Let’s get an answer to this one simple question:
What are you using social media for?
Do you use it to:
- Advertise your products or services online?
- Grow your fanbase?
- Run contests?
- Share photos, videos, GIFs and other media?
Or just for the sake of existing in the digital spectrum?
If your answer to the above questions is “YES”, with no additional objective, we’ve got a good news and a bad news for you:
Bad news first:
You’re missing out on building essential B2B relationships through networking and voluntary interaction. It is the medium for being social, so why not actually use it for what it was created?
Apart from indulging in activities to build your follower-base, advertise your business and share content, most importantly, you should use social media to build & nurture relationships.
It’s not too late to realize that your social media strategy wasn’t optimized for your (primarily B2B) business. You can still start over on a fresh page and network genuinely with other businesses, influencers and thought-leaders to gain awareness, authority and buzz around your brand.
To be successful in building business relationships on social media, strong discipline and a genuine dedication to network socially are two traits your B2B marketer should acquire.
Seth Godin, the famous marketing maestro and author of 18 international bestsellers remarks:
Here are 8 tried-and-tested ways to build business relationships on social media.
Start adopting these digital rituals and catapult your brand awareness to the next level.
1) Create and maintain your brand voice:
A voice is more than just a form of communication – it’s an identity. The kind of identity that defines people and corporations.
Your customers and other businesses are more likely to trust you and form relationships with your brand if they notice consistency in your brand voice.
This insightful article posted on Content Marketing Institute lists down the ways to define and use your brand voice to streamline your communication & brand style.
2) Engage in ongoing conversations:
To build business relationships on social media, you need to first be found – by standing out. If your brand is visible, it has a better chance of being social with others. Here are a few ways of getting involved with conversations and trending topics on social media:
- Start new conversations or join existing ones to keep up with the business gossip and discussions that matter. For example, If there’s a news article that’s related to your industry, share it and initiate a thread with industry-leaders, thinkers and influencers to get their feedback;
- Stay updated with the latest events and trending hashtags to participate in active conversations. These discussions need not be serious or intellectual all the time. Your brand can join the banter and post creative content to trigger interaction and shares.
Oreo, of the best players in the social media field, took advantage of the power outage that occurred during Superbowl. The digital team at Oreo quickly identified the trending topic and tweeted this in no time.
Here’s what they posted:
Timing is everything when it comes to marketing, and a successful brand knows how to stay on top of the game by taking every chance they can leverage out of.
- Interact with content shared by other brands by sharing, liking or commenting on them. This shows them that you care about them and they matter to your business.
- Be quick to respond if anyone talks to you or about you in the digital spectrum. Use social monitoring tools like Mention or Trackur to keep a track of conversations around your brand.
One of the best & feel-good (yet underrated) social media discussions happened here in Dubai between multiple brands contributing to making a difference in the lives of orphan children.
It started with a simple request by Twitter user @HSajwanization who asked du telecom about the number of retweets required to take 25 orphan kids to watch “The Boss Baby”.
Du responded in a manner that made everyone start awww-ing at the twitter thread.
They didn’t just accept the request, but instead doubled the number of free tickets to invite more orphan children to enjoy the brand new movie. Du also tweeted to the movie cinema brand, Vox Cinemas to confirm the movie schedule and number of seats.
Vox Cinemas then took its chance to shine and further doubled the number of free movie seats to 100. That’s literally a 400% increase in the number of tickets initially requested.
To top it all off, they also threw in some snacks for the kids to relish while enjoying the movie.
The fun didn’t just end here.
Another brand called Karamteena, a Middle Eastern restaurant decided to add the cherry on top of this social media cake by offering to feed all the kids – for FREE!
This generosity between brands that happened within such a short period of time touched the hearts of many people who retweeted with heartwarming & thankful comments on this sweet gesture.
These brands have indeed set high benchmarks for a perennial B2B social media interaction.
3) Provide customer service to upset/curious followers:
There’s absolutely no point of being present on social media if you don’t socialize with your followers & customers.
Instead of emailing or ringing up your call center, customers find it easier to send a social media message or tweet to your official page, as they expect a quick reply.
