Social media has changed much about the face of the internet, Web 2.0, and all that jazz you’re insanely familiar with. But it has also changed the face of business. It’s no longer one hulking company with a single personal representative talking to each client. Today, it’s entirely possible for a company to get to know a client without them ever walking through their doors.
Get in touch.
Most people immediately think of Facebook and Twitter when they think of advertising on social networks. B2B marketing is best done in a more professional setting like LinkedIn, though. B2B is about reaching out, professional to professional, to come to an agreement that will help both businesses. LinkedIn is the perfect arena to connect business owners, a sales team, and department heads in one place with minimal costs.
Multiple people can discuss needs and solutions without pricey business trips or inconvenient conference calls. Large business appreciate having more of their employees’ time freed up almost as much as they’ll appreciate being able to read your pitches on their own time.
The sales department is the contracting muscle that brings blood to the rest of the organization. It’s so important, you may feel like moving business discussions to social media endangers that delicate life system. But remember, when you’re dealing with any company, they’re looking to save money and time.
CEO’s don’t want a person on the other end of the phone. They want the answer in the most direct form possible; whether it’s a call, or a message over LinkedIn. If they get lonely, they’ll call their mothers, not their toilet paper supplier. Be there when they reach out and let them know they’re a valuable member of the team, but don’t bombard them with friendly phone calls when a quick response will do.
LinkedIn also provides a chance to have your customers review your service. If you’re doing an amazing job and one of your clients loves your product, have them write a quick recommendation. In this shrinking world, think of your LinkedIn page as your seller’s page on EBay. You want good recommendations and tons of descriptions.
Join the conversation.
It’s important to be recognized as a thought leader in your industry, even if you’re not leading in sales. Small businesses are in a great position to try new things out without stopping workflow. They have a level of creative agility that big businesses can’t even touch without experiencing major difficulties.
One of the ways to lead the pack is by reviewing your processes on a blog. Have your employees write white papers and discuss what you’re seeing from them on your blog. From there, take it to the social networking streets. The important thing is to have a conversation with readers.
You don’t want to spam their feeds talking about yourself.
Let’s be honest—who among us really likes someone who only talks about themselves, provided they aren’t family? Social media is the same. You don’t want to be the kid on the playground talking to themselves because their friends got tired of listening to them.
Your online presence should be positive. You should be coming up with solutions and pondering answers, not complaining about policies or taking negative views.
Listen and learn.
Learning has never been easier, especially for adults who are already in a field. If you have an area you’d like to know more about–whether it’s your own business or something closely related–sign up for some online classes. Maybe you need to know more about accounting. Try an online MBA program.
You can also learn from your network itself. Offer to host Google Hangouts where other small business owners in your area can get together and talk about solutions they’ve used for their own problems. A group of younger entrepreneurs have a lot they can learn from a 20-year veteran.
Likely, your local chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) can match you with a group of small business owners to connect with and learn from.
This piece is courtesy of Austin, an avid blogger with a degree in Marketing Strategy who loves to travel. He is currently gearing up for a fall trip to Germany and Belgium. More of his writing can be found at www.eatbreatheblog.com.