Posted by Richard Cook ● 17-Oct-2017 07:58:00

How to adapt to the increasing role of social in B2B tech buying

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B2B buyers are increasingly making use of social networks for research ahead of final buying decisions.  Marketing Think says 74% of B2B decision makers use LinkedIn to help make purchasing decisions while in the US 64% of B2B marketers use Google+ to distribute content, according to InfinitDatum.

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This use of social networks during the buying process was emphasised by IDC in a white paper: Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience. The paper makes some interesting points:

  • 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/vice president (VP) executives use social media to make purchasing decisions
  • Online professional networks are the number one information preference of buyers in the final stage of the purchase process.
  • Social buying correlates with buying influence. The average B2B buyer who uses social media for buying support is more senior, has a bigger budget, makes more frequent purchases, and has a greater span of buying control than a buyer who does not use social media.
  • B2B buyers find the greatest benefit of social media is gaining greater confidence in and comfort with their decisions.

Social and inbound marketing

Also acknowledging this emphasis on B2B social Gartner says in a paper called New Rules for B2B Inbound Marketing: Search & Social:

“Succeeding at inbound marketing requires marketers to understand this new mode of B2B buyer behaviour, adopt a relevant linguistic style, and make smart use of social and search marketing techniques.”

Emphasis on content

What does this mean in practise? In short, it requires a sharp focus on social media:

  • Relevant content needs to be deployed across search and social channels, including blog posts, webinars, white papers and presentations
  • Ensure this content includes ‘customer stories’ as this is a form of peer-to-peer conversation and reflects what prospects are looking for
  • Rather than maintain a traditional focus on product leadership and direct selling generate inbound inquiries via thought leadership and indirect selling
  • Develop your communications to reflect the tone and style of buyers’ inbound inquiries and their conversations on social media

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Topics: B2B Tech PR, B2B tech