Technology- and science-focused B2B firms typically have an interesting reaction to social media marketing. It usually goes something like this:
Oh yeah…like live-tweeting a Kardashian wedding or friending my high school daughter?
Neat stuff. But our company’s a B2B, so we don’t need to be on social media.”
Totally, flat-out, stifle-your-business-growth wrong.
Do Business-to-Business Companies Need Social Media?
Some clients believe that operating in the B2B world means they don’t need to use social media, that it’s only for the B2C world. Not true. Remember – every ‘B’ has a ‘C.’ Your business may market to other businesses, but there’s still a consumer (a human) making the buying decisions. And humans, if you haven’t heard, are active on social media – whether only on business channels or business and personal channels.
Social Media: The Future of Marketing or Fleeting Annoyance?
Social Media – like other marketing techniques before it – can be frustrating for businesses and corporate marketing departments. We can just imagine what it felt like at the start of television advertising: “I’ve got radio, newspaper, trade journal and billboard ads. Now I have to make it move on a little screen, too? When will this madness end?”
Yes – social media can be annoying. Yes, social media is a starving beast that must constantly be fed fresh, original material. And yes – it requires time and resources.
The question isn’t whether or not your science or technology B2B should use social media. It has already proven itself to be a powerful tool for boosting lead generation, increasing brand awareness, exposure & reach, and developing thought leadership. Social media is here to stay, and yourcompany should be using it as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
B2B Social Media Overview
The real challenge is knowing how and where to use social media to engage with clients and prospects. So what do you need to do to use social media in the B2B space?
Obviously there is far more involved in analyzing and implementing a marketing tool such as social media, but for the purpose of this short article you must:
- Research and decide what channels to use
- Create a content calendar
- Develop & post content, and Engage, Engage, Engage!
- Track your results & adjust strategy
What Social Media Channels Are Right For You?
When it comes to implementing a brand new social media strategy you can’t just post information haphazardly. You also don’t have to be on every channel. Many Brandwidth Solutions clients get excited and think they have to be on every channel available.
But just like everything else in your marketing toolkit, you need a strategy. There are too many social media channels to count so you need to research your target audience. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most used social
media channels for B2B marketing were (in order): LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook .
Social media research, analysis and planning involves more than just picking which social media channels to use. A comprehensive social media plan should be developed based on where, what and how your clients, competitors and prospects are using social media.
Content Is King
Once you’ve chosen where to engage with your clients, it’s time for the “how” and “when.” You need to develop and implement a content strategy which includes the type of information to post, and when to post it.
It is important to create a content calendar for the year so you’re not writing last-minute posts. A content calendar not only helps your marketing department organize thoughts and marketing initiatives, but also lets you create a library of content to maintain consistency throughout the year. Events such as tradeshows, conferences, publications, special press conferences and breaking news should be used to add “live, breaking” content to your social media stream.
If your business already has a blog, an easy way to get started with content on social media is to share your blog across your corporate social media channels.
Don’t forget this key point: SEO matters! (Read our earlier post about writing for SEO). Your blog post should be written to comply with the latest search algorithms. And don’t just copy and paste a line from your blog into each one of your social channels. The goal is to get people to want to read your post, and engage with you.
Analyze Your Efforts
Social media – like any digital marketing technique – can be tracked. Basic data can include:
- Growth in Company followers/fans
- Growth in visitors to Company website from social channels
- Shares and likes of Company content
Measuring the true impact of social media marketing on a B2B’s business operations, however, requires close monitoring of the sales process as well as how and where sales or leads arrive.
Social media is here to stay and it’s time to get onboard – or should I say online. For more, check out this article over at Inc. on social media for B2Bs.
Are you ready to get social?