Social media for international businesses: how to target UK clients & customers
I recently went to a UKTI event and found the discussions very interesting.
For those who aren’t familiar with the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the organisation works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, and encourage the best overseas companies to look to the UK as their global partner of choice.
The discussions centred largely around digital communications, SEO for B2B and using social media to target UK companies, as it provides a platform for people to instantly connect and do business all over the world.
This struck a cord with me as I often get enquiries from international clients who want to target UK companies, asking for help in connecting with them and selling professional services and products online via social media for B2B.
For example, I was approached recently by a new client who is based in Texas, and found me from one of my YouTube videos. That’s not surprising as YouTube is massively popular in the US and becoming increasingly so here in the UK too.
A recent study by AYTM Market Research showed that the vast majority of US internet users (about 60%) visited YouTube at least once a week in March 2013. Out of that percentage, 22% visited YouTube every day, and nearly 30% visited YouTube a few times per week. So how should we be using social media to target UK companies and beyond?
When you look at social media channels for business, several options come up in discussion.
You can find dozens of active accounts on social media for B2B at any given time. A few of the more popular choices for businesses include Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat.
The list actually is significantly longer than that. Some countries have their own sites while others have international appeal.
But with so many options available, how do you know which ones are the best for your B2B enterprise? If you are a B2B business, you need to focus on social media for business where people in your industry have an active presence. You need to make connections where the most contacts congregate.
So, with that in mind – let’s look at the top three social media for B2B:
There are over 200 million users with an account on LinkedIn. Users include business owners, company owners and major players in all aspects of business. Many assume that LinkedIn centres around people looking for a new job, when in reality, businesses of all sorts come to LinkedIn to take part in discussions, connect with like-minded people and generate leads among other businesses.
For a B2B company, LinkedIn is an ideal place to make a profile and begin to take part in LinkedIn Groups. This is where you can interact one-on-one with people from the companies with whom you want to do business. You can showcase your expertise and what your company has to offer whilst also building a network of contacts within your target audience.
We all know that Facebook is the largest social networking site on the planet. And, with over one billion accounts created, is there a link between social media and B2B, enabling businesses to generate new business?
The answer is yes, that huge sum of users includes both personal accounts and business accounts. The key to Facebook for business is to link into networks of interested customers.
Many companies have developed networks of industry followers. If you can link into those networks and build your own following, you can use Facebook as a lead nurturing tool.
Facebook offers a great inbound marketing tool. When you publish quality content on your website, you can publish notification of the new content to your network of followers and also ultimately drive traffic back to your website from anywhere in the world. Facebook is also a great place to share promotions and offer discounts.
Of the three major social networks, Twitter for business can be the most confounding. Used correctly, Twitter can be a major player in your social media presence. If not used correctly, Twitter can quickly take up lots of time and not achieve results – so can easily fade out of your activity plan.
Make sure Twitter doesn’t just become an afterthought. Use it for more than just pointing people to new content on your website. To keep a Twitter account active and content fresh, you should post links to industry news, share photos, retweet, avoid hard sell messages and most importantly – always show how your company provides value instead of hitting people over the head with your sales message. For those looking to use Twitter for business engagement, this blog explains how.
Set-up alerts with third party software such as Hootsuite and Hubspot to keep you up to date on what your industry is talking about on Twitter. This can give you great ideas for your Tweets and for your other marketing efforts.
I’ll be covering the topic of using social media and SEO for international bsuinesses in more detail in a later blog. If you don’t want to miss part two, you can sign up to my blog to receive weekly tips delivered straight to your inbox.
Are you a business outside of the UK considering how you to connect with an international audience?
Unsure which social media platform will be the best for your business?
Not sure how to go about linking your social media and B2B communication?
Want to discuss how I could help?
Contact me directly on 011 33 20 21 21 or arrange a meeting with me to discuss face to face – I am only 2 hours away from London by train.