Saturday, 15 February 2014

5 things you need to use in B2B social media marketing

The B2B market seems to have been really slow into buying into the power of social media as a marketing tool, but slowly and surely businesses are realizing that their clientele are way ahead in SM game and if they don't catch up quickly are being in danger of being left behind.

A Calgary marketing agency took the time to invest in the numbers that really reveal how quickly business to business social media marketing was becoming the new mixed media 'black'. The results were astounding. As an AdAge survey recently revealed, 80% of B2B marketers plan to increase digital spending next year (up from 67% last year). With a significant percentage of this spending going towards social media marketing, here are a few things every B2B marketer should do.

Invest in a Strategic Plan

There is a very real temptation to dive into social media program without a real strategic plan - It's the 'Hey! I have a Facebook account, how difficult can it be?' attitude that can kill a serious business social media strategy before it's even out the gate. If you don't think that there's a difference between the aims, goals, administrations and effects of the two you need to hire someone who does. It's like saying, 'Hey! A home made go kart made out of a orange box and shopping cart spares and a Ferrari are the same thing - they both have 4 wheels, right?'. Wrong! Don't believe me?  Let's put them in a race then...

On any level, your B2B social media needs very different handling. Start with a solid goal in sight, make a robust plan, see what resources you have, what you need and what works. If you're already out your depth here - time to call someone who knows what they're doing. This is only the beginning...

Build the Right Team

Another very real and extremely common temptation that turns into a fatal mistake is to employ the same social media strategy as openly libeling the competition, intentionally butchering your brand image and generally going out on the most powerful media on the globe and inserting your foot firmly in your mouth. Or in other words abdicating the responsibility for all your social media to your wife's brothers friends 10 year old cousin as he 'knows more about it' that you do - or even worse - a clueless intern. Social media is the face of your company. Make it pretty people! Knowing how to use social media is not the same as leveraging social media to put you in pole position.

If you don't have a marketing or brand minded person on your team who plenty of time to spare (let's face it - who does!) then look for someone who is. And doesn't mean employing one more mouth to feed. There is plenty of expertise out there - and it doesn't have to be local. This is the digital age. You can chose a talented Calgary marketing agency and live in Texas and still have the social marketing package of your dreams.

Know the Tools

If you're in a race round a race track then you need the Ferrari, if you're running round the side walks and pavements of your local neighborhood and parks, you can't beat a home made go kart. It's the same with social media. You need to know what media is best leveraged for the situation. Can you own a certain media - Heck yeah!

For example, whether they're sharing photos "From the Factory Floor" or showcasing "Badass Machines," General Electric does a great job on Pinterest. When it comes to images, Maersk is leading the B2B pack on Instagram.

And don't forget the need for your SM being SEO rich. If you don't know what or how to do this - then I'll refer you back to that Calgary marketing agency...

Include Content Marketing

Content marketing should be an important part of your overall strategy. This includes creating blogs, photos, videos, and other content to promote what you do. In fact, promote might be the wrong word; educate is probably more precise. According to a recent IDG Connect B2B study, 89% of IT buyers want educational content. This same study notes that, "IT buyers will soon look to social media as the single most important content source to inform their buying decisions." And it won't stop with IT buyers - it hasn't and it won't!

Whether you're creating short YouTube videos demonstrating how to use products or hosting live Twitter chats, the goal should be to educate buyers. Perhaps your core audience aren't avid social media users, but if your content is exceptional, they will find you, remember you, and work with you.

 Return the Compliment

Want to be liked, tweeted, posted and pinned? Then reach out to others and like, tweet, post and pin them! This will build up your network and give you a friendly and inviting face that will attract like minded business and clientele. By promoting others on your social media you quickly promote yourself. It's a huge time investment, but the return is beyond belief.

While those of us in the social media marketing world might argue over B2C versus B2B needs, there is a new buzzword that is getting some traction online: H2H. Human-to-human marketing is really nothing new, but it does force us to remember that at the core of all social media marketing we are quite simply people talking to people. With a solid plan in place, some creative ideas lined up, and the right team and partners at the helm, every B2B company has the chance to shine bright in this space - even the go karts, the Ferrari's and the Calgary Marketing Agency.

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