Social Media Marketing: The complete guide to the new business networking tools

Ashley SabbouhSocial Media: your ‘how-to’ guideLeave a Comment

Social Media Marketing: Think of it as owning an electronic newspaper

A paper where you, your staff or an outsourcer do all the jobs.

As the Distribution Manager of your B2B Social Media Marketing platforms, you decide who will receive your newspaper. You also control which distribution media to deliver your paper to readers—but it’s all the same words, just different media platforms. And the choice of platforms is ever growing.

As the Editor, you have the final say in what your audience gets to read, listen to or watch. As the Journalist, you do the research and decide what stories you will write. And the Editor can of course, hire other writers. And as the Finance Director you decide how much time and money you should spend to make your newspaper valuable and profitable. How much to spend to generate new clients and raise the profile of your business.

The best approach to marketing is about first defining your niche: your VIPs, your very important prospects. The type of clients you want more of. It’s all about business networking, and B2B Social Media just makes it more powerful.

Well, knowing your niche is absolutely fundamental to Social Media. How else can you create a ‘newspaper’ of value? Can you write content for everybody? If you did, would they be interested? No! More importantly, how can you select who to send it to? How can you build a distribution list?

If you don’t have a niche, you might as well stand on New York’s 5th Avenue or Sydney’s George St with a megaphone. Calling people to gather round. And then try and collect all their business cards. Useless.

The best approach to all marketing, including on B2B Social Media, is simple and practical: Decide who your most valuable prospects are. Gather them together. Then engage with them. Then selectively sell. So, converse first; convert later.

Besides, an important part of social media marketing is copywriting. Why is copywriting so powerful and how can it improve your business?

Social Media Marketing: Different Social Media Logos

Social Media Marketing: Before Twitter & LinkedIn, there was Networking

So we need to revisit the fundamental rules of offline networking. Why?

Because people are people, and the principles of networking haven’t changed just because we do it online. And how we do it is innate to humans whenever we gather – it’s the same in Karachi, Melbourne or San Francisco.

In a nutshell? It’s is about making a connection and establishing a relationship.

Networking 101—what you need to know

Business networking is about getting to know a diverse group of people linked by something in common. It could be by a profession, interest or perhaps a common background such as school or college.

A simple truth is that “No man is an island.” Everybody has a network, and for the most successful people it can be their greatest and most powerful asset—not the money, not the real estate but their NETWORK. They became powerful largely because of their connections which are so important in our hectic and inter-connected world. Not so important 100 years ago when all our networks were local and had physical proximity at their core!

What are the characteristics of a smart networker? How can you build an effective and powerful network?

Firstly, it helps to ensure we have the correct mindset. Networking is not a work style, rather it’s a LIFEstyle. As we all know, the boundaries between business and personal are much weaker today. The term ‘social networking’ seems strange to many of us in business. But, we have to embrace it in the new era: the Facebook and LinkedIn era of ‘business social networking’.

Now, when we talk about building connections and networks, keep three vital concepts in mind:

  1. You have to give people a reason to want you in their network

There are over 7 billion people in the world, all with one thing in common: They control who they let into their network. Unless you can find a way to help those you want to network with—a way that makes sense and is valuable to them—quite simply, they won’t want you in their network. The network that they have complete power over!

The aim is to give before you receive. So, some Networks have clichéd slogans like “Givers gain” but like many clichés, it’s founded in truth. Now there are exceptions to this rule, primarily for the super-rich, the very powerful or the very beautiful. Though you could argue that they are ‘giving’ their beauty or sharing their power; however, this is for one in a thousand people: you run or work in a business, one you want to promote and you’re not super rich or powerful (yet!).

This first step towards a powerful network is absolutely vital. It is the foundation stone. Give Now. Receive later.

  1. People have to know you, and what you’re good at

This is the second foundation stone of networking theory. It’s not just about going to a conference or networking event and chatting with people. It’s about making sure others know what you are good at. There are critical things you need your networking colleagues to know about your business: What kind of clients can you really help? Why should they refer you? Remember the old cliché?

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Complete rubbish!

It’s who knows you and what you’re good at.

  1. Focus

Work out which types (or groups) of people would be the most valuable for you to network with. Your ideal clients of course, your VIPs. However, also think about who else influences or sells to the people you want to influence. Where do they congregate? How can you help them?

B2B Social Media Marketing: Connecting people

Social Media is about bringing people together as are so are many of the new cloud applications. B2B Social Media is particularly strong in generating leads for business. Looked at from a marketing perspective, it is just one more form of ‘internet’ marketing, and we say it’s been the most important for a number of years now.

By creating a profile and adding people and having them add you, you can stay in contact with prospects and clients. And most importantly, generate leads. It’s also great for optimizing your website so you rank more highly on Google and become more visible online.

Even smaller businesses can build a high profile in this new media at a price they can afford if they focus on a valuable and narrow niche. Particularly the early adopters as there is currently little competition because most business people see it as new and scary.

Why use Social Media Marketing? Improving your Google rankings is one big reason.

Creating links and backlinks from popular social sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter will direct traffic to your site, which then boost your search engine ranking (but not hundreds of links created in low-wage countries – Google will penalise you). Of course, these social sites have ‘no follow’ links so Google assigns no value to the link, but it does value sites with higher traffic (and shares, which are likely when the visitor comes from a social site).

The more traffic, the higher your ranking. Google and other engines are also paying a lot of attention to your ‘social presence’ and how many people engage with your content. And Google particularly promotes your presence on their social network, Google+ (which IMHO is at least a little bit evil!).

What B2B Social Media Marketing should you use?

There are different types of social media sites. Facebook is clearly the biggest and is mainly for the young (and the restless!).  LinkedIn is clearly the business equivalent and is used by companies and business professionals to create networks of their peers. There are many other networking sites, too many to list here.

For B2B marketers, we recommend you start using them in the following order:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Blogging
  3. Twitter
  4. Facebook and Google+ (a small presence only)

Facebook advertising is of course not Social Media as such: just an effective advertising tool being well targetted and that you only pay for results, similar to the older and much larger Google Adwords.

Learn more about the complex world of Social Media Marketing.

Cheers, Toby  [B61-63]

Toby leads a team of young, international B2B marketers at Lead Creation