1. Break the Rules – traditional marketing suggests the old “one-way communication” model. Organizations in the past would market via TV, Radio, Billboard, direct mail and push out messages and assumed their customers and future prospects were listening. Social Media has turned that way of thinking upside down. It is no longer where the business is at the center of the world, rather the customer is at the center and they control your brand, not you. B2B Marketers must listen to the masses and become engaged in the community to help influence perceptions.
2. Go Social Now! – 93% of B2B prospects start their product search on a search engine, not your website. You may update your website monthly or weekly but you’ll likely post to a blog or update twitter, LinkedIn daily.
3. B2B Social Media is Different – B2B selling is often more complex with many additional purchasing agents involved. There can be several workflows before a product is finally purchased and each member of the team has a different agenda and goal. Addressing your products and services on the right social media channels is critical to its success. Typically, Facebook is often used for B2C as you can take advantage of instant discounts while social sites like LinkedIn often work well for B2B.
4. Start with People – Your products and selling them are hugely important to your business and ultimately the life-stream of your company but don’t make it the focal point of your social media campaigns. Starting with your audience and understanding who they are, what they are saying and where they congregate to discuss your product should be the starting place for your social media campaigns. You can do this by surveying your customers directly to listen to their problems in order to try and uncover new and exciting ways of helping them solve their problems.
5. Listen! – There are several tools out there that help you listen to your customers, such as Google Alerts. It’s critical to set keywords and negative words in your social campaigns to help convey your brand. Some of the tools include; Broad based tools such as Social Mention, Addictomatic and Peoplebrowser – all of these are free and they can help and provide information on keywords. There are also other campaign management tools such as; Awareness Hub, Hootsuite and Spredfest that can publish and track content along with providing various metrics.
6. No Marketing Talk – Many traditional marketers often clutter their social networks with marketing speak that may have been mainstream in the early 2000’s. Nowadays the important trick is to be factual, opinionated or funny. Nobody wants to read generic content that they’ve heard over and over – make it fun!
7. Leverage User Generated Content – User generated content is taking social media to the next step. Having your customers write reviews and blog about your products and services is an invaluable experience and one that helps engage future visitors. Areas were this might make the most impact would be product reviews and service reviews. In addition, building Branded Communities around your products and services are a great way to get to know your customers by listening to them and learning from them while giving you a controlled channel to offer feedback.