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In the last three to four years, social media marketing has increasingly become popular. Consumer product companies have special budgets for social media, though when it comes to business-to-business companies (especially in India) its marketing benefits are overlooked. Most companies are apprehensive and believe it is not meant for them. “Our customers are not on social media,” is what I often hear.
I run a business software discovery and recommendation platform. And as the name suggests, our customers are mostly businesses. We had the same “Our customers are not on social media” apprehension when we started marketing our product. We decided to avoid Twitter and Facebook and concentrate on LinkedIn. It did not take us more than a month to realize we were wrong. For my startup (even for a B2B clientele) Facebook and Twitter have been as effective as LinkedIn. Here are four reasons why social media should not be avoided, especially in the B2B space.
1. You get brand mentions which improves online presence
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is unavoidable today. It’s no secret that the best and easiest method to get your SEO right is to be active on social media. If you have been avoiding Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you are avoiding an opportunity to boost your SEO. Additionally, what you can do is strategically try and get your brand mentioned by various people on the social media platform.
For us, whenever we add a software to our database, we tweet about it and tag the company associated with it. It helps in getting retweets and shares (the ultimate SEO). We might not get direct customers from these activities, but we do improve our SEO which ultimately results in customers.
2. Friends are your best brand ambassadors
Your friends might not be your customer, but they can always become your brand ambassador. And the best way communicating with all of them, at the same time and still being subtle, is of course Facebook.
We have a very active page on Facebook which keeps our friends updated on our activities. True to our assumptions, these activates on Facebook did not get us direct customers, but we created brand ambassadors of our friends. They have been spreading the message for us and helping us acquire clients.
3. Investors & mentors
Instead of filling out those long forms for competitions, and applications for accelerators, try to find angel investors and mentors on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Angel investors and mentors generally have industry expertise, and tend to invest in companies in their area of expertise. A well-managed twitter handle can help attract their attention. Ensure that you create a lot of content in your area of business. It will help establish your expertise and ultimately help make investors and mentors in your industry interested.
4. Distribute your content
Having an awesomely written blog is just not enough. It needs to be read by the relevant audience. And until the time you don’t have a long subscriber list, social media is the best way to distribute content. The simplest and easiest way to do this is to become a member of relevant groups.
In the long run, You might end up getting customers and likes from unconnected group members. For us, LinkedIn groups have been working very well as well as Google+.
5. Generate leads
Many more leads can be generated for B2B business on social media than B2C. When people want to buy a new phone, for instance, they either visit a review website, or call their friends. But then don’t know who to ask when they want software. They target a bigger mass to get the right answers and post it on Quora, Google+ Circles, Facebook hoping for free advise. This is how we got our first few clients.
How have you leveraged social media tools, methods to your business’ advantage? Let us know in the comments below.
Image by j&tplaman via Flickr.