Think social media is only for consumer brands? Think again. 5 Ways to Make B2B social media work for you.
by Andrew Millar
When Tom’s shoes or General Mills takes to Twitter or Facebook, no one bats an eyelash. In fact, today’s consumer brands would raise more eyebrows from not setting up a LinkedIn or Pinterest profile. Unfortunately, many b2b businesses never get past the sign up page, thinking that b2b social media is a waste. Those businesses should think again because following these five tips can make b2b social media work.
B2b businesses seem to fall into two camps: the “Do Nothing” camp which believes that social media is a waste and the “Do Everything” camp that signs up for every social media site available but doesn’t make clear gains on any. For b2b social media to work for your business, you need a clear strategy with goals and checkpoints. If your goal is business education, create a plan to track which clients you’re reaching and how you are affecting their purchasing. If your goal is leads, decide what threshold a social media platform has to reach to maintain its feasibility. Creating a clear strategy with concise goals can prevent your business from wasting time and money on in ineffective social media sites.
B2b social media strategies often integrate lead generation as one goal of their social media project. Since social media is networking for the new century, companies that are depending on business meetings and conferences to create new leads will come up short. When it comes to generating leads from b2b social media, LinkedIn is king. With 80 percent of leads coming from the professional networking giant, businesses that neglect to establish a presence on the site are losing serious interest and potential sales. By simply creating an account and participating in discussion groups, businesses can reach out to current buyers and connect with potential new customers.
Be an Educational Leader
Businesses are no longer looking to white papers for their information. Social media is quickly becoming the go-to source for businesses to find out what’s happening in their industry and what trends they need to embrace. For IT buyers, 86 percent are using social media to make decisions for purchasing. By creating a strong social media presence that educates business buyers, you can start a dialogue with future customers.
Don’t Waste Your Time
All social media sites aren’t created equal. In fact, many are just a waste of time for your employees and your business. If your business is largely data driven, creating and maintaining a Pinterest account won’t increase brand awareness or generate leads, just waste your employee’s time and effort. For most b2b social media strategies, participating in LinkedIn and Google+ is a given. From there, explore what other social media sites would best benefit your business.
Be Social and Increase Your Search Rankings
Pardot’s 2013 State of Demand Generation Report found that 72 percent of product research for future purchases begins on Google. That may not be shocking but what is shocking is that many businesses don’t utilize Google+ which allows companies to claim authorship to their website and information. This authorship program not only gives Google+ users a more attractive link on Google searches but also may increase their rankings.
Many b2b businesses think consumer businesses have it easy on social media. What they don’t realize is that b2b social media is reaching for the same goals as consumer brands, only with a smaller audience. By focusing your message and being strategic when it comes to maintaining social media accounts, social media utilization can result in more leads, sales, and buyer confidence. Remember to use these five tips to make social media work for you.