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July 1, 2012

How do you act as B2B company in social networks?

by Tom De Baere

One of the first questions that almost immediately pop-up when you as a B2B company start using social networks in your marketing and communication is : how do we act on these social networks ?

Keep it human

Don’t start a Google+ page that is managed by “administrator” or “Your Company Name”. Instead, posts should be done in the name of real employees of your company.


Cut the crap

If you were to engage in social media, here is some behavior that you most probably not want to do, like the metaphor I used before where I see social networks as a cocktail party:

  • Do you go into the middle of room during the party, and shout “BUY MY PRODUCTS”?
  • Do you let them know that you had great fun during a tradeshow presence?


I really do not care that my B2B contacts or B2B suppliers, who you are trying to market and sell to me, had great fun at a tradeshow they participated to. Really, your customers don’t care.

Instead, create a separate community or Facebook page e.a. Your companies’ friends, to make a clear distinction between fun and the places where you provide valuable content.

Act normal

Most of the behavioral aspect below you already know, but somehow a soon as we are on Twitter, LinkedIn or no matter which network, I often see people forgetting them:

        • Do you go to everyone, and ask for their business card, before you talked to them or got to know them?
  • Do you listen more than you speak?
  • Do you try to meet every single person, or do you have a few great conversations.

These few great conversions stick forever on the Internet ;-) and position your company as helpful and knowledgeable.

  • Do you publish your boring press releases? Only when you really have great news, publish your PR on social media networks.
  • Are you helpful, providing valuable information to people with no expectation of getting something tangible in return, because you know that networking is more about giving than about taking. As such you set-up real relations with real people?
  • Or maybe you avoid the social interaction of cocktail, because you are uncomfortable in such situations?

People like to do business with …

You know what? The popular people on the cocktail circuit make friends.

People like to do business with people they like. And they are eager to introduce their friends to each other. So you should go ahead and join the party, this time on social networks.

But, very important, just think of it as just that, as a party. As a fun place where you give more than you get.

Embedding your strategy

Obviously the previous is just how you act. This is not about what you want to achieve with your presence on those networks. This is what you want to achieve on those networks:

  • Listening and answering questions, and as such helping your customers e.a. answering questions on LinkedIn.
  • Providing useful insight and news that helps your customers’ business. E.a. posting links on Twitter or LinkedIn pointing to useful content on your website or external websites. Make sure that this insight and news is linked with the marketing strategy of your company.

What you get from it

Of course, you can also do business on social networks, but the kind you do at a cocktail party, and not one you do at a tradeshow or in F2F meetings. Basically, you meet each other, and if there’s a match, the conversation continues offline.


What you get in return are valuable interactions, lasting business friendships, many of which lead to business opportunities.


That’s it. Thank you for reading if you made it this far.


I have one question for you: what do YOU see as one of the most important elements when having a presence on social media?

Warm regards,

Tom De Baere