There's no doubt about it, social media has been a real game-changer for both B2C and B2B. The buying journey has changed forever, and most customers find their purchasing decisions are highly influenced by engaging with others in the online space. Essentially, this puts customers in the hot-seat, giving them control over the conversations that, in an ideal world, we might wish to have with them.
I came across an article the other day on MarketingWeek, which discusses how B2B brands are finding it hard to fully embrace social media. Many B2Bs still use social networks as another channel to push sales messages. But is this a selfish way of looking at things?
Shouldn't we give customers what they want and what matters to them? With pressure from all angles to be 'on' social media, we may lose sight as to what we're actually doing on there. Here are a few tips MarketingWeek gives for improved B2B social media engagement:
Stop, look and listen
A lot of companies go charging to social media before stopping to take a look around. Do a little digging into what's trending, what people are talking about but, more importantly, what your audience is talking about. You need to see who you're talking to before talking at all.
Don't be pushy
It's often forgotten that social media is a two-way affair; it's a conversation. Pushing your content too much can turn into a lecture when people would rather have engagement. Share what's appropriate and share the love when it comes to others' content.
This is your chance to show off a little and showcase what you know. Add value to your posts for potential customers as a taster of what to expect when working with you. With a pinch of luck, they'll be impressed and turn into a lead.
A recent study from Search Engine Watch showed 53% of users expect a response within the hour. Customers are in control of our marketing messages now; try your best not to ignore those who reach out to you.
Patience is a virtue
As with most things, relationships take a bit of effort – including cyber ones. If at first you don't see visible results in statistics, be patience and your following will build over time.
Quality not quantity
A lot of businesses focus on followers or likes, but as Klout teaches us, it's far more important to have fewer followers who engage, interact and share content than a high number of 'zombie' followers.
Measure and tracking
Not just in terms of ROI but also critically looking at your impact. What's working and what's not? Use tools such as Twitonomy, Hootsuite and Klout to track your most engaging posts and which didn't work so well. Soon you'll find your sweet spot.
Vicky Shelton-Smith - Business Development Executive