Social media releases are not new but they still create challenges for many business-to-business clients. A plan, time, effort and a person who has some know-how are often missing in the small to medium B2B environment.
Examples of business-to-consumer social media success are everywhere. As Michelle B says on Top Rank, “But how about the B2B social media winners? I’m guessing these weren’t as easy to name.”
Ben Parr says in What the Future Holds for B2B Social Media Marketing, “Business-to-business (B2B) social media is a different animal. B2B and enterprise companies aren’t trying to convert millions of individual consumers into customers — they’re trying to convince a smaller group of companies with bigger budgets to buy their products or services. Social media’s power to spread a message across the web isn’t as relevant.”
John Jantsch says in Duct Tape Marketing, it is all about getting your clients to “know, like and trust” you. The statement applies equally in a B2B or a B2C environment.
A few trade journal editors and local news publications still publish traditional press or media releases. B2Bs need to get exposure for events, activities, new product releases, and accomplishments. The new tools do not rely on the whim, preferences or prejudices of editors. (Do editors have favourites?) Social media releases rely on followers, friends, status readers, blog subscribers, e-newsletter subscribers and groupies.
Build a social media profile
Companies that focus on business-to business can effectively use e-newsletters, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to help distribute news. It doesn’t have to be a struggle if you start slowly. But you need to start.
For many business-to-business clients the best place to start is with an e-newsletter sent to an existing customer and media contact list. Using a sign-up form on your website you can increase your subscriber list. To do this, your newsletter must provide valuable, useful content – something that readers will want to read, save, and forward to another colleague or contact.
Groupies on LinkedIn
I recommend that my clients start by creating a complete profile on LinkedIn. It’s all about knowing, liking, and trusting. A complete the profile helps to develop your credibility.
Business-to-business clients find that groups on LinkedIn provide a powerful way to get information and to give information – all providing exposure for your company’s expertise. Businesses can find LinkedIn groups that are aligned with their interests and industry where they can share without disclosing corporate secrets.
Your status updates can draw attention to useful and interesting content in your latest e-newsletter or a message posted on your website.
Companies can also create their own closed group on LinkedIn. For example, you could form a group for your worldwide agents, distributors or representatives to share information, leads and product knowledge. It is all about communication.
Yes, blogs require time and a consistent and continuous commitment. A blog should focus on industry specific topics to demonstrate your expertise. Like anything else, you have to promote you blog. As a result you will acquire blog subscribers who can promote your content – if the content is valuable, interesting, thought provoking or even controversial and if it uses keywords. Again, here is an opportunity for your readers to tweet and share your content with their followers.
Product releases with a static digital image should be supplemented with a video clip showing the product in action. There is no need to wait for the bi-annual tradeshow to demonstrate or launch a new product. Launch it when it is ready and show it to the world by posting the clip on YouTube and promote it on your blog, in your e-newsletter and on your website. Encourage your followers to share, like, and tweet it.
Social media releases, whatever form they take, rely on the interests, preferences and whims of your followers, subscribers, status update readers, and LinkedIn groupies.
Start by creating a social media profile and create content that is valuable, newsworthy, helpful and informative so that your potential clients will know, like and trust you.
If you are involved in B2B transactions I’d be interested to know how and if you are using social media.