Wednesday, May 7, 2014

B2B Marketing: 3 Simple Steps to Successful Social Media Marketing in China

Three Internet giant, BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) has further extended their footprint in social media industry. As B2B marketer, you need to be aware of the opportunities herein just as B2C marketers do. And the basic reason is that P2P (person to person) is the core in the integrated marketing communication in a digitized world now and in the future. Currently studying IMC at Northwestern University, I have a deep understanding of consumer-centric and data-driven marketing theory in digital marketing. Also, with two-year working experience in B2B marketing and digital marketing at OgilvyOne and Waggener Edstrom, I have accumulated experience in how to successfully implement social media strategy in real marketing world.

Why social media is at the start-up phase in marketing? Steve Olenski gives out the root cause. According to the creative content strategist at Responsys Oracle, “there is an inherent belief among B2B marketers that social media networks other than LinkedIn are more on the “personal” side, AKA the consumer side of the marketing aisle and as such are best left to the B2C folks”. The ‘confident gap’ picture from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) clearly explains B2B marketers’ concern. However, such concerns could be dampened in the near future since marketers nowadays could not only talk to clients in a business environment. Instead, a further step could be made to treat them as an individual personal. Due to social media, we can easily tell the ‘personality’ or even ‘interest’ of the customers with social monitoring tools. For example, sentiment analysis could tell what tone is most suitable and effective in communicating with the individual customer so as to increase the chance of business opportunity. And that’s what ‘P2P’ (person to person) marketing means.

There are increasing opportunities for online P2P marketing in China. According to John Russel, Sina Weibo, for instance, has continuously encouraged users to apply for the ‘verification’ mark, making the social profile like a business name card and personal life snapshot. Surely ‘V’ marks are used in Twitter as well. Bestselling author Amber Mac concludes five simple ways B2B marketers could leverage in social media based on the marketing landscape in the United States. Mac believes that everything starts with the right team with the right use of tools (platforms) and the implementation of content marketing strategy. And it is also vital to embrace the relationship with your partners.

After reviewing these two articles, I integrate my studies at Northwestern  and my professional working experiences to give out three simple steps you need to take to focus your B2B social strategies in the P2P marketplace:

1.     Know what your assets and needs - Organize and categorize all the digital assets, including customer social profiles if possible. Special attention should be paid to WeChat, LinkedIn (Chinese version) and Weibo.

2.     Establish Base Camp-Start with one to two social platforms by creating consistent content for two-way communication.

3.     Remember to measure outcomes - Keep track of performance and set KPI and benchmark for next round of social media marketing.

As B2B marketers, you had better first embrace social media platforms and try to establish their base camps on some particular platforms (i.e. WeChat, Weibo, LinkedIn etc.) While not all platforms are suitable for each single brand, you should consider starting from consumers and figure out which platforms are most effective and efficient to communicate with their target audience. Finally, the measurement mechanism should be established as well for long-term development.

Gweneth 'Mengye Luo' is currently a graduate student at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, majoring in Integrated Marketing Communication. She has strong professional knowledge and skills in digital marketing, social media marketing and marketing analytics. Prior to her study, her working experience include B2B marketing and digital marketing at OgilvyOne, Hill&Knowlton,  Wagger Edstrom and Mercedes Benz.

Follow Gweneth ‘Mengye Luo’ on Twitter for more social media and digital trends! @gwenethluo


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  3. If you are struggling to make social media work for you then you are not alone. Above 90% business owners are facing same dilemma, as the challenge of this industry is that, it is constantly changing.

  4. Social media can be very useful in the long run as it helps establish the brand image, which in turn helps to increase sales & profits, nice post!

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