Since most of the fans interact with brands in public (and not private messaging), you should feel the pressure of maintaining your reputation by not ignoring them, but instead helping them out and delighting them with your quick support and sometimes, unexpected surprises.
Here’s a delightful Twitter exchange between a loyal customer, Peter Shankman and one of his favorite eatery brand, Mortons. To introduce him very quickly, Peter Shankman is an author, consultant and speaker on customer service and also an angel investor and NASA advisor.
He tweeted Mortons to bring him some steak when he lands at the airport in a couple of hours.
He wasn’t expecting his request to be taken seriously but he still tweeted out in good humor.
Mortons didn’t want to disappoint a customer service guru and saw the potential of establishing goodwill with Peter and his followers.
What they did next will delight you.
They took his tweet seriously and actually greeted him at the airport with his favorite steak. This impressed Peter so much that he shared the story with his followers.
With one good gesture like this, Mortons was not only able to delight Peter but also his 175,000+ followers and friends who would turn out to be loyal customers in the long run.
4) Connect with influencers:
Initiating conversations and connecting with influencers gives your brand an extra boost when it comes to social media interaction and productive banter.
Not only does it establish you as an authoritative & trustworthy business, but it also raises the bar for new competitors and related businesses trying to acquire your share of a well-established market.
Online discussions with influencers also lets you get free advice, opinion as well as some access to their followers, thus expanding your customer base.
5) Write guest blogs:
This is a widely used tactic by multiple businesses around the world.
Guest-blogging doesn’t just help improve your website’s SEO by leaps and bounds, but also with promoting your brand ambassadors and executives as knowledgeable figures and topic experts. It also helps visitors to benefit from your expertise and get help with common or specific problems that they aren’t finding solutions for.
Your business is able to leverage from this by getting access to visitors of the website where you’re blogging as a guest. This in turn leads them to your website and ultimately converts them into new customers.
6) Use LinkedIn to expand your network:
LinkedIn is, hands down, the most effective medium for connecting businesses to businesses. It’s like Facebook for businesses with no-nonsense content and a very targeted user base.
You can get information about businesses, groups, executives and much more. Based on what your target market and objective is, approach other LinkedIn users with a friendly yet compelling invitation to connect, collaborate or work together online.
And since we’re targeting B2B businesses here, LinkedIn is an essential tool to find the right audience to build the right relationship with.
7) Cross-promote content to magnify reach:
Gone are the days where businesses stopped themselves from talking about other brands due to the fear of diverting attention to companies other than them.
The internet has gotten more diversified than ever, and the one way to keep your feet in the game is by being socially active with other companies, sharing opinions and promoting helpful content published by each other.
By cross-promotion, you’re building an effective B2B relationship as you help other brands penetrate your fanbase with content that matters.
This works both ways since they’ll promote your content too if an amicable mutual support is agreed upon.
Here’s a great example by IBM – Who’s ranked as one of the top best B2B socially active brands.
They’re promoting PlasticBank, who uses blockchain technology for the betterment of the environment.
Simple gestures like these go a long way in building lasting online B2B relationships.
8) Publish powerful & shareable content:
Last but not the least, create content that’s engaging and triggers a “share” reaction.
Your content speaks for your brand, so make sure your voice is robust enough for others to listen and seek advice from. Content is a powerful determinant for any organization’s success and is used extensively as a marketing channel.
The ever-evolving digital landscape is being increasingly shaped by inbound marketing – a tactic that works solely on the basis of attracting customers through powerful and helpful content.
Although there are multiple examples of hundreds of brands killing it with content marketing, here’s one from leading Inbound Marketing company, Hubspot.
They’re among the top online marketing brands because the amount of content they publish and promote can’t be scoffed upon. From blogs to videos to podcasts, they publish extensive content for all types of content-absorbers and users.
Building business relationships on social media is both – art and science.
It requires a defined objective, target market and dedication to make brand growth possible. We hope that the tactics mentioned in this article will help your firm develop B2B relationships that last.
- How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform for your B2B Business?
- Tried & Tested: 20 Content Ideas for B2B Social Media
- The Art of Business Relationships through Social Media