A transformation is taking place in how people interact and how relationships form and develop and this is changing the way we work and the way we engage with our customers. As part of an integrated B2B channel marketing campaign social media should play a significant part in the campaigns of a skilful marketer.
BUT first…let’s deal with some social media misconceptions within B2B marketing:
1 – Social Media is a panacea…Wrong. It cannot fix bad marketing and poor sales management.
2 – Social Media is A Field of Dreams? No. Just because you build it – that does not mean they (customers) will come.
3 – The number of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ matter. ‘Likes’ are vanity leads, opportunities and sales are sanity.
Customers are absorbing huge amounts of digital content and opinion and they are now often leading the conversations that define brands and product perception. Everyone is using social media in all facets of their lives, B2B is no different and you need to understand it to get the best from it.
What is a B2B social media strategy then?
Prepare: Data is king
Gather your entire customer and lead data; put it into a decent CRM tool – audit and enhance your data. What is missing and where are the holes? Plug them. Do the groundwork; it pays huge dividends in the long run. Now, analyze data through detailed reports… understand who you need to talk to…segment and profile who you want to talk to!
Needs: What are you broadcasting that customers want?
Yes content is key – that’s GOOD content. Dreary repetitive drivel will bore all and sundry. So get yourself some social media monitoring tools (free ones are fine) learn what is being said, what are the trends in your business, where are the gaps? Work out how you can fill that gap with your thoughts/products/opinions and services.
Find influencers and leaders
The internet is awash with genuine original thinkers, opinion leaders and people of value. Find them. Follow them. Read what they say. Share what is relevant and acknowledge their contribution. Don’t plagiarize. These people influence others, share content to a wider audience than you can. They are important…they are the secret of SM word-of-mouth.
The Hub… where content comes to life
This is where all your relevant content resides. It is where all your external marketing and communications feed back to. It is the portal to social media sites, case studies, white papers, services and information of value. All paths lead back here. You collate clicks, page hits, downloads and interaction. Here you learn what works and what doesn’t. Care for it like it was a treasured possession.
Push & Pull
By now you should understand your audience. You know where to reach them and how best to engage them. Now for some good old-fashioned marketing collateral… you create engaging and inspiring campaigns that will make the audience react. DM, eDM, banner ads, advertising, PR, events and more…old and new school skills merge to create an integrated marketing campaign with genuine ROI measures built in!
Make it happen. Present campaigns with gusto and flair, coordinate and maximize impact by mixing media channels. Make a splash. Experiment, take risks and have the confidence in your well thought through plans and creative delivery.
The bottom line?
If you do all this you will have campaign stats, you’ll have detail. But you can’t stop, it’s a continual cycle. Follow the process and your data just gets richer, your audience understanding is more profound – So your content becomes better and your engagement enhanced. You have numbers that show ROI that you can continually measure against. The better the performance of the campaigns…The more sales qualified leads you can track. Honest!