SMBs need to understand the power of social media in B2B and act accordingly. In this article, I will point out 5 methods to get started with social media in your business. This article is intended for SMBs that do not have a current social media strategy, but want to get started. I also hope to convince reluctant decision-makers in business that social media is a useful and necessary tool in B2B.
When we look at Digital Transformation in SMBs who are in B2B, we usually think of Industry 4.0, IoT, 3D printing, Cloud, and other new technologies. Many people connect social media primarily to B2C businesses. They believe that social media efforts are not really relevant in B2B because the exchange is between businesses rather than salespeople and customers. As a result, many B2B companies, especially SMBs, don’t bother with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media to leverage their business. Some don’t even have a news feed on their website, let alone maintain it on a regular basis. One news article every two or three months is not sufficient.
Here are five methods you can use to leverage social media in your Digital Transformation journey. Each method ends with a practical call: what you can do right now.
1 – Social media is a great way to share valuable content
Twitter, for instance, is not at all about sharing what you had for dinner. Yes, some people use it like that. Politicians use it to put down their opponents. In business, Twitter, as an example, is used to share content that your customers will benefit from. When I started to “tweet,” I noticed that many professionals from all over the world started to follow me. Why would they do that? It was because they resonated with my content. They read, for instance, what I wrote about Digital Transformation. Since most were professionals in that field, they followed me and I, in turn, followed them. Eventually, I was flooded with high quality content.
Some content, of course, came from companies that wanted to sell a service or a product that is related to my needs. When we look at it this way, it’s fairly easy to see that all kinds of businesses can provide valuable content to their customers by using social media on a professional basis.
Sharing content in this manner will all add to your brand. To put it in other words: share things that will support your brand. Even team events can add value to your brand because others will see that you have a thriving corporate culture. But be warned. If what you post is not a true representation of your company culture, you could be facing a shitstorm, and that is something that will not add to your brand!
Call: Use social media to share your content. Here are four steps you may take:
- If you have not already done so, create a Facebook account, a LinkedIn page, and Twitter account. Make sure that the Logo and the background pictures are consistent. Also make sure you get a vanity URL.
Here is an example:
On LinkedIn, your standard URL looks like this:
However, you can change it to a vanity URL that comes without the random digits:
The latter is very readable and can be easily used on business cards and on your landing page (if you have one). This is also possible on Twitter and Facebook.
- Consider using buffer.com, which allows you both to repeatedly post your content on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, as well as to schedule new content to post at varied times throughout the day. Because Twitter and LinkedIn work like a newsfeed, content you post will eventually go down in the list. You can use Buffer to re-post your content in order to increase its range. When you use Buffer, be sure to post during the different times zones of your customers. I do not recommend posting content on Facebook several times a day because it can remain active on Facebook for quite a while.
- Add content to the news section on your website and share this content five times on Twitter and LinkedIn using Buffer. Make sure you get the Chrome Browser Extension from Buffer—it makes using the tool so much easier! Copy and paste the text into a post on LinkedIn and Facebook, and make sure you also link to your website.
- A word about content: anything that adds value to your customer or your brand is helpful. This includes sharing the human side of your company. However, all posts must be written using proper language and grammar. Proofreading is mandatory.
It is important to understand what linking does for your SEO (search engine optimization). This is another example of how social media can be extremely beneficial to your business. Don’t rely solely on Google to be found on the web. Make sure to get a much higher ranking by using social media! Need more information? Read this: Why Content Marketing And Social Media Are Your Most Powerful SEO Weapons.
2 – Support your brand using social media
Social Media in B2B is all about your brand. I recently read on ClickZ, a hub of information providing the latest news and insights to help digital marketing professionals,
“Social media. It’s not just for B2C brands anymore. More than just dipping their toes in the social media waters, many of those in the B2B space are now diving in head first. They’re making a big splash not just on LinkedIn, but on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and pretty much every other related channel.”
The article I quoted from gives examples of how big B2B companies like IBM, Cisco, Raytheon, Novartis, and others are increasing their brand’s awareness by cleverly leveraging content on social media platforms.
Your brand deserves a wider audience than you can reach with mailers, high-gloss brochures, or printed catalogs. And by the way, your future employees will look you up on social media! In the fight to find and capture the best talent, companies who refrain from using social media will not make a strong impression.
Call: Look at how your brand can be amplified through social media. Build a team comprised of people from marketing, sales, and maybe even other departments like R&D, to discuss the opportunities. Every piece of content you create should add to your brand. Don’t be shy. Post fun and tasteful photos from your last team-building event, share pictures from a staff birthday, or if an employee did something outstanding that the company is proud of…share it with dignity!
Beware: don’t post things that are embarrassing, can be easily misunderstood, or that put people down. Ambiguous content leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation. Always enforce the four-eye principle. As you know, the internet does not forget!
In Part 2 I will cover the following methods to leverage social media for your B2B:
- Involve your employees in your social media activities
- Leverage industry-specific communities and professional networks
- Understand the aspects of social media
This is not supposed to be a monologue. I’d like to hear about your experiences! Let’s start a discussion.