Social Media Perfect For Reaching Commercial Prospects
If you are the owner or director of marketing in a business-to-business company, (commercial prospects such as Hotels, Nursing Homes, Property Management Companies, Hospitals, etc), this social media strategy is critical to your business success!
You can readily reach out to your hundreds (or thousands) of business/commercial customers more often and effectively with Social Media info they WANT to hear than using any other tool currently available. It won’t work if you try to approach B2B social media just like a business-to-consumer company does. They are an entirely different type of customer than a retail consumer and require a completely different action plan.
For a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) company, it’s all about how many followers (friends, circles, connections) you have and how much activity you get. For a B2B company, it’s not about quantity; it’s about quality – does your social media directly drive business results?
Business-to-Business (B2B) companies will often use social media to give potential customers an idea of “who, what, when, why, where and even the how” of doing business with them. Commercial prospects and clients like this interaction and information, especially when it’s presented in a non-selling format.
The difference with social media is that it’s more about the conversations and the community. B2B companies have to balance both building a community and directing it toward a sale. To do this, you should consider this rule of thumb:
Typically, you will divide the info you post into three general categories about equally (33% each).
• Advertising – Marketing – Promo’s – Deals
• News – Events – Happenings (in your business or industry)
• Relevant Content about legitimate topics for your audience. (Interactive Conversations) You can certainly “steer” the conversation toward your products and services, but it needs to be very subtle and limited. Your conversations should involve and engage your “community.” The instant it appears to be a commercial, you’ve gone too far in the conversation.
Blogs are a great place to post “white papers” and other technical notices and articles. They will draw the attention of those that are truly interested, and you’ll be surprised at how many views you get. The more you post that is relevant and useful, and the more you interact with those that do read and comment on your posts, the stronger the following and the more trust you build with your readers and followers. If they aren’t reading it, either you aren’t posting info that is interesting, helpful or useful. If your company does not have a Blog yet, then you are already seriously behind in marketing B2B in our new world of SM.
According to comScore, social networking has reached 94.7 percent of users age 55 and older, representing a 12 percent jump between July 2010 and October 2011. During that same period, the use of email among this group rose merely 1 percent, while email usage among every other age category fell by more than 30 percent, peaking with a 42 percent drop among users age 15-24 (who spend the most amount of time on social networks, at an average of 8.6 hours per month).
The quality of the relationships you create is far more important than the number of followers or likes that you have. It’s rarely about how many followers you have; it’s almost always about interacting with interested participants that can affect your business positively while bringing value in advance to them. It’s been said many times in many different ways, but make no mistake about it: Companies that don’t participate in the conversation are not stopping the conversation. The conversation is happening and if you choose not to be a part of it, you’re making sure that your viewpoint or response is not represented. If you’re not part of the conversation, you can’t protect your reputation. You have to know what’s being said about your industry and your company.
Dick Wagner is a Sales Coach and Commercial Marketing Consultant. 419-202-6745