Creating a strategic and effective business to business marketing plan can be tricky. It might not seem immediately apparent that social media would play into your B2B marketing strategy, seeing as it’s typically consumers out there on the social channels. You might have guessed that LinkedIn and Twitter are the primary channels in any social B2B plan, but what should you actually be doing when you start utilizing these platforms? Here’s what you need to know.
Demonstrate your prowess
One of the main draws of social platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn is the ability to get in on trending conversations, and to learn from the best in respective industries. Because users here are eager to learn, it’s the perfect place to show off your expert knowledge of your field. As long as you’re offering valuable, relevant, and accurate information, your audience will flock to your content. Be sure not to approach these social channels as a seller trying to meet monthly quotas. You want to do what everyone else is doing; being social, interactive, and participating in your community’s conversations. You can do this in a number of ways.
Join industry-specific Twitter chats regularly and chime in with great tweets and knowledge. If your answers are up to snuff, you’ll likely be retweeted, followed, and your impressions and recognition as an expert in that area will certainly increase.
Be sure to also reach out to other influencers in your field to help promote your own content and start a dialogue. If you see a tweet regarding a specific problem you’ve also been facing in the industry, tweet that business back and share your own solutions to that problem. If you’ve blogged about a specific topic, find others who’ve also done so, and you’ll have a great ice breaker to get the conversation rolling.
On the LinkedIn side of things, groups are your savior. Start by searching industry specific terms in the LinkedIn search bar and ask to join the ones you see fit. Shoot for groups with around 300 to 800 members, and then jump into the conversation! Feel free to like and comment away, so long as your thoughts are on-topic and add value to the conversation.
Turn social relationships into contacts
While engaging with your community and making new friends is all well and good, your end goal is still to make new sales. You can take your newly created relationships with your online community and convert them to new contacts and potential leads. The beauty of social media is the casual and informal environment it fosters. Here you can become friends first and sell later, all in a very natural and fluid way.
This step definitely needs to come after the ‘demonstrate your prowess’ step. Once you’ve participated in a few Twitter chats and conversations, you’ll probably have a few businesses that retweet and chat with you more frequently than others. Do the same back and make sure to foster that relationship, by retweeting and engaging businesses you want to eventually make a pitch to. When you do finally go in for that sale, they’ll be much more comfortable with you and your brand. And since you’ve shown off your expertise over the last few weeks or months via Twitter, they’ll have faith that you’re the expert in lots of things, not just social marketing.
LinkedIn offers the easiest way to make one-on-one contact with potential business owners and decision makers. But don’t just send them the generic ‘Hi so-and-so, I’d like to connect’ message. Take a look at their social activity over the last week. Check out their LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram pages. (It might feel a little stalker-esque, but it’s in good faith.) You can get a general feel for their interests, and you can include that personal touch in your connection message. It will probably be a breath of fresh air to them, as a lot of the social direct messages these days are all spam and no substance, or worse; they jump straight into selling you.
Taking the time to make a personal connection before approaching the subject of a sale or a pitch will give you a better chance of that business listening to your proposal, and moving forward with your business’ services.
Do you have any other B2B social media best practices you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments!
Image use by Nan Palmero