Social media marketing has revolutionized the way B2B marketers do business — and the evolution has been rapid.

Until a few years ago, only the most forward thinking B2B companies embraced social media marketing. Now it's accepted practice for just about every business, large and small, and with good reason.

As Jacques Bégin, Research Director, Technology and Services at SiriusDecisions, explained, "Successful social strategies are about listening and learning in the right places to engage your audiences with personalized messages and relevant content that provide education and value at the right time.”

Develop a Social Strategy

Social media extends the opportunity for communication after the sale, potentially adding value and increasing loyalty through relevant conversations with customers. This also increases the probability for upselling and minimizes the risk of losing touch with a customer.

There are many ways for B2B businesses to build an active community and engage customers and prospects on social media.

10 Ways to Get Social

An effective social media strategy is multi-faceted. It encompasses customer engagement, social listening, personalization and information sharing as well as post-sales communications.

Here are nine effective strategies.

Maximize the impact of your company blog by sharing creative, engaging content.

Your blog is an excellent resource for customer engagement. Use the analytics to identify your most popular content and then circulate that across social networks to amplify likes, followers and user engagement.

Invite customers to share stories on your social networks.

Personalized social media marketing can generate great public relations. Invite your customers to share photos of the ways they use your product on your social media sites, or ask them to write about ways your products have helped them live or work simpler or easier. This gives customers a sense of belonging and grows your business community.

Share photos and videos from trade shows and conferences.

Trade shows and conferences give you opportunities to build connections with your customers. Show them how you engage with buyers, suppliers and other vendors, and showcase the personalities of the members of your team.

Grow engagement by sharing behind the scenes photographs.

Customers love to see interesting events that go behind the scenes. So take pictures of your team that demonstrate the values your want to project, whether that's teamwork and integrity to fun and laughter. It's a way to build brand reputation and engagement in an authentic way.

Learning Opportunities

Share your company history, including the challenges you faced.

Modern marketing is all about story telling. Share the inspirational story of your company growth and development. How did it all start? What challenges did the founders overcome to get where they are today? Customers appreciate hard work, honesty and perseverance: share your journey.

Share the successes of people you admire.

Whether they're industry influencers or local people who are creating positive change in the communities where they live, try sharing stories of people whose values align with those of your company. It makes your company more relatable and shows you care about more than the bottom line.

Appreciate your followers.

Let your customers know how much you value them. Tweet a quick ‘thank you’ when someone follows you. Apologize when something goes wrong.

Plan for the future.

Social media offers a great opportunity to discuss industry wants and needs. Strike up conversations with your followers about trends and the state of the industry. Observe what they predict and encourage comments on those predictions. These insights are great sources of customer engagement as well a data points for planning purposes.

Post teasers of new products or services.

Before releasing any new product or services, build interest on your social networks. Share little bits and pieces of information with photos or testimonials. Post information like how the new product works and how people can use it to build interest and desire.

Incorporate social listening.

Apart from all these tactics, any B2B campaign has to have an element of social listening. Users on social media are constantly giving signals and valuable information. Marketers can use these insights to acquire leads and gain actionable insights.

Selling your product is all about building relationships with the customer and emergence of social media has given a new meaning to it. Today’s digital buyers are always online, and social media offers an increased opportunity to keep them engaged.

Personalize the experience, engage creatively and connect with your customers through all available channels to maximize your overall success.

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