I get asked a lot about why B2B organisations should be involved in social media, and am often told by those who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet that it’s really a medium for selling to consumers, not other businesses.

It’s true, a lot of B2C companies get some great traction in the social sphere, but there’s also some common ground when it comes to marketing B2B’s too – they are made up of people (and consumers) as well! And chances are those people are online in at least one of the many social media channels available.

There are many, many reasons to participate, but here are 5 of them to entice you to jump in and test it out for your business:

1.    Expand your audience. Using social media as a part of your marketing mix is a great way to reach prospects you might not otherwise get to. They might stumble upon some content you’ve created and uploaded to your website when they’re Googling, they might see you on their colleague’s Twitter feed or you might come up in – god forbid – good old fashioned conversation because of something of value you shared.

The most common question I get is that many of the people online aren’t your target market. That may be true, but mass marketing on TV, radio, outdoor and more are still highly popular mediums to extend reach and brand awareness. You can do it on social media for a fraction of the cost, and you never know who might find you. In addition, if you’re tagging your content properly then search engines are going to help you filter out those who are your prospects because they’ll be searching around your topic.

2.    As an add-on to above, your net can widen with social shares which is word of mouth and referral marketing at its online best. If someone recommends your stuff online by sharing it, chances are people are going to stop and take a look because they know the person who shared it. This exposes them to your brand, your service and how you can help them.

3.    This one links to the first two – social media gives you a great opportunity to flex your creative muscles and create some amazing information to share about your organisation. Share your enthusiasm about what you do by putting together great articles, slideshows, images, stories, blogs and more – remembering to cater it to your prospect’s needs and pain points. If you can meet a need, make it memorable and valuable and then put it out there, those audience numbers and social shares are going to grow. And because the content isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and because all of your prospects aren’t going to be ready to buy immediately, there’s a potential for you to continue reaping benefits for months to come.

4.    People are following you because they want to. This is one of my favourite reasons – this is not you spruiking your wares to any old passer-by. If someone is following you on social media, it’s likely they genuinely want to hear from you. So make every opportunity count and talk to them as you would any other prospect – speak regularly, understand pain points, find out what they need and provide value. You have a golden opportunity to engage people and move them through the sales pipeline.

5.    Lastly, it’s cost-effective. Yes it uses up time and people resources to be online talking and creating and sharing content, but it’s long-lasting as long as you leave it up on your website, it’s searchable through Google and other search engines as long as you’re tagging it correctly to be found, it’s shareable to expand your reach (see points 1 and 2).

Compare it to some of your other options – an ad in a print publication can be expensive, publication issue-sensitive (as people may throw them away) and not searchable in future. Your other option is not marketing yourself at all. And although that doesn’t cost you anything, it’s unlikely to help your business grow either.

Search Google for more reasons to participate in social media and you’ll find an infinite number of reasons. These are my top reasons because they consider your target, encourage great work to filter that down to the right audience, promote brand awareness by the sharing of great content and keep your budget in mind.

So are you ready to jump in? If you need help or have questions about social media specific to your business, feel free to ask me.