Companies increasingly must engage social media as it grows in popularity. After all, social networks attract tens of millions of daily users, including practically every target market and demographic. Many consumer oriented businesses (B2C) have already harnessed social media to drive their website traffic, generate leads, grow sales and service customers. Now, business-to-business (B2B) firms increasingly want to use social media to achieve similar goals.
You can grow your B2B business by connecting with prospective customers on social media. When you do, you engage in discussions, add valuable knowledge to the community and showcase your products and services. In order to maximize your profitability and achieve your goals, learn the following five social media tips for B2B marketers.
1. Consider Using Less Traditional Social Media Channels
Your goal for every social media channel is to educate and inform business customers regarding your business and brand. With this in mind, you must understand the mentality of your audience and carefully craft custom marketing messages. To that end, you must understand that different social networks attract different types of users.
Rather than limiting yourself to the so-called “Big Three” social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), you should leverage the non-traditional social networks to spread awareness of your brand. Websites such as Instagram and Pinterest, for example, often at first seem appropriate for consumer-facing companies rather than B2B firms like yours. Still, you can use Instagram to tell visual stories about your business and its culture and values.
With its “Buy It” feature and plethora of images, Pinterest generally lends itself well to B2C brands. Still, you can use it for your B2B company to spread awareness and build trust. After all, B2B sales cycles are longer than those in the consumer world, so now is a fantastic time to start developing future sales. Even so, make sure you focus on the social media channels that your customers use rather than trying to have a presence on every social network.
2. Get Your Company’s Tone of Voice Right
You have the responsibility to exude an authentic, personable voice in all your business communications. To put it differently, every word counts. When people can relate to your brand’s tone of voice, you have a chance to build emotional bonds that can lead to long-lasting and profitable relationships.
Although you might expect B2B customers to shop more rationally than their consumer counterparts, such an assumption can cripple your marketing effort. In the end, the people making buying decisions are people who will naturally choose the suppliers that make them feel good. With this in mind, you must create a consistent voice across all your digital and traditional marketing channels that inspire positive emotions such as comfort and trust.
When you allow your humanity to shine, you can use informal and dynamic words that engage your followers on their level. In the end, such an approach will lead to far greater results than if you used a sterile, generic voice for your brand.
3. Make Your Social Media Interaction Engaging
After choosing the right social voice for your company, use it to actively engage your audience. As has been noted, people working for a business are people who are swayed by their emotions and social nature. Act upon this awareness by spending time getting to know people on a personal level. If you do that, you can discover their values and then use that knowledge to meet their needs, desires, and expectations.
In other words, simply posting raw data and bland information might not stimulate your audience as much as a lively discussion. Similarly, incessant sales pitches will likely turn people off rather than attract them to your brand. Make every lead, prospect, and customer aware of how important they are to you. Inspire them. Inform them. Entertain them. When you build relationships, business customers will naturally choose to buy from you.
Whenever possible, find ways to turbocharge your audience engagement. Do this by encouraging interaction with surveys, contests and Q&A sessions. Afterward, use the results of those initiatives to make your content more relevant and valuable to your audience. Also, use a variety of content types such as videos, infographics, white papers and slide shows to make sure everyone can benefit from your brand, regardless of how they prefer to learn.
4. Gather Intelligence
Use the analytics tools provided by your chosen social networks to learn more about your audience and then act on that knowledge. For example, if you discover that a certain topic or format fails to attract interest, you can respond by focusing on other topics or formats in the future. Such intelligence can often make the difference between social media success and failure.
In addition to accessing data about your account, you can also use third party social media monitoring tools to learn about popular topics and other trends. Such data can also help you integrate relevant keywords and search queries into your content to help prospective B2B customers discover your firm.
Finally, monitor social media for mentions of your business, brand, and products. Doing this will help you respond to negative sentiment and capitalize on the positive. This tactic can become especially useful when you have product prototypes. After sharing them with audience members, use their reactions to guide your product development efforts and thereby improve the quality and relevance of the products that you bring to market.
5. Connect with The Influencers in Your Industry
Your success as a B2B social media marketer depends on how well you connect with the right people. In the first place, this means that you must identify the influencers in your industry and follow them on whatever social network they use. Next, you must take steps to develop a sincere relationship.
To accomplish this, you should avoid the temptation to stalk them and retweet and share all of their blog and social media posts. Instead, spend time getting to know each influencer to get a sense of how to appropriately approach them. Afterward, you can look for opportunities to reach out to them. By exercising patience and propriety, you can improve your chances of getting noticed.
As you work to connect with industry influencers, you should go out of your way to show that you are a team player. After all, many people dislike overt selfishness. Spend time promoting your colleagues and customers and their achievements and you will earn a stellar reputation that will reflect well on your business. Also, by giving attention to others, you can become an influencer and thereby in
crease your authority in the
In conclusion, your B2B success depends on how well you reach people, just as if you operated a B2C firm. By leveraging untraditional social media channels in developing an appropriate tone of voice, you can begin marketing your brand. Also, by posting relevant content and monitoring your results, you can improve your results. Finally, by connecting with industry influencers and becoming one yourself, you create an environment for your brand that will consistently win new customers and provide for enduring success.
Heather Redding is a part time assistant manager and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life's little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.