Wider Net, More Fish


May 11, 2012

Social Media Strategy for Business-to-Business Marketers

One of the more common comments I hear these days goes along the lines of, “We don’t sell to consumers, we’re a business-to-business model, so I’m not too worried about all this social media mumbo jumbo.” Such ignorance assumes that the new media are some kind of contained burn that only affects businesses trying to reach out to retail consumers. I suppose ignorance is bliss. But in such cases, blissful myopia will be the by-standing dead fall that gets burned by the new media wildfire.

Most companies view the social media as merely a way to engage in conversation with the masses. So, if their target audience doesn’t represent the masses, the medium isn’t a good fit. But what they fail to recognize is that the social media, and other new media assets, play a major role in casting a wider net – expanding Web presence – and making a company more visible, current and active to the niche demographics that need specialized products and services.

I like what Ardath Arbee says in her book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale:

Think of today’s marketing department as a publisher with a variety of content channels at its fingertips that can provide you with a larger communications reach than you’ve ever had before. Even though 80% of companies say that they “found” their vendors rather than their vendors finding them, chances are high that their initial discovery was somewhere other than your corporate Web site. ”

So what should a business-to-business company’s “wider net” consist of? A baseline Web presence for any company should include:

  1. Company Website
  2. Industry-focused Blog
  3. YouTube® Channel
  4. Facebook® Page
  5. Twitter® Profile Page
  6. LinkedIN® Profile Page

However, merely establishing these assets is not enough. Each of the online tools is user friendly enough, that page set up is fairly simple for even a non-technical user. The real value comes from proper activation of each asset. This takes a detailed defining of objectives, content planning, listening, and understanding what the rules of engagement are.

For example:

  • Company Website: Objectives are to persuade and close the sale, and primary tools are catalogs, specs, details and contact/transact functionality.
  • Blog and YouTube Channel: Objectives are to resolve concerns and soft sell, and primary tools are thought leadership, demonstrations, testimonials, evidence and answers.
  • Facebook and Twitter Pages: Objectives are to empathize and establish brand alignment, and primary tools are sentiment, experiences, activities, impressions, and feelings.

If executed properly, an objective-driven visibility strategy can become a powerful tool for engaging more prospects and migrating them toward product and service consumption. It’s much less about reaching out to the masses and much more about being visible and available to those currently searching for your products and services – a wider net.