Social Media Within A B2B Strategy

Many are those who believe that social media does not fit within any B2B online marketing strategy. In a recent presentation I’ve given, there was quite a debate amongst the audience. The sales cycle in B2B is longer and more complex than that of B2C. Before I go any further in this subject let me show you some recent figures related to social media.

Twitter has 7 million accounts and has 27 million tweets every day.
LinkedIn has over a 100 million users
Facebook exceeds 640 million users
Flikr hosts over 4 billion images
Wikipedia hosts over 14 million articles from 85,000 different contributors.

The above figures will get any CEO think twice before discarding social media. Through social networking the company can bring forward its visions, products and services. Content marketing will be the right tools to do so where the company creates and shares content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer base.

One of the first steps that a company must make is to assess its market. In this assessment one will identify the demographics of its customers and then match the social media platform that will fit best its customers. It may be the case that LinkedIn will be more proper than Facebook as it is more B2B oriented. This way the company will draft the strategy around LinkedIn format. It is recommended that such assessment takes place every six months or every year as the social media landscape is continuously changing and what is good today may not be good in six months time.

The company must then set its objectives clear. The platform selected must fit in the corporate communication strategy where it will act as an additional communication tool of its company objectives. Unlike other media, social media gives the customers to communicate directly with the company.

A fault that I see happening frequently in the B2B sector is that companies set up their page, they maintain it for a couple of weeks and then forget all about it. If a potential customer visits a page that was not updated for the recent months, it is most likely that this customer will not return back to this page and will get a negative notion about the company. Before embarking into social media a company must ensure that it has the right resources in hand to maintain it and keep a dynamic communication. It may be time-consuming however if properly planned it should no be so. Make a lost of all engagement work you need to be doing and all the content that you need to be developing and then assign it on a daily calendar over the course of the month. This way time will be managed better and the strategy will be implemented smoothly.

In due course of the social media strategy the company must always measure its efforts. It must evaluate the type of interaction it is getting and how it is impacting the online traffic. As highlighted in previous article, always direct social media followers to a central online presence being it a website or a weblog. As the online marketing world is always changing, B2B strategies must also reflect this change. One cannot keep doing the same thing for a long time. The B2B online marketing strategy must be based on four main pillars that are content, connection, communication and conversion.

In my opinion, every B2B entity must have a social media presence in the format that fits best its corporate and online marketing strategy. I understand that many still believe that social media is not for B2B, however I will be pleased to receive constructive comments in this respect.

I wish you a great day – you deserve it.
Joseph Cale

Using Social Media Marketing Can Save You Time and Money

In our current economic climate it is all too important for businesses to really find ways to leverage a multitude of different mediums to “spread the word” about their products and/or services. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of social media marketing. In this article we will discuss some of the best ways to use it to save you both time and money when marketing your business.

Social media marketing which could also be called social network marketing is in its infancy. There so many ways to implement this type of marketing into your current strategy that it can sometimes become confusing. My experience has taught me that when people become confused or overwhelmed by a topic, they typically choose to avoid it. I don’t suggest you do that. So let’s discuss the minimum ways that you can use the social media marketing platform to help you stamp out a solid place in the socialsphere (not really a word, but it sounded good!).:)

One of the absolute minimums you should have to really compete in the social media marketing arena, would have to be through the use of a weblog also commonly referred to as a “blog”. Blogs have been around for a long time. They started as simple sounding boards for anyone with an opinion. They are now used as a primary way to disseminate information on the internet today! Blogs or blogging is one of the best and easiest ways to increase your search engine position, position yourself as an expert in your industry and also to gain the trust of your website visitors. One of the most popular platforms used for blogging is called WordPress. It is extremely easy to install and/or use. Best of all, the major search engines all love WordPress. All of these benefit help to save you money and time because you don’t have to devote as much of your marketing budget to buying traffic to your site, instead you can get free traffic through the search engines.

Another minimum for any business is the use of any of the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and etc. My personal favorite is Facebook. This is only because of the ability to really increase brand awareness through the use of Fan Pages. The ability to directly interact with customers, clients or possible clients is invaluable. The internet is still not wholly accepted or trusted by a lot of people. This is because of the anonymity that is present. Anyone can buy a domain name, build a website and do business online. The whole time, they can remain nameless and faceless. So the interaction that is afforded by using social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and others, is a huge advantage to those who choose to embrace it. Social media marketing is all about conversations. And using these networks is the best way to start and continue the conversations.

Social media marketing is a viable solution to any business that is looking at leveraging the power of conversation to help spread the word about their products/services. Blogging and the use of the more popular social networks can really be the easiest way to gain the trust of your potential customers. Once you have that trust, you won’t have to work as hard to gain new customers because you will keep the ones you already have and they will be sending you new customers, thus saving you time and money!

Social Media Marketing and Social Authority

Though it is new in the industry, social media marketing has taken on some new challenges. This type of marketing effort becomes efficient if it is build around the grounds of social authority. Marketers should come up with new and more ways on how they can convince the audience of their genuine intentions, knowledge and expertise in their field. One way of doing this is to provide them with valuable and accurate information about the products and services. Trustworthiness and reliability are two of the things that buyers give importance on. With the ongoing crisis, people tend to value their money more.

Social authority can be created through the use of social media tools. Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo are some of the media platforms that businesses use to promote their products. Publishing a company’s business content through the use of the internet is one way to influence the target market. However, consumers prefer companies that are referred by someone they trust. Their buying decisions are either directly or indirectly influenced by social media marketers. It depends on how credible the advertisement is. That’s why it is an imperative that businesses come up with a purposeful and carefully planned marketing strategy. This will make the promotion effective and companies will be able to build the authority that they need.

There are a lot of social media forms available today. Some of the most popular ones are internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, microblogging and social bookmarking. The application of theories from the field of media research and social processes resulted in the creation of six types of social media. This classification was determined by Kaplan and Haenlein in an article published this year. The six types are collaborative projects, blog and microblogs, content communities, social networking web sites, virtual worlds and virtual communities. With the help of these tools, businesses can plot out a marketing plan that is both creative and trustworthy. Social media marketing, no matter how innovative and convenient it may be, needs social authority to be able to maintain and improve its customer base.