I’ve been writing about each tactic from my Blog World post Ten Tactics to Drive B2B Sales with Social Media
Today it’s Tactic #5: Request and publicize referrals and recommendations through social media.
Business buyers, like consumers, want to know who likes you, who thinks you do good work. And they want to know who thinks your employees are good, and who recommends them.
Social media are great for seeking and publicizing recommendations. Start with LinkedIn. Ask your key employees to request Linked In recommendations from current and past customers, for example, and suddenly you’ll have 10 or 20 or 50 points of view about the quality and capabilities of your team. In addition to having recommendations on each LinkedIn profile, you can cut and paste them for your website or team bios.
If you don’t have a company Facebook page, it’s probably time to create one. As customers find you and “like” you, you have the opportunity for dialogue, to find our what they like (and also what they don’t like that you can fix!) (P.S. Go to your customers’ and prospects’ Facebook pages and click on that “like” thumbs up button at the top of their page). Polls and surveys may provide industry information that supports your claims of excellence.
A corporate Twitter account is a good way to get referrals. As you follow other people and companies, selectively of course, and you get to know your followers, you have a community from whom you can ask for a referral, a recommendation, or an introduction. Your Twitter followers will also say complimentary thigs about you, which other Twitter followers will read. My corporate account is @thewhalehunters.
LinkedIn provides a great referral service, through which you can request an introduction from someone you know to someone you don’t know. LinkedIn people tend to be very generous about making introductions as long as your company’s online behavior is professional.
All of the social media tools work best when you devote some company time to building your communities. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn will not give you much value until your company (one or more employees) becomes active and attracts followers. There are many clever ways to attract people to your company sites initially–contests, give-aways, and other kinds of campaigns–but only your strong presence, useful content, and recommendations of other resources will keep them coming. Once you have a strong presence, these community groups become priceless. For some good examples of how to promote followers in a humorous and non-salesly way, subscribe to @ginidietrich’s blog Spin Sucks and visit this post announcing contest winners!
Yes, someone has to work on your social media strategy. But for today’s B2B companies, especially the smaller ones, strategic efforts will really pay off.