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B2B Social Marketing 101

Small Business

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Is Social Media Marketing for Everyone?
In the absence of better measuring tools, the first social media marketers used likes and follows to gauge the success of their campaigns. A lot of companies still do. For example, take Coca Cola’s Super Bowl ad this year. Coke’s ad shop has tailored the ad to generate brand conversations and facilitate sharing. But for those of us in the B2B space, like and follow don’t have quite the same effects. Consumer products, such as Coca Cola, are easy to understand and accessible to everyone. The more complex our products and the more specified our audiences, the less impact a volume play has on our brands. We want a very specific audience to understand our products, and the more is not the better. B2B marketing has evolved, and we now have the tools to make social media marketing work for our brands.

Why Social Media Marketing?
Prospects are online sharing valuable targeting data. We call this marketing intelligence. We can use this information to target exactly the right audience, and, in turn, originate impressive lead to opportunity rates. The better we can target, the more sales will love our leads. Furthermore, the cost of advertising is reduced to almost zero on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other social sites. Why spend thousands (or millions, as is the case for 2013′s Super Bowl advertisers), when you could do it for free and gain the added benefit of better targeting?

What’s the Difference Between Social Marketing Today and Social Marketing Yesterday?
Having social media presence means close to nothing if you don’t have the engagement to back it up. You need to strategize how you keep the conversation going with your clients and how you will attract new prospects? Some companies today use social media as their primary lead generation engine – a massive expansion of social media’s capabilities from even a year ago, when companies still thought social media was only a brand awareness tool.

How Can A B2B Organization Implement a Successful Social Marketing Strategy?

  • Have objectives. Your social marketing strategy won’t go anywhere if you don’t first define how you’ll measure success. Expand measurements beyond likes, shares, and follows. Measure success by social-generated leads. Set real social goals, and stick with them. Organizations can be slow to adopt social throughout every function, so prove that’s it’s a crucial business strategy with lead metrics; not like metrics.
  • Integrate your sites. Social media is still a new marketing resource. There’s no expertise that will tell you that for small B2Bs selling corporate expense software, Pinterest is the best place to find leads. You have to figure out what works for you. Integrate your accounts, and cross-share through all of them. When you write a White Paper, break it down to 5 blog posts, Tweet about it, post it on Facebook and LinkedIn, Pin it, add it to StumbleUpon, and determine which networks bring the best leads. Your social media efforts should be tied together as much as possible so you can determine the best way to reach your ideal audience.
  • Know what your audience can’t get enough of. Expand your social experiments into topics as well as networks. Your customers may refer to your industry six or seven different ways, so which ones get the most traffic? You can get this information from Google Analytics on your website, and you can use this knowledge to better target future campaigns.
  • Engage the influencers. Have a list of at least twenty influencers in your market, understand them and engage with them to amplify your message when needed. Contact them on a regular basis.
  • Flatter your followers. When people make your brand look good, make them look good. If someone is highly commended on a social site on which they have a large following, they’ll spread the word if you do something for them. Retweet people who engage your brand, and mention them in your updates,
    blogs and tweets. Building social relationships is as important as building face to face relationships.

If you’re still stuck measuring likes and shares, your social marketing strategy could use some work. As social media continues to develop, we’ll always have new things to learn. Make sure you’re up to date on today’s marketing trends before they change tomorrow.

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