This article was originally posted on MASHABLE
*Additional reporting by Tamar Weinberg
When we write about how companies or individuals are using social media in their marketing strategies, it’s usually in the context of a business to consumer relationship. However, business-to-business (B2B) marketing is really getting a boost from social media as well. According to a recent study, 60% of B2B marketers plan to increase social media marketing spending this year.
As we discussed earlier this week in the context of PR professionals and social media, even non-B2B-centric services like Twitter and Facebook can still offer great opportunities for B2B shops. Sometimes, the approach is the same as it would be in non-B2B marketing, sometimes it can be very different.
Figuring out how to best implement and harness social media in the course of B2B marketing can be difficult but we’ve put together ten tips to help get you on the right track!
1. Use Twitter Effectively
This may seem like a no-brainer, but plenty of businesses and even B2B marketers aren’t on Twitter. Get an account on Twitter and start engaging. While having profiles on other social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can be equally important, Twitter remains one of the best ways to find and engage with others.
How do you do that? Start by searching for phrases relevant to your business and by monitoring those searches regularly. Look at what people are saying and join in the conversation. If people aren’t necessarily looking for your business offerings right away, start joining other conversations of interest. The more you build bridges, the more likely you are to be noticed.
Second, use hashtags. The #B2B hashtag, for example, will connect you with several other like-minded businesses who are also trying to leverage Twitter to build an online presence. Don’t overdo it, though. There are some people #who #tweet #like #this.
We’ll discuss this in the next point, but consider Twitter to be an informal medium. With social media, businesses can (and should) be human again. That’s why it’s safe to use Twitter not just for pure self promotion but to build a meaningful relationships with those who you are likely to do business with you in the future. If you feel comfortable using your business Twitter feed to talk about what makes you tick (versus purely promoting your business), you might be pleasantly surprised to see that your audience might very well be receptive to that messaging.
What’s great about Twitter, especially from a B2B perspective, is that you can follow just about everyone. Take advantage of the opportunity to follow your industry influencers, connect with potential customers, and keep a heads up on the competition.
A great example of Twitter usage from a B2B perspective is @salesforce. Salesforce has used its Twitter feed to share relevant news, to empower current customers, and to offer customer support.
Read the rest of this article here.