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Prohibition Is Over: Golden Rules For B2B Social Engagement Excellence

The blanket ban businesses imposed on social media in the workplace has ended. Don't let your B2B social presence fall behind. Get back on track with our 5 golden rules for engagement excellence. 

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On the 16th of January 1920, the Americans passed an amendment that could have never even be conceived in Britain. Prohibition. They banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol. It was 13 years before the Americans came to their senses and slowly reintroduced alcohol into society.

Now this is similar to when companies introduced a blanket ban on social media sites when they first burst onto the scene before really getting to grips with what is was all about. Consequently many B2B companies missed out on the full potential of social media to market to other prospective clients. But much like the American Government realised they were wrong about banning alcohol, companies started to realise how effective social media was for B2B and slowly started to allow it to be used in the workplace.

This enabled companies to capitalise on two things.

Firstly, they could corporately engage with B2B channels as they knew other companies would now have employees looking for their products and services on social media and therefore needed to make their profiles, content and websites visible and educational. Secondly, their employees could republish, endorse and comment on the company's content and act as a promotional tool.  And obviously all employees respected the trust they'd been given and only used social media for business activities. 

So with all these opportunities to get your company out there and win some new clients you better set up a B2B social media account. But wait, we know that social media is daunting and over enthusiasm can give you a false start which is difficult to recover from. At woO we have 5 simple tips to up your engagement and turn you into a social media pro:

1. Get Planning

It's very easy to turn into a puppy: Get over-excited, "like" everything, follow everyone and schedule 100 tweets promoting your company and its products and services in the first day. Ultimately, if you do this you will have an accident all over your social media success before you've even started. 

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Think about the way you're presenting it: 

  • Choose carefully which platforms to use for your business
  • Pick a writing style and tone 
  • Choose engaging content themes 
  • Decide how often and when you'll publish (we suggest 2-3 times a day)  

Give a good first impression: Take time writing your bios, profiles and choosing pictures - for many people this will be one of the first times they're interacting with your brand so you want to look good, you wouldn't go out to a swanky bar in you tracksuit now would you?  

According to Earnest 75% of buyers want you to curb the sales pitch. Outbound marketing is intrusive and a constant sales message about how great your product/service is. Inbound is about educational, useful and thought provoking blog posts and articles that are relevant to your existing and potential customers so make sure you're not publishing sales pitches. Your content should provide solutions to their questions and guide them to deciding you are the right company for them.

Get connected. Always create links to your website and other social media platforms, that way your followers can find more information if they'd like and do some of the leg work for you by sharing more of your content.   

2. Put the 'Social' back into 'Social Media'

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools in marketing. Us humans are social and trusting beings, we like to have a sense of camaraderie. We would probably trust Bob from Stoke-on-Newington's review of the latest James Bond film more than a world-renowned film critic. 

And where would we read Bob's review?

Probably somewhere on social media. 

Now I know that's more or a B2C example but it applies to B2B too. People really take into consideration what companies they've never heard of have to say about your business' customer service. Quite a lot of the time, people like to feel involved with a company, to build a relationship or trust and one of the easiest ways to do this is through social media. It's free, it's quick and it's convenient.

It's also a great way to engage with potential customers right at the start of their journey, they could discover you, fancy a quick chat to learn a bit more, enjoy your virtual company and then go on to read some of your content. And all you have to do is respond and post compelling content.

Complaints tend to be less common for B2B companies but they still do happen, and we thoroughly recommend sorting it out nice and quick because bad news spreads across social platforms quicker than Enron collapsed.

So to sum up this section, take the opportunity to show your company actually has a personality through your content, opinions and interactions, no-one wants to work with a grumpy technophobe.  

3. Check Up On It

So someone reads an amazing piece of your content on "The Mullet Heyday: Top 10 mullets of the 70's." They love it (naturally) and carefully construct a heartfelt tweet to show their appreciation as you've provided their lunch break humour 

No-one replies. 

They unfollow. You lose customers. 

Ok maybe it's not that dramatic, but research shows that engaging with your followers and fans helps build relationships. People love to be listened to and valued, so make sure you check the pages daily to see who is interacting with you and reply to them. You never know who could be out there listening whether its potential customers or thought leaders who can boost your brand.  

Use marketing automation platforms and tools like HootsuiteKlout and Hubspot to analyse your online presence and schedule tweets so you can see all your mentions, new followers and interact with your customers. They also make sure your messages are optimised with images and #'s, in case you forget.

These are great because they can also tell you how many people are interacting with your messages, click through rates and even visits through to your website. This data provides you with so much insight into what you're doing well (and it's bound to be a lot if you're reading this guide) or the exact areas you could improve, so you can get back on track quickly. 

4. Clue Up

Now don't run away with everything you've read and start spouting out content left, right and centre. Oversharing is a much as a turn off as undersharing. Dip your toes in at the beginning and get a feel for what your followers/fans engage with.

We'd suggest then sticking to what you know for a little bit to check your audience is enjoying it. Then start introducing some new ideas, or more thought leadership pieces to add a new dimension to your business.

Inbound Marketing is about constantly reviewing what you're doing so you can optimise for the future.

Develop your own style and voice; people often like people with an opinion or a stance that they can challenge or agree with - create opportunities for conversation and engagement. 

Be original. There's nothing worse than logging on and having your newsfeed/twitterfeed cluttered with the same 5 articles posted by everyone.

If you want some ideas Old Spice have done a pretty good job of making soap interesting and Charmin's twitter feed makes me want to buy their loo-roll.  

Create Content. Be original. Entertain. 

 

 5. Be Visual

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I bet the majority of people just scrolled through this blog not appreciating the carefully constructed content, BUT they'll remember that infographic and maybe impress with it during a water cooler chat.  

Infographics are still the business darling. If you haven't seen them before they're essentially want every teacher wishes had been created 20 years ago. They present facts (to bored school kids/office workers) in an interesting and digestible way. The best bit is they even look great on mobile devices, and with internet searches on mobile devices up 247% year on year, it's important to engage on all platforms. 

Do you trust that your product or service works? We hope so. Great, make a video of it. And if you really push the boat out, put someone with good communication skills in it to make your company seem more approachable and make other companies want to work with you.

 

Draw people in with an eye catching image. Engage them with your style. Convert them with your content.

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Topics: Social Media, B2B Marketing, Inbound Marketing

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