B2B companies face unique challenges when utilizing social media to engage with their customers. One of the biggest challenges is simply figuring out where to dedicate their limited time when there are so many different networks and opportunities. So where should B2B marketers begin? Decide your 1) strategy 2) goals, and 3) tactics.
1. Strategy: Define your audience, where they are in the social sphere, and then engage.
- The most effective social strategies engage their audience where they are active and receptive to learning more about your company so define your audience do a little research to see what social sites they are on.
- With so many social media sites, allocate time based on where you think you will get the best ROI. Many B2B companies spend more time on LinkedIn and Twitter than Facebook and Pinterest because they have received more engagement from their target audience on these platforms. Every industry will be different, but by identifying your target audience you can determine where they are spending more of their time and focus efforts there.
- Don’t be afraid to mix up your social strategy. If you thought Facebook would be a big draw, but come to find Twitter is creating more buzz, then re-allocate time to meet your audience’s needs.
- Create engaging content which can be used on various social platforms. By doing this your target audience will see you as the industry leader and feel more comfortable engaging with you both online and offline. One of the best ways to begin creating content is to write a blog on your site which you can pull content from, promote on your social sites, and drive traffic back to your company’s website.
2. Goals: Determine the goals for your social media strategy.
- Lead generation
- Increased brand awareness
- Be seen as a thought leader in your company’s field
- Engage in meaningful conversations with current and prospective customers
- Use social as a stepping stone to move the conversation to deeper engagements like an email or phone call
- Develop a more personal relationship with current customers
3. Tactics: Determine which tactics will help accomplish your goals.
- Provide ongoing content on your social media pages to engage users and build brand trust. If you’re not sure what to post, ask your fans through Q&As what their biggest problems are and then provide responses.
- Listen and respond to what your audience is saying about your company. There are many tools (both free and paid) that can help you do this. One of my favorites is HootSuite which allows you to have one login to see both Facebook and Twitter, all comments, and the ability to respond in one place.
- Listen to what your target audience is saying their problems are and help them with possible solutions without being too “salesy.” LinkedIn forums and groups are a great place for companies to start because you can easily find groups talking about a problem that relates to your solution.
- Before dipping into social paid search make sure you have a firm grasp on providing content and engaging current fans before paying for new ones.
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