B-to-B Social Media Marketing: Yes You Can!
Business-to-business (B-to-B) companies don't get the credit they should for innovating with social media. While consumer brands generate big numbers on Facebook, some of the most effective users of tools such as blogs and online video are companies that primarily sell to other businesses. B-to-B firms were pioneers in social media, with some of the big technology companies supporting thousands of bloggers as early as 2006. They're still innovating and seeing results.
The tools and strategies that work in B-to-B markets aren't necessarily the same as those that attract consumers. Business relationships are long term and rich with information. Look to the tools that enable you to meet the often detailed and specific needs of customers and prospects. Here are five tips to help B-to-B marketers generate leads, build awareness and drive repeat business:
1. Start a blog. Blogging may have lost some of its luster in the consumer mainstream, but for B-to-B companies it's still the killer app. Websites with blogs generate about twice as many inbound links as sites without them, according to HubSpot. That's great for search performance. Blogs are also ideal as a long-term vehicle for creating the kind of in-depth conversations that B-to-B customers require, as well as supporting nearly every media type you could ever want to use.
2. Get active on LinkedIn. It's the social network of choice for business professionals, and there's no better place to find buyers. Join groups in your industry and region. Post five answers per week to questions from members. Let the group know about new whitepapers and entries on your company blog. The more involved you are in the community, the more it will pay you back.
3. Get your technical people involved. "My job is to get engineers talking to customers and then get out of the way," says Rick Short, director of marketing communications at Indium Corp. The strategy appears to work: Indium drove a six-fold increase in leads in just six months with an employee blogging program, which used very specific paid keyword search terms.
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