For B2B marketers, the challenge of being the topic of conversation is a bit greater. You want to be the topic of conversation in places where buyers go to look to make decisions about products like yours. Like other elements of the marketing mix, it is critical to view social media as part of an overall communications plan directed by a marketing strategy. But, as is too often the case - organizations move right to tactics that are implemented without a strategy or cohesive plan. Social Media is no different than other elements of your communications plan. "We need to get on LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter" is not a plan.
As with the entire marketing mix, it starts with your target customers. How are they making their decisions, what information do they need, who influences them? You want them to have all the information they need at the time they are looking to make a decision. The ability to do this will be based on your ability to be viewed as a reliable authority. Being knowledgeable and acknowledged as such by the relevant community provides that credibility. This requires not just providing valuable relevant content, but being active in the conversation.
Delivering a consistent message in the right places, at the right times, with valuable content and active participation will all add up to success. This requires having a supporting theme and a coordinated approach in all communications including: the company website, e-mail, blogs and social media, in such a way that they work together, complement each other and support one another.