These days, it's essential that business owners and managers embrace social media - Forrester research shows that 100% - repeat 100%! - of B2B decision-makers use social media for business purposes. And more than half (57%) of B2B IT buyers use it as part of the purchase process, according to Business2Community.
Social selling offers a unique opportunity to engage prospects wherever they are online, so you don't always have to pull them into your site to tell them how great your product or service is. But what exactly does it take to become a socially-minded leader? A recent Forbes article offered a few thoughts that I found interesting...
Tidy up your digital footprint
This is an important, yet all to often forgotten, piece of advice. Stepping into the social media arena means that many more people are going to look your business up online; so it's essential to get your digital branding consistent and on-message right across the board.
Depressing as it sounds, most web users (more than 90%) don't bother clicking beyond the first page of Google when searching online, and research shows that the first result of a brand or business name will get more than a third of all its clicks. So, when a prospect looks up your brand online, make sure that what's coming up on the first few Google search results is exactly how you’d wish your brand to be seen.
You should also make sure that your LinkedIn company page is detailed and up-to-date, as it will nearly always appear as one of the top three Google results. The same applies to your Twitter profile which should also rank highly in search - the last thing you want after successful getting someone searching for you online is for them to be clicking through to inactive or unloved social media profiles.
Add some source
You may not think you have the time or inclination to generate heaps of content for your social pages, but you don’t always have to produce original content. Some of the B2B leading social media opinion formers have built huge networks as ‘curators’ of relevant, high-quality content. There are also a number of software tools at your disposal to help discover on-brand content that you can share with stakeholders, adding value to your pages.
Stick your neck out
If you get most of your content from other sources, one way to stand out from the crowd is to offer your own thoughts on the subject at hand, even if it’s just explaining why you thought it would be of value to your followers. What’s more, resharing and commenting on other people’s posts is a great way to get noticed by target decision-makers and influencers.
Get stuck in!
Above all it's essential to be part of the social media conversation. Don't just share a piece of content and think your work is done; now you need to discuss it, respond to comments and offer follow-up information or links to other sources. Without this, your efforts will be wasted and you'll fail to build genuine and communicative relationships.