Is your company operating in a B2B (Business to Business) industry – meaning, is your business selling to other businesses? With this in mind, have you had difficulty figuring out how to employ social media to accomplish your goals? Here are a few insights, specifically for you.
- Twitter works.
- LinkedIn works.
- Facebook probably won’t work.
- You can make Twitter and LinkedIn work better if you use Hootsuite to manage both of these.
Now I’ve done my homework on Facebook, and there are those who argue that Facebook CAN work for B2B (but the ones I saw were selling social media consulting) but really, Twitter and LinkedIn are much more foolproof. Here’s why.
Twitter for B2B Marketing
Twitter works well for B2B marketing because people create profiles that contain certain keywords. If you use a tool like manageflitter.com, you can search users’ profiles for those specific keywords (e.g. manufacturers, Alberta), and follow them (note: doing this within Twitter does NOT work well – but Manageflitter is really easy and slick to use). Once you select these new targets to follow, you can hop back into Twitter and send them a specific “hello” and comment/share tweets they’ve already made to get to know them. It cuts through layers and layers of gatekeepers and gets you to the specific contact you need almost instantly. Specific contact through Twitter is almost always acknowledged, especially since it’s short and to the point. It is also almost always responded to very quickly since smartphones usually are set to ring when people mention you on Twitter.
LinkedIn for B2B Marketing
Not sure who your correct contact person is? He or she is probably on LinkedIn. Search up any company nameon LinkedIn, and you’ll find listings of their employees and staff that are on LinkedIn. Often, their full resumes are visible even if they aren’t technically a “connection” to you. Maybe then you can find something in common to make your introduction. Then you can take those names, and search them up in Twitter to make initial contact. You could also try sending a LinkedIn message, but people generally are on LinkedIn less frequently, and this is more spammy than a personalized hello on Twitter. LinkedIn generally wants users to contact only people they “already know” or are connected to, so it’s not great for quickly building new opportunities or making contact.
Another great point about LinkedIn: Groups. Look up interest groups there that relate to your industry and target– it’s a great way to make new connections. Just be sure to engage in the discussions specifically, instead of spamming your content into the groups.
Facebook for B2B Marketing
Facebook is not an easy tool for B2B Marketing. Facebook is like an online party of family/friends who are there to socialize. Bringing up business at the party is generally seen as not terribly welcome. You can talk about business, but it’s generally better to keep the chatter about non-business, which of course, doesn’t really help your business. It works much better for B2C — at least they can chat about fashion, food, or things general consumers are likely in the market for.
Hootsuite is a little social media dashboard that makes using Twitter and LinkedIn easier. Rather than trying to make yourself Tweet or post numerous times a day, you can load up a “feed” of posts that circulate for you. If you’re the kind of B2B company that has already written lots of useful content, this will be a snap for you. Basically, it works like this: decide what dates/times you’d like your tweets to post, and then include the “headline” and link. It amounts to 3 columns in an Excel spreadsheet. One with the date/time, one with the Headline, one with the link address. For a friendly how-to on Hootsuite’s bulk message upload tool, CLICK HERE.
The upshot on B2B Social Media Marketing
The great news: Thanks to new social media tools, especially Twitter and LinkedIn, B2B marketing can be more efficient than ever at reaching your correct target markets – and avoiding gatekeepers.