NEWS FLASH: B2B marketers must learn to leverage social media.
Yeah, we know. Sometimes it seems like all you hear about is how important it is to integrate social media into your marketing processes, but do you honestly know why you should do it? It can sometimes be difficult to quantify the benefits of investing large amounts of time into social media.
But the benefits of building relationships, listening to your market and influencing buyers before they’re even identified as potential leads are priceless! Leads gathered through social media present both a unique lead nurturing challenge and a huge opportunity at the same time.
The first step in building a presence in the B2B social media world is so simple, it almost seems like a non-item, yet it’s too crucial to not emphasize here: Listen to conversations that relate to your brand to see what others are saying about you. This will give you an idea of what the playing field is like and how the market sees you. Here are a few quick ways to effectively monitor your social media standing:
Search all public content, including everything posted on public fan pages, in groups and on event pages. Keep in mind that Facebook is a more personal environment, so privacy settings on personal pages that may restrict what you can see must be respected.
The “Answers” section is a great place to start. See if people have asked questions about your company, your competitors or your industry. Possibly more important, see how people have responded.
I’m sure this will soon be a key player in social SEO. However, until brand pages are available, just get used to the interface so you can hit the ground running when the time comes for Google+ marketing strategies.
- Search Engines
Search engines such as Google and Bing do capture social media interactions along with everything else, so it is possible to find specific tweets or blog comments about your business. However, due to sheer volume of results, this may be more trouble than it’s worth. Also, for privacy reasons, search engines may omit blog comments at the blog owner’s request.
This is another must-have in the B2B world. Get search engine results on a daily basis by setting up alerts around keywords. For example, you can establish a Google Alert for your company name. You’ll definitely get some irrelevant results, but it’s an easy way to get a quick daily update on what is being said about your company or whatever keyword you decide to track, all at no cost.
- Social Media Monitoring Software
This is a much more organized way of conducting social monitoring. These apps allow you to automate searches, monitor high volume keyword mentions across many social media channels, and run reports on mentions of your brand, competitors and top keywords. This realm offers both free and paid subscription options. Take a deep dive into your social analytics with Visible Technologies or Radian6; which are available as a SaaS model at a monthly or annual fee. If you’re looking for more basic insight and automation, check out HootSuite or TweetDeck. However, don’t make the mistake of abusing these tools by over-automating your social presence. One of the key aspects to social media marketing is the dialogue, and if you have a monthly calendar of scheduled tweets with no interaction taken into consideration, you are completely missing the point.
Social media monitoring will also help you decide where to get started when beginning your social media efforts. Use the insight to start engaging on sites where your company is mentioned the most, or where you can find the largest number of customers.
Also, keep in mind, this is just the beginning. Monitoring social interactions is just the first step in creating a compelling brand that socially engages with customers, prospects and whoever else happens to surf their way to your brand’s profile page. Take a look at our Definitive Guide to B2B Social Media and begin to utilize social media in your marketing to the max!