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Adapting social media for b-to-b companies

Today’s guest post is by Mark Wallace, vice president of social media for Environmental Data Resources.

The success stories of social media effectively connecting brands and consumers are plentiful. But what about b-to-b companies? These companies may never have a million followers, but there are still clear benefits to a social media presence. And the strategies, processes, and principles don’t change as much as you might think. The rules that have been followed by successful b-to-c brands apply to b-to-b, as well.

First, it’s vital to figure out exactly what the social media goals are. Too often, brands get into social media just for the sake of having a brand presence online without direction or a concrete strategy. As with any business initiative, it’s vital to have something to strive for. Possible goals for a b-to-b can be improving customer service, increasing customer loyalty, driving sales and lowering costs. There are tools out there to achieve just about any business goal, but success will hinge on whether or not there is a sensible strategy with a reasonable business objectives.

Executing on the strategy and plan is the next step. There’s a misconception out there that success in social media comes easily, when it really requires considerable time and effort. Sometimes outside help, either with building the technology, implementing the strategy, or simply having enough hands on deck to staff the initiative, is necessary.

Finally, define the success metrics. Is a membership target number the goal? Or is generating additional revenue the objective? These are just two possible metrics. It is highly unlikely that you will build the next Facebook, but what you build could be the future of your business. Having senior management’s support, dedicated resources and commitment are keys to meeting and surpassing expectations.

There will always be a little difference when it comes to social media because of company size and targeted audience (b-to-c or b-to-b), but the course to success is similar: social media relevance comes from continuously delivering value to members and followers. By doing that, companies in all shapes and sizes can reap the benefits of social media.

Image credit, philpell, via iStock