Turn Subscribers into Customers Using These B2B Social Media Tactics
How do you turn social media subscribers into customers — and, from there, into passionate brand advocates for your business?
Here are some techniques, from the classic to the off-beat.
1. Give your subscribers special treatment
Offer perks. Use your social media channels to offer one-day specials on products or services to subscribers (and their networks).
Provide online recognition. Ask followers to post their stories about your products and services. Set up a Flickr album or Pinterest board and invite them to post pictures. Host their videos on your YouTube channel. Some companies offers prizes for the best submissions, but it can be just as effective (and far easier to manage) if you merely mention outstanding examples on your blog or Twitter stream.
Throw real-life meetups for your online followers. You know how to reach them, so invite them to meet company executives (and each other) for coffee or drinks. Social media meetups are perfect when combined with trade shows or regional sales meetings.
2. Listen to what your subscribers have to say — to you, and to others.
Stimulate comments by asking questions. Ideally, the questions should require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. (Instead of “Is your company equipping sales reps with tablets?” ask “Which of the new tablets would work best for your sales team — and why?”)
Create online polls. Many subscribers are shy about commenting. Some may work at companies that prohibit them from leaving comments. By offering polls, you give all your followers a chance to express their opinions and find out what other people in the industry think (the best polling widgets provide rapid feedback to voters). Your poll results will make interesting tweets or even blog posts.
Answer questions and respond to comments. This is not as critical for B2B customer relations as it is with B2C. But at a minimum, you should have someone monitoring your Twitter feed and other social media channels during business hours. If your company is experiencing service problems, or a crisis of any sort, monitor Twitter round the clock. Even better: Put a C-level executive into a Twitter chat to answer questions. Then post the chat transcript on your blog.
Spark conversations and track what people are saying. The most important B2B social media conversations are not the ones you have with your subscribers. They’re the ones your subscribers have, freely and spontaneously, with others. These conversations can happen on Twitter, in your blog or YouTube comments, or in your product reviews.
3. Ask your followers to get involved with your campaigns.
Cajoling customers to “like” your company on Facebook comes off as slightly pathetic, but asking your followers to help your company (and other customers) can be very powerful when done right. For example: Ask followers to help spread an urgent message when a service (such as your website) is down because of a storm or earthquake. Or ask followers to join you in supporting a rescue effort that affects a service area. This can show the community service side of your company, and create lasting involvement with customers. Also, let your followers know when you are posting openings at your company. This gives them the chance to provide potentially valuable information to friends and colleagues.
4. Most importantly: Be reliable.
Once a company has launched a social media presence, many customers will watch to see how well it’s managed. They believe it’s a way to find out how well your company supports its actual products and services. This means that neglected blogs and Twitter streams are a huge no-no. If you decide to abandon a social media channel, be sure to clean up outdated profiles and leave a note telling customers where to find you. With so many channels available, and more appearing every day, this is where using a comprehensive social media tracking and scheduling program becomes essential.
More Business articles from Business 2 Community: