By Steve Hoag

Social Media: Your B2B Mistress

Social media can be quite the fickle mistress.

You can stay active and see relatively little growth. But, the minute you stop posting, Hell has frozen over.

Now time for the good news! This doesn’t have to be you! There are a variety of ways you can easily bolster your online presence through social media. All you need is a push in the right direction, a little dedication, and an unpaid intern. I’m just kidding about the unpaid part. You should compensate them for their efforts. They are broke college kids after all.

So without further ado here are 10 easy pointers for helping to promote your website via social media:

1.Promote your content and website on every channel that is relevant to your business.

A lot of people think that it’s necessary to post on every single social media channel for their business. This is absolutely not true. For instance, let’s say you own a factory that makes screws, bolts, and nails. You create LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube company accounts. That’s great because they’re relevant.

Then you go way out into left field and create a Pinterest account. What’s Pinterest you say? It’s a social network that people (and by people, I mean mostly girls with an avid fashion/photography interest) post photos/images in a collage format. Do you think these people are interested in screws, bolts, and nails? I would venture to say no.

The point is this: Only become active in channels where your target audience is present in large numbers. The important B2B social networks are usually LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Most business professionals/targets are active in Linked In. The same can be said for Twitter, but to a lesser extent. Twitter has almost become a job posting/RFP network of sorts, with people actively looking for help in projects. Finally, Facebook is primarily used for direct to consumer products that have a quick purchasing decision process such as Pepsi, Xbox, Old Spice, video games, music etc. With regard to B2B, creating a company page on Facebook can be useful for developing an online community with your employees.

2.Create usernames/handles that reflect your business.

No one will be able to find you online if you have an account that doesn’t make people immediately think of your business. If you’re a graphic design company, use something like CompanyNameDesign, or something similar. The same goes for any other company. Include your company name in your handle, even if it is an acronym, along with another keyword that’s directly applicable to your work. Try to keep the handle as short as possible to make the most use of Twitter’s character limit.

3.Share content at peak hours.

It’s important to post when people are most active on social networks.  This will help to gain the most visibility. Activity varies a great deal between networks. For example, people are most active on Linked In during the weekends. Therefore, post content on Fridays when people are done with work and surfing their social networks. Focus on posting during business hours on weekdays for Twitter, especially between 1-3pm EST. This may vary depending on your business, but it is a good rule of thumb. Post on Facebook midweek between 1-4 pm.

4.Engage people you know and use them to share your content.

Who is more likely to do you a favor: A total stranger or friend?  Unless they’re a Good Samaritan, it will usually be your friend or even an acquaintance. The easiest way to immediately spread content is through people you already know. Leverage your network to engage potential clients in your contacts’ networks.

5.Stay active on other blogs, groups, and pages that your targets are active on to establish credibility.

What’s easier? Talking to that random girl at the party? Or making friends with her friends, impressing them, and then getting introduced that way? Here’s a better question: which is more effective? The first option is easier, and can be effective, sure. However, it is a lot easier to establish credibility if you focus on leveraging the contacts of your target. This goes back to pointer #4. People trust people they know. If you engage their personal network that your targets trust, then that immediately boosts your brand image in their mind.  A lot of companies focus on trying to promote their brand directly, where the indirect approach can be just as effective. Some practical ways of doing this are identifying blogs, groups, and pages that your targets are active on. Make comments on topics you are knowledgeable in, and post questions as well as interesting content you found to gain exposure.

6.Don’t spam your followers. Talk with them rather than at them.

Who likes someone that texts them incessantly throughout the day? No one. It’s annoying. When it comes to social networking treat your followers like you would your significant other. Don’t across as desperate for attention or needy. Give them just enough to keep them interested, but not too much so that you push them away. Spread out your posts so that you don’t flood their newsfeed. There are a lot of tools out there that can help you achieve this. One of the most prevalent in B2B circles is HootSuite. It aggregates all of your social media accounts from different channels, and allows you to schedule posts ahead of time. This means you don’t need to immediately post every interesting thing you find. You can save it for later! By spreading out your posts you are able to stay top of mind among your target market.

You know that one friend who can’t stop talking about themselves? Yeah, so does everyone. Don’t be that guy (or company). No one enjoys hanging out with them past the first 5 seconds. The same goes for social networking. Don’t constantly push your products on people. Talk with them rather than at them. This can be done by posting content that appeals to them, which in turn builds engagement, and makes people want to come to you. By posting interesting, and fun content you can engage them in a way that other companies who focus on hard selling and heavy advertising can’t. You will gain respect, and become a thought leader in their minds. When they do eventually have to purchase a product that you provide, you will already be top of mind.

7.Include share buttons on all of your content to make it as easily as possible for people to share it.

Once you drive people to your site, make it easy for them to share your great content! Install social share buttons on every blog page of your site so that you make sharing as seamless as possible.

8.Promote other people’s content, and ask them to share yours! They will more often than not return the favor.

Fact: Everyone loves attention. Nothing feeds the ego like seeing other people value what you have to say, and demonstrating that. When it comes to social media that means sharing, re-tweeting, reposting etc. Feed your followers’ egos by sharing their content, as long as it is directly relevant to your business and core competency. This goes both ways. You will be surprised how often people will share your posts as long as you ask them. For instance, asking for retweets on Twitter leads to 4x as many RTs! Cite hubspot It never hurts to ask.

9.Pre-populate article/blog content on your site to show that you are not new to the game.

This follows the idea that more content equals more credibility. Who do you trust more: The author with 30 books on the subject, or the one who is writing his first book? Definitely option A. If people go to your blog on your site and see only one post, does this convey your expert knowledge in your field, or commitment to your social networking? Nope. An easy way to avoid this is by posting several blog articles before promoting them on social networks. Backdate these so people see that you have had this blog going for a significant amount of time, rather than having 5 blog posts from the same day.

10.All posts and bios should use appropriate keywords to help you gain exposure.

Increasing exposure of your site and social media accounts are intrinsically tied in some ways. SEO for your site depends on prevalence of keywords and links, and the same goes for gaining exposure on social media. Include keywords that are relevant to your business in all blog/social media posts, as well as bios. If you are a designer, that doesn’t mean trying to force fit words like design every other sentence of your blog post. Make sure the article flows! When it comes to social media, including #hashtags with keywords makes your posts more easily searchable for other companies. For instance, Fast Track operates in website design and development, so including hashtags like #webdevelopment, and #webdesign are great options for any posts we have.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, July 10, 2013 12:06:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SEO SMB social media social media marketing website