Whether you make steel pipes or sell polythene; you, your customer, your vendors are all on social media. Here’s how to leverage it.
Recently someone described B2B as boring to boring on Twitter. It seemed that only B2C firms were creating social content and campaigns worth something of value. Poor B2B was carrying a bunch of whitepapers on its boring shoulders and dying each day.
Small businesses, startups and non-profits often seem to adhere to this thought process: “But my business is not sexy”, “Our clients are not on social media,” la di da.
All the claims are not incorrect, but these generalisations most certainly are. Should all businesses use social media? YES! And I’ll explain why…
1. Social media does not mean only Facebook
A healthy one out of seven people on the earth is on Facebook. I understand this may not include your particular customer. Hmm. Moving on, here’s what recent Facebook adoptee and CEO of GM, Mary Barra shared on USA Today a couple of days ago:
“While visiting Menlo Park, I was inspired by all the posters on campus — particularly ‘Nothing at Facebook is somebody else’s problem’…” – Mary Barra.
Case in point: No matter what industry, your customers live on Facebook. They may not want to discuss your product details on their personal networks, but they will seek out comments.
If negative, these comments will haunt your business. You need to be out there and ensure that you are not caught ignoring customer opinion. That’s usually a short term policy which almost always backfires.
Further, Facebook is not the only social media network the planet has seen (thankfully). Head of Marketing of Unified Inbox and Outbox.pro expert, Ken Herron wrote a great post on LinkedIn which I am quoting from:
Different businesses will be on different platforms (ever heard of Sermo, Ravelry or Troton?) and/or use the same platforms differently, but all businesses and organisations can benefit from having a relevant and engaging online presence – Ken Herron.
Case in point: Yes, all social media is not born equal. But you need to find the relevant platforms that your audience frequents the most and engage with them. Most of us look for information presented in an entertaining manner.
You don’t need to publish inspirational quotes if your business is only selling steel pipes (although a few won’t hurt). Stick to your knowledge base, share your industry insights and be useful!
2. Social media allows for amplification and discoverability
I have said it to multiple clients on so many different occasions. Many of them counter it with pride. And say, we were covered by so and so media and so and so blogger wrote about us. That’s great! But are you growing your own tomatoes?
We are no longer a single pull media market. You need to have your own followers and platforms that you invest in. You need to use media in different formats: from traditional to digital to user-generated content. And you need to amplify all the media/content you or your fans create on official channels that you grow and invest in.
You need to drive them back onto your own brand platforms and benefit from this always-on connectivity!
Social media will also allow your consumers to find you, tag you, talk about you, show you off to their friends, Check-in, Swarm, Pinterest and Foursquare you. Everything on social media will stay on Google forever. How can you possibly miss all these communication and marketing opportunities? Which business doesn’t want to be discovered?
Side note: There are some underground art/musical bars in Ann Arbor (where I now live), which only share the latest events with a select set of followers. So even if you were one of those it’s important to find hidden social groups to have some connection ability. Maybe you’re the reason why Snapchat was set up.
3. Social media creates real-world connections
Social media may have begun the opposite way, but now its purpose has changed.
It began by replacing real-world activities through efficient online technologies. However, in today’s day and age, it allows us to collaborate with people in real-life scenarios. Online leads to offline connections (and I mean real, not fake followers). Think crowdsourcing, social selling, influencers and bloggers.