A recent study from International Data Corporation titled “Social Buying: The Importance of Trusted Networks During the B2B Purchase Process” concluded that 75% of business-to-business (B2B) buyers and 84% of senior level/vice president executives use social media.
In addition, B2B buyers most active in using social media to support the buying process were more senior, had 84% bigger budgets, made 61% more purchase decisions and had influence over a greater span of purchase decisions than those buyers who did not use social media to support their purchase process.
The social media channel of choice for senior executives is LinkedIn.com. Studies by Stanford University showed:
- 4 percent of senior executives have a LinkedIn account.
- 3 percent use LinkedIn.
- 9 percent said they use it daily.
(Source: The Conference Board/Stanford University, 2012)
Outreach to senior-level executives in your target markets on LinkedIn should be an important part of your social media marketing plan. Here are some tactical ideas for outreach.
1. Build value
Connecting with people through LinkedIn is no different than connecting with people offline. Rather than just constantly posting sales-pitches, focus on building value first. This will build trust which will create interest in your company and your products.
2. Connect with purpose
Build your connections with a sound strategy in order to effectively grow your business network. Every action should be linked to your business goals and objectives both for the present and for the future.
3. Segment your connections
LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to segment your contacts by placing them into specific folders. This is a very helpful feature toward ensuring that your communications are targeted and personalized to each person with whom you are connected. If your contacts are not categorized and segmented you will not be able to communicate effectively; you will have to go through your entire network one by one.
4. Implement sound communication tactics
- Post regular status updates. When you post a status update your entire network sees it. Discuss what you are working on and for whom you are working. Also post articles and studies that would be of interest to your target customers and clients.
- Participate in groups actively. Join groups related to your business and participate in the discussions. Start your own discussions by asking questions or referring to articles of interest. Do not spam the groups with sales pitches, though. Doing that will tarnish the reputation of your brand.
- Write articles on LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn allows members to post long-form articles on their Pulse section. Use this feature to show thought leadership. Again, though, do not spam or post sales pitches. Provide high-value information that your clients or customers will find useful. When you post an article on Pulse, an announcement will be sent to all of the contacts in your network.
- Contribute to SlideShare. LinkedIn recently purchased SlideShare. Post your best PowerPoint business slide presentations in order to establish your credibility as an expert. Solve industry problems and/or show thought leadership. People who are interested in that topic will actively seek you out in order to connect.
Finally, have a promotions plan external to LinkedIn to ensure all of your clients and prospects know about your actions. Post links on your website, send out notices in your email newsletter. In addition, all prospects and clients you meet or are working with should be invited to connect with you on LinkedIn.
Reaching out to and connecting with the senior management of companies can be done through strategic social media marketing. As in all communications with prospective customers, the important point is to provide value. Social media outlets provide a community in which to connect, so make sure the connections are valuable for both your prospects and you.
Learn how you can take your social media to the next level. Contact KEO Marketing today.