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Have you ever heard the saying “there's always a customer behind any business to business transaction”? While it's true that there are always individuals making purchases on behalf of companies in business to business exchanges, B2B is still a different beast in social media. Many of the same rules still apply, but you have to be ready for some changes, too. Here are some of the don't-miss tips for being engaged with your business customers.
Be where your customers are
The first rule of any social media engagement, this still holds true with businesses. Your brand needs to gain authority on- and off-line wherever your business customers are. Have a voice in industry publications, LinkedIn groups, and conferences, and then make sure everyone there knows where to find you, and how you can help.
Create a place for those customers
If you see that your customers need a community, you can successfully create one. Setting up branded forums so that customers can interact with each other and provide help and support is one way to bring them to you. If you don't have the scale to create a forum, your Facebook page can also be leveraged to create the same type of exchanges, allowing you to step back and let your customers advocate for you and solve each others' problems.
The fact that Facebook pages can now follow each other is another great reason to break into this traditionally B2C platform. Brands pay attention to what other brands are recommending, and it can help spread awareness among customers as well.
Business customers are less tolerant of chit-chat and discussions, and are more concerned with getting their questions answered and their problems solved. Write thorough, informative blog posts. Answer questions directly wherever you come across them, and also address concerns or remarks. Even businesses are enchanted by personal answers and service.
Traditional coupon codes and membership loyalty programs have their place online, too. However, don't take advantage of their contact information by barraging them with e-mails. Instead, let your e-mail marketing campaigns be less frequent and more valuable, and don't forget to offer a simple way to opt-out.
Realize how busy they are
Business customers want the best value – fast. They have plenty of other things to be doing besides researching products! Do as much of the footwork as you can for them by making it easy to find information about your products, including reviews. Information should be short and direct.
On the other end of the spectrum, podcasts and explanatory videos do have their place. Help your customers feel like they are well-educated before making their purchase, especially if that education can come in a form that lets them do other things at the same time (one of the reasons podcasts continue to grow in popularity).