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Social media marketing seems very much to be the domain of consumer companies, but increasingly b2b organizations are being encouraged to get in on the act.

An interesting article written by one of B2B International’s clients, GlobalSpec, and recently published in Quirk’s, offers some handy tips to B2B companies taking their first steps in social media marketing:

1. How often and for what purpose does your target audience participate in social media?

By looking at how often and why your target audience participates in social media, it will help you to decide the sort of content – and the frequency – that you should be aiming for.

2. Which social media platforms do they prefer?

With a huge choice of social media channels to choose from, and more springing up every day, you must consider which would best capture the attention of your target audience.

3. What are your organization’s goals in implementing a social media initiative?

Depending on whether you’re seeking awareness, demand, engagement or actual sales, will influence your chosen social media strategy. Social media is particularly good at playing a supporting role in brand recognition and visibility in your target markets; building relationships with your audience; and establishing your company as a thought leader in your industry.

4. What resources (i.e., people, time, budget, etc.) do you have available to invest in social media without taking away from other online marketing efforts?

Social media can be budget-friendly, but don’t forget that time and resources are still required to create fresh content and analyze the results of your efforts. It’s important to remember that social media should merely complement rather than replace any existing successful online marketing programs.

5. How will you integrate social media into your overall marketing strategy?

With limited resources, key to maximizing your social media efforts is integrating it into what you are already doing, for example reposting your regular blog posts on Facebook, or Tweeting about a webinar you may be hosting.

6. How will you define success and measure ROI on your social media investments?

You already measure the effectiveness and ROI of all of your marketing initiatives. Social media is useful in building awareness, engagement and thought leadership. To achieve those goals, consider driving traffic to your Web site by offering downloadable content (e.g., white papers, research, infographics, etc.).

7. How will you promote your social media efforts in other initiatives?

To drive traffic to your social media platforms, you will want to incorporate them into your other marketing initiatives: Include links to your social media channels on your Web site, blog, business cards and in your collateral. Add them to your e-mail signatures.

Read the article in full here

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