April 16, 2014

What to consider when evaluating social networks for your b2b social media campaign

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Why should you consider a B2B Social Media campaign?

You have heard it over and over again, Generation Y has now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest population in the United States. This makes b2b social media more important than ever. Business blogging is changing and requires more use of mobile browsing. Twitter has become the primary tool for passive aggressive behavior for b2b social media complaints.

There are literally thousands of social networks out there. You can’t join them all, nor would you want to.

So, which ones should you join?

When you spread yourself too thin over too many networks, you run the risk of being unable to properly maintain your presence on all these channels. You could also find yourself associated with a social network that has a lame image or that disappears as quickly as it appeared.

How do you prioritize? Easy…

Fish where the fish are. Go where the users are. Just like a blog with no comments or a message board with no posts, a social network with no users has little value. This seems obvious but is often ignored because many less experienced marketers decide to place all their chips on a little used “up and comer” hoping to be on top when the masses convert to that social network. Problem is, the conversion rarely happens.

Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter have millions of active users. While, many “gurus” might scoff at marketing on these well established social networks, don’t be persuaded. Usually, these guys are trying topoint you away from the obvious in a clever attempt to sell you some unconventional “wisdom”.

Go for the safe bets because people are there, actively participate in what is a massive marketing opportunity for your brand.

With that said, there are situation when some major players should be avoided and opportunities in the new or lesser known communities… if you know what to look for. And yes, choosing the right social networks to join goes way beyond user numbers – here are a number of other factors you’ll also want to consider…

Step One: Choosing Social Networks

Site Credibility and Reputation
If you’re a Fortune500 CEO you really have no place putting yourself on MySpace (unless you happen to run a company where the target market is teens). A site may have a million users, but if they’re not your market then it’s not worth going there.

For example, think about a marketing consultant. He’s going to get more contacts and worthwhile links from maintaining his LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter accounts. But, he probably won’t see any returns from investing hours of time into his MyDogSpace account (a social networking site for dog lovers).

However, if he can build a presence on StartUpNation, he could get tons of great small biz consulting work form a relatively small network.

Ask if it’s Relevant?
Of course, another type of consultant could be barking up the right tree setting up a profile on MyDogSpace.com if he happens to provide consulting service for dog breeders and trainers. Why? Because the other users on that site are relevant, they fit into his niche. Obviously, right! Then why don’t more folks find these social networks and engage?

The Site’s PageRank
Despite what some say, we feel that PageRank is still critical to improving and controlling your Google (and other) search engine rankings. That means, if possible, you want to sign up for and invest your time on social networks that have a high PageRank value with lots of visitors.

For example, try googling the names of some of your friends. You’ll often find that if they have a LinkedIn, Twitter or even Blogger account, these profiles will be on the first page of their Google results. That’s because these sites have significant PageRank (6 or higher).

The Site’s Staying Power
If you don’t think a social network has staying power or enough users to keep it running through this rough economic storm, don’t waste your time setting up a profile and building up a community.

Being an early adopter can pay dividends, but then again you may just be wasting your time. If you go with a new social network, do so only if your gut tells you it is unique or compelling enough to be around in a year.

Make a Social Network Checklist
Before you invest hours of time into developing an online profile for yourself or your business, run a potential social network through a personal checklist. Ask questions like does it fit my niche? Are my current contacts using this site? Are there groups the site that I could join? How many users does it have? What’s the PageRank? Will joining this site benefit or hinder my brand?

Think of Every Profile as an Introduction
First impressions are important, so you want to avoid spreading your brand too thin. Ideally, you want every social network profile that you or your business has to be up-to-date and functional. Nothing says “deadbeat” like a profile that hasn’t been updated since 2006 or at least deleted.

You should also think of every social profile as a potential first introduction, the first handshake with a new acquaintance. Is it limp or firm and steady?

Each profile may be a bit different, but you want them all to put forward the image and information that is congruent with your brand or blog.

Paul is the President of Professional Blog Service. PBS works with clients making strategic investments into business blogging, social media and search engine optimization.

 

Post By Paul Lorinczi (137 Posts)

Paul is an Internet consultant and President of TLL Ventures LLC. TLL Ventures is a small Internet marketing firm working with companies to maximize opportunities in eCommerce, business blogging, social media and search engine optimization to dominate their markets. My interests are in Entrepreneurial pursuits, soccer, music, and travel.

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  1. Great article on social marketing. It certainly is important to choose the right social network, especially for B2B companies.

    I like to recommend http://www.MyTradeZone.com, which is a B2B social networking site. It’s free for businesses to sign up and create their company profile on MyTradeZone, list their products/services, request price quotes, and follow other companies. Check it out and we appreciate any feedback.

    “these profiles will be on the first page of their Google results.”
    That’s definitely important, and many of MyTradeZone’s pages have been ranked very high (eg. search “duracell imports”).

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