Why Content & Social Are Increasingly Important for B2B Businesses

James Devonshire / Content Marketing, Social Media

B2B buyers want to hear from sellers when they are still early in the research process. They also prefer email to phone calls and want content that’s related to primary research data relevant to their business. These are some of the key findings from new research by the RAIN Group.

Based on a survey of 488 global B2B buyers, the report outlines how many of the messages sellers have been hearing for some time, such as cold calling is dead and buyers don’t want to hear about sellers’ capabilities, simply aren’t true.

In fact, 71% of B2B buyers indicated that they actually want to hear from vendors while they are looking for new ideas to help drive business results – in other words, early on in their overall buying journeys.

When it comes to preferred communication mediums, an overwhelming 80% of respondents said they prefer to be contacted via email. Less than half (49%) prefer to be contacted by phone.

Interestingly, just 21% of buyers said they like to be contacted via LinkedIn and 18% through comments on social media channels, suggesting that social media still has a way to go before it looks to rival email for B2B communications (if it ever will).

In terms of content that affects whether a B2B buyer agrees to a meeting or an invitation to connect with a particular vendor, primary research data that relates to the buyer’s business is at number one, cited by 69% of respondents. Content that describes the vendor’s capabilities (67%) and content that’s 100% customized to the buyer’s situation (67%) are at number two and three respectively.

While social media channels haven’t managed to establish themselves as a primary communication medium for vendors and buyers, they are still an important part of a B2B seller’s marketing toolkit and should definitely not be eschewed, especially when it comes to content.

Here’s why:

1. Maintaining a Social Media Presence is Relatively Easy and Inexpensive

First and foremost, maintaining a presence on social media is relatively easy and inexpensive. The automated scheduling tools and content curation solutions that are available today mean that most businesses can regularly post on social media without consuming too much time or money. And while larger pieces of content, such as white papers, case studies and eBooks take time to create, small chunks of them, like facts and infographics, are perfect for posting on social media.

2. B2B Buyers Increasingly Use Social Media to Inform Their Decisions

The B2B buyers you want to connect with are active on social media and using it to conduct their own research. What better time to connect with them than at this stage – especially when you consider 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media to help influence their buying decisions.

3. Millennials & Centennials Love Social Media

Millennials and centennials – the latest generations of B2B buyers – are social media power users. Logging on and scrolling through various news feeds is commonplace to them, which is why social media is a great place to connect with them. Furthermore, let’s not forget that centennials (generation Z) are the first generation ever to not know a world without Internet, which means online channels will resonate with them far more than traditional ones.