My Favorite 6 Social Media Sites for B2B Social Media Marketing

While everyone knows that Facebook is the default choice for any business-to-consumer (B2C) social media marketing, what social media channels are important for businesses hoping to engage with other businesses (B2B)?  How can these types of businesses use social media to engage with their potential clients, gain mindshare and be perceived as a thought leader in their industry, and increase potential clients visiting their website?  Here are the six that I would recommend to most businesses.  Note that, in order to create a sound social media strategy, you should not limit yourself to these 6 B2B social media channels and should also make sure that each site is appropriate for your particular industry.  Creating a social media strategy is about strategic relevance and focus, not comprehensiveness.

1) Your Website & Blog

What most people forget is that social media does not exist in a corporate vacuum and it is only an extension of your marketing, not a replacement.  You will still be doing email marketing as well as other types of traditional marketing, although I do know some start-ups who are putting their marketing budgets solely into social media.  Regardless, you need to lead people somewhere from the conversations in social media to acquaint them with your business and start engaging in a conversation that will hopefully lead to a conversion in the future.  This is why your website is even more important with the advent of social media, and you need to make sure that your website is “social media optimized” to lead others to your social media profiles as well as to help others share your information throughout their social media channels.  Finally, another important part of social media is sharing content, and creating a blog is the best way to achieve this.  Make sure your blog is active and website optimized before engaging in social media.  So before you get active on the other sites listed below, get your own house in order.

2) LinkedIn – Your Hub for B2B Social Media Marketing

If there is one site where decision makers at your potential customers are it is LinkedIn.  Need I say more?  And if you signed up for LinkedIn and nothing happened, make sure you check out the book I wrote to help all professionals maximize your LinkedIn presence.  You can also read my previous blog post on how to get more leads from your LinkedIn presence by avoiding the mistakes that a lot of small businesses make.  Don’t wait for LinkedIn to happen…make it happen!

3) Twitter – The Potential Viral Spread of Tweets Cannot Be Ignored

There are enough business leaders and decision makers from virtually any industry on Twitter to warrant its attention.  Twitter membership is now 50% greater than LinkedIn.  Add in the facts that a Twitter Profile is now almost becoming a default part of a LinkedIn Profile as well as understanding the viral way in which tweets on Twitter get spread and you soon start to see the potential of utilizing Twitter as part of a B2B social media marketing strategy.  I am currently working on my 2nd book which will help you and your business maximize your Twitter presence, but until that’s published, check out my Twitter case study of how NOT to use Twitter.  Stay tuned for more good Twitter blog posts for business in the near future!  And remember, Twitter is not just about tweeting…it’s about engaging, striking up and joining conversations, and respecting others.  But if you engage wisely, Twitter may lead your next customer your way.

4) StumbleUpon – Traffic Generating Community

Part of utilizing social media is to help your company and website to get found.  If you are a consumer brand this is easier to do, but niche B2B businesses can be challenged just to drive any traffic to their website.  StumbleUpon is actually a lesser known social bookmarking site, but because of its algorithm and 10+ million users who like to “stumble” or navigate through several sites at at time, some studies have shown that StumbleUpon actually attracts more traffic to your website than any other social media site outside of Facebook.  My personal experience with StumbleUpon has been the same, even surpassing Facebook.  It is important to note, however, that StumbleUpon should not be used just for SEO and it is a social networking platform in its own.  In addition, because you will need to be sharing content as part of your social media strategy, think of StumbleUpon as your company’s content recommendation engine.  You may not find your Fortune 500 customers on StumbleUpon yet, but I do see an increase in small businesses joining the platform…and there are other compelling reasons listed above that should convince you of SU’s value.  Once you get set up on StumbleUpon, make sure to subscribe to my stumbles for recommend reads on social media strategy.

5) SlideShare – Present Your Business to the World

My newest fave is SlideShare, which in essence is a site of professionals and businesses uploading their PowerPoint presentations.  SlideShare in itself is one of the top 1,000 most visited sites on the Internet according to Compete.com, and it’s traffic is equivalent to more famous sites such as the social bookmarking site Delicious.com.  SlideShare is significant for businesses because this is where other businesses are putting up their presentations, so just as you Google the Internet for information, many businesses and decision makers are coming straight to SlideShare to look for relevant information to help them solve their business problems.  Business usage of SlideShare is increasing to the point where SlideShare rolled out advertising services to allow businesses to get more views of their presentations as well as generate actual lead data from views.  Start with your corporate presentation and then upload your marketing presentations and see what happens.  You may be in for a pleasant surprise!

6) Business Exchange – Network with Industry Leaders and Become the Thought Leader

Business Exchange is literally the Business Week of Social Networking.  What I like about it is that it is similar to LinkedIn in terms of demographic but it gives you the ability to network with and share/learn information with/from other professionals in pre-defined categories and industries.  For instance, for the topic of social media alone there are actually categories covering analytics, branding, business failures and successes, design, social media in the workplace, social media innovation, job hunting, marketing, operations, privacy, training, and social media vs. old media.  Find your industry’s category(s), start sharing information that would interest decision makers in your industry, and build out relationships as you would on LinkedIn.  And, once again, after you sign up please follow me on Business Exchange for the latest in social media strategy.

B2B social media marketing is like anything else social media-related: new tools, old rules.  Business has always been social.  You just need to find where your audience is and get used to a new paradigm where you professionally network with others and try to gain mindshare in a virtual, online world.  That is, in a nutshell, B2B social media marketing.

Any other sites that you would recommend to add to this list?  Please chime in!

And if you’re confused with all of the choices out there and unsure as to how to go about strategizing for your company’s specific B2B social media marketing needs, contact Windmills Marketing for a free initial consultation.

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

@nealschaffer

Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker | 日米ソーシャルメディア専門家|G+: https://t.co/BqaJvubiP8
RT @tenhagen: In the moonlight shadow... @ kasteel Cannenburch http://t.co/GsiCZHx6Gx - 54 mins ago
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Comments

  1. says

    Nice work. The site I mean. Been scouting about for models I might shape my new blog after. Am trying to get the hang of the social media thing, my being four generations ago and thumbs that don't work so well on a Bberry. My goal is to build an audience, a following, on the top of the book I am writing and inviting their stories and input as I go.

  2. says

    Does everyone know that Facebook is the default choice for any business-to-consumer (B2C) social media marketing? ;) But I do like these suggestions. All these should be in your social networking strategy.

  3. says

    That's exactly what I wrote as a disclaimer at the beginning of the blog post ;-) The intent was to steer people into thinking about platforms they might normally be aware of…and that Facebook is not always the most appropriate platform for B2B marketing. Glad you liked the suggestions!

  4. says

    Wow! That’s an excellent question Barrera! I use royalty-free picture sites and found one of two, what looked to me as businessmen, shaking hands and thought it would be appropriate to use! If you think those from Colombia would be offended by this image I will certainly change it…please let me know!

  5. says

    Already followed you on stumbleupon and just started using Business Exchange. Thanks for informing us here. As marketers we need to be on this websites in order for us to easily to be seen by our potential customers and can communicate with them through our contents.

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