I received this question from a reader in response to my last blog and thought that there may be a few more of you out there wondering the same thing:
“How do you make social media useful for B2B companies? I come across many companies who have created all types of SM accounts and have a following too, but they are clueless about how it’s gonna help them, especially when the B2B decision making cycles are long and complex. They are able to use it for searching prospective employees, but it doesn’t fit in when they want to use it as a lead generation platform.”
That’s a valid question, though it does mean going a bit deeper into engagement for lead generation. As a copywriter, all of my client leads are in the B2B realm, though they are small business. It looks as though, in the context of this question, the reader may be talking more specifically about corporate level B2B.
Have a Plan
Obviously, you have to have a targeted strategic plan in place (To make this plan, think about things like: What platforms your customers use? What groups are they a part of? What are their needs and more importantly their problems? How can you help them solve them?) Once the plan is in place, a website and blog are integral. (As you probably know, this is the mothership of social media — the place we want to drive them to and this is where your measurement tools are most useful.) This space should be about your customers and their needs. Do your homework.
Drive Traffic with Valuable Content
As B2B, everything you do should be to engage and interest enough, to drive traffic back to your site. This means that both the information gatherers and/or decision-makers will be enticed by what you have to offer and want to do a little more research (on your site.) Though the chains are long, those decisions are still made based on the data collected.
Call to Action
The next important piece for SoMe conversion is to develop a compelling call to action on your site. Many times this is in the form of information, something your clients want and need to solve their problem, given away for free (in exchange for their lead information.)
Make the First Move
At the same time, social media is not just about waiting around for them to find you, it’s a open door to making the first move. Six degrees of separation is easily bridged on a social site. Research who you want to target and then join the groups that they’re in, comment on their discussions and look for connections you have in common to make an introduction. Then start a conversation. Keep it going. Move it offline. Say it with me kids, “It’s ALL about relationships!”
In the end though, whether we speak about it in the broad scope or in details, it’s all the same, whether it’s B2B or B2C — it’s about knowing who your clients (or potential clients) are and where they play and then going there and engaging them. Not pitching them or talking at them but rather with them to help solve their problems. SoMe just makes it a bit less intimidating (for both parties) than going door to door or cold calling them on the phone.
Social is the warm-up — the pre-heated lead, all toasty and ready for conversion.
- B2B and Social Media: A Logical Fit (socialmediatoday.com)