Generating prospects in B2B through social media

Lynda St-Arneault – 22 November 2012

It’s making headlines: how to use social media in a B2B context? Can I apply it to my company? Is it profitable? Where do I start? All of these questions are relevant and we need to ask them before getting started.

First of all, because sectoral markets don’t all have the same social media adoption rate. Some markets, due to their size and specialisation, won’t be ready for a while. At least not for today’s social media.

Simply having a presence on social networks is very demanding; it was the same for companies who used websites for the first time so many years ago. The issue here is engaging followers, exchanging ideas and getting people involved, because relationships are at the heart of sales in B2B. Moreover, there needs to be a combination of action and expertise in order to get results. And it’s not the first step in establishing a reputation in a “new channel.”

Succeeding in B2B with social media

It’s important to understand the role of social media in the buying and selling process. Social networks are not a process, but rather tactics playing a role which is understood more and more. Such as, for example, their contribution to prospect generation. Ironically, this is often the job that representatives like to do the least. Worse yet, even fewer reps have the right profile to do it well. This is also the first step in engaging prospects.

The number of success stories in acquiring prospects is increasing. But it’s important to understand that in order to succeed, social media cannot be used in a vacuum or alone. They need to be used in synergy with other parts of a whole like SEO and content in order to create an organic and measurable entity. All of this comprises a strategy called inbound marketing. As for content, this needs to be created according to different steps in the buying process of your market segments.

This said, the creation and management of your social funnel needs to be integrated upstream into your sales funnel. This social funnel is necessary for calculating your results and helping you reach your goals. More specifically, it should allow you to:

  • Measure and reach your social audience
  • Analyse social conversations
  • Manage social content
  • Measure and analyse social activity

Finally, the managing of your brand should be considered as a whole, but translated by activities that are unique to each network and built daily on the wealth of your relations (engagements) and your content. This will be the subject of Exo’s next blog post by David Chabot.

To be continued… why not on Twitter? 🙂 @exochabot

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