Thanks to David Pitta and Quoc Thai Dong of BrightTALK for their webinar on The Secrets of Building Online B2B Audiences With Social Media.
Their six-step program involves the following:
- Pre-approach research. Prioritize B2B social networks based on where your target is congregating. Find out what groups (LinkedIn), blogs and community sites they are tied into. Know the size and the reach of each channel. Find someone who can introduce you to the owner of the group or community. Learn as much as you can about the owner and approach them in a professional way.
- Profile community managers. Understand what associations they are in. Know who the analysts are for your industry. Identify experts and enthusiasts. Check out recruitment and job boards.
- Position your offer. What assets do you have to offer the community audience? Awareness and branding. Compelling and relevant content. Website or blog contributions and linking. A lead sharing program. New audiences. Shaping content for an industry. Behavioral information and insights.
- Approach, attract and execute. Approach trusted sources who you know that can and will connect to you. Be straightforward in what you have to offer and what the benefits will be for both parties. Understand what’s most important to your audience. Do what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it. This will build trust and help the relationship develop more fully which will benefit both parties.
- Evaluate, discipline and reward. Track success using campaign links. Benchmark partners against each other and your own efforts. Measure results quarterly, or more frequently, to ensure value is being realized by all parties. Reward star performers. Work with under performers — understand why they are under performing and suggest ways they can improve. Have a memorandum of understanding with all parties involved.
- Sustain your efforts. Design a consistent content release strategy and plan partner communications. Get introduced to other relevant networks. Be persistent and patient. Build a network of promoters around your categories of content.
Today, word-of-mouth from a trusted online friend or authority carries 40 to 80 percent more weight than paid media.
Given the cost and inability to track the effectiveness of paid media, it is well worth your time and money to build an online B2B audience with social media.
Just like with anything else, the integrity chain will be critical to your success. Build trust, provide information of value and do what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it and you’ll become a trusted advisor to your target.
What steps have you taken to build an online audience with social media?