A bunch of my recent project leads were B2B clients. All had only one query and one worry:- How B2B marketers can use social media? And why are there no good case studies of B2B marketing in India?
While I don’t have much control on the latter, I can surely help you with the former. Though I would like to share a disclaimer that I haven’t actively worked on a B2B client, but have successfully used social media to make my own brand, my last company’s brand and in effect get leads for both. Pretty much applied the rules of B2B marketing there.
So let’s look at how B2B marketers can use Social Media.
First the basics
Is social media for me?
If you are selling manure to farmers, then social media is not for you.
You get the message, don’t you?
Get your product right
No matter how good your marketer is, if the product is bad, he or she can’t do zilch about it.
Social Media is not Push advertising
You cannot push a piece of content down the users throat.
Let me be specific. You cannot shove a piece of “marketing content” down the user’s throat.
On social media, if you are not enhancing the online life of the user, they are not going to listen to you. If they are not going to listen to you, well, good luck selling your product to them!Fans, likes, followers don’t matter: Please talk to an experienced professional and decide on what your measurement metric should be. Running a contest can get you all the likes, but what if they are not your target audience? Seriously, please just give me all the prizes instead for writing this post [winks].
Decide on what you want to measure. I’d say, go for readers, subscribers, views, hits to the website, filled contact forms, inquiries. And please don’t expect magic to happen overnight.
No, not even if you hire a social media expert.
Social media is not free or easy
But it is cheaper than other mediums. Just because Facebook doesn’t charge you to create a page, or LinkedIn to create an account, doesn’t mean no outgoings will be registered.
Your costs might include, Facebook/Linkedin Ads to get the initial “relevant” likes or followers. A social media consultant or agency will bill you for their expertise. And, most importantly, a good amount of your time will need to be invested, either yours or an internal resource, which will be a cost in itself.
Now that the platform has been set, let me take you through the generic strategy that you can follow for your business.
What should the overall strategy be?
Create good content: Clichéd, told about a 1000’s of times. So let’s look at what kind of content should you create.
Content in what context?
Industry Content: If you are in the automobile industry, please create content related to the industry and not just your brand.
Let people know that you are not biased; biased brand content is never consumed on social media, especially in B2B. Share industry news, latest technological developments, what is the Government talking about the industry, why you should consume the particular product [Not brand].
Brand content: Don’t let your altruistic nature overpower you. Create content describing the features of your brand.
Create how to use vidoes or manuals, articles on the product specifications, purpose of use, benefits of use, costs involved, costs benefits, comparison with other products etc, case studies, and client testimonials.
Product theme content: The best way to describe this will be by citing an example. Deskaway is a task management software, so it often writes on topics such: Tips to Increase Productivity, Keeping your remote teams happy and motivated etc.
Just creating content and expecting it to be read would be like expecting to drive a car without fuel. Spread the content through all your official social media platforms.
Create official platforms
To reach out to your audience you will have to be where they are spending their time. It can be on Facebook, twitter, Linkedin, Quora, or other QnA sites.
Engage on official platforms
Just creating and sharing content will not lead to its consumption. You have to engage with the audience on these platforms and create content on the go. Engage in conversations related to your industry or product and provide value to them through your conversation and not just sell your product.
They will notice and remember you.
Network on the platforms
If you run a B2B business, you would agree that a lot of business comes through referrals, that is through your network. Engaging in conversations on the above mentioned platforms as you [business owners or business development manager] will help you expand your network which will eventually leads to sales.
Wondering how will all of the above help you?
Well it worked for me. I joined twitter some several years back. I try and create content regularly and engage with my audience. All the projects that I am currently working on, including Social Samosa, is because of Twitter or Linkedin.
Either they looked up my profile on Linkedin, which is very detailed and talks about not just where I have worked but also what I have worked on. Or they have followed me on twitter where I regularly share content related to the social media domain, either created by me or by someone else.
In fact the first corporate client that Superchooha [My last startup] got was through someone I met in a twestival.
He turned our to be the biggest retainer we had. Many a times, people reach out to me for help regarding their social media campaigns, or social media hirings and I always assist them. All as a bigger part of creating good karma and increasing my network.
So I hope you hop on to social media today and explore the medium. If you have any queries or want to know how to use a specific tool feel free to comment below.
Featured image courtesy: KROMKRATHOG