Social Media Strategy

Some business to business (B2B) marketers are still hesitant about investing in social media. They may view social media as a business to consumer (B2C) activity or they may think that their target audience isn’t active on social media.

Here is why they are wrong. People have readily adopted social media – they are “there,” numbering in the millions and billions on some. It is on social media that marketers are able to share content, and content marketing is what helps buyers find you online. Content marketing includes writing blog posts and posting article and other links relevant to what your business does that helps your target audiences.

Savvy B2B companies are already getting traction on social media. There is a very practical way to set up social media for B2B marketing. In this blog post I will share what I recommend to my clients, including what social media platforms to use and what type of content to share on each.

In past years I would have recommended a minimum of three social media sites to B2B marketers: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Now I have to include SlideShare (acquired by LinkedIn in 2012), because this social media platform has exploded, with over 60 million users a month and 215 page views per month by the end of 2013.

1. LinkedIn
On LinkedIn you should set up a complete personal profile as well as a branded LinkedIn Company page. Post updates about your business on your Company page, including links to blog posts, press releases, product launches and releases, events, awards and other news. Ask your management team and staff to share what is posted on your Company page with their connections.

2. SlideShare
SlideShare has exploded because people find it easier to scan through slide decks (Powerpoint presentations) to get the nugget of information they are looking for, without having to read a blog post or whitepaper or sit through a tedious video. In addition, you can just follow people on SlideShare. You don’t need to be accepted as a connection or “friend” to see what they post. Post slide decks about your company and what you do, as well as helpful content for your target audiences. Don’t just put your presentations up on SlideShare as you presented them, but add a narrative as necessary so that viewers can get maximum value.

3. Twitter
Think of Twitter as an online broadcasting tool. Like SlideShare, anyone can follow you. Post updates about your company and share helpful content that you and others create that will help your target audience, clients and customers. There are almost 700 million Twitter users sending 58 million messages a day, so use hashtags (some examples are #marketing #CMO #socialmedia) so that you get found in all the noise. Hashtags are one way people search through the volume of messages to find Tweets that are relevant and find the people and businesses that are sending them.

4. Facebook
Facebook for B2B Marketing? Yes! As of early 2014, there were over 1.3 billion users on Facebook (half of whom are accessing it from mobile devices). So, if someone searches for your company on Facebook, you should make sure your branded Company Page that you created appears. Then, use your Facebook Company page for a specific purpose: bring out the human side of your company. Post updates on new hires, awards, photos from trade shows, speeches, company events, sports teams, community and charity activity on Facebook. Make your company come alive. Too many companies keep all their marketing information limited to boring, non-human product and service details. We can’t see the people behind the products and services, but the people are often why we buy and why we keep coming back! In my experience using Facebook to showcase the people who work for you and who are your customers and vendors increases engagement and helps build relationships with all of them.

I put the above recommended social media platforms in the order I recommend B2B marketers implement them. You don’t have to do it all at once, so focus on LinkedIn first, then SlideShare, Twitter and Facebook. If you implement any and all of these, I believe you will get traction (qualified leads) in as little as three months. So what’s holding you back?

[This blog post was originally posted on Jennifer Beever’s B2B Marketing Traction Blog.]