Persuading the board that social makes B2B sense: 5 ways
Helen Frear, PR, social media and content executive at The CommsCo, explores how to convince the board that social carries value in the B2B landscape
The call to present to the board may fill even the bravest of B2B marketing managers with dread, especially when it comes to persuading the board that social media should be an active part of your marketing activities and (dare we say it), accounted for in the marketing budget. However, rest assured, your journey to the boardroom need not be an ill-fated expedition.
If your board is reluctant to get on board with social media, here are five very good reasons we’ve compiled that will make them see the light.
1. The business world expects the company to be there!
If your company is considering securing further investment, outreach to journalists, critical staff appointments or even an exit strategy of some type, social media will become key. This is simply because people will be Googling the company and will be reviewing all presence. When a B2B company has no presence on LinkedIn or Twitter especially, it raises alarm bells. In the very least, it gives the impression the company has no news, no announcements or no inclination to communicate. In the worst, it can convey that the company is not doing well on the new business front. Active social channels are always a good sign, and when you explain that to the board, we’re sure they’ll agree.
2. Because it's important to express yourself
In her new book Our Turn, Canadian Twitter Vice President Kristine Stewart gives this advice to people who are reluctant to join Twitter: "People are going to talk about you anyways - wouldn't you rather be part of the conversation?"
We agree with Kristine. Take control of the online agenda and, more importantly, get on board with social so that you know who’s talking about you and what you’re saying. It could be the road to positive engagement and relationships that help to grow the business.
3. Because your prospects are on social media
One of the key reasons why your company should invest in social media is because your clients and prospects use it. While not all industries engage on every social media platform out there, you can be certain that most companies use at least two or three that make the most sense for their brand’s interests.
LinkedIn is perhaps the number-one platform for B2B industries. Millions of people use the professional site, as do brands, who take advantage of the site’s company pages. Registering your own company on LinkedIn makes you accessible to those millions of users.
By joining LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your products and services, you can begin contributing to discussions and commenting on other’s posts, thus getting your brand noticed as an authority in your specific area of business.
Look up your company’s top 10 prospects on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Many, if not all, will have a presence on at least one of these platforms which will give you a feel for the way they interact with their customers, leads and partners through these platforms.
If your prospects are on social media, then that tells you – and the board – that they are accustomed to that method of communication and understand its value.
4. Your competitors are on social media
If your company’s competitors are on social media and you aren’t, then you’re already at a disadvantage. Social savvy prospects will use social media sites for research, so if your brand isn’t visible across those sites, you could be missing out on opportunities.
By searching your top 10 competitors on social media, you’ll be able to find out what kind of following they have, which influencers they follow and how they use the platform to generate leads.
On the other hand, if your competitors aren’t on social media, that gives you the opportunity to stand out as a big fish in a small pool of prospects.
5. Social media may just generate a lead
Used effectively, social media can become an invaluable part of your marketing mix. By doing your background research and setting your business up on the sites used by your prospects and competitors, you’re making yourself a visible contender.
Sharing consistent, high quality content across multiple social media channels helps to place your company in a position of expertise, creating not only brand awareness, but lead generation too.If these five reasons aren’t enough to convince your board, then jump in and give them a taste of social media with a live demo. They may be surprised to see who’s on social and they may even surprise themselves by enjoying their social journey, if only a little!