Saturday, October 20, 2012

6 Social Media Tips for B2B Merchants

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn allow consumers to quickly comment on and share products and services. In an article featured in the October/November 2012 issue of Multichannel Merchant, Briteskies managing director of IT services William Onion says B2B marketers can and should take advantage of these free tools in order to reach a greater, better targeted audience.
But according to MCM Outlook 2012-13, B2B merchants have not adopted social media at the same pace as its B2C counterparts – 83.1% of the B2C respondents said they market through social media, compared to just 66% of B2B respondents.
Social media offers both a 1-to-1 relationship between the brand and the customer, and a community a customer can reach out to for guidance when he or she is looking to make a purchase. So as this infographic from Ecreative Internet Marketing points out, merchants need to make their presence in social media known.
Here are six things B2B merchants that are looking to get started with social media (or are looking to grow your social media presence) can do:
Use Twitter to converse with the target community

As Brad Shorr points out in this post at B2B Insights, “paying attention could help you sell them additional items, earn referrals, and build relationships” with your audience. Shorr also recommends you don’t use Twitter solely as a channel to pump out links to your content. What you share on Twitter should be interesting, or you’ll be ignored.

Think about Instagram

Instagram is a mostly mobile platform and it’s great for connecting with individuals or other businesses that may be in need of your service, writes Erica Bell in this article on the website of Komarteting Associates. Bell writes that when using this social media channel for B2B marketing, it’s important to keep in mind that your images are about visually influencing prospects. Since Instagram is a visual social media, Bell recommends B2B merchants use it to show off products and to give your staff some personality.

Join LinkedIn Groups

Actually, don’t just join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your industry, as suggested by Ken Krogue in this article he contributed to Forbes. You need to be a part of the conversation, and you need to listen to what your potential customers are saying. The same thing applies if you start a group: Listen and learn, but as mentioned above, don’t spam group members with links and sales pitches.

Use Facebook ads to drive likes

Claire Jarrett, CEO of Marketing By Web, says bringing Facebook users to your Facebook page is cheaper than bringing them back to your own website. “… it's what Facebook wants you to do, keeping them on their site,” Jarrett wrote in a post at Tech & Science.

Pinterest is good for B2B
But if you are going to use Pinterest, it’s important to commit yourself to the time it takes to create a breadth of compelling content, blogs Heather Sundell, marketing manager of The Search Agents. However, as DMA 2012 speakers Orli LeWinter, director of social strategy at 360i and Sharad Veram, CEO and cofounder of Pinfluencer pointed out during their session on Pinterest, “The absolute worst mistake you can make is creating a graveyard of boards… It could very much hurt your brand to have customers find your halfhearted account.”

Google+ is not a wasteland
Why do we say that? Because it’s pretty safe to say that if industry evangelist Guy Kawasaki writes a book about Google+, then the social media channel is about the be big. 


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