Businesses continue to lag behind in the social media revolution. Even with 56% of businesses planning to heavily or moderately increase their social media expenditure at budget time (MarketingSherpa) only 26% of all B2B companies have more than 2 years of social experience (eMarketer). If your company is one of the 44% that either will not be increasing your budget or not in the space at all (if so, you’re probably not reading this right now) let me change your mind and make you money.
The last ten years has brought us new entertainment (Youtube, Hulu), networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and more data then we can handle (Google Analytics, WebTrends) as business owners. There are many popular social media tools available for business owners and ways to connect with your target market. For any business these tools allow you to show off your expertise in ways that, in the past, you could only demonstrate through trade shows or other marketing pieces and paraphernalia. The tools that I will talk about don’t have to replace any of your marketing plan, but should be added to it. We already talked about Twitter and FourSquare in New Social Tools for Local Businesses, therefore I will dive into LinkedIn and Facebook.
Overview: LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals. It allows users to connect with others who you have worked with in the past or currently, with whom you share group connections through, and friends. The page that you display becomes a living resume that you can update and revise at anytime.
How it will help: By joining or creating groups for your specific industry you allow you to interact with potential customers and vendors otherwise unreachable. LinkedIn has a robust Q&A section that can allow you to show off your expertise. By searching through and answering industry specific questions you can gain leads and raise awareness of your company.
Overview: Facebook has recently taken the lead in site hits from Google and is growing at a much faster rate. They also have an interesting ad platform that lets you drill down to specific demographics.
How it will help: Recently Facebook unleashed a new tool to its 400 million users. It allows any business to add the “Like” button to their website and it will directly link to your Facebook page. With many users adding content to this network, if you are not representing your company, someone else will. Although it is looked down upon to blast your fans with sales messages, you can direct interested users to your website off the Facebook platform.
Don’t use social media to blast the net with your sales pitch. Instead, interact with your target market, show them your expertise, and guide hot leads to your website or sales team. Social media and the internet have changed the way we interact with our customer base. Have you?