5 P’s of B2B Social Media Marketing

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Develop an effective B2B social media marketing program based on the 5 P's

Develop an effective B2B social media marketing program based on the 5 P's.

B2B Social media marketing has evolved into a pattern of five P’s based on what I’ve seen from client work and networking with other B2B marcom professionals. Remember, before embarking on the five Ps, you should have spent a significant amount of time listening to the social media sphere to gain an understanding of the types of conversations taking place, where they’re taking place and how you can participate effectively.

  1. Policy
    Most B2B corporate social media policies are an extension of existing policies such as trade secrets, privacy, and codes of conduct; however most companies expand on such policies to cover social media. Kirk Maltais wrote a helpful article on government social media policies (8 Essential Elements for Crafting a Social Media Policy). The eight elements, summarized below, are found in many B2B social media policies.

    1.
    Employee Access – who will be allowed to use social media.
    2. Account Management – who will set up, manage and monitor the social media accounts.
    3. Acceptable use – how will social media be used.
    4. Employee conduct – what are acceptable social media behaviors.
    5. Content – how much editorial control will be exerted. (Usually companies require a disclaimer for employees—even former employees—who blog for personal use.)
    6. Security – password management.
    7. Legal issues – how to enforce policy without infringing on freedom of speech, etc.
    8. Citizen Conduct – more of a government requirement involving how to handle the interactions between civilian users and the public.Remember that your social media policy is only as effective as your social media education program, so offer a few training sessions.
  2. Plan
    Planning your social media strategy should start with a business objective. For some B2B companies, a phase one objective is to increase their brand presence in the social sphere. While that may be enough to start in social media, it won’t satisfy the long term business requirements for such an investment… namely ROI. So your plan should have measurable objectives, such as 10% increase in web traffic within six months or 200 new LinkedIn followers within one month. Then, align the website metrics with marketing and sales metrics such as a 5% increase in qualified leads or a 5% increase in sales. More B2B social media measurement guidance.

    While I’m an advocate of aligning social media with revenue, it doesn’t directly correlate in lengthy B2B selling cycles. As with most B2B marketing tactics, the goal is to collaborate with sales to generate and nurture leads in order to drive sales. It’s the combination of marcom tactics and sales activity that drives sales, not a specific tactic alone such as social media. But you have to be in social media to know whether it will work for your situation. So my advice is to follow trends in leads and sales for the first six months to monitor the impact of social media. Be prepared to sacrifice. Without a concrete ROI, you may need to take marcom budget away from other marcom tactics to fund your initial B2B social media endeavor. I’ve seen clients take money from the event and print ad buckets… even the brochure bucket to fund social media endeavors. More on B2B budget trends from former Forrester Research analyst, Laura Ramos.
  3. People
    From my experience, many B2B marcom departments lack adequate people resources to gain traction from their social media efforts. Here’s where B2B marcom folks need to get creative. Yes, if you’re a B2B marcom manager, you’ll likely bear the brunt of the workload when it comes to social media. However, look beyond marcom for content providers such as sales, tech support, product management and even R&D. Remember, your channel partners are a good source of content; they may have their own blogs and social media outlets that you can leverage. It’s helpful to have a content marketing plan and a conversation calendar to help you better determine your resource needs and ensure that you’re participating effectively at a level that will positively impact your business objectives.
  4. Persona
    You need to decide how you/your company will appear on the various social media sites. For example when you’re signing up for Twitter what will your handle be; what will the handles be of those contributing? Will you follow the same naming convention on other social sites, your blog etc.? The goal here is to create a consistent persona across the social sphere. You’ll want to avoid what I call a “fragmented persona”—representing your company differently on different sites, e.g., LinkedIn.com/ABC Company, @bigbusinessbranding on Twitter and ABC Branding Blog. Establishing a consistent online persona is similar to establishing your brand guidelines for tone and approach of marketing communications elements such as brochures, newsletters, presentations, etc. You’ll want a unified voice across all media.
  5. Patience!
    Finally, you’ll need to give your B2B social media initiative time to produce results. Remember, social media is about establishing relationships and that takes time and regular interaction. It’s not just about blasting out content, it’s about making an online connection with your clients and prospects.

Summary of B2B social media resources mentioned above (plus a few more):

Related Posts:

» Just How Social Is B2B Social Media
» Why B2B Integrated Marcom Is Needed Now More than Ever
» A 47 Million Dollar B2B Social Media Success Story
» Do Your Marketing Communications Feel Like Marketing?
» Is B2B Marcom Creating Valuable Content?


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