Ask any communications professional with experience in B2B social media and he or she will tell you the same thing: it’s challenging. That’s because B2B just isn’t the same as business-to-consumer (B2C). While B2C practitioners work on Facebook campaigns for new cars, B2B practitioners are thinking about how to generate the most creative and exciting campaign for a construction-grade tire. There’s just no comparison.
That’s not to say that with a little imagination and talent you can’t make a good B2B social media campaign stick, it’s just more difficult because a B2B campaign is typically targeted to a more niche audience. This means we face the dual challenge of making a social media campaign memorable to an audience with more specific needs and interests.
Adding to this is the misguided belief that followers equal social media success. There are lots of blogs about how to increase followers, but is it right to expect a B2B to have an online following comparable to Red Bull, Coca-Cola, or Nikon?
This notion that followers alone determine the success of your social media program is what I call the fallacy of followers. Followers don’t matter. It’s the right followers that matter.
Consider this. What does it matter if your B2B account has 10,000 followers if none of them belong to the audience you want to reach? The right followers are your customers, your prospects, your industry influencers. These are the people that can affect the bottom line of your company.
So how do you cultivate the right followers? Shift your focus from quantity to quality. Align your B2B social media objectives to this new focus, prioritize meaningful conversations with relevant members of your audience and consider what content you have to support this. You can then use this three-step guide to cultivate the right Twitter followers for your B2B account:
- Define your audience. If your business has a narrow product line, this is straightforward because your audience is likely defined already. If you are a business with a large sales team and broad or deep product lines, it’s essential to define which audience is the focus of your campaign.
- Talk to sales. Now that your audience is defined, you need to identify the top prospects and growth customers in that space. Find out who your sales team is pursuing for new business and which customers have the most growth potential.
- Follow, listen and create meaningful conversations. With your list of prospects and customers in hand, find the key executive and company accounts in each group and follow them. Listen to what they are saying, share content they are interested in and engage them in conversation.
I’ll end on a cautionary note. Cultivating the right followers is not a sure way to achieve social media ‘success.’ You still need to leverage your B2B social media accounts correctly, sharing the right content on the right platform, to maximize interactions with these followers. But that’s a topic for another post.
Cultivating the right followers will help you focus on the people and opportunities that can help grow your business, and that’s what matters after all. What do you think about the idea of quality over quantity followers? Please comment below.