“I don’t deal with customers. I’m business to business. If my clients want to find me, they can go my webpage or call me.”
Yes, we’re still having this discussion about social media and B2B companies.
I think one problem is the word “social”. It’s a soft word.
Substituting social media for “digital networking” might be an easier sell to B2B’s.
You’re not just being social, you’re building a business relationship over a “digital golf game” or a ‘”digital business lunch.
I used to be the Sales and Marketing guy for a local theatre company that toured the US extensively. This was long before social media.
Each year we’d fly south to attend performing arts conferences where we’d pitch our shows to producers who we hoped, would present them in their performance spaces.
They, in turn, would sell them to their market – B2B, right?
The exhibitions were expensive, time consuming and resource heavy – but indispensable.
The best lead generation and networking was made off the floor - in hallways, at breakfast, at the bar.
We can do all that now on social media without having to pick up the dinner tab.
Imagine if I had Google+ Hangouts or Skype then?
“Remember that you’re not selling to other businesses or to “consumers,” but instead you’re always selling to real people whose buying decisions are driven by emotion. Speak to that emotional side, as Cree has done. Find your cause and use it in your messages and share it on your channels.”
My Customers Don’t Use Social Media
Forrester research shows that 81% of online adults use social media. Regardless of whether your business is B2B or B2C, it is people who ultimately make the purchasing decisions…and 81% are using social.
Social Media Doesn’t Apply to Our Business
Does your brand have a story to tell? If you answered yes, than social applies to your business. It’s a forum to tell your story. The primary reasons any business uses social are:
Social Media Is Not Worth the Trouble
Forrester research found that 86% of business technology decision makers use social media for professional reasons. Social is actually MORE important for B2B than B2C. Why? With longer sales cycles, social can actually reduce the touch points needed to close a sale.
Is social media right for every B2B business?
If you don’t have leadership from the top to propel a social media strategy, then it will fail.
Without sufficient resources invested and the company committed, a business won’t be able to maintain either the level of engagement or volume of content to see positive results.
You can outsource consulting, strategy, monitoring, and even content generation but you can’t outsource “you”.
It contains some great ammunition to volley at those B2B social media naysayers.
Which social platforms do you think are best suited to B2B marketing?
(This is an edited version of a previously published post.)
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.