Every B2B social media strategy at this stage of the social marketing evolutionary cycle will need to incorporate a few non-negotiable tactics. B2B marketers now believe that social media is the second most important factor (64%) to organic search success, behind only strong content (82%). [Source]
At this point in time, there are 5 things that every single B2B marketer should be incorporating in their social media strategy. If you haven’t started yours yet, here are a few points to think about as you create it your strategic plan.
Here are the top 5 most important components of a successful B2B social media strategy:
1. Connecting On LinkedIn Groups
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: LinkedIn groups can be one of the most powerful tools in your social media strategy. Not only is it ideal for networking with new professional connections, it can be a valuable source of highly targeted traffic to your blog or website and help position you as an expert online.
When you interact with people in groups, it’s not so strange to reach out to them via a connection request if some form of dialogue as already occurred. Plus, when you send your connection request you are able to select “Groups” when LinkedIn asks you how you now this person.
Send a personalized message referencing your group discussion and mention how it would be great to connect with them. These personalized requests are your first impressions so make them count and actually personalize them!
2. Education-Based Marketing
The reason why creating education-based marketing content still gets so much hype from the internet marketing community is because it’s the only genuine thing that connects you with potential customers without selling them something. Today people consult Google before they spend money consulting a professional expert so this can work to your advantage if you’ve positioned yourself with solutions with educational blog posts.
When searching out an example for this point, I thought of the first problem that many people dread in their own homes: plumbing issues. I googled “top plumbing mistakes” and a great article by Dr. Pipe in Toronto, Ontario came up that was informative, helpful and clearly positioned them as an expert in their industry. If the reader didn’t solve their problem and decided they needed to call a plumber, you can bet Dr. Pipe was likely to be the first call they made.
3. Recognize Where Your Time Is Best Spent
Your time is valuable and should be spent on the networks and features that will generate the most results for your business. When talking about B2B, Twitter and Facebook are best used as a tool to promote your blogs and drive traffic, but LinkedIn is really going to be the best overall use of time and should account for the bulk of your social media strategy.
That said, you shouldn’t use Twitter and Facebook as your own personal megaphones to blast one-way streams of communication promoting your latest widget. Always adhere to the etiquette and culture of the social network you are using. This is especially important with Twitter since people will inevitably ignore you if you are noticeably robotic.
4. Always Reach Out To Decision Makers
Wait before you get excited about connecting with a company on your client wishlist and make sure that they are the decision maker. Gatekeepers are one thing but if you are wasting your time trying to schmooze the interns then your priorities are out of whack.
If your goal is to sell a product that will save that company a lot of money on shipping costs then make sure you recognize which role in the company is responsible for budgets affected by shipping. The better you get at realizing who’s butt you can save in a company you are targeting, the better you will get at closing deals with your social media strategy.
5. Take Every Opportunity To Keep The Connection Alive
People always say social media is about building relationships but how exactly do you do that without seeming like an annoying stalker?
Pay attention to updates coming from your connections across each network and take every opportunity to reach out for a congratulations, birthday wish or significant event that seems appropriate. Keep track of LinkedIn Signal and the email updates that periodically come in showing profile updates on your connections’ LinkedIn profiles. If your connections only remember seeing your name pop up when you’re trying to tell them about your newest widget, you won’t develop the type of rapport you are looking for.
What do you feel is the most valuable tool for any B2B social media strategy? Leave your answer in the comments below.