It can be tricky to start with social media activities in B2B companies if the traditional communication strategies work fine, and also taking into consideration the specifics of communication in this environment mentioned in my previous post. You will have to overcome the management skepticism and prepare yourself for a challenging strategic planning.
At the same time, even though you can be very positive about this channel of communication, you should not drop all the existing communication activities in favor of social media, no matter how attractive this may seem to you.
If you are only in the beginning of your social media path, here are the 4 simple ways for B2B companies to start with Social Media:
(source: Jeffrey L. Cohen “4 Ways to Integrate B2B Social Media into Marketing Plans”)
- Create a Social Website
A B2B website is the most likely destination for the prospects and customers with any campaign. A call-to-action from any source drives a visitor to the website for more information, to download a white paper or ebook, or even to contact a sales rep. The first thing you need to make sure is that your website supports the marketing campaign. Whether you have a landing page for the specific offer, or just a clear path from the home page, make sure they can find what they are looking for. Making your website social includes providing other remarkable content, usually on a blog, allowing visitors to share and spread your content, and links to your social profiles, along with what visitors can expect when they follow or like your company.
- Support Traditional Advertising
If traditional advertising is still working for the company, and the cost per lead is competitive to other tactics, it is not yet time to discontinue it. It is time to review its effectiveness and cost, as you begin adding social media to your marketing mix. You do, however, want to support that advertising with social media. Create a blog post that provides more in-depth information to what was in the ad. If creating the ad featured an interesting photo shoot, post some behinds the scenes shots on your Facebook page. Shoot a video with the product manager talking about the development of the product and some of the customer feedback that was incorporated into the development.
- Socialize Your Email
An email component is usually part of a larger marketing campaign. These can easily be social by adding social media profile buttons to follow and share, but there is so much more. Use your social meda profiles to encourage prospects and customers to sign-up for the email. Announce a week before and a day before that you have an email going out and ask your followers to opt-in to the message. Many email programs can automatically post a web version of the email to your profiles when you send it out. If your message is highly targeted and includes a specific promotion that you don’t want to send to everybody, you can qualify people online. Use the current email as the reminder to you to post a sign-up request, but send them a more general email, which still needs a call-to-action.
- Discover Prospects
A marketing campaign begins with a target persona, a prospect list, a customer list or some other way to reach your audience for your product or service. No matter how you gathered this, there are more people out there that can benefit from your message. You can search Twitter for keywords that relate to your target industry, or even specific pain points. People ask questions about new solutions, and even complain about their current situations. Join LinkedIn Groups where people do that as well. No matter the platform, the first contact should be helpful and offer value. Unless it is clear that they are ready to make a buying decision right now, people are looking for recommendations, not sales pitches. Think of this step of expanding your list of prospects for a second phase of a campaign.
When it comes to planning your social media activities, here are 6 steps to approach this task:
(source: Jude Fischer “Social Media Planning: A 6-Step Startup Guide for B2B Marketers”)
- Define your target audience and learn about its needs and habits
- Define your objectives and KPIs
- Identify the people responsible for the planning and implementation of the social media strategy on all levels of your organization
- Develop a content strategy
- Establish a social media policy within organization
- Implement the strategy, measure the results, adapt and adjust strategy if needed.
Read more on this topic:
- Monika Jansen “How to Get Your Company On Board With Social Media”
- Nate Goodman “Why 1700 CEOs Are Wrong About Social Media”
- Eloqua – The Content Grid v.2
- Alyssa Adkins “Delightful Content Marketing: Not Just for B2Cs”
- Andrew Hanelly “Dear B2B, It’s Totally OK to Copy Our Outfits, Love, B2C”
- Krishna Shah “Using Facebook for B2B Marketing”
- Andy DeBrunner “B2B ROI in Three Easy Steps”