Some marketing folks will tell you it is chaos out there. While we don’t agree about the chaos, target markets are extremely fragmented making it increasingly difficult to maintain market share.
The good news is that our B2B clients have increased options because so many new sales channels has opened up offering them greater global opportunities to build their brands. B2B companies can now source from nontraditional locations and suppliers, allowing them to lower their product costs and its all thanks to the digital world.
Our B2B clients are also busy consumers. If you are not a busy blogger with the goal of becoming your own brand name, your focused on tweeting your daily life or you are most likely developing an app, ‘for that‘. In addition to your family, work and personal life, most of us want to take advantage of the internet and become financially independent!
The challenge here is how to best use the digital world to bring these fragmented target markets together to build your community. Here is a partial guide we use to help our clients understand the digital world and how it relates to their business and brand goals.
Establishing the program
1. Have a goal
Start with a goal. Why are you there? Is it to extend your brand’s reach, build the brand’s image or help with SEO? Ask this question three times and answer it differently in each question. Add clear and measurable goals.
2. Pick one or two social media platforms
Don’t rush, just pick one or two platforms based on your service/product and your internal resources. For every platform, verify where and how your target market engages on these platforms. Set up a team and assign each one a role, including who responds and how to handle negative comments. Then, commit to these platforms until you are very comfortable with their usage and you clearly understand how your target market engages with them and with you.
If you are unsure of where to start, we development the Facebook for B2B Success, it is a good primer and it is free!
3. Know your online audience
Search online, try to find where your audience lives.
4. Review and Measure
Assess how your brand is visually present on these platforms. What has been the result in 6 months? An increase in your newsletter subscription, more inquiries or just a general friendly fan base?
In addition, try a variety of programs until you will see what works and what doesn’t. Test contests, questions and other community building activities. Remember to check out your competition and other companies in different industries to get ideas and inspiration.
Setting up the platforms.
1. Brand consistency
While your target market maybe fragmented, your brand shouldn’t be. Consistency is key. However, we do encourage you show your brand’s unique character in each platform. Take advantage of this opportunity to develop your brand’s own USP! Brand consistency should also include content and visuals. This means that if you are a traditional company your social media platforms should show this style as well.
Should you have taken the time to developed a brand character trait list, social media offers the perfect opportunity to extend and build on these distinct traits.
2. Include many voices
Most companies give social media to either a young employee or to corporate communications, without seeing that there is great opportunity in building your brand and creating a leadership position. Encourage key members, CEO, sales rep and product developer to be part of your digital voices.
3. Communicate often
It’s true, you need to be out there and often to get noticed. That’s the hard part. But use tools that can help you stay connected and create a social media team who will be able to create content and stay connected with your community.
Building the community
1. Tricks of the trade
Yes, there are ways that manipulates the system to help build a following:
- Linking programs: Good linking programs should mean finding quality sites who want to link to your content as well as share your content.
- LinkedIn Groups: Some groups are great at supporting their audience with exchange Facebook likes and Twitter fans. True, it may not be the most engaged community but there are advantages to having “a lot of likes”, SEO and building brand reputation for prospective buyers are just two good reasons. And, it gives you the positive push you probably need to stay engaged with your social media.
- Affiliate Programs: Got a service, e-book or product to sell? Consider affiliate marketing, it not only is a great way to build recurring income, this will also help to build an engaged audience.
- Quality Content: Don’t forget the best way to build your community is with quality content, commenting on other blogs and providing the occasional promotion. You got to give something to get something back.
2. Guest bloggers
We love guest bloggers, who doesn’t. An individual who is an expert in his or her field and willing to write a dedicated post on your website – it’s a win-win.
3. Tell your story
One of the best way to engage your customer is to tell your story, your own way. Whether it is on Facebook or on your company blog, create a personal voice and add engaging content. Most clients can easily create a list of content titles, their problem is usually finding the writer for this content (while you are here, why not visit our content and creativity services).
4. Be present
The key to having a great social media platform is to be present. Ask questions, tell them about your next event, show pictures of your sales team at a trade show and most importantly, respond to every comment, positive and negative. Be ready to be present online.
5. Set the rules
This is your platform and your brand. If you don’t want to answer product maintenance questions, then don’t. But do clarify this on your platforms.
All this can only be successful by taking the time to understand your target market’s online behaviour, needs and trends while capitalizing on strategic planning. For more information on how we can help build your online brand, contact us at info(@)themarketingboutique.net
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