Federico Cella is the Founder and CEO of Lynkos, a B2B social networking platform that connects businesses with new leads across the world. Recently, we asked Federico about why social networking is key to a brand’s success. Here’s what he had to say.
How do you see businesses using social networking to drive their growth in the future?
Federico: Social networking is one of the most efficient ways to tell everyone what you do, and most importantly, how you do it. How a business engages its audience on social media tells a lot about the way they do business. Making people love your brand goes beyond just marketing your products and services. It’s about loving them in the first place, and social media is one very powerful way to show it.
More businesses use social media to amplify customer experiences with their products beyond the moment they’re being used. While doing so, they are also telling potential customers what type of business they are. Small business owners usually take on this task, others hire community managers or outsource this job to agencies. I see social media as a core strategic process in every business, empowering both sales and customer retention.
How will business networks change the process of gaining new leads?
Federico: There’s a lot more to social and business networks than just profiles, likes and comments. The right strategy and tools can provide access to a world of very valuable information about your current and potential customers, in real-time. There are endless lists of applications that leverage networks’ data to provide businesses with actionable business intelligence and qualified leads.
Business networks are replacing word of mouth, customer referrals and in some cases marketing efforts in the process of feeding the top of sales funnels. The extent of how this is happening in specific businesses depends on the priority social networks have been given at strategic level and what teams, tools and processes have been put in place to accomplish this.
What is one factor that companies often neglect in their social media campaigns?
Federico: Consistency. In small and medium businesses, you see companies jumping into social media through isolated initiatives that are not part of a consistent plan towards a given goal. It’s just done because everyone else is doing it and randomly posting updates on their business profiles. This is probably even worse than not showing up at all. If you want people to fall in love with your brand, you need to be present and you need to be consistent.
Where do you see the future of B2B social networking going?
Federico: I see businesses connecting with each other just like people do on social networks. The B2B world is a network of seller-buyer relationships that is still not captured by people-oriented networks. Just like in any other ecosystem, these offline connections will find their way into the online world. This will change the way businesses connect with each other, just like social networks did for individuals before them.
What is the main difference between how social networks should approach B2B vs. B2C marketing?
Federico: B2B marketing is not just finding your prospect customers, but also understanding who actually will use your services within a business, who pays for it, who decides if it fulfills requirements, and more. B2B marketing also feeds more complex sales funnels, pre-sales and post-sales processes.
Social networks have the potential to capture, process and deliver unique insights on what a market looks like. The question is whether they are geared towards B2B marketing or not. While they are doing an excellent job for B2C businesses, B2B’s still need to rely on offline initiatives to get their jobs done.