Understanding how social media marketing helps business to consumer (B2C) organizations seems simple; however, restaurants and stores are not the only businesses capitalizing on the social media movement. Business to business (B2B) companies, especially green businesses, are prime candidates to use social media in their marketing strategies. Here are five tips to help green entrepreneurs kick off their campaign:
1. Develop Green Marketing Strategies for Social Media
Think about how you started your green business – likely, you did not rent a building, begin printing catalogs and cold call potential clients immediately. Instead, you discussed your green business ideas with others, brainstormed your product line and came up with a plan. Take the same approach to social media. The business owner who starts a blog, LinkedIn page, or Twitter account before he or she understands how it will fit into a green marketing strategy will fail. Connect with other social entrepreneurs, ask for advice and learn about different social media platforms first – you’ll be glad you did!
2. Become an Expert in Your Field
Blogging is one of the best first steps into social media. You can write blog posts about starting a green business, changes in your industry and even the challenges you face as a green business owner. Blogs are a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge and connect with other social entrepreneurs. A word of warning: do not start a blog if you cannot maintain it! A blog with three posts and nothing else for six months will do more harm than good.
3. Connect with Your Customers
Many green business owners think their target audience does not hang out on Facebook or Twitter – a common misconception made by B2B company owners. But leaving social media out of your green marketing plan only allows other companies to snatch your potential customers away. Social media outlets give you a chance to connect with clients on a deeper, more meaningful level. Entrepreneurs can start conversations with potential clients instead of simply sending them a brochure in the mail. Social media platforms offer the perfect venue to tell your potential customers how your business will help them.
4. Optimize Your LinkedIn Presence
Often LinkedIn is forgotten in social cause marketing, but this is a big mistake for B2B companies. LinkedIn offers people starting green career paths an easy way to connect with other business owners and potential customers. By completing your profile, participating in groups and answering questions, LinkedIn can become an important part of your green business strategy. Just as your blog, an incomplete LinkedIn profile will do more harm than good. Carefully consider this before getting started.
5. Leverage Your Social Media Presence
If you maintain a blog, post to Facebook regularly, and create the perfect LinkedIn profile, but are not telling people about it you are wasting your time. One of the most important parts of your green marketing plan is to communicate with your potential customers, and the same is true of your social media marketing. Make it easy for people to find your social media networks by putting badges on your website, in your email signature and in your newsletter. Consider putting the badges on your printed materials as well.
Green business owners can – and should – including social media in their marketing strategies. Social media offers an untapped market of potential customers who need your products. If you do your research and commit time to the project, you will begin seeing results before you know it!