Social media for business to business businesses

With it’s emphasis on the individual, the social media space can be intimidating for companies that are primarily concerned with business-to-business sales. Here are some of the questions we’ve heard before:

  • How can I increase my B2B sales through social media?
  • How is Facebook going to help me, isn’t Facebook just for casual use?
  • Why do people on Twitter care what I’m doing on a minute-to-minute basis?

Although each business requires tailored coaching on how to get the most out of social media, because each business is unique, there are definite overall social media concepts that will help any company in the B2B space. If we had to sum everything up into a few succinct thoughts, they would be: choose the right tools, and don’t just use those tools for the sake of using them. Many businesses think social media is a hoax because they haven’t seen any return on investment. Often that is because (1) they don’t know what to measure or (2) they didn’t have a plan or strategy. If you want some concrete and well thought-out lessons on social media, definitely check out this post at Mashable. It includes some great info for B2B businesses. We also decide to contribute a few of our own thoughts below:

Choose the right tools

Facebook is a great tool for some businesses to connect with their fans, but that doesn’t automatically mean that your business should be there. Throughout our work with clients, we’ve used all sorts of campaigns to help them leverage social media. Some of these campaigns involved the following:

  • Linkedin – we train new business teams on how to leverage LinkedIn on a weekly basis
  • Ambassador programs – getting business customers to spread the word
  • Reputation management – finding and assessing reputation online, then taking steps to make it better
  • Blog – Business-to-business relationships can be involved and can require a lot of back-and-forth before a sale is actually made. Blogs can pull in prospects through their stellar search engine optimization, they can remind prospects of services, they can highlight success stories, and they can keep your business top-of-mind when your leads are actively looking for the service you provide. Blogs can help support business-to-business sales in almost every step of the sales funnel, and can give your sales team content to distribute through their personal or business social networks. We are huge fans of blogs for businesses. We even have two!

So when you choose your tools, think about who your audience is, and what you intent to do with the tools…which brings us to our next point:

It’s all about how you use social media

If it were as simple as just using LinkedIn, then every business would be doing it. But the reason why so many businesses fail at social media is because they don’t use it in a way that befits their specific business. See below for an original video from a printing business. They let it all hang out there, and in the process created a hilarious video that conveys what their business is all about. They could have “just used” YouTube in a myriad of unsuccessful ways, such as just taking videos of their printing presses. Instead, they took a step back and thought about what they really wanted to convey and how to use that message to spark conversation with their audience. Now here we are passing the message along. Excellent use of social media.

So those are our thoughts. Let us know of your B2B successes/foibles in the comment section below.

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9 Great Tips for Local Businesses

Usually we write blog posts, hoping that you will stay here at our blog, poke around a bit, and if we are lucky, visit our website. But the purpose of this post is solely to send you to another blog. It’s not just any blog, it’s one of our favorites, Mashable.com.

Shane Snow at Mashable wrote an article containing 9 tips for location-based marketing. Small local businesses can now draw a more direct link between their social media presence and their sales.

We’ve checked out the list of tips, and we totally love them. Here they are, just in case you are lazy, but we highly suggest you go check out the full blog post.

1. Learn the Platforms (duh)

2. Determine Your Goals

3. Establish Your Presence

4. Customize

5. Implement Compelling Promotions

6. Engage With Your Customers

7. Track Everything

8. Be Prepared to Adapt

9. Avoid Common Pitfalls

So there they are. We’d elaborate, but we think Shane summed everything up pretty well. So go check it out, and let us know if you have any questions. If you are a local business, there are 11ty (pronounced “eleven-ty”) billion reasons why you should be using social media. We’d love to tell you why. Shoot us an email, tweet at us, post on our facebook wall, call us…you get the idea.

Our WOM Director is Bound for Blog World Expo

Andrew Before Winning Tickets

While I’m sure he’s excited about the enormous buffets, casinos, shopping and millions of other things to do Vegas, our WOM Director, Andrew Krebs-Smith, may not have any time to do those things while he’s there October 15 – 17.  I’m not sure that he’s too upset about it either. He’ll be completely satisfied because he’ll be engrossed in social media the entire time, and learning from the industry’s biggest names at Blog World Expo.

Blog World Expo is a conference, trade show and media event for all new media. As the Word of Mouth Director, Andrew manages the strategic planning and implementation of our clients’ social media efforts. Seriously, Andrew is a guy who lives and breathes social media, so attending the Blog World Expo is like three days of Christmas morning to him. The best part about going to Blog World Expo? He won Mashable’s Comment Contest and will be going to the conference for free. (The picture on the left is Andrew before winning the tickets, and the picture below is Andrew finding out he won the tickets).

Andrew After Winning Tickets

The Expo won’t be all about blogs. It’s covering all things new media from podcasts to online videos to gaming and online communities. With more than 50 seminars, panel discussions and keynotes, it’s the largest new media conference in the world. Andrew will have the opportunity to see presentations from tons of experts in the field. Last year, Steve Rubel, Guy Kawasaki and Tim Ferriss were speakers, so let’s just say everyone back at The Cyphers Agency is just a little jealous of our WOM Director.

Some of the sessions Andrew plans to attend include: Measuring and Building Online Influence, The Blog as a Community Springboard, Get Rich With the Niche: How to Leverage Niche Communities for Maximum Blog Growth, Crossing Boarders: Use Blogs to Reach a Multicultural Audience and How Twits Lay Golden Eggs–The Art of Social Engagement for Business.

Social media is ever-changing and complex, so it’s important that our team stay on the cutting edge of it. We’re excited for Andrew’s opportunity to attend Blog World Expo, and can’t wait to hear about everything that he learns while he’s there!