Most companies recognize the importance of social media. But recognition isn't the same as understanding, and confusion around its value has led B2B companies to view social's utility through a narrow lens.

Most B2B companies don't believe B2C social strategies will work for them. Instead, they often use social platforms as real-time broadcast channels for announcements or company updates. But that strategy misses one vital ingredient: participation.

Social media allows B2B companies an opportunity to show their expertise while participating in and adding value to a community. Done correctly, social can drive B2B lead gen and conversions.

The Role Social Plays in B2B Sales

Social is a top-of-funnel tactic, so use it to connect with the audience members who will benefit from your product or service. You'll ultimately achieve a lower cost per lead and drive a higher volume of leads by accurately targeting and delivering valuable social content.

Post social content about the impact your services can have on the audience's bottom line, operations, or efficiency. For example, if you sell a commodity product, highlight your differentiators: your service, delivery, documentation, attention to detail, etc.

Don't fret about whether you're giving away trade secrets. Instead, focus on how you add value. That's what gets people searching for even more content, which they should find on your website. Keep your website as the hub of your business—primed for conversions.

Speaking of the sales funnel: Don't make the mistake of measuring success by overall website traffic from social channels. Organic social media engagement alone won't necessarily drive people to your site, and paid will drive only a very small percentage. What matters for B2B sales is the quality of engagement.

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image of Tessa Burg

Tessa Burg is vice-president of UX and technology strategy at B2B pipeline marketing agency Tenlo. She uses agile principles to test, identify, and forecast effective experiences and sales channels.

LinkedIn: Tessa Burg

Twitter: @tessaburg