B-to-B buying behaviors have dramatically shifted over the past decade with the emergence of new information channels and the associated abundance of and ready access to information. With that shift, social media has taken on a strategic business role as a powerful tool for B-to-B marketing. Marketo has examined the social media usage of revenue-focused B-to-B marketers, and discovered eight keys to using this new medium in B-to-B marketing.
1. Look and Listen
Social media is a great way to monitor what people are saying about you and your industry, and this applies to corporate decision makers as much as consumers. They may discuss your products on LinkedIn groups, Twitter or even professional circles on Facebook, among other social media spheres. Use the search function on these popular social media sites or other listening tools such as IceRocket. You should perform regular searches on your brand and other important keywords. Also, set up Google Alerts for your keywords to receive daily updates. Social media monitoring tools such as Radian6 and Social Radar are also available to help automate these searches.
Pay attention to which social media channels and networks your customers or potential customers are engaged in the most and focus your listening efforts there. Just because there are more than 500 million Facebook users, it doesn’t mean that’s where a robust conversation is happening regarding your product.
It’s great to receive online accolades from brand ambassadors, but equally important is listening to posted criticism. Not listening to this free “social focus group” is a missed opportunity. By listening objectively, many organizations have developed new products or been able to change business processes to better satisfy disgruntled customers.
2. Set Goals
Social media has a low barrier of entry—anyone with Internet access can dive right in—so it's critical you lay a solid foundation and know what you want to achieve through social media. Set realistic goals, and be specific about what you want to accomplish. Then, establish metrics to measure your success. Think big, but start small and move quickly. Stay agile.