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B2B Companies – Don’t Start with Social Media If….

Let’s see why B2B companies are more and more turning to social media –

Because thought leaders are saying so –

Content marketing is the only marketing left – Seth Godin

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it – Erik Qualman

Because these stats are enough to convince us –

  • 94 percent of B2B buyers conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product (Source)
  • 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Source)
  • 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level or vice-president level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions (Source)

Because traditional sales methods are not working anymore –

Company CEOs and sales heads are seeing that what worked for them a decade ago does not work any longer – cold calls are incredibly ineffective, email campaigns are not getting enough response, and meetings are hard to get. The conversations with the buyers start at a much different note where the buyers are well-informed about what they want, how they want, and from whom do they want it.

Now that you understand the relevance, importance, and need of B2B Social Media, you should just start with it, right? Hire a good team and get started? Well, not really. Let’s take a step back. Instead of looking at “how” to get started, first you need to examine if you are really readyfor B2B Social Media or not.

Don’t start the efforts if –

You are not sold on the idea of social selling

Don’t just go by stats or quotes. Impartially evaluate your business, your industry, your customers, their purchase behaviors, and your sales cycles. See what role content marketing and social media can play in your business growth. Only once you are convinced and have understood the relevance of social media and content for your business, you should start the efforts. Without any specific goals, your efforts will be, well, just efforts. 

You don’t have a good website

A lot depends on your site. Period. And I am not talking about a jazzy and fancy website only. The role of social and content is to bring users to your site. If your site cannot convince them as to why they should do business with you, then no matter how good your social media efforts are, you are not going to get the desired results. Some basic things to look for include – does your site talk to your target audience, does it offer all the relevant information, does it specify the “benefits” your target audience is going to get by working with you, does it establish your expertise in the field, does it offer enough proof (aka case studies/ testimonials) to convince your target audience that it is beneficial for them to work with you? Another important thing to check for is navigation and placement of the right CTAs on the site – these help in keeping the visitors involved and engaged with the site.

You, as the head of the business, can’t commit time to it

Social media is not free. It is differently expensive. Hiring the best team or a great agency is not going to give you the desired impact if you are not involved in it yourself. As the head of the business, provide the required direction, views, and pointers to the team. Regularly evaluate the progress and see if the goals are being met or not and what tweaks are required. Make sure that there are synergies between sales and marketing teams. As someone who has the visibility about various other aspects of the business, it is your responsibility to ensure that the marketing efforts are aligned with the overall business goals.

You don’t have integration of marketing and sales

Gone are the days when marketing and sales teams could work in silos and have different goals and targets. In today’s age of hyper-connectivity, every department within the organization is the marketing department. Especially between marketing and sales, there needs to be a tight integration. Sales teams should leverage the content being created, the marketing team should ideally align the content based on sales campaigns, social media activity should talk about the same things as the sales campaigns, content should help in addressing the common objections which the sales teams are facing, and so on. All these things are not possible unless the marketing and sales teams work together.

You are “trying” it out

Remember that social media and content marketing is a commitment and not a campaign. I would not recommend you starting the efforts if you want to “try it for a few months and continue based on the results”. Social media requires serious commitment, well-defined goals, a thorough action plan, and flawless execution. Unless you are prepared to invest your time, energy, and resources over a long term, you should not venture into it.

Don’t let these factors deter you from starting your efforts. The sole objective of this article is to help you plan better.  It really pains me to see companies cannot leverage this powerful medium simply because they were not well-prepared and do not know how to get started. Right preparation is the key to success. As Abraham Lincoln has famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

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