Debate rages on the effectiveness of social media as a strategy for B2B lead generation. While everyone uses it, a lot of marketers are increasingly struggling to get tangible results from their social channels.
Twitter is the biggest culprit for this. Within the vast digital landscape, marketing through Twitter is increasingly feeling like shouting into the void, with huge amounts of effort pumped in for dwindling returns.
Why is Twitter no longer an effective place for B2B lead generation strategies?
In 2013, Forbes declared Twitter as the “strongest social media channel for generating business-to-business leads”, with the network massively outperforming its rivals Facebook and LinkedIn at that time.
With 82% of social media leads coming from Twitter in 2013, the micro-blogging platform became entrenched as the go-to place for B2B marketing. It hasn’t really shifted since. Of course, times change - particularly in digital marketing circles - where trends rise and fall quickly.
In the current landscape the stats for Twitter are not as favourable.
While 89% of B2B marketers still rely on Twitter to share content, under 13% of B2B leads were generated through the big blue bird in 2018. The ROI for Twitter has plummeted in the last five years, which has led to a wider feeling of malaise towards social media as a marketing platform.
So why has this happened?
The problem with using quantitative data is that it only shows half of the picture. As many marketers will know, social media as a whole (including Twitter) can still produce great results. These persuasive numbers are often skewed a little unfairly by companies with a poor social media strategy. As with any marketing method - you’re only going to get results if you have an end goal in mind.
In fact, as Hootsuite found, Google’s algorithm looks for shared content - so even if you’re struggling for direct leads from social media, these platforms could still be helping your overall SEO ranking.
Unfortunately, lots of technology companies use Twitter and other social platforms poorly - filling their feeds with self-promotion and irrelevant posts. But this doesn’t mean you can’t get results from social media. There are plenty of examples of businesses who successfully nurture leads through a well thought-out and executed strategy.
Even with an amazing strategy, however, Twitter is simply not the place it used to be for B2B lead generation in the tech sector. Move aside Twitter - and make way for LinkedIn.
The development of LinkedIn as a lead generation machine
According to HubSpot, lead generation on LinkedIn is now 277% higher than Twitter, but how did this huge turnaround happen?
Of LinkedIn’s 575 million+ users, the majority are educated professionals. In fact, only 9% of the site’s users are people who left education after high school. Without being elitist, these stats suggest that LinkedIn is a network used by dedicated, well-educated professionals, particularly . And these people use LinkedIn for a clear purpose.
While posting on Twitter feels like shouting into a void, LinkedIn is more like a TED talk - it’s about presenting professional, persuasive content to an interested audience.
Image via Brafton.
This devoted audience has led to LinkedIn becoming a far more effective place for B2B lead generation, both in the tech sector and more generally. As the numbers in the infographic above show, LinkedIn is a far more effective platform for content sharing and lead generation across industries.
More than 50 percent of all B2B social traffic now comes via LinkedIn, with LinkedIn rated as the number one channel for distributing content. As well as distribution, LinkedIn is an excellent platform for publishing and referrals, with users far more likely to engage with content than on Twitter or other social networks.
In the last few years, LinkedIn has established itself as the network for thought leadership and professional development, particularly for people in the technology sector. If you’re targeting a B2B technology audience, it makes sense to utilise the place where your audience congregates.
Despite the headline, Twitter isn’t trash - it still has a place when used effectively - but it also isn’t the number one network for B2B lead generation anymore. That crown belongs to LinkedIn.
Whichever platform you focus on to generate leads, social sharing is just one piece of the overall marketing puzzle. To find out more about social media, and how to fit the jigsaw together with other effective strategies to boost your leads, download our free guide Maximising online lead generation for B2B technology here >