Tuesday, April 13, 2010

5 Steps to Get Control of BtoB Social Media

By Scott Gillum, SVP, GryoHSR
Based on recent experience with BtoB marketers, I’ve put together a list of tips that might be helpful for gaining control over social media efforts:
  1. Learn How to Listen – Web 1.0 was about business-to-professionals in the BtoB world. In Web 2.0, it’s about professional to professional. Users of your services/products want to listen to existing users of your products/services first, before they hear what you have to say. In Web 2.0, you have to go from dictator to facilitator. Learn to listen before you begin speaking, it’s a subtle and important transition.
  2. Keep it simple – I’ve found that marketers are so focused on the tools that they have lost sight of what the tools do, and the objectives they are trying to achieve. Social media tools do basically three things, none of which is new. They just do it better, faster or broader. The three things they do include:
    1. Engagement
    2. Access to information
    3. Greater reach and frequency
  3. Gain control of your situation – Unless your full-time job is social media, you’re going to have a hard time keeping up. The best way to gain control over your situation is to define your objectives and ask yourself: “How will the tools help me achieve my objectives?” Focus on your objectives improving engagement with customers, and provide greater access and distribution of information on a broader, more frequent basis.
  4. Upside-Down Funnel – In many industries, social media is commonly used to broadcast to a wide audience, hoping to attract a few people in the end.  In BtoB, marketers typically have very finite customer targets that they know fairly well. They don’t need to broadcast to a wide, unknown audience but rather deepening or extending existing relationships with a specific audience. As a result, the potential “sweet spot” for social media could be at the bottom of the funnel. Using social media to grow existing accounts while leveraging customer advocates to help win new business.
  5. Experiment – Lastly, do some experimenting. Social media is not going away. It’s one thing to be lagging, but it’s another thing to ignore its potential altogether. Pick a few areas and experiment. If it doesn’t do what you want it to do, at least you’ll have the experience to know why.

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As the leader of our channel marketing practice, Scott focuses on using proprietary knowledge and experience with complex B-to-B and B-to-B-to-C business models to help clients improve sales and marketing performance. Scott and his team have helped clients in the multiple industries develop innovative ways to create and bring new products to market, improve market coverage and growth through the deployment of new channels of distribution, and increase the overall performance of sales and marketing investments.