It seems like every business nowadays is on Facebook and Twitter, but there are a lot of good reasons to extend your social media presence beyond these two platforms. If you’re promoting a B2B product or service, many or even most of your prospects may frequent other sites depending on their industry and geographical region. The popularity of Facebook and Twitter also make it difficult to rise above the noise without investing significantly into paid social advertising. In the first half of 2016 alone, Facebook Pages have suffered a 52% decline in organic reach, a continuation of a trend that has began since 2014.
Many business professionals like to reserve Facebook as a personal profile for close friends and family to keep in touch. They treat Facebook as a personal feed and LinkedIn as a work feed. It’s imperative for B2B marketers to understand, and cater to this preference. While this doesn’t mean B2B brands should get off Facebook completely, they should consider using FB more for branding and retargeting purposes. Consider varying your FB feed from your other social channels, focussing on content that humanizes your brand. Effective content ideas can surround personal improvement, office humor, and recognition of made-up holidays. Provide some comic relief on Facebook, and your brand identity will gradually become more memorable and personable to your fans.
Without further ado, here is the list of overlooked social media platforms to try, with the strengths and weaknesses we’ve observed with each.
An all-business audience with easy sharing to your own professional network on LinkedIn. Usually your trusted contacts will kickstart the distribution of your post with “likes” and “shares”, helping it get discovered by their extended networks.
LinkedIn Pulse does not require unique content, allowing you to syndicate posts directly from your blog or company website. For SEO purposes, we would suggest posting content on your own domain first and waiting for Google to index it. Then post the same article on LinkedIn pulse with a link back to where it originally appeared on your website. This helps Google credit your own site instead of LinkedIn as the original author of the content, a concept known as a “canonical URL” in SEO circles.
Top contributors can be featured to the entire user base as a LinkedIn Influencer, a program that is by invitation only.
Must publish under your personal name instead of as your company page. Although you can link back to your own website, it works for some businesses better than others for the owner or marketing manager to be the face of the company.
If you have a small LinkedIn network, your Pulse posts may not initially get many views.
While Google+ is stagnating overall, there are still a few technical or Google product-oriented communities that are well participated in. Posting links in Google+ notifies Googlebot about new pages, and +1s may have a positive SEO effect.
Most communities allow posting of links with a genuine description why it is of interest to the group members. Relatively light moderation, allowing you to post the same link to multiple communities on the same topic.
Not the most well organized, with multiple communities overlapping each other on the same topic. Some communities show signs of neglect, overrun by spam and sometimes even obscene content. Most Google+ traffic will be mobile clicks from the Android app, usually short visits.
Think of Quora like a more professional version of Yahoo Answers. Most Quora users are highly educated with a university degree or even post-graduate education. Topics include everything from business, finance, law and IT to politics, philosophy and psychology. The question-and-answer format lets you brand yourself as an expert, or authority in your niche. If you provide a meaningful answer to a highly specific question, you might even get leads directly from the asker or other users facing the same predicament.
Moderators allow Quora posters to link back to their own website and even invite other users to book a consultation or try their product, as long as the self-promotion is accompanied by a genuine answer.
Quora pages rank well in Google for niche questions. A question where you’re selected as a top answer by other Quora users could potentially drive targeted traffic to your website for months or years after you make that post.
Moderators are very serious about the BNBR (Be Nice Be Reasonable) rule and will moderate your answer if it even hints of a personal attack against another user. Try to avoid getting into heated discussions. According to Alexa, 37% of the website traffic is from India, the second largest segment of Quora users behind the United States – this might not be your target market. Some users are merely interested in getting free advice or homework help and will never be a qualified prospect.
Huge universe of subreddits about general (/r/AskReddit) and specialized topics (/r/PersonalFinance). Great format for hosting Ask Me Anything (AMA) conversations, which can encourage interest from other users in your unique experiences or expertise. If your post is upvoted to the front page of a large subreddit or Reddit overall, you could get so much traffic to your website your server could go down.
Reddit users skew young (18-34) and liberal in their political views. Be very cautious about staying politically correct to avoid a PR nightmare that can spill over from Reddit to mainstream media. It’s best to contribute to Reddit for several months, helping other users in a relevant subreddit, before occasionally dropping a post with a relevant link back to your website. Reddit users tend to very skeptical about self-promotion and businesses in general. Gain their trust first by sharing others’ content and answering questions without an expectation of a reward.
If you do too much self-promotion without being perceived to be giving enough back to the community, your posts will be buried by downvotes and your account could even be “shadowbanned.” Posts from a shadowbanned account appear only to the banned user, but not to other Reddit users or anonymous visitors.
A community of IT professionals including system administrators, subject matter experts (e.g. network security, storage and backup, etc.) and management professionals up to and including CTOs and CEOs. SpiceWorks allows you to register as a vendor which gives you two main benefits: maintaining a company page and participating in the forums as a company representative.
Often influencers or decision makers responsible for IT purchasing decisions will directly ask the SpiceWorks community for advice. SpiceWorks allows self-promotion, in fact they encourage you to describe how your solution could address the user’s problem. It can help to ask satisfied customers to participate in the discussion as well, credentializing your product or service.
You’ll probably get a couple of sales calls from SpiceWorks trying to persuade you to advertise with them. If you’re an IT service provider or integrator rather than a vendor, you might feel that SpiceWorks is a network of your peers, rather than a place to find qualified prospects. In SpiceWorks Community threads where the OP has expressed a buying intent, you’ll be fiercely competing head-to-head with other software/hardware vendors who are trying to vie for their business as well.