If you’re holding out at all on social media as part of your B-2-B marketing strategy, the holiday season is a great time to start ramping up. Inexpensive, lighthearted and engaging, social media is where your content marketing can gain full court press. Don’t overlook this ideal time of year when marketers and consumers alike are prone to exhibit more warmth and receptiveness to your messages, if delivered properly and not simply as a “I-didn’t-remember-you-all-year-long-but-am-reaching-out-to-you-because-it’s-the-holidays” sentiment. Make it your striving this season, and your resolution for the new year, to commit to social and commit to planning it strategically.

Why does my organization need to play in this space?

With 86% of business technology buyers engaging in some form of social activity for work purposes, it’s clear that social has become paramount not only to B2C customers but B2B customers as well. Additionally, research shows that consumers who are exposed to brands on social media are 2.8x more likely to search for that brand via Google. Buyers will typically also read an average of 10 pieces of content before making purchases. Why not make sure that content is yours? By posting to social regularly, your content marketing is likely to be made available in Google search results.

Think that a few visits to your Facebook page or web-hosted blog are enough? Think again. Consumers will gather at least 60% of information needed to make a purchase before speaking with a sales person. Monitor the behavior of your following, evaluate the quantity and scope of information they are gathering, and then contact them during the right phase of the buying cycle.

Think that social is going to be set ablaze with prospects? Maybe not immediately. 84% of people who like a branded Facebook page are current customers. What do you do with current customers? Engage with them and keep them, of course. Plus, don’t forget to make it in their best interest to refer you to others.

Why do I need to plan?

Simply put, your business stands to benefit wildly from strategic planning of your social media presence. The reason? Few others are proactively doing so. In fact, of the 79% of B2B Marketers that are using social media; only 19% have a strategy. Another 51% of that 79% are using social media without blogging, which means they are not positioning themselves as a thought leader with curated content that tells a prospective client about their company’s values and purpose. As part of your plan, timing is sure to be a question that comes up–how often should I post? The wisest answer doesn’t revolve around how often, but around quality, the quality of information you have to share with your clients and prospects. In addition to presenting topics that revolve around your audience’s pain points, you should strive to create and write status updates that solicit interaction.

Additional Tips

  • Answer a question before your customers ask.
  • Smaller is better–split up white papers into a series of blogs, for instance.
  • Try comparing complex topics to something mainstream for easier digestion.
  • Before posting, consider sharing content with sales for distribution to client lists, so current contacts feel as if they’ve received preferential treatment.

Have you increased your use of social media since the beginning of the year? What kind of content do you find receives the most engagement? Are you strategically planning your social media? If not, how do you plan on forming strategy for 2012?