Sep

Social Strategy for B2B Companies

                                                 

I am regularly approached by businesses that sell to other businesses to help them market and promote their brand on social networks.

And so I noticed that some of them have a vague idea of how social media works and the sustainability it offers. They often see social marketing as yet another way to advertise and sell their products, in the same manner they are accustomed to do on traditional marketing mediums. Not surprisingly it usually results in frustration.

While I saw companies successfully sell on social, they are typically limited to mass consumer oriented B2C verticals, such as fashion and apparel, travel and hospitality. There is a segment of online shoppers, sometimes called ‘impulse shoppers’, that makes purchases straight off the Twitter timeline, yet the majority of us go to social networks for different reasons. Certainly no one is buying an insurance policy, or a house, or a CRM solution there.

The success of social media and its importance for business is in its unique ability to build trust.

For B2B, as well as for the majority of consumer-oriented businesses, this is where the real value of social marketing lies. A more detailed discussion here

And so that means approaching social media strategically.  First know precisely why you want to engage, understand clearly how it will help you grow the business. Then, if you are convinced of social media’s importance for the success of your business, start taking practical steps.  Obviously very company is different, but here are some observations that are pretty generic:

- Plan long-term. Don’t expect results after one month. Not even after two months.

- Do not do social media just because ‘everybody’ is doing it.  When people have strategy their choice is between social tools X or Y or Z. It typically comes early in the conversation. And when people say ‘I’ll try it for a month and see if it brings results’ or ‘I want to see how my friend/my competitor is making out before deciding’ it usually indicates a lack of strategy, because it implies a choice between tool X and doing nothing. In that case, better do nothing.  

- Social media does not substitute sales. It is however one of the most efficient ways to grow sales Here is a good explaination

Social media’s importance for B2B business is increasing. More and more owners and executives are inquiring how they can succeed in the new environment. As usual, the earlier you start the better are the chances.

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

Social selling for businesses

Social selling is one of the hottest buzzwords in the technology market. The popularity of social networks made the customer interaction and buyers hunting easier than before. More and more consumers are using social media to find deals, research products and make recommendations.

From the seller’s perspective the efficient use of social media is based on the mastery of following two major steps:

1. Finding the relevant audience,

2. Engaging with that audience.

The first step should be automated. This is exactly where the promise of Big Data, or Smart Data, as they now begin to call it, is supposed to come into fruition. Finding relevant information in the ocean of social data is the poster example of how Smart data can help businesses in the new world defined by computerized systems and networks. The companies should be able to use programs and solutions that accurately and efficiently deliver relevant data. If the company is spending time to sift through the ever increasing informational stream without automating the process, it is wasting precious time thus compromising its business growth and eventually losing competitive edge.

 The second step however is inherently manual. it is not a good idea to automate the engagement process. Social networks are designed to build trust, and trust cannot be won automatically. So it requires time and effort and knowledge. It also requires patience - trust cannot be built in minutes.

It is important that businesses looking to add social media into their arsenal of revenue channels, and we believe that all businesses should do just that, grasp this two-steps process. A clear understanding of the nature and requirements for each of the steps helps to plan strategically, manage the resources properly and avoid costly mistakes.

 

                               

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Social Marketing is Simple

                                                           

In its very essence social marketing is based on one simple foundation - give first, take later.

This concept of giving to the community is hardly possible to overestimate. It defines the way social networks operate and goes even deeper, to the basic principles of social interactions among humans.

In fact it is a much healthier foundation for business than traditional one, based on advertising.

Yet it runs contrary to what many entrepreneurs and business people perceive as a proper marketing approach.

Traditional marketing, such as billboards, radio ads, posters, banners, emails blasts, etc is based on two principles, a) the statistical law of big numbers, aiming to reach out to as large audience as possible while knowing that only a small percent would become interested, b) message of self-promotion and self-advertisment.  

Social marketing negates both of these principles.

Social marketing is personal, it operates individually, and in a personalised way. Which makes perfect sense from a common perspective. Would you rather be bombarded by the generic ads that in most cases have nothing to do with your interests and desires, or approached on a one-on-one basis with a chance to discuss your specific needs?

Social marketing is directed towards promoting the interests of others, not yours (or your business). Again it makes sense as we are a social species, we live in societies and rely on communication. The most successful communication strategy is the one that takes care of the needs of your communication partner.

And so, opposing the traditional marketing approach, social marketing is based on the idea of giving to the community. Which makes it more efficient than traditional marketing, if measured against the effort applied. In other words, taken 100 random prospects, we are more likely to convert them into customers if using social marketing than traditional marketing.  

But is it scalable?

(to be continued)

 

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