14 Oct

Guest post: 6 best practices for B2B social media

With a reputation for dry, data-heavy marketing tactics, business-to-business brands don’t usually have what it takes to be successful on social right off the bat. But it’s not difficult to find your B2B social niche once you know what to do (and more importantly, what not to do) online. Here are six hard-and-fast rules for better business-to-business marketing using social media:

Make a specific resource commitment to social networking.

Social media often falls by the wayside when things get busy or the “real” marketing pieces need attention, but it shouldn’t. Designate someone in the office to be in charge of your company Facebook or Twitter, and make sure a specific amount of time (and money, if necessary) is being spent on social each and every day to meet your goals.

Use social media to connect with peers and competitors.

Social isn’t just for fielding complaints and disseminating coupons. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can be valuable resources for keeping up with what’s going on in your industry, and with what your competitors are doing. Finding a niche no one else has dominated yet is your best strategy as you’re making a footprint for your B2B brand on social.

Put care into the content you put out.

Content is king online, particularly with social media. If you need to, hire out content creation to a talented blogger, but be sure the content you create (whether it’s posts, blogs or white papers) is representative of your brand. And always know exactly where to find your core audience — don’t spend all day tweeting when one good YouTube video is going to hit closer to home.

Never forget your social audience.

Having a target market is crucial, which is something most B2B marketers already know. Though social media seems like a massive sea of listeners, it’s easily divided into smaller groups that you can better, more specifically market to. Whether you want to reach sole proprietorships, women-owned businesses or large tech providers, keep that in mind with your medium ad content.

Always stay “on brand” when using social.

This does not mean you always have to talk serious business when using social! Simply knowing what your brand’s voice sounds like goes a long way in ensuring other companies relate to your marketing message. If your website copy is conversational and the company’s staffed by Chatty Cathys, carry that same brand voice over into your social efforts.

Don’t be too promotional.

The No. 1 rule of social is to remember it’s a two-way street. Everyone’s going to tune you out if all you do is promote, offer and inform. Not only should you spend about half of your time actually engaging other businesses by chatting, liking or messaging, you should also keep your promotional content to a minimum. That way when you DO have something to offer, people will be listening.

Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with five years’ experience in online marketing and product development.  In addition to web-related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.

Photo credit: Ged Carroll on Flickr