How businesses use social media has spread to just about every corner of marketing. Social media is used to target an audience, forge a two-way dialogue with customers and gather feedback. Business to business companies (B2B), however, have been a little slow on the draw.
Business to business has relied on face-to-face interactions for a long time. Personal communications have always been what make the sale in B2B. The climate of today’s business world no longer allows for this as the primary means of interaction. People no longer invest time and resources into face time; they now use technologies like Skype, conference calls and social media to interact.
Business to business companies have been slow on the social media bandwagon because they don’t realize that they can use it to:
Display Company Insights
Social media allows companies to reach out on a “nothing to lose” basis. No conference call, no travel time and no meetings. B2B companies can now show other business their culture. They can see what it’s like to work with them and what they have to offer. Fredrik Bernsel, a sales director for Europe at LinkedIn, instructs B2B companies to use social as a opportunity to, “Produce valuable insights for members that raise interest in your brand.”
Social media is a free and easy way to establish yourself as an industry leader. Many companies are using social media to drive traffic to their blog. Creating a company blog is a great place for companies to establish their credibility. Guest posts from industry leaders, as well as in-house writers, give followers a sense of the company culture, values and expertise.
B2B companies also often have a hard time establishing their brand. Because they aren’t B2C, they don’t have the same household name factor going for them. While hopping on Twitter doesn’t equate to ‘insta-branding,’ it gives companies a chance to expand their reach. Their audience will see their logo, their name and their comments.
Build an Employer Brand
B2B companies still need to establish themselves as a great place to work. Attracting key talent is a battle when no one knows how to find you, or that you even exist as a company. Getting employees engaged in building the employer brand is exactly what candidates want to see. Who better to give candidates an insight into the company culture than a real life employee? By establishing a social employer brand, companies are both able to reach the right candidates and drive more traffic to their career site.
Employees can do this through contributing to the blog, hash tagging the company name or sharing industry tips about their job. Employers should set social media guidelines while encouraging positive social media interactions. A social brand employer campaign is actually pretty fun and easy to get off the ground. Check out how Citi is doing it.
When using social media for B2B marketing, it is important to remember that the intent is to drive traffic elsewhere. This isn’t where you want them to stop, whether that’s the company site, a job listing, the blog or another social media site. So you can tweet, but is your company site easy to navigate? Are your job ads informative and welcoming? You’ve sent out the invitation; make sure the venue is ready to go.