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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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