the members of your circles will become your circles of influence.

Twitter

Twitter provides B2B businesses with the unique opportunity to connect with everyday people, customers and thought leaders. Twitter is also a great way to build extensive global networks, to develop relationships and to influence decision makers internationally.

With a limit of 140 characters, Twitter forces you to really focus your key messages so that they are succinct and stand out. Twitter is also a great way to test the waters with campaigns, article headings and calls to action. Use Twitter to split test article headings. If one tweet doesn’t get any interest, but the other does, then you know what to call your article!

Another great benefit to using Twitter is to help you to gain some insight into potential content, trends, your competition and your customers, as well as increasing brand recognition and driving traffic to your site.

Twitter has been known to increase leads and conversion rates, so if you are going to use it, use it well – for ideas check out 10 Tips for Marketing Your Business on Twitter.

The Facebook Question

Traditionally, we would say ‘no’ when it comes to recommending Facebook as a marketing tool for B2B businesses. But with the drive for more authenticity in marketing, some B2B businesses are using Facebook to show more of their inner workings, and to convey a sense of personality and realism. The thought behind this is if people see the ‘real’ business, they will be more inclined to engage with them. As to the success this has with B2B businesses, the jury is still out.

Just remember – with Facebook constantly “refining” their ranking algorithm, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to get their content noticed, with only around 10-20% of your page fans likely to see any particular post.

Bottom Line on Social Media Platforms for B2B Businesses

Social media platforms are a fantastic way to market your B2B business. When used effectively, the benefits are clear and you WILL see results.