Best Practices in Making Social (Media) Connections

We often think of social media as the revolutionary communication tool for reaching a wide range of consumers in the modern marketing environment — and for good reason. It’s a phenomenal tool for inexpensively and intimately communicating with enormous audiences and potential markets. But some commentators point out that the focus on the business-to-consumer benefits of social media might be overshadowing important opportunities for business-to-business relationship building.

In an article for Business 2 Community titled “How to Build and Strengthen B2B Relationships with Social Media Marketing,” author Dhariana Lozano writes, “business to business relationships are just as important as relationships you build with your customers. Social media is a great tool to help you show love and strengthen B2B relationships. Leveraging these relationships online can help you build a stronger network with partners that share your content, which can lead to more business for you (and them).”

Lozano’s article dives into these recommendations in more detail, but here’s a quick summary of her tips:

“Connect with and follow any (existing or potential) partners or event sponsors.”

Networking is key in the social media environment. Demonstrating to your audiences that you are networked with other reputable businesses is a great example of how the goals of B2B social media marketing can differ from those of B2C social media marketing.

“Share content that your partners publish.”

This is a great way to develop some social media quid pro quo. Sharing content from your partners is a great way to have your own content shared. In social media channels, just as in traditional communication settings, you don’t want to make your conversations all about “me, me, me!” Curating relevant third party content helps to establish you as a though leader and earns you some social capital among those whose content you share.

“Use Twitter Lists.”

If you haven’t heard of Twitter Lists, don’t worry. They’re easy to create. As Jeremy Goldman writes for Inc.com, “A Twitter list is simply a curated group of Twitter users that allows you to efficiently organize your users in various groups and to better manage your tweets.” The lists allow you to view tweets from those you’ve added to the list. More importantly, other Twitter users can follow your list, meaning you can promote multiple B2B partners at once if they’re all in your list.

“Exchange Posts/Collaborate on Content.”

This can be as simple as trading favorable posts — “You post mine; I’ll post yours.” Or you can go the extra mile and collaborate with your B2B partners to co-develop content to mutually promote.

“Create Content Based on Your Partners/Event Sponsors.”

This is the metaphorical equivalent to tossing up the proverbial softball to your partners. Create some mutually favorable content, and tag your collaborator. They’ll be happy to share the favorable social media attention from another business.

Lozano’s point is well taken. Many marketing strategists probably do overlook the opportunities social media presents for promoting B2B relationships. Overall, we at Strategic Communications still tend to see the various social media platforms as more beneficial to B2C outreach than B2B; however, there’s certainly room to employ both approaches, and Lozano’s piece offers some useful strategies for adding a B2B element to your social media efforts.

How have you built, and maintained, relationships through social media?

Recommended Reading:

Best Practices in Influencer Marketing

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