One of our clients recently featured in the Guardian talking about the impact of proactive social media campaigns as a B2B business. Chas Moloney, marketing director of Ricoh UK and Ireland, was quoted as saying, "We have a complicated story to tell, working in multiple markets and sectors. Social media has allowed us to tell that story. We have doubled visitors to our blog and corporate website. Social media channels such as LinkedIn have enabled us to engage with existing customers."
This is a very powerful endorsement of social media from a B2B perspective. I’m sure every business would love to double the number of visitors to their website, which should create new opportunities and ultimately lead to more sales.
Yet, a recent report from media analysts, C4B, has discovered that a third of all businesses still have no social media strategy in place even though its acknowledged as a vital way to grow your business.
Many companies, particularly with a lack of direction at a board room level, are shying away from being active on social media networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
So, what’s behind this reticence? Is it a fear of the lack of control or worries about lost productivity? Or is it perhaps because some social media networks were originally intended for younger and more consumer-led audiences? Many business executives are not yet completely aware of the influence of digital communications. Some of them were not the generation which easily adopted the social media lifestyle and therefore many don’t see the positive potential it can have for their organisation.
There’s no denying that having an active online strategy and presence will play an increasingly important role for businesses in Ireland. Alongside more traditional PR and marketing communications activities, it can play a really important role in building brand recognition, credibility and larger networks of customers and prospects. So how do businesses take advantage of social media?
Eve Mayer, author of ‘The Social Media Business Equation’, suggests that companies must do four things in order for their business to be a success in the social media world:
- Inform (20%) – Informing your followers of a certain product or service that may be of use to your audience and that stays on topic with what your business sells or provides.
- Entertain (20%) – Entertaining your audience with some funny and interesting stories/pictures/videos that doesn’t have to be related to your company.
- Convert (20%) – This is promoting your business (in a subtle manner), whether it’s through a blog or promoting a new product/service.
- Interact (40%) – This is where most of your posts should come from, interacting with your audience. This may be asking people’s opinions on an article or blog, creating a poll etc. This way you get feedback from your audience and can help both you and your customers.
This is very good advice and should give businesses a good understanding of the mix of activities it takes to be a success. In addition, it’s also important to note that once a business begins its social media journey, it has to continuously remain focused to ensure a destination is reached with positive results. Try to get a team of people involved who can take turns to update social media platforms with relevant and engaging content. Listen, answer questions and tell your story!
We also feel that having a strong social media presence is imperative for Irish technology companies looking to attract new talent in a marketplace with a skills shortage. The latest generation of graduates are most familiar with social media communications and will seek out opportunities across online platforms. An attractive website, regular and interesting content, and a strong social media presence are all now essential in attracting the best talent into your organisation.
With the right formula in place, and a proactive and engaging approach, there’s no reason why your business can’t enjoy the same level of digital success as a global technology leader like Ricoh.