Social media marketing has typically been the purview of companies that sell to consumers, not other business. However, this is changing as more B2B companies look to sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and others to engage with their customers and elevate their presence as a market leader. After you incorporate a small business it’s time to begin evaluating how you can grow that business. Social media has become an important avenue B2B and B2C companies use to develop strong relationships and customer loyalty.
According to Kent Huffman, editor of Social Media Marketing Magazine, marketing opportunities are expanding into a B2B setting. Huffman offers the following suggestions on how to successfully market your B2B organization.
There is a difference between simply hearing somebody and actually understanding their wants and needs. In order to execute a successful social media marketing campaign, Huffman stresses the importance of applying good listening strategies and skills in all that you do. It allows you to easily locate your target audience and deliver a final product that meets or exceeds their expectations. It also helps you build trust, a key factor in establishing a long-lasting relationship with clients. But beyond just listening to your partners, Huffman suggests that you listen to your competition. Learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. Do your homework; play detective. The more you listen and apply what you hear, the better position you will find yourself in later on.
This is not a time to jump straight in before testing the waters. One of the biggest mistakes made in social media marketing is being over-ambitious: wanting to go full speed ahead and start using everything from Twitter to Google+, blogs, podcasts and more. Before you even think about that, you need to develop a strategic plan that will ensure you reach success in your marketing endeavors. You must consider how your social media marketing will affect the rest of your marketing initiatives; you must integrate your marketing mix if you want it to pay off. Nail down your goals and objectives and define specifically how you plan to meet them. Examine what you learned by listening (e.g. What do your constituents care about? What do they want from you?) and go from there. Also, don’t forget to monitor your progress along the way to make sure you are sticking to your goals.
Build a Successful Relationship
Once you’ve established a relationship with whomever you are working with, it is more than vital to continue developing that relationship by building trust, exercising effective communication skills and always striving to grow that relationship and the community around it. Offer support by going beyond just following someone on Twitter or Facebook. Become a real-life person and not just an online avatar. Social media should not define your business – it should be used as a tool to help market the business your time honored reputation, traditions and products have already created.