Social Media Lift-off for B2B Marketers

The boss just asked you to launch a social media initiative for your B2B focused company. But you think, social media marketing is for that other breed - the B2C marketers. In general, social media will have lower costs than other forms of marketing and can be more effective for those wanting to get customers to spread and share messages. Thus, social media works for both B2C and B2B marketers - just don't expect millions of fans and followers...ever. B2B marketing professionals need to be careful, selecting social media point solutions that don’t effectively tie with business objectives will result in more expense, more work, and in some situations, brand backlash.

social media lift-off for B2B Marketers

For B2B marketers, a good initial objective is to showcase your thought leadership in your industry. Your organization will most likely have the marketing content already created. You want to build your audience with the low cost point solutions such as blogs, YouTube, Facebook Pages and Twitter and then assess your audience participation though measuring the number of subscribers, views, fans, and followers. If you see traction in these solutions, you should then consider scaling your social media program and tie your web analytics with your social media metrics. Since these channels will be plugged into existing communities (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.), leverage these communities to identify users (next step: identify influencers) who are interested in your content.

Here's a simple yet effective framework that can help your organization structure its initial social media strategy:

• Assess your existing social media maturity. Focus on quick, inexpensive successes. If your experience with social media is limited, concentrate on creating a small success with a single initiative or segment (e.g. US-based engineers who use Product A).

• Set clear objectives tied to realistic success metrics like “increase brand awareness by increasing your email lists by 2,500 users by the end of the quarter”.

• Develop strategies to accomplish each objective: Launch support to reach critical mass, drive daily engagement as well as user growth, tailor campaigns for brand impressions, data gathering, or drive transactions

• Select the appropriate social media point solutions and channels (blogging, Twitter, Facebook pages, etc.) to implement.

• Identify the key perfomance indicators that relate to your business objective (e.g. If your objective is to increase your audience reach, then measure the basics - your dedicated engaged audience such as Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers and blog page views (use web analytics tools like Google Analytics or Omniture to do this).

B2B marketers that take these steps and then put success metrics in place are the most likely to have happy bosses. What's next? You can identify influencers to extend your reach as rapidly as possible and drive traffic to your website to capture more user information and page view uplift. This is the ground work to develop true ROI measures for your social media efforts.

Houston, we have lift-off.

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