B2B companies that take the right steps in adopting social media can thrive and profit from the new realities of business in the era of customer connectedness and empowerment.
Social media is not just a technology that can be bolted on to the traditional way of doing things: it's an entirely new way of relating and doing business. Many B2B companies have begun to realize that adopting social media requires organizational changes.
But, change is hard. It is not easy to adapt to the power that is shifting to the customer as a result of social media. And if your company is experiencing difficulty in making the transition to social media, you're not alone. .
The biggest hurdle to jumping into social media is not knowing how to get started.
Radian6 has developed an excellent eBook which outlines the 4 steps necessary for organizations to successfully adopt social media:
Make a Case for Social Media - To make the case for social media, demonstrate how your company is very likely missing out on important ongoing social media conversations. Are there any discussions going on about your company right now that can be monitored with social media? Similarly, social media can be used to monitor what's being said about your industry, and perhaps most importantly, your competition.
Overcome Cultural/Company Obstacles - This is probably the toughest step. There are normally several obstacles to overcome such as: the notion that social media is a passing fad (the numbers speak for themselves), social media is only for consumer products (social media actually works better for expensive, complex products with long sales cycles and multiple points of contacts - sound like a B2B sale?), social media can't be controlled (you can't prevent anyone from talking about your company), fear of a social media crisis (your absence is likely to make a crisis worse), it's a waste of time (if you distrust your employees this much, you have bigger issues than social media adoption), fear of legal complications (set up clear guidelines), and effect on the bottom line (demonstrate the ROI).
Set Up a Social Media Council - A social media council can help you turn the legal department into an ally, get buy-in from HR, identify and share best practices, overcome internal objections (see #2 above), eliminate duplication of effort and speak with a unified voice.
Get Started - This includes setting clear goals and objectives, building a social media team, developing a social media policy and plan and training the company.
What social media obstacles are you encountering?
Click here to download a copy of the 18-page eBook "Social Media Blueprint: A Step-by-Step Plan to Prepare Your Company" or view the SlideShare presentation below.