In today’s post I’ve got a Social Media Plan for a local Business to Business (B2B) Business.
This plan is based on an Accountant to help bring it to life but you could adapt it to your own business, for example one of the following:
- Administrative / Business Support Services
- Business Coach
- Commercial Legal Services
- Commercial Cleaning Services
- Web Designer / Developer
- Industrial Designer
- Graphic Designer
- Marketing Agency
- IT Services
- Computer Services and Repair
- Recruitment/Employment Agency
- Commercial Property Agent
- Commercial Property Management
- Logistics / Distribution / Delivery Services
- Plant and Machinery Hire
- Office Fitters
- Training Companies
- Telemarketing Companies
- Agricultural Supplies
- Architects (Commercial)
- Corporate Hospitality
- Builders / Plumbers Merchant
- Removals and Storage (Commercial)
- Security services
- Groundworks / Construction
This post is taken from our book ‘The Lazy Website Syndrome’ – you can claim your free copy at the link.
If you’re a B2C Business (like a Plumber) then why not check our Social Media Plan for Local B2C Business.
Social Media Game Plan For Local B2B Business
As a local B2B Business your game plan is to ensure that you are a central facilitator for your business clients. You will continually offer them high quality and relevant information. You will have a good understanding of their business and you will use this knowledge to identify opportunities for them and promote them whenever possible.
You will use Social Media to keep your customers up to date on key industry trends and insights. You will also use it as part of an effort to ‘ring-fence’ your clients by ensuring that you are more than just a supplier. This could be by offering seasonal promotions, offering awards/prizes or by arranging networking events.
In short your Game Plan is to be their trusted and valued advisor.
Social Media Plan For An Accountant
Owen is an Accountant and he’s great at his job. He loves to help his clients grow their business and whereas most accountants were just focused on ‘the numbers’ Owen was more interested in the people behind the business.
He knew that as an Accountant his role was more than just someone who did payroll, VAT returns and the end of year accounts. Owen was at his best when he was helping his clients grow their business.
Despite this, things were not going as well as Owen would have liked. He seemed to spend forever chasing around for new business with little to show for it.
He attended network meetings and all he ever seemed to get was a pile of business cards. His mail shots ended up in the bin and he’d spent a small fortune on pay per click adverts with not a lot to show for it.
But what really hurt Owen most (as an Accountant) was knowing that he was getting a low return on his marketing spend.
But he knew with certainty that if he could just attract more clients, they would love his level of service and would repay him by referring a constant source of new leads.
The thing is, Owen had plenty of extra capacity in his practice to accommodate many more clients. This was partly due to his use of a really neat online accounting tool provided by a specialist Accounting Software Company.
This tool integrated easily with his clients’ bank accounts and billing systems and it meant that tasks such as VAT returns, end of year accounts, profit and loss, balance sheets and the like could be quickly and easily produced.
That meant a faster turnaround, lower costs and less work for his clients.
The only fly in the ointment was getting each client up to speed so that they could learn how to use the tool. It was pretty easy to use but as with anything there was a bit of a learning curve. A few phone calls to the client usually got them up and running though.
Then one day Owen had a bit of a light bulb moment. He had seen a few videos on YouTube where people captured the content of their PC screen and provided a commentary on what they were doing. They ranged in quality from clearly home made to quite professional. One thing is for sure they didn’t look that difficult to make.
After some investigation Owen identified several screen capture tools and tried out a free product called Jing. It only allowed you to record 5 minute videos. But that was fine by Owen. He found that he didn’t like watching really long videos as he would lose interest so 5 minutes kept him focused and stopped him from rambling on.
Owen dusted off the headset and microphone that he had bought along with his PC (but never used) and he got to work. It took a few attempts to get it right but after a couple of hours he had several short videos with his voiceover.
These videos showed his customers in clear, concise steps, exactly how to set up the online accounting tool and how to integrate it with their billing systems and bank accounts.
The next thing he needed was a way to distribute them. He wanted a way that was easy for his customers to use and which they could access at a time that suited them and which they would always be able to access.
YouTube seemed the perfect way to do this. In fact, one of Owen’s clients, Richard the plumber mentioned that he had been having some success with YouTube so Owen gave him a call.
Richard gave him his approach of uploading videos and then embedding them into his blog. Pretty soon Owen’s blog had several great posts with videos.
