Orginally posted on Texas Enterprise
By David Wenger
Social media is great for Coke, but what about JSR Micro? One has billions of thirsty customers worldwide, the other makes customized chemicals for a small cadre of high performance chip manufacturers. How much online socializing do you need when you can shake the hand of every one of your key customers during a two-day trade show?
Statistics gathered by Social Media B2B show that B2B firms have been slower to adopt social media and online marketing, with 36 percent of executives saying they had low interest in social media, and 46 percent believing social media is irrelevant to their company. “Nobody talks business on Facebook,” they say.
Aaron Strout, interactive group director at WCG, begs to differ. “It is actually easier to have one-to-one relationships with B2B customers, where you might know by name the 100 buyers who matter the most to your company,” he asserts.
In his view, social media need not be a high-numbers game, but can effectively be used to enable relevant interaction between a customer and the people within the organization who have value to offer to that customer.
Business is Personal
“If you’re a smart marketer, you should know each of your customers and prospects by name, follow them on Twitter (if they are there), connect on LinkedIn, and work hard to deliver value to them on a weekly basis,” Strout affirms. “The bottom line, think relationship first, tools second.”
As to Facebook, Strout points out that no one questions the wisdom of getting to know a customer more personally through a golf game or a few drinks after work. So why not share your personal side through social media, using the same level of discretion you exercise in other social settings?
JSR Micro Marketing Director Missy Bindseil reports this is exactly how the B2B manufacturer is currently using social media.
“We’ve spent years nurturing close relationships with a handful of key contacts, and as those relationships have developed into friendships there is casual interaction via social media between our representatives and our customers,” she explains.
While JSR Micro is yet to establish an “official” social media presence, it is common practice at many other firms to have employees with personal/professional Twitter accounts, speaking as individuals on behalf of the organization (@RichardatDell, for example).
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