5 tips for your b2b Social Media strategy

note: this piece was originally published on behalf of bnet at http://blogs.bnet.co.uk/sterling-performance/2009/09/23/five-tips-for-b2b-social-media-marketing/
Business brands using social media are starting to see the benefits. But are there any best practices they can use? Guessing that the average businessperson may not know where to start, George Krautzel and Bill Connfrom online agency Toolbox.com have issued a whitepaper on that subject. Here are some ideas:

  1. Set objectives first. Don’t head on towards social media just because it’s hip. Who is your target audience and what are you trying to achieve. Are you using the right media outlets for the audience you want to reach?
  2. Build a roadmap to engagement. Start advertising on social media platforms and then slowly engage in conversations. “Entry in social media can be as simple as advertising in an online community”, as Conn and Krautzel point out.
  3. Examine the costs and benefits of building your own community, as opposed to tapping into existing communities.Building your own community is a lot more costly and exacting than joining an existing one that fits your needs.
  4. Transparency is a must. A marketer has to say that he is a marketer, and that’s that. A comprehensive guide to disclosure, as it’s often called, courtesy of the Social Media Business Council. So-called Flogs (fake blogs) are a no-go area,
  5. A good marketer listens to what is said about their brand. It’s inppropriate to control feedback, so you should be able to withstand criticism and use negative feedback to improve your service.

I agree with most of Toolbox.com’s advice, but I’d add a couple of caveats:

  • Words like “campaign” and “targeting” aren’t really appropriate for social media, in my view.
  • And whereas Toolbox advises you to get started with online advertising and then to learn how to engage in conversations, I’d do just the opposite. My ultimate best practice advice would be to ask permission and learn by doing, slowly but surely, one step at a time.

I’ll be picking this theme up in a post soon, but in the meantime, you can download the toolbox social media whitepaper here.
Let me know if you have any other tips to share.

Yann Gourvennec
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