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Social media has clearly made its way into mainstream marketing strategies for a wide range of companies, nonprofit organizations, personal brands, and everything in between (if you missed that, check out our Social Media 101 resources). What does that mean for business-to-business (B2B) companies selling green products? While social media plays a different role in mass consumer brands, this doesn’t mean you should count social media out! If your audience is online, chances are there is a role for social media channels to play in enhancing your marketing and sales process!

Take for example Kinaxis, a tech company specializing in supply-chain management, that has seen how social media can help B2B companies reach their goals. In this interview with the director of corporate marketing, Kirsten Watson discussed three main strategies that lend themselves to Kinaxis’s success in social media.

1) Connect with very targeted niches

As a business that’s not consumer oriented, it’s even more important for you to be really specific about the social niches that you want to build a presence in. As green products tend to fit very specific uses, such as materials within a green building project, you are likely selling to really specific customers in very targeted markets. Our advice: Maintain that laser focus and identify the specific communities that you want to connect with. Kinexis narrowed down their target audiences by the company’s industry classification (NAIC). Regardless of how specific, be sure to use criteria that works for you to define a market and make the social networking more manageable.

2) Choose the right channel for your tone, message, target audience, and goals.

After identifying the specific niches you are targeting, think about the goals that you have for connecting with each of those communities and the messages and tone that will best resonate. What channels are the best fit for what you are trying to accomplish and where your audience is listening? Sometimes it’s best to leverage more established channels like email or your website, while other times you need niche blogs, social media, or even mobile tools. How will you use each channel to achieve your goals? Kinaxis uses their email campaigns (which go out to the largest cross-section of customers) to let their community know about the range of content in their other communication channels. By planning which channels your message will go out to, you increase your chances of getting the attention of your prospects.

3) Integrate social media with marketing automation tools

Some companies post content on Facebook and Twitter and cross their fingers, hoping something will come of it. Kinexis got more proactive about their social ROI by integrating their social media with Salesforce in order to gain deeper insights about their leads. By keeping track of the quality of interaction between potential customers and your various vehicles of communication, you can easily identify who are the best prospects, get more insight into what would get their attention and engage them in the content your company is producing. Social media is useful, but paired with a strong CRM system like Salesforce, it can become a great tool for nurturing leads and closing sales.

While social media may be more common (especially in the news!) among consumer businesses, it needs to form a part of the marketing strategy for B2B companies as well. For green companies, it can be a key way of educating and engaging prospects. Just remember to limit your target audience so it doesn’t get unmanageable! If you are ready to take a deeper dive, consider using our Social Media Planning workbook or contact us to find out how to boost your business through more effective online marketing.

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