How Do You Sell B-to-B Management on Social Media?

One of the biggest challenges marketers face, especially in the B-to-B market, is trying to sell something to their bosses who don’t really understand. Social media falls into that category more times than not. It’s hard for management to allocate resources to something they don’t have their arms around.

So you need a plan, and I recently read Social Marketing to the Business Customer by Eric Schwartzman and Paul Gillin that outlines some tips on helping you get both a budget and resources to get the job done. Here are some highlights:

  • Identify your target buyers keywords - Identify and track words that would identify a potential sale. For example, if you were in the material handling business and the key words “new lift trucks” came up, there might be an opportunity for you to start a conversation.
  • Evaluate your customers, suppliers and most importantly, your competitors – If you can show your bosses that other folks in your market are utilizing social media, it will help in making your case. We usually offer to do, for clients or potentials, a quick audit of their competitors, key words and phrases in their space to see what kind of activity there is.
  • Position social media as an extension of your current marketing efforts - Social is just another tool in the marketing tool box so make sure you integrate it into current efforts.
  • Support the existing culture - If your management gets social media it will be easier to sell and monitor activities. If they are less familiar they will want more control as well as metrics. Fortunately, it’s the most measurable media out there.

Bottom line is, do your homework to show that social is being used by your customers and competitors. Show them who’s on Twitter or is blogging. Pull up a mobile app or show them a relevant group on LinkedIn or a forum they should be participating in with your customers. The more tangible example, the better.

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