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5 B2B Takeaways from Social Media Week

This year’s fourth annual Social Media Week was once again filled with informative sessions and great networking opportunities. SMW Chicago added master classes and the Digital Marketing Summit for advanced social media best practices.

I had the chance to attend on behalf of Walker Sands to learn how we could apply what the speakers said to our clients moving forward. While much of the conference had a B2C focus, there were a number of sessions that also spoke to the B2B audiences.

In case you missed SMW Chicago, here are five takeaways B2B brands should keep in-mind on social media.

1.       Influencer relations should play a critical part in social media strategy

Just as media relations are important to a PR campaign, so too are influencer relations to social media. Unlike journalists, being published isn’t an end, but a mean to expanding their influence. This means, they’re willing to participate with your brand in activities such as Twitter chats, guest blog posts or when applicable, product giveaways. Engaging influencers is a great way to create sustainable conversations online.

2.       Recommendations on social media are invaluable to increasing sales

To understand the return on a share, ShareThis and Beresford Research studied the monetary value of social sharing and revealed the findings during Social Media Week. The research concluded that positive online shares increased purchase intent by 9.5 percent while bad recommendations decreased purchase intent by 11 percent. Even brands that don’t have a consumer focus have a lot to gain from recommendations and can increase customer purchase intent with word of mouth marketing.

3.       Use the LinkedIn Publishing Platform to increase web traffic and promote thought leaders

Ever since LinkedIn’s new publishing capabilities rolled out, brand thought leaders have jumped on the opportunity to tell their story. In addition to many of the benefits we’ve outlined, LinkedIn is the only social network that creates a democratization of content by giving the CEO of a small start-up the exact same platform as Mark Cuban to voice their thoughts. Now, executives can stay top-of-mind with their network by creating content regularly that resonates with their audience.

4.       B2B is NOT “boring to boring”

Think of B2B as Human-to-Human when using social media. Even if you think marketing automation, for example, is not the most exciting think to talk about, there are still ways to be creative and engaging. Posts that are fun and engaging get a high volume of social shares and are more importantly, generate web traffic.

5.        Update your company blog frequently

Keeping blog content fresh should seem like a no-brainer, but many brands have a hard time creating enough posts to build a readership. While asking employees to stick to a content calendar seems daunting, here is where your relationship with influencers might pay off. Find other thought leaders in your industry who want to get their name out and offer them a monthly blog post. By getting a few contributors, companies can keep their blog from getting stale and take the pressure off your employees. In addition, it’s a great way to establish relationships with industry influencers, who will be more likely to work with you in the future.