Then a funny thing happened. Owen started to receive a steady stream of comments on his blog and gaining followers on his YouTube channel.
He didn’t really know why this was, but what was really strange was that they weren’t from his regular clients. In fact it seemed that people from all over the world, who used this particular accounting tool, were getting back to him with thanks.
“Great video! Thanks for sharing. I’d been wondering how to set that up”.
“You’re a star. My accountant just told me to check the help files which were just gobbledygook to me. You’ve probably saved me about a day’s work each quarter.”
These were typical comments he was getting.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Owen started to create more videos. But he didn’t limit himself to screen share.
He was the type of person who would jump at the chance to get in front of a whiteboard with coloured pens (if he needed to get a particular point across). He had loads of presentations stored on his hard drive, so he thought that maybe he could bring them to life on video.
In fact, one of Owen’s clients, Matt was a wedding photographer and videographer. He owed Owen a favour so he thought he’d call it in. He didn’t want to take up too much of Matt’s time, but he was sure that if he could run him through a few basics about setting up the camera and lighting, he would be able to create his own videos in his office.
Matt was more than happy to help and once Owen had invested in a tripod, a lapel microphone and a couple of lights, he was ready for action.
He needed to familiarize himself with basic techniques like 3 point lighting, but it wasn’t that difficult to get the hang of and he loved the end results.
After some trial and error, Owen had produced a set of videos aimed at helping small businesses manage their finances. Whilst they weren’t going to win him any prizes in presentation techniques, they would definitely be of use to his clients and his growing band of followers on his blog and his YouTube channel.
Some people asked Owen how he managed to produce such great looking videos, so Owen thought it would be a great idea if Matt could show how they did it. He didn’t want to take credit, when it was Matt who had showed him.
Matt, always happy to oblige, set to work and made a great video which covered the basics of creating a professional business videos on a shoestring budget.
Matt’s video appeared on Owen’s blog as a ‘guest post’ and pretty soon Matt started to get calls from people interested in his work.
This got Owen thinking and he figured that maybe his success with YouTube could be another way to help his clients.
So he contacted them all and explained the benefits of guest blogging and asked if they would like to create a blog post for him. A few of them were apprehensive, but after a bit of persuasion they all agreed. Fairly soon, Owen’s blog was alive with loads of useful blog posts from his customers.
Since then Owen has become the champion of his customers’ interests. He set up a small business Group on LinkedIn and Facebook. Initially for his clients, they soon attracted plenty of outside interest and became really lively, but friendly forums for debate.
In fact, Owen was able to take these Groups offline and he set up quarterly get-togethers as well as other informal face-to-face events.
Owen also became an avid fan of Twitter. Whereas before he would have just looked blankly at the screen and wondered what to tweet about, he set up an automated Twitter tool which allowed him to search in real time for mentions of keywords related to his clients business. He was always on the lookout for opportunities for them.
Owen made sure he shared useful content on all of his social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube & Google Plus. He also noticed that when people comment, share, or like (+1) the content he shares it seems to help with his position in the search results as Google takes social factors into account when determining its search results.
He created a Google+ personal profile and a business page. He soon noticed that when he posted his content here that it actually got indexed in the Google search results which meant that he started to get even more traffic from people searching in Google.
He doesn’t spend hours and hours using it, but he makes sure that he adds his contacts into Google + circles and interacts with them. This is another great way for him to network online.
The funny thing was that Owen didn’t really feel that this was marketing or advertising. He just felt that he was being himself – helpful, friendly and focused on helping his clients to grow their businesses.
But whilst it didn’t feel like marketing or advertising, the results could not have been clearer. Over the next year, Owen was looking to grow his business by 100%. In fact, he was starting to look further afield to new towns and he was considering setting up a franchise based on his brand.
Hopefully you can see that all that Owen did was to get his knowledge out there to the world using social media.
He started off simple with short 5 minute videos to help his clients and this started to generate traffic and establish him as an Authority in his field.
This gave him the confidence to create more videos using lighting and a whiteboard to explain issues that are of interest to his clients.
Social Media for Owen is much more than ‘likes’ or ‘tweets’. It’s about amplifying his voice and leveraging the power of these tools to create a ‘buzz’ around his business which keeps his clients loyal as well as drawing in new clients.
In summary, Owen uses Social Media to ‘ringfence’ his existing clients.
So do you have a Local B2B Social Media Plan – if so, please share your experiences in the comments below.