Business to human: social media for business to business

Businesses clearly use social media to reach their consumer markets with great success. Our personal feeds feature as many posts by brands we like as they do memes, invitations to events and pics from our mates’ night out. But if you have only ever used social media for your own personal accounts, it can be hard to see how to apply your personal experience to a B2B marketplace. So where do you start?

When it comes to putting our business in front of other businesses, many people don’t know how to make social part of their marketing mix. Central to any marketing strategy is a deep-dive into understanding your audiences. And in social this is certainly true, whether your audience is consumers or businesses. Whatever your market, you always need to connect to actual people. You don’t talk to a business but to the people within the business.

Not so much business to business, more business to human.

When defining your social media strategy think about the people who work within the business. Chances are you want to speak to people in particular roles such as chefs, PAs, heads of IT. For example, if you run a venue and want to promote meeting space, you don’t want to target local businesses so much as HR or marketing people within those companies.

A technique which many marketers use to flesh out target audiences are personas. Personas are a tool commonly used to focus marketing and flesh out ideas of who your key audiences are. And, as the name suggests, personas are all about people: they are pen portraits not of the business you want to target but of the human beings who work there.

When you’ve worked out who your audience is think about what motivates them, rather than what you do.

What might they want to learn?

What do they need to know to stay current in their area of expertise?

What problems might they need solve?

If you answer these questions by making sure the content you post to your channels is useful for them, then you are on the way to engaging with the people who work at your target businesses.

And remember, business doesn’t mean boring. Although working in B2B marketplace may mean you have to be professional, it doesn’t mean you have to be bland. Think about the tone of voice your brand uses online and remember that it is okay to inject personality.

Social media provides you with an excellent way to create brilliant customer service, to really engage with your customers and that means having conversations, to comment and reply – to chat with them as individuals.

So if you are thinking about marketing your business using social media, remember: don’t make your B2B social media marketing business to business, but business to human.

 

Stop the “free” thinking

Banknotes from different countries at the main office of the Korea Exchange Bank are seen in this picture illustration taken in Seoul

the cost of social media

 

As I professional marketer who specialises in social media, I’ve been to a lot of conferences and seminars on social media. Almost without fail, someone at some point will describe social media as a “free” way to promote your business.

Sure, you can set up a profile for your organisation for free but can you really have a significant and profitable presence on with your audiences without any investment?

Social media isn’t free because your time isn’t free. Have you asked yourself these questions? Are you making the most of your time? If you weren’t online posting on Facebook, what else could you be doing?  Are you stretching yourself too thin? Would you be better off focusing on your core business? Do you find yourself disappearing down a social media rabbit hole every time you go to check your feed?

 

Don’t worry; there are lots things you can do to make sure you are making the best use of your time – here’s a few tips:

 

Be clear what you want

Many people fall into the trap of thinking their business needs to have a presence everywhere and spend a lot of time jumping on the next new thing or new platform. If you are clear what you want to achieve, you can really focus your activities and make sure that you do fewer things but do them well.

 

Know who you want

Are you really clear who you want to talk with through social media? Are they your current customers, press, possible customers, potential funders or partners? Are they local? Are they old or young? What work do they do? What do they do in their spare time? What are they interested in? Do they read newspapers or magazine, if so, what? What social media platforms are they using?

If you take a little time really getting under the skin of your audiences, you can make sure you don’t waste time later by focusing your efforts talking to the right people, on the channels they use about things that interest them. The time you invest in social media will be much more effective.

 

Use the tools

There are plenty of tools available to help you manage your time and activities efficiently, and many of them are free.

If you are like me and find it hard to stay focused when you pop on to social media and find yourself distracted by interesting threads then you might benefit from setting aside an hour or so a week to schedule your posts in advance. If you do this then you only need check in briefly twice a day to respond to engage with your followers and on other accounts. Tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Edgar and Tweetdeck help you organise your social media in advance so you don’t have to remember to do it all week.

 

Or if you can’t dedicate the time or don’t feel confident you have the skills to manage this, consider outsourcing your social media. An agency or freelancer will have the knowledge and experience to help you develop a targeted social media strategy and can even manage all elements of your social media. When your accounts are in expert hands, you can concentrate on your core activities.

The Land of Green Ginger

 

As a child growing up in Hull, I was intrigued by the Land of Green Ginger. Where is the Land of Green Ginger? Who lives there? And what do they do?

It is such an evocative, whimsical name and in my head the Land of Green Ginger was a place of adventure and imagination. A place where I could be anyone and do anythingreengingerblueplaqueg.

 

In reality, the Land of Green Ginger is the name of a short street in the old town of Kingston Upon Hull. Nobody knows where the name came from and there is even a blue plaque which states “One of the oddest street names in the country, Land of Green Ginger was the title of a Winifred Holtby novel. The name’s origin remains a mystery.”

 

The Land of Green Ginger is also home to what is reputedly the smallest window in England. Tucked into a wall by the door of the George pub, there is a narrow slit of a window which at first sight seems like a gap between bricks but on closer inspection is actually glazed. When I was young, I used to love it when my mum took me down the Land of Green Ginger to try to find the tiny window – it seemed like such smallestwindowa mystery. These days there’s perhaps not such an adventure finding the window as someone decided it was a good idea to stick a massive sign next to it.

 

Another reason the Land of Green Ginger resonates so strongly with me today is that my parents recorded a series of songs and stories, written and performed by them, which they produced and sold on cassette tapes. Hopefully I will be able to share some of them on here soon, but in the meantime, I sing the songs to my own children to keep it alive.

 

When I came to set up my social media management business, Green Ginger made sense to me as a name. It is a place which reminds me of my roots and pride in the city of Hull. It reminds me that I can be anyone and do anything. It inspires me to succeed.