4 Networks That Should NOT be at the Forefront of Your B2B Social Strategy

Last week we gave you the pros and cons of building a B2B presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. In today’s article we want to address some of the new social networks that have been at the forefront of marketing conversations: Pinterest, Vine, Tumblr and Instagram. There has been a mass movement by users towards social networks based solely on visuals. For B2C companies, these visual networks are perfect for promoting your brand, whether it’s showcasing your new clothing line, coffee art, watches, or meticulously made plate of food. But how does that carry over into B2B marketing?

Below we explore what these four platforms offer your business-to-business marketing strategy and if the benefits outweigh the resources that go into creating this rich and entertaining media.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Pinterest allows users to help mark interests and organize them as images on boards. Group boards also are available so that you can pin with users interested in similar content. Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media networks but women make up almost 70% of the 70 million users.  Because of the focus on visuals and primarily female user base, Pinterest has proven that it is a great platform for lifestyle brands like cooking, fashion and wedding plans.

What it offers B2B Brands:

  • Posting data charts, eBook covers, infographics
  • Linking Landing Pages in pin descriptions
  • Two types of followers
    • Overall followers
    • Specific board followers

Here are some examples of companies using Pinterest successfully on a B2B scale

By providing strong visual assets you have the potential for lead generation as Pinterest has a higher click-through rate than any other social network.  However, your success on Pinterest is tied directly to understanding who your target customer is. If you have the ability to post relevant eBook covers, infographics, events, community projects, and data charts often enough to keep your following interested then Pinterest could be a great addition to your B2B marketing strategy.

Vine

Vine

Vine is a video-sharing app acquired by Twitter, which allows its users to create a (very) short film of six seconds or less. A Vine video plays on a continuous loop, which makes it distinctive from the other platforms mentioned. While Vine has the smallest user base (40 million), according to Heather Taylor, a vice-president at Ogilvy “Brand Vines are shared 4x more than other online videos, and 5 Vines are shared every second on Twitter.”

What it offers B2B Brands:

  • Showing happy customers using your product
  • Presenting your product as a working model
  • Giving a tour of your workspace

Something to consider: team up with famous Vine users to showcase your brand

Here are some examples of successful Vines done by some well-known B2B brands

Vine is about making short creative videos, which are usually entertaining and well made. However, this can be difficult to translate into a successful B2B strategy. Video can be resource intensive to create and there’s no guarantee of getting ROI back, especially with only 40 million users at this point.

Tumblr

Tumblr

With 30-50 million active members, Tumblr pushes users to showcase their best work in the form of text, music, video and pictures. Tumblr provides a unique combination of a publishing platform (like WordPress) and a dynamic social network (like Facebook).

What it offers B2B Brands:

  • Short-term content in order to increase engagement
  • Striking visuals that you can share to help build your brand’s identity

You can check out General Electric’s Tumblr page to get a feel about how you could approach this platform on a B2B basis.

While some claim that Tumblr provides a type of visual storytelling has been missing. The intense focus on providing stunning images that “capture brief, emotional moments” may not be something you, as a B2B business, can maintain.

Instagram

Instagram

Instagram is by far the biggest network out of these four with 150 million users. Like those mentioned above, Instagram is a video-and photo-sharing network. However, unlike them you’re able to use digital filters on your images. Instagram is great for promoting your events as it allows you to post fun images (like a sneak peek of the event setup). Instagram is also different because of ‘sister’ apps. These help you promote your event on Instagram. Two popular applications are Instamessage and Instafollow.

What it offers B2B Brands:

  • Show the culture and community of your office
  • Event promotion

The Social Factor posted three B2B companies that use Instagram successfully. They are NASA, GE, and Adobe. 

You can use Instagram to create a more appealing brand and use it showcase your office environment like LinkedIn does. The unique filtering option allows you to become your own brand identity that is easily identifiable to your followers.

Conclusion

Because these platforms are based around media and visuals, they are only a viable fit if your target audience is using these networks. Think of the primary benefit as branding/general exposure along with showing your company culture. This means it’ll be more difficult to focus on lead generation while costing you significant resources (time and money) because you have to create rich and entertaining media.  You may have also noticed that the successful brands on these platforms are already established businesses, with resources to spare in order to create great visually stimulating content.

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