It’s Not Just About Being Funny
In 2012, B2B Marketing (Business to Business) saw a surge in social media use. Many predictions, such as this one from Social Media B2B blog, say that trend is only going to increase in 2013. With big changes in social media last year, such as Facebook’s promoted posts, Twitter’s acquisition of Vine and LinkedIn’s passing the 200 million customer mark, it’s now completely impossible for businesses to avoid using social media. You’d be hard pressed to find any organization without at least a Facebook page.
But how do you adapt your social media strategy to a B2B organization? After all, if social media is about posting YouTube videos and tweeting funny headlines, how does a company maintain a professional image? It’s not as if every B2B company is in the comedy business.
Social media is a fantastic way to build your company’s brand. A common misconception is that this means your brand has to be funny. While humor is very popular on Twitter (cue Steven Colbert’s 4.6 million followers), it’s not required. Social media should be viewed as one big online conversation, and any group or organization (including B2B companies) can join that conversation while still representing itself accurately.
What does that mean exactly? The goal of a professional B2B company (even if it is in the comedy business) is to establish itself as a thought leader in its industry. Need some tips? We thought so:
LinkedIn: Going along with the professional image, LinkedIn is one of the best social media platforms for B2B companies, perhaps even better than for B2C. It can be up to 300 percent more effective for lead generation than Twitter or Facebook.
- Join groups related to your industry. Active groups are one continuous conversation, with links to articles and trend-based discussions. Jump right in and comment or post a few things of your own.
- Directly reach out to key players. LinkedIn is where you’ll have the best opportunity to reach primary publics. And because it’s already in a professional setting, you won’t have to worry about feeling cheesy.
- Have a great company page. This is true for any social media platform, but if your company page has good information and reflects activity (from all the posting and commenting you’ll be doing), it will make you stand apart.
Twitter: This is where the conversation aspect of social media gets really applicable. Twitter is more than people tweeting funny sentences or moaning about their bad Monday. It’s a million conversations happening at once, including opinions, links to news and notes of congratulations.
- Link to industry-related articles. This will help establish your company as the thought-leader that it is. Does your company have a position on a recent change? Tweet about it.
- Hold Twitter discussions. Through the use of hashtags, your company can hold conversations entirely through Twitter. It’s a great way to build engagement with both your customers and other industry thought leaders. Read more about how to create a successful Twitter chat here.
Facebook: This is where B2B companies typically cringe. Facebook? Yes, and actually, if you’re serious about marketing, you’re already there. 41% of B2B companies have reported acquiring new customers through the network.
- Post company updates. Facebook will reflect less dialogue because you aren’t able to converse as well as you would with LinkedIn or Twitter. However, your timeline shouldn’t become your company’s news release page, so add in employee profiles, discuss product releases or post customer reviews.
- Be visual: With Facebook’s new news feed, there will be even more focus on visualization. Make sure your posts have an image with them, and a good one at that.
Instagram: While we’re on the lines of being visual, it’s appropriate to mention Instagram. After all, companies such as General Electric and Intel are already using this platform with great results.
- Post product pictures. General Electric includes jet turbines and assembly lines. It’s a great example of reinforcing a brand.
- Post pictures of happy employees. Again, it’s a great way to reinforce your brand. You want to portray a positive image of your company to the public. What better way to do that than let your employees to the work for you? Plus, we’re sure they’ll be happy to be featured on the company feed.
YouTube: This platform is where you can really establish your company as knowledgeable. You won’t get as great a depth of content from any other social media platform.
- Post videos of how your company can solve a problem. This functions to establish your company as a thought leader and to deeply show why your company will work for your target audience.
- Optimize your YouTube videos with SEO: If a potential customer searches for a keyword in your industry, it will help if your video pops up at the top of the “results” page.
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About the author:
Joseph Havey, Director of Social Media – Shelten Media, LLC is an account manager for the Triangle-based Shelten Media, LLC, a start-up company specializing in social media marketing. He is a junior at N.C. State, majoring in Communication with a focus in PR and a member of N.C. State’s PRSSA chapter. He also writes for their newspaper, Technician. In his free time, he trains for triathlons.