The online community of a B2B company is a whole different ballgame. Instead of focusing on brand awareness and getting customers in the door, it is essential to develop long-term relationships and promote how your business can solve problems.
Josh Paul, of Socious’ ProCommunity, recently hosted a podcast discussion with Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks, about how B2B organizations can use online communities to drive business performance.
“It’s very common for communities to be considered one general thing,” DiMauro said. “B2B communities are pretty specific…they often have a very defined audience. It’s not typically about marketing and broadcast but really about bringing together a group to solve a common problem or to explore a topic in greater detail over a longer period of time.”
Some of the key points from their discussion include:
Create Measurable Goals
What exactly is your business trying to accomplish through building a B2B online community? Write down a list of what kind of results you want to see from your efforts then think about how you want your audience to use the content you’re producing and the discussions you want to create. Remember that this is about creating a long-term relationship so set your goals accordingly.
Review and Use Data
It’s now easier more than ever before to see the response to your online efforts. Make sure you’re not just reviewing the response but also collecting the data for strategic purposes. How does the data line up with your goals?
Listen to Your Community
Instead of making all decisions behind closed doors, let your online community determine some of your priorities. This goes back to strategically using your data. As you collect and review the response of your audience, continue to produce and develop what garners the most engagement. As Paul and DiMauro discussed, “keep your ear to the ground in your online community.” And most importantly, keep an outward focus when discussing how your company will help your customers. Serving the needs of your customers, prospects and partners is “just good business.”
To watch DiMauro and Paul’s full discussion, see Paul’s article, How to Create a B2B Online Customer Community. If your B2B business is attempting to use social media to build an online community, you need to understand how content will help you achieve your business goals. Agency Entourage is a blogging for business expert. Our agency will help you stay in the game, track your progress and consistently improve. Check out the services we provide and you may find that we’re the perfect fit for your B2B marketing efforts.
How has your B2B company built an effective online customer community? We have many success stories of our own but we’d love to hear about more from you! Leave a comment below.