B2B and Social Media – What's the score for smaller businesses and start-ups?

Everyone's tweeting, posting and liking, or so it seems. But is "going social" really that important for B2B smaller businesses and start-ups setting out on the road to that IPO?

Research suggests that smaller businesses themselves certainly think so, with 66% of them spending more time on social media than a year ago to increase awareness of that all important intangible asset – the brand.

If used correctly, however, social media can do much more than simply build brand awareness. It's a powerful tool that can be used to generate new leads and nurture existing ones by enabling you to establish yourself as a market leader in terms of innovative thought and deep insight into your market.

Millions of people around the world are engaging on social platforms. For smaller companies looking to reach as many relevant audiences as possible, social media is an ideal channel to pursue. Here are some of the top reasons why it is so important to your business:

1. Reveal your Personality
With the financial climate the way it is, businesses are having to gain their potential customers' trust before they buy a product or invest in a service. By using social media, smaller companies can engage at a personal level which is key to any business venture.

Social media isn't about just promoting your services and products – that's advertising and will quickly turn off any potential lead. Rather, it's an opportunity to engage with your audience, share information and ideas and receive and respond to feedback.

2. Boost customer service
Reach out to your clients or prospective buyers and thank them for buying your products and engaging with your company – let them know that their opinion is valued.

If a client publicly announces on a social media platform that they are having a problem with a product or service then take the opportunity to reply and give advice or support ideally on the channel they used or, if more appropriate, direct them to an alternative such as direct e-mail or telephone.

3. Monopolise on Word of Mouth
Anyone who's anyone is using social media. A tweet or a post has the potential to be shared across the globe in a matter of hours, if people are engaged by it. If you thought word of mouth travelled fast, then word on the world wide web travels even faster.

4. Engage in some Market Research
New businesses want to find out what customers and clients are really thinking. Use social media to gauge questions and responses for your audience and understand what they are really thinking. If the responses are positive then bonus – they're there for all to see. If the feedback is negative it gives you the opportunity to manage your online presence and make public apologies and statements where necessary.

5. Limited budget? Go social!
When starting a new business your funds can be limited and paying for advertising is often not an option. The beauty of social media is that it is completely free to use, it just requires time and effort. Dedication and persistence are necessary when building your social presence but it will be worth it. If you have a limited advertising budget to get your business off the ground, then think of social media as an affordable and more engaging alternative.

Happy Tweeting!

This post was written by IBA International – the parent company of iBAengage, a global social media service dedicated to B2B for smaller businesses and start-ups – kick start your social media campaign today.

If you would be interested in using the post on your site? If you need any further information, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can reach me by emailing elockey@iba-international.com or by calling on 01780 721433.