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December 18, 2019

B2B marketing in Asia: What’s the right social media platform?

Finding the right social media platform for your business is always difficult; making it successful is even harder, especially for B2B businesses. Is it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Weibo, or Line?… Or a mixture of all?

It’s important to note that social media is part of a wider approach — it’s successful when used in conjunction with more traditional selling methods, along with incorporating a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool, as well as good practices when it comes to maintaining current customers, such as follow up calls and relationship management.

Each country and region has social networks that work best based on both popularity and the target audience.

How and why a business should use a social network to generate B2B leads

Social media is difficult, we know

There are a few reasons to maintain a social media presence, but when it comes to creating successful, lead generating programs, these are the main advantages:

  • Finding potential customers and fostering new relationships
  • Keeping current customers up-to-date with business activities, from product launches to special offers and more
  • Extending reach beyond those you deal with directly within a client company.

There are no absolutes. For example, if you are a supplier of gym clothes and activewear, you might find it beneficial to target SMEs in that category through their Facebook business page or Weibo; on the other hand, a larger supplier of architectural products may find more success with LinkedIn, often without regard to location.

The best approach is to focus on one or two social networks that will work for your business. Trying to maintain a presence across all social networks is inefficient and will often lead to poor results.

Let’s look at the benefits of each, and which is best for your business in your country.

Facebook

Without question, Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking site with over 2.45 billion monthly active users, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right for your B2B outreach. Facebook is far more useful for B2C but there are circumstances that make it a better option for SMEs that work in the B2B space.

When it comes to advertising, Facebook can be used for very specific targeting, especially for individual user accounts that work at a specific business you might be targeting, or other business users that are in the target industry.

It can also be used for organic content, to keep customers and potential customers up-to-date with your products, as well as provide basic business information such as contact details and business location. These results can often appear very high in search engine rankings such as Google.

Facebook is most commonly used for B2B in Singapore and Australia, but can also be useful to businesses in other countries such as South Korea and India.

LinkedIn

More than 30 million businesses are on LinkedIn. Businesses tend to think of LinkedIn as a recruitment platform, and it’s certainly a great resource for acquiring talent. However, it’s also the second most popular platform when it comes to B2B marketing, especially in countries including, Singapore, Japan, India, and Australia.

There are a couple of approaches a business should use when marketing on LinkedIn. Whether it’s for recruitment or outreach for potential clients, always keep your business information up-to-date, and post regularly. Don’t just focus on product updates; keep in mind company culture and any other relevant information that makes your business unique!

The platform is also a great place for sales team members to find potential contacts and generate new business, as they provide specific targeting of both business and personal information, especially with some of the paid options available.

Line

Line is a Japanese-based messaging app with over 600 million registered users throughout Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand. Unlike other messaging apps, Line has business accounts. It allows you to message customers as well as other important marketing capabilities, if you have an official account.

Line lets users search for your business and connect with you instantly, and gives businesses the ability to broadcast messages. This might include any official company updates or other important pieces of information that can help generate sales or branding.

The downside is no targeting. But, tailor your messages correctly to your followers and you may just find the account you’re after!

Weibo

If you are targeting customers in China, Weibo is absolutely essential to your marketing mix, with around one quarter of all Chinese using the platform — that’s some 374.1 million people. Weibo is a unique social media platform that combines various elements of other platforms.

As a foreign business, it can be a difficult to obtain a company account on Weibo. But once your business is registered there, you have access to a massive market and opportunities! You’ll need to decide if that is worth your time… many find it is.

Twitter

You’ll find all the largest multinational corporations on Twitter; there are also a large number of consumer brands there, providing followers with information about products, special offers, customer service, and more.

However, as a B2B network, its usefulness can be limited. It’s difficult to build a following and the format can be difficult for creating engaging content in the B2B space. More often than not, Twitter content is recycled from other social networks.

Having said that, businesses with integrated CRM and social tools can set up basic listening terms on Twitter and automate responses for a follow up from sales. But this isn’t for everyone and does require effort and resources.

KakaoTalk

For B2B marketers operating in South Korea, KakaoTalk is the country’s version of WhatsApp or LINE. You can assume pretty much every smartphone in the country has the app installed.

Earlier this year the platform launched KakaoTalk Biz Board (TalkBoard) to support business CRM and marketing functions. Users are connected to advertisements, product selection and payments on a single platform. After a purchase is completed, post-marketing functions are also available. The product is in its early days but KakaoTalk claims ads posted on Biz Board can potentially reach 44 million subscribers.

Zalo

Developed by a Vietnamese tech company, Zalo is tailor made for local businesses. It boasts 60 million regular users and is probably more effective to target Vietnamese businesses than Facebook. E-commerce functions and contactless payments can be easily integrated meaning local transactions are simple to complete.

Of the 60 millions users, Generation Z makes up 80%. As this group becomes more prominent in the B2B space, it’s worth becoming established now on their preferred platforms.

B2B marketing on social media — top tips:

  • Always keep your business information up to date with contact details, website address, location (if necessary), etc. This is particularly important if your social network account appears above your website in search engine results, but an absolute requirement nonetheless.
  • Don’t spend time on a social network that is not going to work for you. Staff resources related to social media are better spent on a platform that is going to give you a return on investment. Don’t feel obliged to be on a platform just because ‘everyone else is doing it’.
  • Develop a strategy: who is your audience and what content will be both engaging and sales-generating? This is fundamental to getting the most out of B2B marketing on social media.
  • For any platform you do focus on, ensure you have the resources dedicated to respond to customers, prospects, and other enquiries.
  • Finally, ensure whatever you put out there on social media is in line with your brand. Whatever your business, it’s important that all online presence reflects the values, culture and goals of your business.

Put simply, focus your time and effort on what will work for your business. Do the research into where your audience is, develop a strategy and keep it simple!

Read more from Click2View:

  1. Our thoughts on the latest Content Marketing Institute report on B2B marketing.
  2. Harness the power of B2B content
  3. Podcasts in Asia, how to reach millennials.

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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

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