Our customers are a connected audience today, whether they be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest or in any of the hundreds of social media sites available today. Today, doing business via the Internet has become as important as doing business outside of it. Which is why more and more firms are increasingly turning to social media as a means of reaching out, connecting and influencing customers for their business.
How effectively one manages the plethora of social media vehicles available directly impact’s the business revenues, especially in a business to business scenario. At Impact, we work with business marketers to help navigate social media. Here are our top 10 tips for B2B businesses that we have seen working effectively.
- Sharpen your social media initiative
There is no sense to be all over the place when it comes to social media, irrespective of how powerful the pull may seem. In a sense social media marketing is no different from traditional media buying when it comes to making choices. As in traditional media buying, marketers tend to optimize their spends across key media vehicles rather than spread themselves too thin. Similarly it is far better to focus your efforts on a few key social media sites & ignore the rest of the marketing push.
This will allow one to concentratedly understand how each specific site works, its nuances and build your strategy around it.
- Build thought leadership
It is wrong to say that only consulting firms can build thought leadership. There are functional experts in every industry who are considered thought leaders. No matter is you’re making something as simple as a bulb, you have to remember that you can be a thought leader in your industry.
How to do that is of course a completely different story, which is where firms like Impact come into play. We help clients build thought leadership stories that resonate with their businesses. In a B2B scenario, prospective customers like to deal with industry leaders and therefore unless you build a story of being an industry thought leader around your firm, you’re likely to be viewed a step lower compared to others who have done so.
- Invest in content marketing
Content could be anything. The fact that your firm won an award is content. An article written by your senior manager about your product is content. A video testimonial could be content. Almost anything could be construed and treated as content.
However what is critical when you’re addressing social audiences is to make your content relevant to that audience. Where you’re objective is to build thought leadership, the right type of content can go a long way in doing so. How many times have we downloaded white papers? The fact that we did so, was because we felt a value in it. Now imagine your customers downloading white papers about your industry written by you? Would your customers perceive you as a knowledge leader? Yes, if you were consistent in your effort.
- Share content across your social network
Getting your content out to your audience is as important as developing good content. Most companies tend to feel that the job is done once having created the content and plugging it in within their social company pages. The fact of the matter is, that unless you shout about your content from the roof top, your audience is likely to miss it.
Have your social media agency post content across LinkedIn groups where your audience is likely to be present. Ditto for G+. Pick up excerpts of your content, frame it effectively and tweet regularly for the first few days. Always remember to re-shout about your content a couple of weeks later. You will be surprised to see the jump in readership of your content!
- Use content to drive leads
While one objective of generating good content is to drive thought leadership, content can also be used to drive leads. Focused content on specific areas of your business and letting the content showcase how you have delivered solutions can attract other customers in similar situations. Have a clear call to action at the end of your content to drive leads.
- Involve your employees
Your employees are your biggest brand advocates. Involve them in your social media initiatives and encourage them to share your content on their professional networks. You could run small contests internally to encourage and drive behavior. It also helps when employees read or view your content. Apart from their own knowledge improving, they are likely to view the company in a new improved light.
- Invest in the visual medium
The best format of content on social media is the visual medium. Infographics and video’s work the best followed by textual content like this one. Infographics are visual representations of data points that tell a story visually. All you need is a good creative mind within your social media agency to create stunning infographics for you on a regular basis. Video content, while considerably more expensive is even more powerful.
Ever thought of conducting a webinar? As a B2B marketer, webinars are akin to holding offline seminars. It’s far cheaper and engaging. Create video case stories with your existing customer solutions and use that to promote your company.
- LinkedIn, Twitter, G+, YouTube
You just got be on these four if you’re a B2B company. The last is primarily video and unless you’re prepared to invest in video, you can drop this social channel. The other one in the list of ‘can have’ is slide share.
- Be connected in your community
Are you part of the LinkedIn or G+ communities? If not, you’re possibly missing out business opportunities to grow your business. Not to speak of not being able to engage with your customers and drive sales leads. Being part of such groups is akin to being members of your industry association.
- Invest in social media advertising
Not to be confused with normal online advertising, advertising on social media is quite a different animal altogether and it’s important that you engage the right agency to guide you through this. How to leverage advertising on key social media sites to drive business leads is an art form that’s best left to experts who know how. A small percentage difference in throughput can change your ROI completely.
There are multiple ways of advertising on social networks and not necessarily on the same sites where you are present. Reach out to audiences elsewhere through advertising, while you mine your existing network to go deeper beyond your connections.
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