The Social Media Effect – Your Marketing Program Will Never be the Same

As little as one year ago many marketers had a tough time selling their company’s leadership on the benefits and staying power of social media. Today, it’s common knowledge that there is no stopping the social media revolution and that it’s having an enourmous impact on traditional marketing. We all dislike being interrupted, and we’ve learned to tune out interruption marketing - flipping past ads in a magazine or turning the channel during television commercials. But when people, otherwise known as your customers or prospects, go online to socialize or check out what their favorite baseball player is doing, they actively find and participate in conversation because they want to.

The rules of social media are still far from cut and dry, my social media resources from last year are already laughably out-of-date. One thing for certain are the differences between B2C (Business-to-Consumer) and B2B (Business-to-Business) strategies that are emerging. Although B2B can be considered the more difficult of the two, if you follow these basic guidelines you will set your company up for B2B social media success.

Persistence

When starting a B2B social media plan you shouldn’t expect to gain thousands of “followers” or “friends” in the beginning unless you have mega bucks to spend on advertising and promotion, which defeats the purpose of social media. The most important thing you can do is to make a plan and stick to it - B2B social media is a slow and steady race. By nature, B2B companies don’t have products or promotions to give away that appeal to masses of social media users, a strategy often used by B2C companies to lure more followers. Even if B2B companies did experiment with giving away iPads or vacations, they probably wouldn’t attract the followers they were looking for.

Target

Most people use Facebook and LinkedIn for different reasons. As a result, content and messaging should be tailored appropriately to each platform. Below are some guidelines for each:

  • Facebook- Have you ever gotten annoyed by long and frequent messages showing up in your news feed from a company you “like”? I have too. Respect your followers’ status feeds and keep relevant proactive messaging to twice per week. Additionally, keep in mind that viewers outside of your industry should still be able to understand your message.
  • Twitter- Short, sweet and frequent; Twitter should be your platform of choice if you are looking to share play-by-play company information. Frequent posts are not seen as intrusive because of the casual nature of Twitter.
  • LinkedIn- You can be a little more industry specific with LinkedIn. Your viewers will likely have a basic knowledge of what your company does.
  • Company Blog- Make it educational and try to leave your promotions and company information to other outlets. The quickest way to kill a blog is to make it read like a marketing slick.

Participate

Use your social media accounts to follow and interact with companies you want to engage with on social media, they will likely return the favor.

Respond

Generally when a person uses social media to post a complaint it’s because they haven’t received what they need from the first attempt to solve the issue they post about. I believe that people typically do not want to hurt another business, they just want information. Having a system in place to respond to negative complaints - both quickly and effectively - often turns the situation into a positive one. Likewise, responding to praise encourages future positive interactions.

Strut your stuff

Through major news events and natural disasters, the media and response agencies have learned that social media can work much faster than they can. One of the greatest benefits to social media is the rapid manor in which you can publish items like company news, product information and ideas, and promotions - allowing you to put your flag in the ground first.

Monitor

The person overseeing your social media efforts should aim to read every social mention related to your company. Having someone with a centralized idea about real time company buzz can be a very useful asset to company leadership. There are many free and paid applications which make it easier to do so.

Now it’s time to take the plunge and start socializing! Which guideline do you think is most applicable to your own social media strategy? Share your comments with us in the box below!