5 Tips for Using Social Media in a B2B Environment
In today’s era of customer engagement, brands are betting big on social media as a long term customer relationship management mechanism. Yet, many in the B2B space continue to stand on the sideline wondering how and why they should get involved – “but I’m not selling to regular customers,” they exclaim, “who’s going to be interested in tweets and Facebook posts about enterprise software solutions?” Perhaps true, but that doesn’t mean social media cannot be utilized effectively by B2B companies.
Here are 5 tips that B2B brands can employ to grow their social influence and strengthen their connection with customers (even if these customers are companies):
1. Share Who You Are
Take the opportunity to share with the world who you are as a brand at every chance you get. Don’t incessantly spout off sales garble about how amazing your product is; tell a story about who you are as a company – be personable. Find creative ways to get your customers talking about you on their preferred social media platforms. For example, video testimonials on YouTube are a great way to showcase your success stories and product demos.
2. Become Experts
No matter the industry you are in, your company holds a level of expertise that is in high demand. Use social media as an opportunity to speak about your area of expertise, providing followers with useful and educational content. Wherever possible make this content shareable. This may seem like an around about way to generate leads in a B2B environment; however, the more exposure you get as a brand, the more people will talk about your brand, and overtime the more referrals you will receive.
3. Create Awesome Content and Start with a Blog
I’m not always fond of the term “blog”. For some it still carries a negative connotation; images of seventeen year olds keeping a running account of what they had for dinner and why they hate school. But blogging has evolved, and despite the terminology, it should not be ignored.
“But what can I write about? My company just sells software to manufacturing companies. No one wants to hear about that!” Again, probably not, but what they do want to hear about is the unique problems that your software has solved for your customers; or product “how-tos”; or stories on your company’s history or culture. The opportunities are endless. This content gives your organization a voice, reinforces your organization as a leader in your field, and helps keep your site content fresh, which is great for its SEO health.
4. Use Social Listening to Strengthen Your Brand
Listen, listen, listen! Too many brands use social media as a promotional spout – where company information flows out, but nothing comes back in. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to conduct business intelligence and business development. For instance, engaging with social media users can help you understand the direction your market is headed, or where your competitors are falling short and how you can fill the void. This is powerful insight into the minds of your customers and competitors and can help you accelerate your B2B marketing activities.
5. Build a Community Through a LinkedIn Group
As a B2B company, LinkedIn is arguably the most valuable social media asset you have access to. While everyone and their dog are building out Facebook pages, others are harnessing the untapped power of LinkedIn Groups, where they are building up communities of industry gurus and decision makers. LinkedIn Groups are free to create and easy to manage, and most importantly, they give you an opportunity to lead conversations and become perceived as a thought leader within your niche. In doing so, you are also indirectly marketing your business to the millions of LinkedIn users (many of whom work for or own the very same businesses you are trying to sell your product to).
Let’s remember that the decision to purchase is always going to be made by a human. Behind every deal, whether it is an acquisition, the decision to purchase new software, office space or a company coffee machine, is a human being. So before you go discounting social media because your market is not a “consumer”, remember who you are actually selling to.
[Image create: Sean MacEntee]