So you’re launching a B2B venture and have decided to use social media marketing to start growing your business. Smart decision. Not only is social media a cost-effective and potentially dynamic method for reaching an expansive online consumer base, but it is also a path to generating the type of referral traffic (word-of-mouth) that leads to a high rate of conversions.
Social media marketing is a natural fit for the B2B space, giving you the opportunity to interact and engage customers in a social setting where you can gain exposure, build relationships, and establish your place in the greater community. If you are ready to start putting social to work for your marketing campaign, consider these five best practices in getting your program moving in the right direction.
1. Always Have a Plan
The social media marketer must take a cue from the Boy Scout motto, and always “be prepared.” Not being prepared can lead to consequences ranging from underwhelming results, to severe damage to your reputation.
Before ever initiating a single social action there are important questions to answer: What are your goals? Who is your target audience? How can you create a system to manage your campaign efficiently? By mapping out a plan that guides your initial social interaction strategy, including accounting for the ability to produce quality content on an ongoing basis and having the structure to nurture relationships and monetize traffic, you can avoid costly miscues while conserving vital resources.
2. Don’t Hard-Sell Your Friends
The important truth about marketing via social media is that it is less about advertising lingo and sales pitches, and more about having a conversation. It’s understood that individuals from every industry are using social media to make purchasing choices, and they are basing those decisions on what they learn and whom they meet online.
Focus your efforts on creating content that educates potential clients about your products and services, providing insight they can use to save their company money or do their job more efficiently. By becoming a source of information that resonates with professionals within your industry, you can forge bonds with your customers strengthened by the social element.
3. Promote Sharing
The lessons you were taught as a child about the importance of sharing can serve you well as you apply them to social media marketing. Consider the power of being able to effectively reach a customer with social content, and through that singular success gain near instantaneous exposure to scores of like-minded individuals. There are few things more desirable than word-of-mouth recommendations, and when a customer validates content you provided by sharing it, they are in essence giving your business a referral.
In addition to creating valuable material that people are inclined to pass along, use a call-to-action and offer incentives for readers who share your content, placing single-click sharing buttons to the most popular social media channels on all of your communications.
4. Remember That It’s Not Just About You
If you think you can publish compelling content to social media channels and then sit back, relax, and watch the customer start rolling in, you are destined to be disappointed. Social media is not only about gaining exposure and building your communications base, but also about initiating conversations that allow you to learn more about your customers’ wants and needs.
Keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your industry, reducing the burden of having to continually produce new content by identifying material from other relevant voices to share with your customers. By treating the audience you build on social as friends, soliciting their comments and impressions, and contributing to discussions, you can demonstrate the type of citizenship that wins trust, loyalty, and respect.
5. Utilize Software Tools
Embarking on a full-scale social media marketing campaign can be a sizable commitment of resources for any start-up. The good news is you don’t have to (and shouldn’t even try) to go it alone, and should instead call on dedicated software applications to help with everything from formulating strategies and automating routine functions, to monitoring activity and measuring results.
A software solution such as Argyle Social can effectively lighten the workload for the time-strapped entrepreneur, supplying expert-level support in identify and engaging the most promising audiences, tracking efforts and providing insight into maximizing efficiency. With scalable plans and instantaneous support that puts your new social media marketing campaign on the cutting edge, software management systems are an integral tool that make it possible for new ventures and small businesses to compete in the modern market place.
Social media can be a dynamic method for marketing your business to expanding pools of qualified customers. By formulating a thoughtful plan, embracing the social element, and utilizing the tools and techniques to help you provide excellent customer service, you can tap into the power of social media marketing to increase exposure and grow your brand.
What other tips can you suggest to help new entrepreneurs succeed at social media marketing?