As a B2B company looking to grow and increase your overall profit, the number one goal has got to be to communicate your product or service in a way that demonstrates its value effectively to the target market.
Other companies have to know that your product exists, and see how your product can further enhance the profits of their product. This is how your company lands sales. The math is simple: the wider you can cast your advertisement net, the more costumers you will catch.
According to Hutt and Spen (2004 Business Marketing Management: A Strategic View of Industrial and Organizational Markets, 8th Edition, Thomson/South-Western), most B2B marketers commit only a small part of their promotional budgets to advertising, and that is usually through direct mail or trade journals. What if there was a way for you to increase your marketing without taking another penny from the budget? Two words: Social. Media.
There are 6 branches of social media that are used successfully in B2B Marketing.
(And the good news is, they’re all free!)
- Social Networks - Services that allow you to connect with other people of similar interests and background. Facebook and LinkedIn fall into this category.
- Bookmarking Sites - Services that allow you to save, organize and manage links to various websites and resources around the internet. Delicious and Stumbleupon fall into this category.
- Social News - Services that allow people to post various news items or links to outside articles and then allows its users to “vote” on the items. Digg and Reddit fall into this category.
- Media Sharing - Services that allow you to upload and share various media such as pictures and video. Youtube and Flickr fall into this category. Another great option is Slideshare, which could be used to share sales presentations, etc. Instagram and Behance also allow images to be shared.
- Microblogging - Services that focus on short updates that are pushed out to anyone subscribed to receive the updates. Think Twitter.
- Blog Comments and Forums - Online forums allow members to hold conversations by posting messages. There are lots of these to explore.
Spend a little time perusing these various sites and see which ones fit your company. It’s all about reaching companies through various avenues, so don’t be afraid to branch out beyond Facebook and Twitter. Your online social media presence should mirror your company. In the same way that you strive to diversify your business, diversify your online presence.
At the same time, remember not to stretch yourself too thin. It’s usually best to choose 2 or 3 social media vehicles and throw all your effort at them. Other businesses will learn where to find you and you’ll more easily be able to tell who’s seeking you out for valuable industry information.
As a B2B brand you’ll have to spend time cultivating your social media “voice.” A few good rules to live by include never bombarding followers with sales and promotions and always having a target market in mind before you post/Tweet, etc. As a business marketer you need to speak directly to other businesses in a language they can understand…providing valuable business insights is the greatest commodity you can offer online.
So, what’s your B2B social strategy? Every company’s is different but communication with the client base should always be the foundation.