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B2B Marketing: 5 Outstanding Ways to Leverage Social Media in a B2B Setting by Julie Bevacqua

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B2B Marketing: 5 Outstanding Ways to Leverage Social Media in a B2B Setting by Julie Bevacqua

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Julie Bevacqua shares tools to brand yourself as a market leader, such as Social Connector and Jigsaw, and social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Plaxo.

Julie Bevacqua shares tools to brand yourself as a market leader, such as Social Connector and Jigsaw, and social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Plaxo.

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B2B Marketing: 5 Outstanding Ways to Leverage Social Media in a B2B Setting by Julie Bevacqua

  1. 1. By itself, and for larger organizations, social media does not have the strength to drive B2B initiatives. But when combined with other sales and marketing efforts, it can become a potent tool to move your business forward. With smaller companies, social media has to be part of the game-plan and can be used strategically to push sales and grow your business’ image and brand. No matter the size of your organization, if used correctly, social media can translate into a goldmine of potential for your business to business needs. Its wide scope gives the business buyer a convenient and highly-effective outlet for discussing solutions to business challenges with other savvy professionals and companies. We know the general public will use social media to research purchase options. But how about in a business setting? In February 2009, Forrester Research data found a whopping 91% of B2B buyers are using social media tools to research purchases. They say this segment is “One of the most active groups of people when it comes to social participation.”
  2. 2. When making purchases, business professionals have always relied on third-party feedback during the evaluation stages, and that behavior hasn’t changed. But, the way that professionals conduct their pre-purchase research and the people who influence their decisions has undergone a major transformation. In the past, they looked for feedback from press, analysts, and known professionals. But, today, they look to the Web, and gain feedback from professionals whom they may not know personally, but whose opinions can significantly impact their purchase decision. This is where crowd-sourcing, online forums, social channels, professional networks, and other 2.0 technologies are really helpful and convenient, because professionals can query larger and larger pools of professionals who have experienced the exact same challenges. They can also research recommendations that have been posted online. Professionals are simply exhibiting the same behavior, but are supplementing their old ways of learning with online information-sharing across a variety of networks. So, how can you use this media to connect with customers and prospects? 1. Don’t be afraid of your prospects and clients: Keep channels of communication open, and invite your contacts to take part in online discussions. For example, Cisco is known for harnessing social networking sites to get as close to their clients as possible. Action: Invite prospects and customers to sign-up for information on your website to stay connected. In a company like CDC Software for example, customers can sign on to a CDC profile on CDCSoftware.com, and start ‘liking’ content, commenting on resources, and joining the conversation on its social channels. 2. Become an industry leader: Build your online reputation so people will put their faith in you, and subsequently, the company (or better still, both, when you and the company are branded as one). Action: Start blogging, or volunteer to contribute to corporate blogs. Get invited to blog as a guest on industry known blogs, and conduct and give interviews on relevant topics. 3. Maximize salesefforts: With the growing number of user friendly tools available, it’s a shame not to use them. Tools such as Microsoft’s Outlook Social Connector or CDC Social CRM (from Pivotal) help integrate business contacts across channels and identify potential opportunities quickly. Use these tools to up-sell successfully. Action: Use new tools to keep up on your network. Stay tuned for more on CDC Social CRM. 4. Promote offers: Social media is a natural tool to promote offers. Heard of viral marketing? You can be as specific and targeted as you intend (by automating emails to clients). Or you can harness the power of facebook, YouTube and twitter, to go viral and share to a wider audience.
  3. 3. Action: Treat each individual offer as being unique, and market it so customers and business prospects feel they are part of an exclusive club. 5. Join the conversation: Don’t be shy. Use forums and sites like LinkedIn to share knowledge and opinions with your groups, build your reputation, and promote your company. Action: Initiate and follow discussions on LinkedIn, and industry and product forums, and chime in with your opinion. POSTED IN: SOCIAL MARKETING / TAGGED: B2B MARKETING, CONTENT MARKETING, SOCIAL MEDIA A thought-leader in the technology marketing space, Julie Bevacqua is a leading expert in business-to-business (B2B) marketing with hands-on executive experience in corporate, industry, and product marketing; demand management; and social media. She has held executive positions at global enterprise software companies, heading up integrated marketing strategies from brand differentiation, demand generation, sales and marketing integration, and digital marketing strategies to media and analyst relations and corporate social responsibility. By taking every opportunity to extend the company’s digital footprint, Julie guides her team to achieve online dominance within the global marketplace. A natural networker, motivator and mentor, Julie shares her marketing and business savvy through her blog www.JulieBevacqua.com. Business and corporate marketers and entrepreneurs gain unique insights into the latest techniques on digital and social marketing that can be applied in any organization. Julie lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia, a haven for technology and enterprising upstarts, dubbed ‘Silicon North’. Reach Julie Bevacqua at: LinkedIn: Find Julie on LinkedIn Twitter: Follow Julie on Twitter Google+: Add Julie on Google Plus Blog: Visit Julie’sBlog

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