There are plenty of articles and blog posts concerning the use and measurement of social media in business to consumer campaigns but not so much concerning its use for industrial marketing. Can industrial marketers utilize viral videos, coupons on Facebook, or a limited time offer deal-of-the-week on their blog and get the same results as B2C marketers?
Industrial marketers are aware that B2B industrial marketing has very different demands from that of consumer-based marketing. The sales process can take much longer, sometimes lasting several months. So taking advantage of the opportunities offered by social media requires a different approach. Here are some thoughts to help you plan your social media.
YouTube: This is probably one of the greatest tools in the industrial marketer’s social media toolkit, particularly for manufacturers, integrators, distributors, and service providers. Establish a corporate branded YouTube channel. Use it to post videos that demonstrate your products or services in a way that both informs and motivates viewers to contact you. Include a call-to-action that lets them know what you would like them to do next. If you can make them both informative and entertaining that’s all the better. Just ensure the content addresses a recognized pain and the efficacy of your solution. Promote your YouTube channel and videos on your website and via email campaigns to your targeted audience groups.
Facebook: There has to be something really important on your Facebook page to get your industrial audience groups to take time out of their busy, task-filled days to interact with it. Preparing this account for effectiveness may take a little research beforehand. In addition to information about your company’s growth and development, uncover the type of information you need to post on your Facebook page in order to generate and maintain readership. Consider posts about client challenges or results. Include links to your videos, case studies, white papers, news stories and blog posts. Talk about a promotional offer. Whatever content you choose to post, ensure that you know it to be of interest to your targeted buyer groups. The objective here is as much branding as it is sales. Concerning the products and services you offer, you want to remain foremost in the minds of them you wish to sell to.
Twitter: Comcast, in my opinion, has made the best use of Twitter by using it as another form of customer service. Those who need support can Tweet @comcastcares. “We are here to Make it Right for our customers,” reads the introductory text. A tremendous reputation-building effort, this customer directed initiative is clearly designed to make customers feel supported, resulting in good feelings about Comcast. Model it. This extension of your customer service helps to keep positive thoughts of you in the minds of your customers, effectively reinforcing your good reputation and building brand loyalty.
Your Blog: Offering you the most content real estate, your blog allows you to engage your targeted audience groups in a wide variety of ways. Whether you are talking about policies and standards, or offering insight into how something can be accomplished, stimulating content encourages readers to comment and interact on a deeper level. You can encourage your audience to become loyal readers by offering content you know is of interest to them. It is tempting to want to present content that is more relevant to you and your interests than that of your readers. Find a way to satisfy both. If you include links to outside resources, select the target to open in a new window so that your readers are not directed away from your content.
Measuring: Keep track of what you are doing and be clear about why you are doing it so you can accurately gauge its effectiveness. If you are trying to sell something specific, you will need a little more involvement from your respondents. Have them enter a coupon or offer code on a response form, or direct them to a web page that can be easily tracked using web tracking code. If you are getting responses offline, then make sure your sales people ask respondents to provide the offer code or from where they heard of the offer. Results-tracking is only as effective as the systems you have in place. If the same offer is being promoted on a number of social media platforms, then create a separate code for each platform so you know from where you are getting response. Divide and conquer is your best approach.