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You assume because you don’t sell directly to consumers that social media isn’t important? Think again.

Over 90 percent of business buyers believe all companies should have a social media presence, but many aren’t doing enough to set themselves apart from B2Cs, a new study has revealed.

The study, released by Lead Creation and funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry and Innovation, reviewed the online presence of the top 200 B2B companies in Australia by analysing almost 19 000 data points across seven major social media platforms.

The study found that there’s been a shift in importance from the words and actions of a company to those of its employees.

“With social networks becoming larger more powerful, it’s inevitable that the company becomes less important as buyers connect directly with the people behind the company,” says Toby Marshall, managing director of Lead Creation.

“There is much truth in the sales concept that B2B is not about selling to a company, but rather selling to the people at the company.”

Marshall provides the following tips on how a B2B can employ social media:

1. Show your personality

“It has always been true that people buy from people they like,” says Marshall.

This is more important than ever in the social media world, where clients can track you down on a number of different sites and see what you’re all about. It’s worthwhile showing your personality in order to appeal to clients in a personal sense; we relate to other individuals more than we relate to brands or products.

2. Know your audience and target them

A big no-no of Twitter is tracking down and following anyone who so much as just mentions your brand, product, or industry in one tweet. Many of these follows are ignored, so there’s no point wasting your time – particularly when the tweets may have been posted from the other side of the world.

It’s important to know your audience and target them specifically: think locally. People appreciate a follow from a user who genuinely seems interested in what they have to say, and will follow back if they think they can have a conversation with you or gain something of value from you.

3. Engage

Of course, the whole point of investing time in social media is to drum up more business, but the key to success is engaging with your audience rather than constantly posting promotional tweets or Facebook posts.

Find out what conversations people are having on social media about your industry or similar brands and products and take the time to participate. It’s also important to respond to any queries and questions.

4. Give insights into your business

We all love those behind-the-scenes featurettes on DVDs, because it’s fun to get a look at the inner workings of something and see how it all comes together. The same goes for your business. If you have a blog, think about writing a weekly post on life at work and what goes on in a typical week.

Take a few pictures of your staff and let your audience get to know the team. These are opportunities to show your personality! If you’re having a fun office discussion, tweet about it and let others virtually join in.

5. Don’t spend all your time on social media

It’s easy for people to get brand fatigue, so don’t spend all your time on social media. Set aside half an hour or so each day to dedicate to your online presence, then get back to work.

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Mike Mrkic

Mike Mrkic

Mike Mrkic is the social web editor of Dynamic Business. He looks after our social media and web content. Mike has considerable experience in journalism and social media management working for companies like Channel V, Music Max, Sydney Star Observer and Idolator.

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