Six keys to B2B social media

by Robin Blakely, American Society of Baking
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To truly get peoples' attention on social media, companies need a cohesive strategy.
 

If you are still holding on to the old notion that social media doesn’t work for business-to-business (B2B), you need to take a closer look. There has never been a better time than now to amplify your company’s reach, build a bigger audience and create a comprehensive marketing program that can readily compete — and win — in the modern business world.

Here are six keys to help you improve your marketing tactics with the help of social media.

Reframe expectations

Up until now, no one could blame you for taking a wait-and-see attitude about the merits of social media. With good reason, many traditionally minded B2B companies have been reluctant to fully embrace social media because most of their clients just weren’t hanging out in places like Twitter or Facebook.

But now, it’s time to take another look.

Even if most of your target audience still prefers face-to-face conversations rather than Facebook interactions, the truth is that social media is steadily making inroads into daily life. Every hour of each day, current and future customers are becoming more familiar with the easy access, casual networking and clickable customer service that is so prevalent in the business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace.

Social media can no longer be ignored by any company. Yet, becoming more socially savvy does not require an all-or-nothing approach.

Start with a few small steps — choose a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin. Then, give your favorite platform a real chance to perform. Set your first big goal on a very simple outcome: Create posts to raise awareness for the digital information you already have on your company web site.

For example, on LinkedIn, you might hyperlink to a webinar sign-up page on your company web site. When inviting people to sign up, tease them with a few fun facts. On Facebook, hyperlink to a downloadable tip sheet. On Twitter, share short tips one at a time. On Instagram, post a picture of the company’s latest award.

Whatever you do, develop a regular routine for sharing, and be persistent. Don’t be surprised if you receive more feedback about your posts in person than on-line. After all, the baking industry is like that. It’s normal.

Staff it right

If your company is new to social media, you may struggle at first. It’s common to feel awkward and even a little bit unwelcome. As a result, it may seem like an easy answer would be to hand off the energy-draining tasks to interns or junior employees.

Don’t!

Your company’s social media real estate is too valuable to farm out and forget. Staff all parts of your on-line world with care. It’s true that today’s junior employees have likely grown up in the heart of the social landscape. Their understanding of the social scene is important. However, by the very nature of being junior employees, they will initially lack the business skills and professional expertise needed to proactively build and protect your company’s larger reputation.

Your biggest success may very well be how you handle social media from behind the scenes. The staff who are posting on your company’s behalf should deeply understand how social tactics impact your larger marketing plan. They must know your company’s culture and voice. They must understand how to effectively recognize, manage and alert you to a potential problem when it threatens to escalate or spiral out of control.

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