6 Ways To Win As A B2B Social Media Turtle

6 Ways To Win As A B2B Social Media Turtle
Savvy Guest - Mon Mar 28, 2011 @ 06:00AM
Comments: 35

This week's guest post is by Billy Mitchell, president of MLT Creative based in Georgia. Read on for the first in his multi-post series on how to succeed with social media marketing.

My B2B marketing agency is often tasked with assessing the social media landscape for new clients and prospects. In some bmitchell-b2b-socialmediaturtles.jpgcases, the company is well on its way with a strategy and commitment to social media as an important part of its inbound marketing mix. Unfortunately, others blast out of gate too fast and run out of steam due to lack of results, resources or commitment. Others, let’s call them the turtles, are taking their time and moving very slowly or not at all.

If you’re a turtle, you’re running out of excuses not to engage in social media and ceding valuable ground to your competition. It’s time to come out of your shell.

Here’s a quick-start plan for B2B social media marketing success:

  1. Follow the Leaders –Listen and learn.
  2. Basic Training– Research and prepare.
  3. New Outlook –Realize there’s no finish line.
  4. Content –Create, curate and convert.
  5. Commitment– Once you start, don’t quit.

In this post, I’ll focus on the first step: Follow the Leaders.

It’s a common mistake for an experienced professional industry leader to be a reluctant to follow.

But in social media, there’s nothing sheepish about being a selective and engaged follower.

Here are six ways I suggest you follow:

1.     Use the Search Function

I consider LinkedIn and Twitter to be to the two most viable social media platforms for B2B, and recommend you think of them first as search engines. Plug in the key terms that best identify your industry, your products and services, and your customers. You will be surprised at the number of groups, individuals and discussions that show up in the results. Make note of what you discover and select those you find most interesting.

2.     Identify Yourself

Take time to carefully complete your profile on any social network you join; there is no reason for it to be half-baked. Be professional about it, but share some of your personality. And definitely include your picture as your avatar. It’s okay to add some personality with your photo too. This is social media – it’s good to smile.

3.     Follow Influencers

Your industry still has trade publications and associations. The thought leaders who contribute to those pubs are now blogging and probably tweeting, too. It’s the same with the top organizations and associations. Find at least five influential individuals in your business who blog or contribute articles to online sites associated with the leading publications. You can usually subscribe to these sources via email and/or an RSS feed.

Slowly and steadily expand your network:

  • Join at least five Linkedin groups related to your industry.
  • Find and follow at least five relevant new people on Twitter each week.
  • Request to connect on LinkedIn with at least five professionals in your business each week.

4.     Comment

You didn’t get where you are without reading and forming opinions – why stop now? Once you find a few influencers who already have a following and a blog you can relate to, it’s time to dive in. Speak up, question authority, spark a debate or add to the conversation with an idea of your own. Commenting on blogs you follow is a great way to express yourself in social media. Remember, it’s social, so behave yourself and, if you must disagree, enjoy the debate but don’t be a jerk about it. Most bloggers welcome a lively debate, and new ideas just make their comment section more dynamic.

5.     Filter the Noise

Social media has as much or more spam than your email inbox. The secret to success is filtering. Join only the LinkedIn groups you find interesting, and elect to receive daily or weekly updates. If you find that you’re attracting nonsensical Twitter followers or receiving too many Linkedin requests, simply ignore them, block them or segment them using lists. The point is that by using services such as TweetDeck or setting the pace at which you receive updates, you can filter out noise and focus on updates of value to you.

6.     Follow the Savvy B2B experts. You’ll stay on course and be passing rabbits in no time.

If you’re reading this post, you’re on the Savvy B2B site, one of the starting points that helped me the most. All the points I’m making are covered in depth by the Savvy Sisters and, if you don’t already subscribe via email or RSS, I suggest doing that right now. You’ll be well on your way to success.

Stay tuned for future posts in which I’ll cover the remaining steps in my quick-start plan for B2B social media marketing success.
 

About the author: Billy Mitchell is a partner and senior creative director at MLT Creative, an Atlanta-based B2B marketing agency with a Northeast office in Rhode Island. As a B2B marketing specialist for more than two decades, Billy brings creativity and leadership to his team while serving national clients. He contributes regularly to the B2B Ideas@Work blog for MLT Creative.

Photo image sourced from istockphoto.com.

 

Comments: 35

Comments

1. John Bottom  |  my website   |   Mon Mar 28, 2011 @ 09:50AM

Good points, well made Billy. Although one obstacle that my clients keep coming up against is that of not having enough time to do this. [Although we're in dangerous metaphor territory here with the idea of turtles jumping over anything...is this 110m hurdles now?]

It's no wonder that it's so hard to stick at it. It takes time to do this thing properly and everyone has a day job. I really believe that any serious initiative has to involve the HR department. Rewrite those job specs to include an hour a day building an online reputation. Employees are not legally obliged to continue working over the weekend – why should social media activity be any different? This requires a serious, committed approach, and expecting time to appear out of nowhere is definitely not something you would expect a serious company to do...

Anyway, just thought I would share that point. An excellent summary Billy as always. And I agree heartily with Point 6, of course :-)

2. Billy Mitchell  |  my website   |   Mon Mar 28, 2011 @ 01:57PM

John, I agree with you. Not having the time or resources available is probably the best excuse for any company not to launch into social media. That's one reason I'm recommending such a slow start for any late adapters.

Any marketing professional within a company's marketing, sales or communications department should be mindful of their industry's customers, competition, associations and influencers. Social media as a listening and research tool is one way to stay tuned in to all of this as you know.

If we can get the hesitant turtles to just start by listening and making an occassional comment, maybe they'll find enough initial value to make the time and resources available to get to the next stage of creating and sharing content.

Thanks John. You are a great example of a thoughtful leader I've been following since I started.

3. Michelle Quillin  |  my website   |   Tue Mar 29, 2011 @ 09:50AM

This is a great entry into social media for B2B, Billy.

I just started a group on LinkedIn called "I need to spend more time on #li!" for those of us who spend all our time on Twitter and Facebook, but neglect LinkedIn. We're setting up weekly challenges there. Your advice in Point 3 fits perfectly!

Time spent on social media is critical. I don't see how anyone can really do much of anything with social media in just one hour a day, unless they're breaking it up into short clips each hour. I'd rather see a user do 10 minutes per hour than sit down and do it all at once, especially on Twitter.

(I love MLT Creative, by the way. Martine Hunter is a favorite of mine on twitter, and when she hosts a webinar, I'm there!)

4. Billy Mitchell  |  my website   |   Tue Mar 29, 2011 @ 10:30AM

Michelle, I will look for that group on Linkedin and join today. It sounds interesting and I like a good challenge. I agree that social media requires a commitment of time but with some creative planning, some of the effort can be made easier by repurposing or cross-purposing the daily content most of us mill through in our primary job tasks.

I used to discourage everyone on our staff from engaging in social media during work hours. But now that we have a company wide understanding of how it can be beneficial to each individual professional and our business as a whole, I encourage everyone on staff to be "good digital citizens".

The team approach helps with the time requirement too. Thanks for commenting Michelle! And I'll pass on your compliments to Martine too.

5. Michelle Quillin  |  my website   |   Tue Mar 29, 2011 @ 04:13PM

Yes, Billy -- repurposing is a great way to become more efficient!

I just answered a question on that LinkedIn group, and one of the members said I should use it for a blog post. Relief! I now have a new blog post!

I asked someone else on the group if they knew how to change the title and description of a link shared on Facebook, and told them that if they don't, I'll write a quick blog post about it. Then I rethought it and decided to do a slideshow instead. Easier, faster.

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