by Lydia Lee
May 5th, 2014

With the proliferation of social platforms and tools in China, we are starting to see more B2B companies embracing social media. But without proper training, companies may find themselves feeling lost in this unpredictable, uncontrolled environment.

With that in mind, there exists tactics that can be employed to help companies better leverage this new, constantly growing medium – I’ve grouped them together into what I like to call the “B2B social media toolkit”.

The concept is analogous in many ways to the different types of gear you bring along with you when embarking on an outdoors adventure to help make sure you’re on the right path.

Map it out – before you go somewhere, you need to plan ahead. Analyse your existing digital and social platforms; sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but just make the existing wheel run faster!  Also take a look what your audiences are using and align accordingly. And finally, check out what your competitors are doing; it will give you a better sense of what’s out there and what to expect.

Compass – to point you in the right direction. Content is needed to fully take advantage of social platforms, and a well-planned editorial calendar is key. Use graphics, photos, videos to explain complex stuff, instead of just pure text.  I believe all brands can be their own media company, so having the right content strategy is essential.

Utility belt – to make sure all your tools and tactics are in place. Social media is all about engagement, not a one-way street message delivery, so proper community management skills and protocols to handle possible conflicts or issues need to be in place.  And you need to react fast!

Binoculars – to keep everything in focus. Don’t wait for the monthly report to come out, instead actively listen to your audience on a daily basis, measure the impact and adjust your strategy accordingly; sometimes, all this could happen within the span of hours.

In order for B2B companies to really succeed in leveraging social platforms, the company from top to bottom needs to be aligned and have a strategy agreed upon. And most importantly — do not panic if not all the comments being delivered by your audience are positive.  The key is to have an honest and engaging attitude.  Remember that proper communication will resolve differences, and social platforms are just another channel for you to achieve this.

Lydia Lee is senior vice president & chief strategist, China, at Weber Shandwick.

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