Social Media Marketing: LinkedIn for B2B

Do a quick search for social media marketing and chances are you’ll be inundated with articles and sites which include top tips, 10 steps and quick fixes. The problem is that all of this content is generally geared towards the B2C side of commerce. So what about our friends in the B2B industry? Is B2B ready for the social approach, and are the rules of interaction essentially the same?

I keep harking on about the four C’s of social media marketing, which is odd because I don’t usually buy in to the cookie cutter approach of explaining things. However, in the case of B2B, the 4 C’s are so obviously applicable. As with all social media, communication, context and content are all crucial.  The key difference in the social approach for B2B is the channel used to find your audience.

And enter LinkedIn; it’s not just for recruiters and job hunters. It’s a valuable link to your target audience with over 100 million professionals worldwide. Here are some top tips for engaging your audience using LinkedIn.

  1. Start out as an individual with a personal account, interact with people, and build connections and relationships. And then, when you have a strong network which includes the top people in your target field…
  2. Start a group for your business, (or your field, if it doesn’t already exist). Groups are a great way to bring people together and discuss what matters to your industry. (But remember, just because you have your own group set up, it doesn’t mean you should neglect the groups you’re a member of.)
  3. Use the LinkedIn Answers function to demonstrate your knowledge and provide a valuable resource to your industry. Using your expertise in this way is comparable to hosting an amazing blog, only more direct. For the people using social media to learn something, or develop their skill set, directly answering their questions is far more useful than making them look for the same answers in your blog.
  4. The LinkedIn search function returns profiles which are relevant and recently updated, so keep your profile up to date and increase your visibility in search results.
  5. And finally, network, network, network! There are a bunch of third party apps around which can make your networking efforts oh so simple. Tripit, for example, will let you know who in your network will be nearby when you’re travelling on business. Make your time work for you by setting up meetings with people, just because “you’re in the area”.