There are many factors to consider when determining which social media channels should be part of your business strategy. Business objectives, marketing objectives, company vision and mission statements are considerations on a broader scale. Things like resources, budget, content and overall social media objectives also play a role in determining which channels your business should be actively participating in.

Facebook has been the long-standing leader on the social media front. It has dominated social network traffic globally and obtained the most engagement from its users. Though B2B customers are likely using this channel, they likely aren’t using Facebook for what you want them to be using it for — to influence purchase decisions and behaviors and research business purchases. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is exactly where those B2B decision makers are spending time researching — and quite possibly making those decisions.

As the third fastest growing social media site (Source: GlobalWebIndex, Jan. 2014), LinkedIn presents an opportunity for B2B companies to reach a more industrial-focused audience in a space that is proven effective in helping key decision makers do product research. “People think of it just as a place to secure a new job,” says Josh Graff, head of LinkedIn marketing solutions across Europe. “But six times more impressions flow from people seeking information about companies than those specifically looking for a new job.”

According to an HIS Global Spec survey completed in 2012, professionals within the industrial sector are using LinkedIn for a variety of reasons — industry and product news and recommendations on products and supplies account for over 60 percent.

So should you make LinkedIn a part of your B2B social strategy? Consider the following:

Do you want to increase awareness about your company?
Let’s be honest — who doesn’t? Having a company presence on LinkedIn is essential, not just from a recruitment perspective. Potential clients are using LinkedIn to research products and companies they want to do business with — having a complete company profile rich with industry-related keywords and service offerings ensures your page will get seen by the right person at the right time.

At its core, LinkedIn is a powerful search engine; users can search based on a large variety of advanced criteria. Optimizing your LinkedIn company profile page to contain relevant SEO keywords is essential to ensuring your company is getting visibility among a larger audience when they’re searching for content related to your industry.

Is corporate website traffic as important?
According to the 2013 Investis IQ Audience Insight Report, LinkedIn drove more traffic to corporate websites than all other social media platforms combined. According to the survey, LinkedIn accounted for nearly two-thirds of all visits to corporate websites from social media sites.

Twitter and Facebook may dominate when it comes to sharing stories, blog posts and visual media, but in terms of direct traffic to your main site, LinkedIn is the number one social media referral source.

Do you have a niche audience?
Do you have a difficult time determining how to reach key customers? LinkedIn allows companies to reach specific audiences using a meaningful set of parameters. Having these attributes can be used to target the most relevant and receptive audiences through forms of content and social ads, company pages, products and services. Targeting options include:

• Age
• Connections
• Company
• Job title
• Job function
• Geography
• Company size
• Seniority
• Gender
• LinkedIn group
• Employer
• Industry
• Skills
• Interests
• Associations

Do you value Voice of Customer (VOC) information?
A LinkedIn group connects individuals with similar interests, skills, experiences and industry affiliations. These groups allow users to strengthen connections with like-minded individuals in an exclusive form. According to IHS GlobalSpec, in terms of group participation, an overwhelming 81 percent of members are involved in at least one or more group. In addition, 62 percent of members read their group’s discussions. This participation translates into valuable customer insights, as well as areas of opportunity for both your company and your sales team to be interacting with and learning from the audience you care most about.

If the points stated above are key components to your social strategy, LinkedIn may be a good fit for you.

About Two Rivers Marketing

Two Rivers Marketing is a full-service business-to-business (B2B) marketing communications agency. Email us with your thoughts or questions at blog@2rm.com.