There are some questions that I hear on a near daily basis: “Is Facebook really good for Business-to-Business (B2B) companies?” “How can I use LinkedIn to generate leads?” and “How do I use Twitter to sell or connect with those people I need to?”
Although social media is seen in all facets of Business to Consumer (B2C) public relations and marketing, the place still exists in B2B for a social media plan when done right. Growth and interaction may be slow, but the benefits of building a community from the ground up can be outstanding.
To help you out, I’ve listed three key tactics that you can start using to ensure social media marketing success and a good return on investment:
1. Use Social Media as a ‘Way In’
Too many B2B communicators and marketers make the mistake of treating social media as a closing tool. This is not the best way to use this medium. Social media is best used as a ‘way in’ – an opening tool. Social media networks offer a great way to meet a lot of people in a very short space of time.
For a large number of B2B businesses, Facebook and Twitter campaigns will be a slow and exhausting effort. With recent changes to LinkedIn, LI is positioning itself to remain the go-to player for B2B. They have taken some of the best of the mega-social sites and provided it to businesses in a way that helps them meet their needs while remaining flexible and easy to use.
2. Join Some Groups
Take advantage of the groups on LinkedIn. Just search the groups directory for keywords associated with your industry and you’re bound to find plenty of relevant groups. But don’t be a silent member, share your content, engage with other members, and talk. Many people view LinkedIn as little more than an online resume but the groups give this network an additional dimension. Take advantage of this!
Don’t be afraid to host Twitter chats for your industry. These are a great way to position your company as a “thought leader” and an organization that is one for others to look to. Always be aware that the overall goal of your Twitter activity is to encourage people to ask more about you and seek out information from your website.
One word of warning – make sure you behave yourself! Don’t be overly self-promotional. Unlike in the B2C world, people are not coming to you just to find out about your latest product. Just take the opportunity to interact, be helpful and engage with prospective clients. Being social is not a one-way street, sharing your experiences and finding common issues and solutions helps build that working relationship for the future.
Posts should be representative of the company’s business philosophy, but not self-promotional. They should be relevant about something followers need to know, educational about something they don’t know, or informational about an event or service. A company can share blog posts or drive followers to new information on its website. Once the follower has arrived at your website, the sharing of more information and the selling can begin.
Twitter can also be useful for engaging followers in a conversation and building relationships. Be interactive with others so they will comment back and start a dialogue. Since the next step is to do something with these leads from a sales perspective, the sales team should be involved in the planning and development process, but not the main contributor. Working with your sales team to establish goals and targets will provide a measurable ROI analytic for each campaign. Use the premise of sharing accurate and correct information as the key to build trust with your audience.
3. Have all the Answers
There’s one easy way to make sure you’re social media’s hottest thing – make sure you have all the answers. At any given moment of any day, millions of people are “Googling it”. We all think of the Internet as the source to answer our questions. If you’re one of the people answering the questions, it’s an easy way to build a great online reputation for yourself and your brand.
So, make sure that you share all your information freely. Pay attention to your keywords and SEO considerations to make sure that your prospects can easily find your words of wisdom online.
So What is Hard About B2B Social Media?
I’ve just made it sound easy, but a successful digital marketing and social media campaign for B2B marketers is a challenge. You need a lot of patience and commitment. In most cases, social media enables you to set up a future sale – not close a deal immediately. Another thing to consider is that in the communications fields, it is not all about selling. Name recognition, thought leadership, and subject matter expertise are all ways to place you business or organization in front of the people who need to see it. However, if you do it right and have a little patience, the rewards will come flooding in.
Do you need help with your digital marketing needs, please contact Power Ten, Inc.’s communications specialist Darren Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-432-3190.