The truth is that having a regular social media presence counts as a spreadsheet for all types of businesses these days.

Often there are misconceptions about social media marketing and how it actually works for a company. Often times an organization has created content, scheduled some posts to promote that content for several weeks or months, and then get disappointed when it doesn’t generate sales.

In truth, B2B social media marketing is a much longer process. It takes foresight, persistence, and effort to have real conversations with your audience. Social media success doesn’t come overnight, but when it does, the results are impressive.

Most businesses need a changed mindset to achieve B2B social media marketing success. That starts with them changing the way they view certain aspects of their social media presence:

1. Your buyers want to engage through social media

This is (surprisingly sometimes) a major hurdle for many of the companies they work with. They see social media selling more as a passive thing. They hope that consistent posts and interesting content will be enough. While this is a foundation for success, it really takes a little more to achieve the results that most B2B companies hope for.

The bad news is that it takes a moment to think about it, and it has to be on purpose. The good news is that it isn’t very complicated. It’s important to know that your customers want to shop through social media. They want to build real, lasting relationships with the companies they work with. You want to get to know people before buying from them. Social media gives them this chance. It’s more personal than a cold email or phone call.
It’s important to break the mental block of viewing social media as a passive platform for building presence, rather than viewing it as a legitimate sales channel that your prospects prefer to engage with prospects in the right way – fearless.

2. Focus on relationship building, not selling

With that in mind, it’s important that you don’t approach the social media conversations as if they were a cold call. Yes, your audience wants to buy and learn about your business through social media. But that doesn’t mean that they want to be pursued or pursued in the traditional sales sense. Many people on social media exchange the word “phone” for “LinkedIn” or “Twitter” and before you know it someone is trying to sell you carpets, services, or hardware immediately after you log on to them on the platform of your choice have connected.

Instead of focusing on the number of sales your social media presence is generating, focus on the number of valuable relationships you have been able to build. Direct sales on social media are made through prospects you’ve established a relationship with, rather than prospects you blindly talk to. In short, if you are selling, you are already doing it wrong.

3. B2B social media marketing is a long-term strategy

The final, and perhaps most important, mindset change that all businesses must go through in order to put themselves in a B2B social media marketing position is to soften your expectations about the time frame. It will most likely take weeks for your first results to appear and months for your social media marketing presence to produce impressive, measurable results.

Don’t go after yourself if you don’t see results right away. Relationships take time to build. Nobody meets someone and immediately considers them a friend. These relationships require continuous interaction to reach this stage. For this reason, we expect our customers to achieve results that are relevant to sales within 3-4 months. That doesn’t mean you won’t see traction by then, but relationship building and trust takes time. It’s not done with a tweet.

The good news: The relationships you build this way are based on your dedication and expertise. They build up a long-standing pipeline of contacts who will either get in touch with you directly or refer you to others. Getting 500 clicks on your website after an ad is displayed on Facebook isn’t that fast. The upside, however, is that the relationships are prequalified from social selling. It’s not easy for someone to click on a keyword ad only to find that you are defining the search term differently than they are. And after all, it’s not something that stops immediately after that initial engagement.

This article was previously posted on SocialSellinator’s blog.

Author: Jock Breitwieser

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