B2B Needs to Embrace Social Media

social media

Business to Consumer (B2C) Companies
are More Familiar with Social Media

Social media is an ongoing challenge. We need to allocate resources, train staff, make decisions on what our communication objectives are, develop messaging, and choose our media, just to get started!

Because the retail environment has always provided "talking" opportunities through in-store environments, messaging through signage, having promotional events, and in-person sales staff available to answer questions and provide assistance, retail is more accustomed to creating an ongoing dialogue. This has made social media a little easier to develop for B2C companies.

So far, consumers seem to be enjoying the promotional aspects of social media. Retail, food, and fashion brands are the most popular categories on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Starbucks has a fan count of 7.5 million and growing. Retailers can take advantage of posting promotions through social media and having them drive traffic to their websites and their retail/online stores.

Some Business to Business (B2B) Organizations
are Still Analyzing Social Media

It is a little harder for B2B organizations to embrace social media. There are questions about whether social media is appropriate for a B2B firm, the potential benefits, as well as wondering if current and potential clients are even using social media for business relationships. There are also more specific concerns in regards to the lack of control over the messaging, the risk to the company's reputation, and the amount of resources that are required.

Recommendations for B2B Social Media

1. Do Your Homework
At some level you need to get involved with social media. Start using social media, see what your competitors are doing, try and find your client base on social media.

2. Get Started
Choose a few social media applications to get started with. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all good places to start. Set up an account and enter your company information. Take the time to enter quality information about your company and add graphics that meet your brand standards.

3. Create Guidelines
Develop the guidelines for using social media as a business tool. Decide who will be using social media with the company name and what they are allowed to disclose.

4. Create Relevant Content
Really think about what content you will share. It needs to be relevant to your audience and not the same messaging that you use in your corporate communications. Use social media as an opportunity to let people know more of the personal side of your company and how things work on the "inside."

5. Be an Expert in Your Field
For many B2B businesses the appropriate tone will be as expert advisor on your industry. This gives you the opportunity to share your expertise while helping your audience get to know you better.

6. Allocate Resources to Social Media
It is difficult to track the success of social media, which makes it difficult to determine how much time/money to put towards it. You will need to allocate enough resources to give social media a proper test. Remember that this is a new marketing media that is evolving and results may take time.

Join us at our next Coffee Hour to continue this discussion:
Marketing with Social Media - it can no longer be ignored!
November 17, 2010 | 8:30 - 10:00am | Stevens 470
register today >

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