So yet another person has told you your company needs to use social media as another contact point with your B2B clients. You’ve even studied up some on what B2B social media marketing is and begun to gather a pretty good pool of friends and contacts on Facebook and Twitter. But you may find those contacts tend to be individuals interested in your company rather than other companies looking to do business with you. What now?
The difference in social media solutions for B2B as opposed to B2C is not a matter or reinventing the wheel, but rather of refining your focus. By observing some established principles of effective social media combined with focusing on the social media tools best suited to your type of business, you can make social media work for your company. Here are some general observations and principles that will help make your B2B social media marketing efforts successful.
It’s Still About People – Companies don’t communicate; people do. Generally, the way another company becomes connected to yours through social media begins with one person in that company following yours. Learn to watch who has requested friendship on Facebook or is following your Tweets. Look for decision makers and focus on communicating back with them like you would a human being, not a “fan” or “follower”.
Be a Giver, Not a Taker – Social media is about joining in a conversation, not grabbing a bully pulpit. If the manager of another company requests to follow you don’t immediately start spamming him or her with sales information. Monitor what is going on with companies you want to do business with and join their conversation. This takes some time and doesn’t show the immediate results some would like, but over the long haul it works
Say Something Worth Hearing – Busy people don’t read blogs and tweets for recreation. They are looking for worthwhile information. David Armano, Senior Vice President of digital marketing firm Edelman Digital puts it this way; “The key is to provide value through thought leadership.” Executives, hard pressed for time, often don’t have time to plow through a 30 page white paper, but a four minute informative video clip or presentation they can link to from a Tweet may be just the ticket to elevate you to expert status in their mind.
Make Friends with LinkedIn – Many professionals and companies are missing the point of a targeted social media tool like LinkedIn. Make use of the Q&A section where members from different companies are already looking for answers to their industry questions. Those asking these questions are a built-in audience for those who can answer their questions. Join groups that a relevant to the type of business you are in. Start a topic on your own and thus build an audience of businesses managers who need the information and service your company can offer. Spend as much time on your LinkedIn profile as you would an ad in the paper, if not more. The ad will be yesterday’s news before long, but nothing ever truly goes away in the cyber-world.