The link between social media and B2B sales is becoming increasingly defined. More than ever, businesses are utilizing social media. This article teaches a few of the methods B2B business use to stay effective on social networks.
Social media continues to be the fastest-growing method of communication. With over 200 social networking sites and thousands of apps to choose from, there’s no shortage of ways to keep in touch. Its impact on the average person is simply too profound to be ignored. Your task is to find a way to effectively navigate this vast and unregulated world for the benefit of your business.
First Things First: Biz2Biz is Human2Human
I mentioned in a previous article that, despite its name, B2B is a very Human2Human process. When making deals with another business, you aren’t just selling to a company name. You’re selling to the people who represents it. You ‘re building relationships and fostering trust. You’re dealing with emotions. You need to consider human interactions while still dealing with the business as a whole. And this same mindset helps when using social media.
Build Your Social Profile
The key to success for any business, large or small, is understanding that social networking is not about selling your product or service.
“You’re crazy, that’s the whole point of my business!” you might say. And yes, the aim of your business is to make a profit. We’re very dedicated to teaching people how to maximize their potential to make a deal. But before even hoping to get to that step, you need to understand social networks.
Think about it like this: your business in its rawest form is like a lion. It’s constantly going for the kill, not taking any names along the way. But social media is a cunning animal. It has the power to either build or destroy your reputation. So you too must become cunning. Social networking is all about conversation. With millions of voices from around the world, your aim is to make yourself be heard and introduce your product in a less direct way.
The goal is to create a human side of your business that people trust and want to hear. Think about how you feel after you’ve had a particularly engaging conversation. Good interactions with prospects will leave them coming back for more. They improve your reputation, inspire loyalty in your established clientele, and attract more customers to your brand.
This is the power of social networking sites. It’s all about communication and attraction.
Know Why You Are Using Social
Everyone has a purpose. Everyone has a reason for what they do, even if they’re not always aware while they’re doing it. In order for your business to succeed, you need to understand your purpose and what actions will be required to achieve it. These are the four essential steps any business should take to get the most out of social media:
1. Establish Goals
What do you hope to achieve by using Twitter? Ideally, it should create awareness of your brand, generate leads, and facilitate conversations with existing clientele. The goals and objectives you set should dictate what you’re how you use social networks. But bear in mind that cold-selling is frowned upon. So your main focus should always be on interacting, promoting, and sharing.
In a previous article, we explained how effective listening is a vital component of any sales call. Knowing who your audience is, where they’re come from, what they’re interested in, how they interact, and what media they use is essential to conducting a business. Companies research social networks for the same reasons they research the market. Without listening to your target audience, you can’t hope to effectively promote your service.
Once you’ve gathered information on your target audience, you can design your social media presence. You’ll want a base of operations, whether that be a website or a blog, to direct your followers to. You’ll also need a method for followers to advocate on your behalf. This can be as simple as a Tweet This or Like button attached to your blog. Then begin creating engaging, shareable content. Share information from other sources. Always have the patience to build in small steps. There is no fool-proof strategy for instant social media success. Companies have to start from the bottom and work their way up.
Next you’ll have to actively engage with your audience. It helps if you think about it like a date. Entertain your guest. Talk about a variety of topics until they decide whether or not they want to take it further. Avoid focusing on yourself. Given that word of mouth rules social networks, this will not bode well for your business’ reputation. So converse freely about industry issues and current events and don’t be afraid to add a little banter when appropriate. Remember the golden rule: be human.
Lock on to Your Targets
Have you ever played a first-person shooter? If so, you might have used a rocket launcher that wouldn’t fire unless before it locked a target. It’s the same with any well-managed business. You need to know your targets and where to find them before you can go any further.
As a B2B company, you’re already aware that your sales depend on how well your targeting criteria have been achieved. The same holds true for social media. Facebook offers marketing functionalities that allow companies to get closer to their target audiences than ever. Twitter now allows members to search profiles using keywords, allowing employers to find potential prospects through their job titles. It’s never been easier to lock on.
Use Different Types Of Content
Part of your targeting criteria should involve locating your audience’s consumer information on social networks and using it to determine the type of content you create.
Facebook has made significant investment in their video playback and sharing capabilities. Are you taking advantage of the rise of video marketing? Do you create informative podcasts? Do you write helpful, shareable, and valuable articles? B2Bs are not known for the versatility of their content. If you want to stand out, break out.
Understand That Content Must be Social
It doesn’t matter how much content you create. If you don’t have any readership, it’s worthless. That’s why successful companies choose to get involved with their target audience long before producing valuable content. Not to say it’s impossible for content to be shared without a social media presence. But that presence can serve as the window prospects look through before even visiting your website.