Primarily people think about social media an easy way to keep up with friends, to get news or information updates.Some more advanced users use it to communicate via a quick note via a Facebook chat, Snapchat, or Twitter. Certainly it is less intrusive than a call. However, it's, even more, important to pay attention to social media as a tool for improving your business. Even B2B firms can learn from this tools ability to aggregate opinions and trends.
Most B2B professionals view social as key for developing new business. Over 80% are distributing content on LinkedIn and Twitter. But what about listening? And what about finding niche outlets that offer insights that you might not find in the massive outlets that we all think about?
What social networks are your customers using? There are over 400 different ones, did you know that? To begin exploring the ideas around new social channels here is a fun article that you might find interesting: “25 Social Media Channels You’re Probably Not Using Now” What I want you to consider, is that you might find your customers on QZone or VK or Meetup. Each of these may have a specific interest to you based on geography or niche content conversations.
But let’s talk about a few of the BIG players for now. Facebook has the most people on its networks, but you shouldn't ignore Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Each a massive base and show an increase in users, and cater to demographics.
For example, Twitter is especially popular with those under 50, college educated and make more than $50,000 a year. If you’re new to Twitter, make sure you're following other people in your space. They will tweet, and you can learn from the conversations that occur. In essence, I want you to see social as a free research tool. Thought leadership is occurring and market trends are being spotted. You can participate just by joining and listening.
Twitter is a conversation so it's important to follow others. Look for:
- Businesses in your industry, especially your competitors
- Authors and bloggers
- Regulatory and industry association groups
Also, learn how to use hashtags in conducting research through search within the social network. Tags are a great tool for spotting conversations and running a search. You might even take part in a conversation.
These same ideas will apply to any social networks. Try, apply and use the tools. The big guys offer mass in numbers and niche players in your space will offer focus. Examine your ideal customer, look at where you find lifetime value (LTV) and pursue social networks they use. Explore these small and unheard of networks. You might find that a social network in China is key to your future, if you sell products or are expanding into China!
Social has value for B2B sales and business development that is often missed by the B2B community. Dive in!
Image provided by Greyweed.