There’s a perception that social media exists only for B2C companies. It’s an understandable perception, but it’s not true, and the owners of B2B companies that buy into it turn perception into reality. There’s no reason to leave the landscape of social media only to the sellers of consumer products. When you do B2B social media, you just have to be smart about it. You have to be strategic. If you do that, it can absolutely work for you.
The first two decisions you have to make for your business related to social media is to understand what level of commitment you’re making and how you’re going to measure success. If your approach to social media involves finding the one person on staff who uses Facebook more than anyone else and telling them to update the social accounts in their spare time, you might as well not bother. And if your expectations are that social media will lead to sales—or even immediate leads—you might want to scale those hopes back.
But let’s say you want to do this right and take a long-term attitude towards social media. You plan on at least making the social campaign a vital part of your marketing director’s responsibilities (maybe even giving them the resources to add staff, either in-house or via consulting). Your expectations are raising awareness of your business among the niche of people who are interested, with the hope that over time that will grow into qualified leads. Now you’re ready to seriously compete on the social media stage. The following tactics and strategies will help you do just that…
Define Your Metrics
Just because you don’t expect immediate lead generation doesn’t mean you can’t measure success. Perhaps you want more visits to your company blog. Or maybe there’s a whitepaper you’re hoping prospects will download. Maybe you want to grow your circle of connections on LinkedIn, followers on Twitter or page likes on Facebook. All of these are reasonable goals and measurable ones. Know what they are when your campaign begins.
Connect With Industry Media
Even if your business isn’t the kind that will lead to thousands upon thousands of people following you on social, the important influencers in your industry will still have a social presence. This can be a good way to keep in contact with them and let them know what your business is up to. In fact, this single objective alone would make a social campaign well worth your effort .
Manage Your Reputation
Putting yourself out there on social media can expose you to criticisms from unhappy clients. Don’t fear this—keep in mind, those clients were unhappy anyway and letting them vent at you on social gives you the opportunity to address it. Make sure that whomever handles your company’s responses possesses a cool head and good judgment. Companies that handle these situations well actually improve their reputation in the eyes of the many followers who watch the exchange without commenting.
Repurpose Your Content
If you have a company blog, sharing those posts might be where you start. Or the most important landing pages on your site might be what you put out there. Don’t stop with the written word. Turn them into videos, infographics and if appropriate, even a meme. Everyone consumes content a little differently. You’ve already got the content, so just be creative in how it’s distributed.
Most B2B companies have gone to the trouble of putting up social media pages. The number of them that maximize the opportunities is considerably smaller. Following these tips will get you started on being a business that takes advantage of the social media stage.
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