Despite the myths, social media is ideal for B2B. It’s not just a fantastic way to connect with buyers, in today’s world it’s crucial.
Whoever told you social media isn’t relevant to B2B is dead wrong. B2B decision makers spend just 1 percentof their time buying. The other 99 percentof their time is spent researching and talking to each other, and most of this is happening online. Social media isn’t just a window of opportunity for you to influence buyers. It’s a window flung wide open with no screen and nothing but potential.
Social media has multiple benefits for your brand. Talking with potential buyers instead of at them (like traditional marketing) is simply more memorable and believable. You can raise brand awareness, share information, stay top of mind throughout the long B2B buying process, create new leads and establish the trust and real relationships that are crucial to sales. It’s also a huge opportunity to better understand your buyers and what they want from you.
Stop, look and listen
Before you jump in, take the time to listen. Google your brand or products and see what the top ten search results have to say. See what people are saying about your brand on Twitter. Listen to what bloggers are saying. Track who your target market is following, what interests them and what they’re responding to.
Whoever your target market happens to be, they all have something in common: people crave transparency. The mega popularity of Facebook – the 2nd most frequented site on the web, with a whopping 400 million active users – proves it beyond a doubt. Humans have been voyeurs since time began and the internet has taken these tendencies to a whole new level. Just because you’re a brand, don’t think you’re exempt. If you’re serious about being a success in the social media realm, you have to be prepared to open up.
The incredible power of word of mouth
For the first time, thanks to social media, word of mouth is visible, trackable and measurable. However, free speech can be a double-edged sword. You are bound to receive negative, inflammatory comments and feedback from time to time, it’s how you deal with them that matters. You may be tempted to delete or ignore these comments. DON’T. Respond honestly, be upfront and real, be genuine, own your mistakes, and your brand will gain respect.
Make sure you listen to your online community, respond and interact. Remember, you’re forging relationships.
Here are some dos and don’ts that will help you successfully navigate the world of social media.
Social media dos and don’ts
DON’T jump in blindly. Scope out the scene first. Take time to listen. Utilise tools like Twitter’s Tweetdeck and Blogger’s Blog Search to track who’s talking about your brand and your products and what they have to say.
DO make a plan. Decide what you want to get out of social media and how to position your brand. Before you start tweeting, have a clear strategy.
DO make sure your brand and your content get found. Join LinkedIn and make sure your details are up to date. Publish ideas and content in multimedia as well as text, plant images and infographics on Flickr, post videos on YouTube and presentations on Slideshare.
DO monitor your social media activity closely. To create a strong and likeable brand presence, you have to be approachable and accessible.
DO respond to all questions or comments regarding your brand — it’s an invaluable chance to interact.
DON’T delete or ignore insulting comments. Everyone gets them, it’s how you respond that matters.
DO make the most of Facebook by engaging followers with relevant content and useful resources. Provide Facebook-only exclusives, host discussions and encourage fans to upload content.
DON’T neglect your Twitter account. About 73% of the Fortune 500 companies have registered on Twitter, yet more than half of those accounts are now inactive. Social media requires long term involvement, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a million followers overnight.