Businesses whose clients are other businesses (B2B) are in a unique position to take advantage of today’s social media audiences – that is, if they are strategic about how they focus their efforts. Reaching out to the target audience can be lucrative in the long run, but the messaging has to be consistent and persistent in order to resonate with followers. Here are some guidelines for crafting a successful social strategy when the ideal customer is another business.
Scout it Out
A company looking to establish a B2B relationship with social media followers must start by taking a good look around to see which social media options their potential customers are using. They should note the types of posts that seem to be getting attention and which hashtags are trending. Sometimes the best way to find out what works is to simply observe for a period of times, focusing specifically on the successes found by competitors or similar businesses. If a Twitter feed that links followers back to a consistently helpful blog is what seems to be working, that could be a good place to start.
Pick the Goals
B2B social media strategies are meant, generally, to accomplish three things: expand a company’s reach and find new potential customers, improve customer satisfaction through engagement, and tap into a large audience for testing new messages, products, or services. These goals should be at the forefront when planning a social media strategy. Knowing how best to accomplish them is the first step on the journey to crafting a social media plan.
Understanding the Audience
Part of the research process will include discovering which platforms the target audience is using. It may seem that LinkedIn is the obvious choice, but it probably is not the only choice. Companies that sell a product or service with a visual bent should look to Pinterest or Instagram. Blue-collar trades might do better networking using Facebook. Businesses can use multiple social media platforms, but they should customize the message to fit the tone of that particular social option. It is particularly key to know what conversations are most popular at any given time among potential customers. For example, a company that sells branded merchandise should be watching to see what they are asking about on social media, such as reusable water bottles or flash drives.
Things to Remember
Establishing good B2B relationships using social media takes time and consistent effort. Employees should be empowered to get involved so that immediate interaction can boost customer service opportunities. Crowd sourcing new ideas can get followers engaged. Fresh blog posts on the website should always be promoted on social media platforms to drive traffic back to the company site. Companies can look for opportunities to establish themselves as experts in their fields and a reliable resource for B2B solutions. Social media postings that are engaging, frequent, and informative have the best shot of reaching a wider audience.
Companies that want to take advantage of social media platforms for B2B marketing have some good options. However, having a solid plan in place is vital for success in the long term. These strategies offer a good starting point.