When many business owners think of social media marketing, they tend to approach it from a fairly narrow perspective. Small businesses often think small; posting product photos or pictures from events and providing up to date information on hours and services available. Big businesses, on the other hand, want to come across as personable and relatable to customers; many have taken to being irreverent or even rude to better “fit in” with the online culture.
Companies who primarily serve other businesses, however, may not even consider social media marketing to be worth attempting at all. A mistake that can cost a lot of missed business. But without consumers to appeal to, how can B2B companies (business-to-business) utilize social media as part of their marketing?
Focus Your Efforts Properly
The first thing to consider is what platform is the best choice for reaching your intended audience. Consumers may prefer using sites like Twitter. But reaching out to businesses is better done on more professionally-oriented social media sites such as LinkedIn. That’s not to say you can’t have a presence on other sites; indeed, it’s often for the best to claim your business’s name on every social media site possible. This can prevent problems from arising in the future.
However, it’s only possible to be so active on social media. So, efforts spent on platforms that your audience isn’t using is not productive. Are you not sure which site is the best way to reach your audience? Then it could also be worthwhile to experiment using several sites for a short while. Then evaluate the engagement data that social media sites commonly provide to businesses.
Information such as clickthrough rates, likes, sharing, reach, and more can help to show what platforms are most effective. These can help you to determine what kinds of posts are most appreciated by your audience. Keep in mind that whichever social media sites you decide to focus on, the key is to remain active and have a clear presence.
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The kind of content being shared by B2B companies can be rather different than what might come to mind when you think of social media marketing. The first step is, as always, to create a thorough profile that gets across the important information about your business. The name of the business, contact information, addresses, and so on are all obvious; but information on services offered or products available is also critical to include.
Once you finish setting up your profile, it’s time to create some content to share. Simple updates on the status of the business are perfectly fine to include. Like awards or recognition, or changes to operating hours or protocol which your clients may need to be privy to. But, are you wish to increase the engagement levels and awareness of your brand? Then, try to provide content that is useful beyond your existing clientele. The most popular way to do this is by creating content specifically intended for public consumption. I am talking about content such as infographics, blog posts, etc.
Infographics are images which convey a lot of helpful information in a visually interesting, easy to digest manner. Information can range from valuable statistics related to your industry to numbers that might be of interest to the layman. Like the amounts of supply transported every hour, or which countries are involved in the process of creating a product.
Good infographics are clean and simple to read, and users who find them interesting should be inclined to share them. Including the name of your company and website is perfectly acceptable. But users feel less like they’re being marketed to if that is kept small and doesn’t detract from the graphic.
Blog posts / Articles
Blog posts are the other major type of content companies share on social media. B2B companies are particularly well-suited to utilizing blogs fully for their social media marketing campaigns. Blog posts for businesses are usually written to convey useful industry information and insight. Potential clients may find this useful and can begin establishing the process of trust. After all, you’re reading a blog post right now, hoping to obtain some advice on your business.
Maintaining a conversational tone and a friendly manner also helps with the perception of both your business and the information you are providing. You can create posts like this, related to areas of expertise in your industry, which will prove the competency of your business and your employees. These kinds of posts may be fairly niche, depending on what kind of B2B business you have. But it can provide a real edge on the competition, as you’ve already drawn potential clients to your page.
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Networking and Building Connections
The whole point of social media, after all, is to establish a connection with others, in the form of follows, friends, etc. With your profile developed and a little content to share, you can start building these connections. First, utilize the connections you already have and formalize them on the social media service. Reach out to existing clients, employees, etc. As new people begin to follow and engage with the content you share, you can begin to reach out to them as well. Because these other people and companies have also filled out their profiles, you can easily perform a bit of research on them before approaching, allowing you to tailor your pitch towards their needs.
Additionally, if you’re creating valuable, accurate content, you may build followers amongst professionals in your industry as well, building prestige and putting your company in their minds should they turn to look for a new position. A greater network of connections enables your posts and content to have a farther reach, which in turn can grow your network even further. Well-crafted content can break out and become viral in this manner, offering a level of reach that’s almost impossible to replicate through any other form of marketing.
Education and Social Media Marketing
The persistent activity becomes quite important at this point, as it can influence the algorithms which determine things like post order, for example. To put it simply, the more active your account is, the better the odds of your connections seeing the content you put out. Maintaining that presence can be quite difficult, regardless of the size of your business. Larger companies usually solve this by hiring dedicated social media managers. It can be difficult to weed through applications for a position like this, however, as many people think they know far more about social media than they actually do.
The easiest way to ensure you’re hiring someone who really is capable of managing your social media is to look into their education credentials. An individual with a business degree will understand far better how to present a company online professionally, and they’re guaranteed to have at least some level of understanding of marketing, and specialization options could mean they know far more. Better still, there are now dedicated marketing degrees that teach social media and digital marketing in a formal classroom setting. Graduates of these programs will have a thorough understanding of engagement, analytics, the shaping of public perceptions, and brand management, ensuring they can present your business properly online.
If your company isn’t at the size where you can afford to hire a dedicated social media manager, then there are some other options to consider. You could pursue an education in these fields yourself; with the advent of online degree programs, obtaining a marketing or business degree has never been easier, and holding higher-level degrees such as a Master’s of Business Administration can have a number of other benefits for a business owner. You can also look for employees in other roles who have these credentials and education who can handle this as a side duty along with their ordinary responsibilities, if possible.
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Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a complex topic, particularly for B2B companies. But once you start you may feel it isn’t as difficult as it may seem.
First, determine a social media platform that reaches out to the people and companies that might be interested in your business. Then dedicate your efforts towards that platform. Next, begin creating and developing content. It should be shareable and interesting to potential clients, such as blog posts or infographics.
Once your page is fleshed out and actively being used to share content, you’ll start to build a network of both existing clients and potential clients, as well as interested industry professionals who may apply to work for you later.
Successful social media marketing requires a high degree of regular activity on the account. It may be worthwhile to hire a dedicated social media professional to take over the everyday running of the account. The best social media managers are often those who’ve obtained formal education in the subject. They can apply the latest in marketing tactics and research. Pursuing a degree like this on your own can also be beneficial if you’d prefer to keep your company’s image in your own hands. Regardless of the marketing approach, you take, establishing a social media presence for a B2B company is a lot more valid than you might have believed.
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