Social media is key to successful B2B marketing

Many business-to-business marketers avoid social media because they aren’t sure what works, what doesn’t work, and what crosses the line. It’s a common misconception that social media only works when a business is offering a product or service to a customer. B2B in the social media world is different, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Social media is for socializing—just like when a marketer attends a conference and strikes up a conversation with a prospective client.

Just because a B2B marketer didn’t get a sale instantly, it doesn’t mean that the relationship, the introduction, or the connection he or she made with a prospective client won’t pay off at one point or another. Making connections with clients, potential buyers, and peers is important. When you use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and blogs, you’re making connections, too. Social media just another way you can do this.

If you want to utilize social media to reach a specific target audience or raise awareness for a new product or service, the process for coming up with a strategy are exactly the same. Determine what your objectives are. Research your audience. Create a communication and content plan that engages your specific audience.

Most people are part consumer and part business. Most people work for a business or own a business. B2B marketers should consider the mindset of each person in relation to each platform. However, sometimes confusion arises because we are more than one audience. For example, let’s say a business owner you’d like to connect with uses Facebook. However, when he’s on Facebook, he’s not thinking of work, he’s thinking of his friends and family. Your company’s Facebook page and posts don’t even cross his mind.

Most B2B objectives include making new contacts with potential clients, raising awareness of the product or service they’re selling, and aligning themselves as an expert in their field. Generally, it’s better to consider using LinkedIn, Twitter, or an industry-specific blog to meet your objectives. Depending on your company’s field, it’s also a good idea to research to see if any niche networks exist that are similar to your industry.

Another important element of a successful B2B campaign is the same as a B2C campaign: you need to create quality, engaging, interesting content. Whoever creates your content has to be someone who is deeply knowledgeable about your industry and products. He or she should be able to contribute to a conversation with specific, knowledgeable information. He or she should provide valuable insights to existing debates around your company’s specific industry. It’s critical to avoid treating social media as another marketing channel.

The investment is well worth it. Social media is relatively inexpensive, especially when compared with big-ticket marketing initiatives like tradeshows, seminars, and conferences.
In a B2B environment, it’s important to connect with anyone and everyone who may benefit from what you’re trying to sell. Connect with them as a friend. Get to know them. You never know who you might meet.

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