Social media in business-to-business settings – Time suck or value added activity?
Consumer products and services have taken to the social media like a duck to water. Business-to-consumer makes a lot of sense as cause and effect lie so close and there is a lot instant gratification for either side. For the B2B world and especially capital equipment world this is rarely true. Yet, if you plan, do, review and correct your path, the Internet and its entire social media outlets can provide you with a sustainable increase in business.
So how do you best use social media when you sell e.g. capital equipment to other original equipment manufacturers (OEM)? The answer revolves around one key element: Providing value as perceived by the OEM and the end user of the total package. Conventional sales focused on literally shot gun spraying of product and company info. The Web changed this for everybody – thankfully. Now you had better figure out what your brand’s core value preposition is and then delivering it. That is where social media have their place:
- Use LinkendIn wherever you can. I have found it invaluable in finding new connections (watch my deliberate use of the word connections and not prospect/ customers) as well as new employees. Check out the interest group section and search for the interests of yours. There seems to be a group for everything. Follow groups and companies that are known for their leadership in the segment you would like to be active.
- Another great social media outlet for B2B has been Youtube. Create your own channel and fill it with value added material that delivers value. Make it no more than 5 minutes long if at all possible. Present a problem that you will solve, offer a solution and have a call for action available.
- Start your own blog as soon as you can. Either get your companies Internet folks to get you a spot on the company Web site. If worse comes to worse, create your own blog on e.g. WordPress. It is really easy to set up and fun to experiment with.
- I have found limited use for Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets that are much better suited for consumer goods. What you can and should do though is linking all your accounts to a social media management site like Hootsuite. This allows you to view all of the platforms with only one site and you can post to one or all of them at the same time. Now you can reach folks faster and you save time.
With a little gray matter and dedication of yours, you can easily manage social media for your B2B needs. Make sure to provide tangible value to your connections as seen from their point of view. Give it a try and like friend Kevin Ready always says make sure to measure your impact. Good luck!