Social Media & B2B

At Gruden, we’re finding businesses increasingly taking social media seriously — and it’s less and less about a marketing gimmick and more about an actual communications tool. One space that’s often overlooked by the wave of social media marketing is B2B. If ‘social’ is all about people, then how is it useful when two businesses are talking to each other?

Pauline Hanuise comes recently to Gruden from an agency background in Europe; she prepared the following as an internal primer and explorative document on social media techniques, particularly where there’s room to adapt them to the B2B context. There’s some great information here we wanted to share. -peter

As social media can be very powerful tools if you use them correctly, as digital agency, we are very interested by this kind of media and want to build strong experience in implementing efficient social media campaigns to offer our clients a large scale of possibilities using social media for B2C and B2B companies.

Here are some ideas about what it is possible to do with social media.

Generating Traffic

One of the most important things about the social web is to promote all your content and your sites on other sites and communities, and as they start working in an exponential way, it’s easier to drive more traffic on your websites.

“For example, more and more people are using Twitter for real time search results. And each of these people influences many others, whether through direct business dealings, or other internet channels like their own blogs, or video interviews.”

Similarly with Facebook, when a customer “likes” your page and becomes a fan, a message is published on his/her wall and all his/her friends see this notification, etc.

As a company, you should consider a response to every comment you receive and engage with those talking about your company or brand. This is a good way to be closer to your clients and generate interest for your brand/company.

Some successful Facebook campaigns consisted in asking your fans the next product they would like to see or asking your customers to become a fan of your Facebook page to receive free samples of your products or reductions.

In other words, you can be pretty sure that if you give your customers what they want, you will generate traffic (and leads) quite quickly.

Generating leads

One of the big strengths of FB is to collect data from your fans. Like that, you can generate a database very quickly and use it to create a newsletter later on to explain/sell your products/services. And to generate fans, nothing’s easier than to organize an online contest on your FB page with some prizes to win – or even give them samples or reductions.

One of the company’s I worked with has a nice way to make their potential clients look at what they’ve done: they organized a weekly contest to win one of their products/services (but you can also allow a budget to buy prizes if it’s not possible for the company to offer products/services on a weekly/monthly basis). Then, each week, you had to answer a few simple questions about the company and its products/services. All the answers were on their website; like this you were forced to use their website and check several pages to find all the answers. And I guess that all their new or potential clients have already won something. They offered prizes you can use at home (an ice cream maker for example)… a nice way to make people thinking about their company even if they are not at work ;)

Ogilvy have a useful slidedeck on Social Media in B2B, including a takedown of common myths.

Importance of a good communication management

We also think that a company which wants to be active on social media needs to have a good administrator who can control communications flows on the social media they want to use. As social media are more dynamic and interactive, they need to have an offensive communication strategy and know very well how to manage this kind of communications (which is rarely the case). They also need to invest some time daily to manage their social media campaigns otherwise their campaigns and social media strategy might certainly be unsuccessful.

Implementing social CRM

One of the strongest benefits of social media is that it can humanize a company. More and more marketing specialists are speaking about social CRM (customer relationship management), even for B2B companies, and we think it’s really worth paying attention to it. The goal here is to use social media to manage customer relationships. Most companies already have CRM processes and a CRM system. Traditional CRM was very much based around data and information that brands could collect on their customers, all of which would go into a CRM system that then allowed the company to better target various customers.

Social CRM is a much more user-centred process than traditional CRM and it’s probably why companies need to pay attention to this. Audiences are changing and evolving with the growth of social media. The challenge for organizations now is adapting and evolving to meet the needs and demands of these new social customers.

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