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Social Media Strategies: B2B Companies can Up Their Game

Written by: Phillip Nones

Let’s face it – the most successful companies on social media today aren’t B2B companies.  They’re consumer businesses like Target, Nike, Coca-Cola and MTV.

By comparison, B2B companies haven’t made much of a splash at all on social media.

It isn’t for lack of trying.  The fact is, B2B companies are trying to make an impact on social media channels and have put resources behind the effort.

Often the problem is one of strategy.  The successful early adopters of social media were B-to-C firms like Verizon, Starbucks and Sony Pictures, so it was only natural that other companies would pattern their own activities after these pioneers.

But while it’s relatively easy for a consumer company like KFC to take a broad-brush approach to get people to “Try our newest menu item!” for example, if B2B companies take the same type of generalized approach to social media, it won’t do a whole lot to boost their business.

And that’s the problem:  For too many B2B companies, social media management has become a series of “check the box” tasks:  Post regularly … respond to customers … add friends … follow clients … rinse and repeat.

To become more effective in social media, what B2B firms need to do is to abandon the checklist.  Don’t use platforms just because “everyone else” is participating in them, too.

As a B2B firm, your most important audiences are likely using just a couple of social platforms.  For example, Instagram or Snapchat are likely far down the list.  Twitter may also be less consequential than you think.

To know for sure, the best way to find out is to survey your key clients about where they “hang” on social media.  While you’re at it, try to learn about marketplace dynamics, business partners and the major pain points of these companies.  Knowing this will give you a better sense of what topics to cover on the social platforms they value most.

Success in the world of social media is more about listening and interacting than it is about “blasting” your message all over the place.  So make sure your approach becomes more outward-looking and purposeful.

As much possible, think of social media as another way to target your most lucrative customers and prospects while interacting with them in a more “personal” way.

This give-and-take in the social realm might include mixing your own content with links to your target clients’ own blogs, providing helpful how-to ideas, and even soliciting opinions from them.

Fundamentally, for B2B firms the key to success on social media is to offer up content that fosters engagement and builds trust.

Social media activity can be a good signal of buyer intent, too and so it should be a factor in your lead scoring because such prospects have a greater propensity to engage with e-mail communications as well.  Take the next step and make meaningful contact with leads before they slip away.

As much as possible, tie your social media activities to your marketing automation or CRM system to track socially-engaged leads.  This will also help you achieve what every marketer desires:  knowing what their social media ROI is beyond just shot in the dark.

So, take a fresh look at how you’re pursuing social media.  If you make the kinds of adjustments noted above, you may well find that your program going from “meh” to “magnificent.”

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