Social Media is on everyone’s lips. But B2B use-cases are extremely rare. Most stories relate to B2C experiences are hard to transfer to the B2B sales world. We’ve been working on that.
Over the last 18 months or so I’ve been trying some B2B models in the Social Universe. The core philosophy has been to shape thinking, cultivate customers and earn permission to engage.
Here’s what we have learned …
1. The Social Universe is a great place to listen and learn: If I follow you on Twitter, read your blog, or study your LinkedIn profile, I quickly get a sense of who you are. Everything you do in the Social Universe leaves a shadow that I can collect to build up a picture.
2. Give Value First and Expect Nothing in Return: Where traditional selling centered around targeting the customer, now you need to make it easy for her to want to find, and want to engage with you – because you give value. It’s a long road. Short-term return is unlikely. First you must cultivate interest by building awareness and delivering value.
3. Be Authentic, Be Prepared to Fail, Don’t Give Up: In the Social Universe, you’re competing for hearts and minds, and need to develop trust. Openness, integrity and authenticity are essential. You can develop trusting fans, or you can be voted off the island.
4. Be Open, Collaborate, Co-Create – Let Others Play in the Community: When others play in your world – everyone’s experience is enriched. You choose your fellow travelers and they may select you. Comment, participate, and invite contribution.
And here’s what we have done so far …
|What we do
|Is it worth it?
|My main blog is Dealmaker365, and I blog in other communities. I try to post twice a week.
|Dealmaker365 has had 220,000 visits this year, and a number of commercial relationships we have started with “I read this on your blog …” Definitely worthwhile.
|@dealmaker365 follows 143 people on Twitter and has 2,500 followers. I am interested in everyone I follow, and don’t follow just to be followed back. I try to cultivate opinion carefully, respect my followers, and don’t tweet about my breakfast.
|I learn a lot from, and about, the people I follow. Twitter is my main source of (immediate) market information. I engage actively (Reply/DM) and have done business with people I first ‘met’ on Twitter. Hugely valuable.
|LinkedIn helps with for recruiting, profiling customers, and networking. I think adding / accepting connections with strangers dilutes the network value. We also use LinkedIn Groups and Polls.
|I’m not sure I really understand why, but LinkedIn is consistently one of the highest traffic referral sources. ?? The network value is high, and I use it every day.
|We created a Youtube channel called Dealmaker Magic to showcase our products. It includes short movie-trailer type videos and full product demos. We sometimes send demo links to customers before a call. The call is then more business focused.
|Dealmaker Magic has had 20,000 views this year. It shortens the sales cycle and delivers consistent messaging. Maintaining up-to-date content is hard work, but we think it is definitely worthwhile.
|Saving up to $50,000, companies can use Dealmaker Genius for free to build their own sales process in 15 minutes. This is a free, no-obligation, but highly valuable service. We use crowd-sourcing to supplement our knowledge base.
|1,600 companies have used Dealmaker Genius and many have subsequently purchased our Dealmaker product. This proves out the ‘give value first’ concept. It is a substantial investment, but definitely worthwhile.
|Just launched, Dealmaker Index is another free service. It provides a sales effectiveness score (individual and company), comprehensive advice on how to improve, and a competitive ranking.
|Too early to judge. Try it out here.
I would love to hear about your experiences.