Don’t Put it Off! For BtoBs, the Time for Social Media is Now!

Hey! All you BtoB marketers out there! You need to start getting active in the social media space now. It is not going to go away.

I hope you had a chance to see Michelle Stern’s blog post addressed to you. Michelle does a great job of telling you why it is important to at least start monitoring the social media landscape as it relates to your clients, competitors and the industries you serve. Check out what she has to say over at her Search Engine Land blog post.

I want to take it a step further and mention just two of the many reasons you need to also start actively participating in the social space.

One great reason is that you have the opportunity to establish yourselves as subject matter experts through blogs, podcasts, and social network participation. After all isn’t your expertise one of the key value of your service?

Another great reason to get going is that you will have the foundations in place to protect your brand in the event that you need to do any damage control. Having an established blog that shows up in organic search results for your branded terms and in news results for hot topics is the ultimate soap box to use quickly when you need it.

If negative comments are snowballing and you do not have a blog or other social presence, it will be too late to establish these in time to respond appropriately. You will be left little recourse besides responding to comments on other people’s blogs and networks. Sure, you will need to make those comments anyway, but you do not want to be left with that and old school PR as your only tools.

You’ve actually been hearing a similar message since you were young; remember The Ant and the Grasshopper?

So, how do you begin with all of this “social stuff?” Seek a firm or expert that has some experience already. They can evaluate your goals and resources and then provide a strategy. Experts can also tell you how things are going after you finally get started. They know to look at buzz, influence, engagement and other factors beyond just sales leads and traffic to your site. Social media is most often about branding and less often about direct sales.

Sitting out of the social world and waiting to “see where this is going” is a common response in both the BtoB and BtoC space. It kind of reminds me of the companies in the late 1990s that held off on starting that “.com.” They sat idly, and waited to “see if it is just a fad.” By the time they got active and started their company sites, their well-established competitors were already way ahead and benefiting from organic search engine traffic. These days no one wonders if organic search engine traffic is “worth it.”

Times have changed. Search has changed. Organic/natural no longer just means search engines. It now extends into the social realm. You need to relentlessly optimize everything you do online. It will be worth it. Don’t wait, and do not assign it all to the intern. Interns are notorious grasshoppers.

And winter’s pretty much here.