According to a 2014 study of marketers by the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs: B2B Content Marketing Trends-North America, social media is the number one form of content marketing used by B2B companies. That same study showed B2B marketers are taking advantage of a multitude of social media networks to various degrees. But, how many networks should you be on?

Aim for a Deep Presence at a Few Social Networks To Start

Trying to have a solid social presence on too many media networks can stretch your marketing team’s resources and actually prevent your company from having effective social messaging. You could end up with a social media presence that is wide but has no depth. Instead, aim to have a strong social media presence on a few key networks rather than spreading yourself thin trying to cover many. Focus on the following three social networks for the biggest return on your financial investment.

LinkedIn

It’s hard to beat LinkedIn’s coverage. It has 260 million users in 20 languages spanning 200 countries. If you market on only one social media network, choose LinkedIn. One of its selling points is how easy it is to make contacts and form relationships on the platform. And, by building a successful LinkedIn presence you’ll be able to provide information and valuable support to your groups and connections.

As far as marketing goes, LinkedIn allows you to advertise by a variety of demographics such as industry, location, company name, or title, enabling B2B executives, entrepreneurs, and companies to grow your brand and establish thought leadership in the more than one million LinkedIn groups through status engagement and comments.  You can also showcase your company, boost traffic to your site, and share your content through their company pages feature.

However, one of the most appealing features of the network, especially regarding B2B sales, is the ability discover a wealth of information about prospective targets to determine the best approach to introduce yourself and take the conversation off the network and onto a person-to-person level of contact.

Twitter

While there are more users on Twitter than LinkedIn (500 million vs 260 million), this microblogging service enables marketers to read and send text messages called “tweets” that are limited to 140 characters per post. Since all tweets can be viewed by anyone (unlike Facebook), it’s a great way for your company to send out notifications of promotions or sales events and to place backlinks to your site.

Twitter is essentially like a big telephone party line where you can listen to other people’s conversations, including your customers, prospects, industry leaders, and competitors. Building Twitter lists of people you want to follow can be organized to be public or private; they allow you to focus on a specific subset within your tweets rather than just your main news feed. And, the people and companies you follow aren’t required to follow you in return.

For example, you can follow industry leaders and reporters who cover your industry, prospects, and current clients, and if they ask a question you can reply and build a relationship with them. You can also keep up with any mentions of your company, your industry, or even your competitor’s companies.

Google+

With the most active users, (at 540 million), Google+ is larger than Twitter or LinkedIn. While it currently doesn’t match the networking strengths of either, you can’t afford not to have a company presence on Google+ just for the search engine ranking. When you publish text, video or image content on Google+ and it’s fed through your Google+ circles, it will get more exposure and ran higher.

Another perk is that Google+ has become key to Google in verifying known content authorship. Your visibility in search engines will rise when you are a known quantity to the Google search engine. In addition, with a company page on Google+ people can follow and engage with your business and create more relationship opportunities.

What About Other Social Networks?

Depending on your industry there are likely other networks that will pay off for B2B marketers. However, remember that it’s more effective to nail LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ with a strong presence than to be spread too thin on many others.

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