Does social media actually work for B2B SMEs?

Social media can be tricky territory for B2B organisations. It’s difficult to imagine how your company message will fare amongst a sea of memes and emojis. How can this possibly turn into ROI? The short answer is that social media can sometimes work for B2B SMEs. Whether or not it works for you depends entirely on how you operate these platforms and the resources you are able to put towards them.
In this context, social media includes networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and can also include marketing activities such as blogging. If something “works” or not is also difficult to define as it will depend on your goals.
For the majority of B2B SMEs, generating leads and sales is a key priority, but there are also additional soft marketing objectives that you can achieve. For example, social media can help to boost your visibility in the online space and make it easier for prospective clients to research your company. Here are some of the top ways that social media can “work” for B2B SMEs.

Boosts overall profile

Maintaining a consistent profile on social media is a powerful branding tool, even if it never leads to a direct conversion. Rather than being a priority marketing channel, social media can be used to share insightful information about your industry.
A blog that is driven by your unique company insight and knowledge can be a powerful tool to help capture those initial warm leads. By positioning your company as an industry resource, your company will be at the forefront of decision-makers’ minds when the times comes to choose a supplier or partner.

Delivers a strong ROI

One of the most difficult aspects of justifying social media spend in the B2B industry is that the path to conversion is often very murky and filled with many disjunct steps. This makes attaching an ROI to blogging or social media activity very difficult. That is unless you have clear objectives and have considered how you will track the journey.
Social media is a relatively low marketing expense when compared to an activity like PPC, so when it does drive a conversion, your ROI is guaranteed to be huge. While B2C companies might plunge lots of spend into chasing multiple conversions with a low value, B2B conversions will typically be low frequency and high value.

It can bring SEO benefits

The evidence is beginning to stack up that a strong social media presence is a ranking signal for Google and other search engines. This means that being active on social media can help to boost your Klout with search engines which will then reward your site with higher rankings.
It sounds too good to be true, but when you look at the motivation behind this, it all falls into place. Google and other search engines want to deliver the most relevant results possible. If they fail to do this and users have to do the hard work by sifting through pages and pages of results, these users will go elsewhere and the search engines will lose advertising revenue.
In order to deliver the best results, search engines look for relevance and social media provides evidence of this. So, while your Facebook page may never drive a lead to your website, it could help give you an SEO boost.