At EML Wildfire our focus is tech PR campaigns that go beyond press coverage generation to engage target audiences and incite actions that help to drive technology sales.
That’s why a recent report from Vanson Bourne, Social media: the key to buyer engagement? piqued my interest. It presents the opinions of 300 UK IT decision makers, a critical audience for many of the tech PR campaigns we run for our software and communications clients, alongside views of tech vendors on their brand communication challenges.
Social media: the place to influence decision makers
If you’re looking to use social media channels to reach the ultimate tech decision maker then it appears you are focusing on the right area.
According to the Vanson Bourne study, senior decision makers (think CEO or business owner) outstrip other influencers of solution choice in connecting to bloggers, analysts and media on social platforms. They are also more likely to share content on social platforms too.
What tech buyers want from social media
The study also identified a social media ‘big three’ in the approach that marketers are now taking with social media for tech brands. LinkedIn is the most popular, just ahead of Twitter and YouTube. The more consumer-facing Facebook is also used by the majority.
But feedback from IT decision makers shows that being present on these channels is not enough. Tech buyers say that social media channels become most valuable when content is made available to them, and is easy to find. According to Vanson Bourne, they are also looking for more frequent online events.
It suggests that tech buyers want social channels to become a place where they can interact and be informed, rather than simply receive short posts or titbits of information. For PR and marketing teams, there is a real opportunity to make blogs and LinkedIn profiles much more of a destination, but only if they are used in the right way.
The value of social media for B2B campaigns
A key finding of the research is the emergence of social media channels as more trusted sources of information and content for tech buyers. As Vanson Bourne points out in a recent blog post, IT blogs now rival trade shows, vendor events and ‘traditional’ media as information sources.
Tech decision makers rated Twitter more highly than analyst events as a place to gather information, which suggests that marketers are right to be placing prominence on using this channel alongside LinkedIn.
However, it would be unwise not to consider the wider ecosystem that social media sits within. Twitter and LinkedIn may be rivalling other sources of information, but tech decision makers continue to place importance on the media, events and analyst reports (which the study attests to).
The key is integrating social media into the PR and marketing mix, and for us that means developing
content-led campaigns that deliver compelling content that will reach and resonate with the widest audience possible, across all relevant channels, for maximum impact.
Read our guide to content marketing to find out more about our approach.