1. Define your WHY
WHY are you deciding to use social media in your B2B business? Without a clear answer to that question, you’ll find it more difficult to focus on a clear path for your business, and you’ll probably be disappointed with the results. Analyze your business objectives and see which ones would be best served by using social media. For example, do you want to improve your customer service with easier access to your employees? Or perhaps have better employee satisfaction through increased organizational transparency?
2. Make it a culture thing
Social media and the related technologies bring a number of cultural changes to an organization, through the promise of transparency, dialogue, and flatter hierarchies. If these cultural traits are already present in your organization, then social media is easy to integrate. After all, social media is really just another way to communicate, right? If the culture in the organization doesn’t encourage communication, whether internally or externally, then adding in social media technologies is going to be difficult. And it’s often management that has difficulty understanding how to integrate, not the employees.
3. Create a social governance model
Just like a style guide or marketing branding guidelines, your company should have a social governance plan. Consider creating a social media council where members of any department come together to discuss social media strategy. Include members from HR, PR, Marketing, IT, Customer Support, Sales, Legal, and anyone else you think should be there. Since the group needs to have the power to make decisions on budget and resources, the council members should probably be at the management level.
4. Lead by example
Becoming a social business means that everyone, including senior management, needs to be on board with the plan. Senior management should take an active and authentic role in the social media community, communicating openly and respectfully with everyone inside and outside the company. Seeing senior management leading by example like this goes a long way to determining how well the company uses social media.
5. Give internal communications a social overhaul
All employees are going to be communicating more now, so it’s important that everyone understands what they’re doing, and using the right communication methods (or platforms). From the CEO to the newest staffer, everyone is going to be using social media and the related technology, so knowing when an email blast is more appropriate than a blog post is crucial. The Marketing and/or Communications department should be facilitating everyone’s social media use, and be as helpful as possible.
6. Decide on the right tools
With so many different social media tools and platforms out there, it’s important that you choose the right ones for you. Perhaps run a pilot program with a few if you’re unsure. That way you’ll find which one best suits your needs, IT infrastructure, and employees.
7. Enable the people
By now, we’re all aware of how social media works on a personal level, but not everyone’s up to speed on how to use it professionally. Queue up the training sessions for everyone, especially senior management (they’re probably the most nervous.) Start with the basics, but then progress into cultural usage discussions and etiquette rules. Each platform and technology has their own code of “conduct”, so teach employees how that fits in with your overall corporate messaging, and how they can best use social media to reach business goals.