This blog post is a little different than normal… it’s not been written by me! Time and time again, I keep coming back to this blog post, and so I thought it only fair that I share it with you too. It is written by Bryony Thomas, chief clear thinker for ‘Clear Thought Consulting Ltd‘. Clear Thought Consulting, is a company that I highly respect for their marketing knowledge and the results they consistently manage to achieve on behalf of their clients.
So, without more ado, introducing
B2B Social Media: Be There, Be Relevant, Be Proven
Our clients, and most people we’ve met and talks and events recently, have asked the same question: Is social media appropriate for business-to-business marketing? Unequivocally, the answer is YES.
In the last year, 40% of Clear Thought’s revenue can be tracked back to a social media source, and 100% has been enhanced or aided by it in some way. In the last six weeks alone, here are some things that Clear Thinkers have achieved through social media:
- Hooked up two people met through Twitter with paying B2B clients.
- Received two good quality new business enquiries, both of which are now at proposal stage.
- Sourced experts willing to talk to us about their business as part of market research projects.
- Enhanced relationships with prospective businesses using online nurturing techniques.
From a new business perspective, social media has critical impact in the first three stages of the sales funnel. That is, Awareness, Interest and Evaluation. From a social media perspective, you need to do the following:
To generate awareness: ‘Be There’ find out where your prospects hang out online and have a presence there.
To convert awareness into interest: ‘Be Relevant’ provide information that is useful or controversial to pull people into your content.
To make it through evaluation: ‘Be Proven’ provide case studies and testimonials at every turn online, ideally with other people talking on your behalf.
To really make the most of the channel, it makes sense to get some expert support – particularly in measuring and enhancing your activity. But, here are some really simple things to get you started.
10 FREE things you can do to generate awareness online:
- Ensure your company & all employees have a LinkedIn profiles.
- Join or set-up an interest group on LinkedIn.
- Set-up a SlideShare space, link it to your LinkedIn profile.
- Set-up a You-Tube Channel or Facebook page (if appropriate).
- Set-up a company Twitter Feed.
- Bookmark your content (StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, etc).
- Set up a BT Tradespace profile.
- Set-up Google, BlogSpot and WordPress identities.
- Comment on, or become a contributor to, blogs and forums.
- Regularly update email signatures with new content.
10 FREE things you can do to generate interest online:
- Post snappy links to content via Twitter, Status, Email footer, etc.
- Post regular interesting short blogs (10 mins).
- Prepare deeper content like pressos, papers and articles (20 mins).
- Give each of your team an area of expertise to track and comment.
- Post details of other people’s content relevant to your audience.
- Comment on industry news and happenings… in real time.
- Make sure all employees regularly update online statuses.
- Follow-up traditional touch-points with online contact.
- Gather permissions to send email updates.
- Ask intelligent questions in online forums.
10 (nearly) FREE ways to prove your credentials online:
- Provide written case studies on your site, Blog, etc.
- 140 character lines to link back to your case studies, articles, etc.
- Post case study videos on your site, You-Tube channel, etc.
- Post webcasts and presentations on your site, SlideShare, etc.
- Post product demos on You-Tube, SlideShare, etc.
- Re-use the words of others about your products and services.
- Provide intelligent answers to questions posted in Forums, Groups
- Run live Q&A sessions via Twitter.
- Add a customer feedback / rating system (like Kampyle) to your site, blog, etc and re-use the positive feedback.
- Ask LinkedIn contacts for endorsements.
Note: In this blog, we’re focusing specifically on lead generation. It is worth noting (and blogging in the future) that social media can be powerfully used in market research, recruitment, lead nurturing and much more.