Last week I spoke at a conference on the use of Social Media for large corporations, many of which were operating in B2B markets, so I thought I’d sum up the key points for B2B marketers looking to get started in social media.
1. Understand your USP
- What does your business do very well?
- Why would I choose you to provide me with products & services?
- What would I look for as an investor to ensure your organisation was fit for purpose?
- Why would I want to work for you?
- What is your company doing that deserves column inches?
- If you can’t answer these questions, go back to boardroom with some post it notes & your top level execs & hash it out!
2. Understand your audience
Beyond the simple “Who?” of your target market, think…
- “Who’s sitting on the other side of the computer screen?”
- What are their dreams?
- How would your business make their life easier?
- What are their sales objections?
- Have they been burned before?
- How do they educate themselves online to continue their own development?
- What might they type into a search engine to find this info?
- What are they interested in that might overlap with your company’s objectives (eco-friendly policies, corporate social responsibility efforts, innovative technologies)
- You get the gist. Find their need. Fill it!
3. Understand your own objectives
- Remember that ultimately you’re trying to drive a business conversion (a lead, a relationship, a sale)
- Make sure you understand what YOU need out of the situation
- Work with an agency to understand which social conversion metrics best demonstrate business success for you, & which numbers you can take to the boardroom
- Understand how to use these metrics to get you from “We want a website/app/social media campaign” to a fully fledged, integrated digital strategy?
4. Understand SEO
- Learn as much as you can about search engine optimisation & use this power
- Research the words people are using to search for you or your offering
- Plan the use of these search keywords across your digital activities (from press releases to CEO blogs to how you create new content pages on your corporate site, or what you Tweet or upload to Facebook)
- Use this SEO knowledge to understand your audience (Where they are are, what they’re talking about & how they search to find you)
- Use this more advanced method to audit your keywords, & you’ll be on the way to targeted SEO, PPC & social media campaigns
- Encourage inbound links! Your knowledge of keywords & phrases means you’ll be creating content your audience will be happy to link to!
5. Understand Digital
- Build websites, campaigns & content from the bottom up starting with your business objectives & metrics
- Marry analytics to CMS, CRM & Social activity
- Execute your web development with every consideration for search, your audience, & your objectives
- Integrate all your marketing efforts, matching digital & social media strategy to every single outreach carried out in your organisation
- Use analytics systems to prove increased traffic referred from social networks
- Give these ‘micro-conversions’ a monetary value, just as you’d tag a banner ad
- Use these systems to document your social interactions, then feed them into your CRM systems so you can begin to prove the kinds of things that make financial directors smile
6. Understand why IT departments hate Social Media
IT Heads worry about the nightmare of potential viruses from social media. They worry about hackers & security. How do you release the shackles of Corporate Group IT so the right people can start to engage in social?
- Ask an outside agency to audit perceived challenges
- Ask them for solutions to these challenges (tiered security profiles for different levels of the business, restrictions on downloads, etc.)
- Re-package this feedback in a way that presents a good business case for social media
- Kick it up the chain as high as it needs to go to get it done (after all, you won’t find many boardrooms that aren’t chattering about social media)
7. Understand Social Channels
- Get out there!
- Experiment in the channels in your own time
- Use the platforms you hear so much about so that you understand their functionality & potential
- Try & spot the gaps in what social environments are offering your audience so your business can fill those gaps
- Behave properly! Be polite, just as you would in a face to face meeting
- Remember the clue is in the name…be sociable!
- You don’t need to act up to attract attention…just be there & be yourself
- Remember it’s about opening up dialogue, building relationships & trust
- Understanding the audience & engage with the things they’re interested in
- Be confident in your organisation & use social channels to spread your word
- If you can’t speak with confidence, ask yourself what’s wrong with your organisation & sort these issues out!
8. Understand Crisis & Reputation Management
If your organisation makes a mistake, or there’s a bump in the road what do you do?
- Remember social media platforms are much more than another campaign channel, if you start to engage in social channels you have to keep the dialogue going
- Don’t lie, be honest, be open
- Social media properties (Twitter handles, Facebook page, LinkedIn & YouTube) are permanent digital documents, whatever you say will be around for a long long time, don’t say anything you can’t stand by
- Get your social properties optimised & running well now, so if disaster strikes you have an immediate way of communicating your message & influencing search results
- Use social channels to influence Google page 1 (SERPs), by flooding your social networks with well optimised content
9. It’s all about how much you put in!
The secret to success or failure in social environments is preparation. If you love yourself & your brand, do it right, put the time in to understand the points above.