Opportunities pop up at the strangest times. My friend Brett Noyes is building a FinTech startup incubator, and he asked me to work on his staff to help these founders with social media strategy and planning. I said yes. Then I realized I had no idea what I was getting into.
Thankfully there are a million or so blog posts about how to create a winning B2B social media strategy. I scanned a few of them in preparation for my new task. Here's a summary of what I found.
Publish Or Perish
B2B social media is full of gatekeepers that collect facts to put in front of decision makers. Your eBooks and Whitepapers are those facts vital to building an email list of warm sales contacts. This is a variation on the current theme of content creation/marketing to tell the story of your brand.
University professors who seek top end jobs and academic notoriety must be researchers before they are teachers. This creates the authority necessary to draw a specific targeted audience (create sales) and build brand awareness.
eBooks and Whitepapers are exactly the same for a company seeking enterprise sales. Gatekeepers and decision makers study facts presented without needing to make time for a high pressure sales call for which they aren't prepared. These documents also create warm leads for sales staff.
The B2B buying cycle is already long enough. eBooks and Whitepapers shorten the burdensome cycle because potential clients decide if your product can solve their problem without wasting a pointless face to face meeting. Your sales force can spend more time selling without playing phone tag and creating an endless stream of fruitless emails.
All About That List
Creating eBooks and Whitepapers lead to the creation of the all-important email list. Plenty of startups have tried to make something better than email. See Slack and Convo as examples of potential email killers.
Those apps, however, serve a different purpose and audience. Email is still where it's at for marketing and sales, and it's far from dead when used correctly. This means your company can't just build a massive list and throw random content at subscribers. An email list is a living, breathing thing that requires consistent attention and a gentle touch if it is to cultivate leads and sales.
Managing that list is about many things, but the one area your staff must focus is mobile. Smartphone and tablet growth is expected to be exponential in the next 10 years. Mobile UI/UX is vital to your growth and prosperity. Don't ignore it.
Easy Customer Service
I use Discord and Social Port as part of the video streaming and content creation I do on my YouTube channel. Discord is my chat app, and Social Port is a video clipping tool I use to create highlights. When I have issues their FAQ can't answer, Twitter is a great way to get their attention. Each time I had an issue they were quick to respond with a solution and support.
This is how your enterprise sales business also builds its story. Customer reviews are an important tool for potential clients to judge your business. Social media is the ultimate feedback tool. Your interactions with clients create the narrative. Don't worry too much about complaints unless they all have a consistent theme. Everyone makes mistakes and not every customer is always thrilled. Smart people are more focused on how you handle the problem rather than the actual problem.
This is also a great platform to cultivate your community. Industry-specific humor and lighthearted banter are great in the right situations. Even supply chain management professionals and accountants like to laugh at silly stuff.
The more I read stories of success and failure in this area the more I realize B2B social media performs the way everyone wishes ALL social media did. The B2B community is focused on facts, solving problems, product veracity and utility, and generally getting things accomplished. I'm all for a good cat video and funny meme, but I also have work to do.