Social media is not just for B2C companies! In fact, some studies have shown that B2B companies are seeing better results with social media marketing than many B2C brands are. Here are three ways B2B companies can better leverage the power of social media to help their own bottom lines.
Use social media in conjunction with offline activities.
Social media is already a huge component of B2B tradeshows, with conference hashtags making it easy for attendees to stay up-to-date no matter where they are, companies live blogging during presentations and so forth. But social media marketing can be integrated into other forms of offline marketing like direct mail or local event marketing as well. Encourage customers (current and potential) to Like you on Facebook or follow your brand on Twitter even if they aren’t on those sites at that exact moment. You want to remind your target audience about your online presence as frequently as possible to make your message stick, even if they aren’t online when you tell them.
Build a bigger social network.
B2B companies shouldn’t just focus on connecting with existing customers via social networking sites, but also build social relationships with industry leaders, influencers and decision makers, and even competitors. You can never be certain whose influence will grow or wane over the year, and having a large social network greatly increases your chances of your messaging strategy reaching a greater percentage of your target network. Think about it like this—let’s say you’re target consumer is IT Directors for mid-sized companies. Instead of just trying to reach them directly, also focus on connecting with those who work with the IT Director like developers, managers, web designers, etc. These connections might be the first step to getting your brand in front of that IT Director.
When I say everything, I mean just about everything. Have a webinar coming up next month? Send weekly tweets inviting your followers to signup (don’t forget the link!) for the next few weeks, then post the recorded webinar to your Facebook page for those who couldn’t attend. Use LinkedIn Groups to promote your blog content and post job openings or company news to your company page. Post links to online press releases, white papers, articles your company is mentioned in—everything that can give your network a reason to engage with your brand and build your online brand presence.
Remember that B2B marketing is driven by relationships. The sales cycle is much longer than most B2C interactions, meaning you have that much more time to build strong connections with your social network. B2B sales decisions are much less impulsive than most B2C purchases ($70k piece of equipment vs. $5 sandwich), so you’ll be spending a long time with your customers and staying in touch via social media.