Where Does Social Media Belong in a B2B Marketing Strategy?
If your paying customers are other business entities, can a Facebook post really matter? The first rule of thumb for B2B marketers is that your investment in social media marketing will not directly translate into revenue in the same way a B2C e-commerce will - at least not immediately. Your company’s social media presence will grow that nebulous asset also known as brand awareness - which, over time, will gain in value. With your social media, you are building positive associations to your name and building trust.
Trustworthy Blogging Content
Your potential customers will gain trust in your expertise when you post informative and free advice that isn’t always a ploy to push for your own products. (If you are an ad agency, your services should be showcased in the “portfolio” or “testimonials” page of your website anyway.) A successful blog will demonstrate your mastery of the industry, so instead, one of your top creatives can post their review of why this year’s Super Bowl ads do or don’t work. If your marketing team doesn’t have the resources to devote to an in-house blogger, you can regularly pitch stories about your company to an external influencer. Paper companies, for instance, can market on the PaperSpecs newsfeed as they are not a paper company, but the first online paper database for the design and print industries.
Even B2B’s Have a Social Network
Would it, however, be pragmatic or a mood killer for that same paper company to post its latest product launch for recycled matte paper on Facebook for your friends to see? B2Bs can’t leverage Facebook the same way as B2Cs. Twitter and its micro-blog feeds that are not based on “friends,” in this scenario, is the more business-friendly of the networking engines. Again, don’t think in terms of direct sales. How many wholesalers attend trade expos as part of their marketing and lead generation? How many B2B startups go to Web 2.0? Events such as these give anyone within the company the chance to snap that self-portrait and say, “Look where I am!” to their Facebook friends and Twitter followers. You can, of course, guide your team to maximize your presence at the event and highlight the cool look of your booth instead of the narcissistic smartphone shot of themselves. Gama-Go (who primarily sells to retailers) posted their presence at the ever-popular Comic-Con.
Entrepreneurs as Social Media Brand Ambassadors
The founding teams of young enterprises should already be living and breathing the company - and their social networking profiles should reflect the same. Entrepreneurs will need to blur that line between personal and professional, at least online, in order to expand visibility. Executives should establish themselves as thought leaders and seek out opportunities to speak publicly, and more importantly, digitally document these happenings to share on the web. Connecting company image with “a persona” makes a business presence in online social media more palatable. Let’s emphasize that this should be a team effort as much as possible, putting all your eggs in one basket by only spotlighting the CEO may backfire one day if there is a change in leadership - the most notable case being Apple’s Steve Jobs and his recent resignation.
How will you know this has worked? From these outreach efforts, you are hoping to start the conversation - to get that comment saying, “Me too!” from a friend or follower who might be on their way to being a client or partner.