You've probably heard the buzz about social media for business. It's a pretty great and (mostly) free marketing tool for businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries. Studies show that consumers as well as executives and other B2B audiences are using social to make important business decisions.
75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/vice president (VP) executives surveyed use social media to make purchasing decisions. (IDC) Tweet This Stat!
How do you leverage social media for business?
Rule #1 of social media for business is defining a specific target audience (alternatively, building your buyer personas). You're not trying to get EVERYONE'S attention, so don't make that your end goal. Aim to get the attention of your best buyers above all else.
Rule #2 of business-focused social media activity is creating & sharing interesting content that is valuable to your target audience. The content you share doesn't have to be created by you - in fact, research shows it's best to do a 10-4-1 split of social media content (10 pieces of other people's content, 4 of your blog posts, 1 of your premium offers). Sharing content created by others demonstrates humility and a true desire to help your customers, not just promote your own content.
Rule #3 is consistency. Consistent updates, consistent sharing, consistent branding, consistent voice. You want your posts to be easily recognizable and unique. Use the checklist below to make sure you're posting frequently and consistently.
You don't have to be posting frequently on ALL of the networks below - if you're short on time, try to focus on the ones your buyer personas use (for example, manufacturing clients are extremely unlikely to be browsing Pinterest every night). The ones you do pick, however, should be handled with all of these best practices.
This infographic provides a checklist and tips for the following social networks:
If you're planning to use a network not listed here, you can still apply these practices. Just be sure to follow the etiquette and accepted communication style of your chosen network.
Infographic courtesy of The Whole Brain Group.
Social media will only grow in usefulness for business as we continue to integrate the Internet into our daily lives. Expect to see the Internet of Things have an impact on social media for business - especially the Industrial Internet of Things for manufacturers.
Don't neglect your social media presence. If you don't currently have profiles on the first four networks listed here, you're lagging behind. Now's the time to catch up; it'll just get more difficult later on.