Finding Your Voice

Social media has changed the world we live in dramatically – and I’m not talking about duckface selfies.

We use social media to connect with the people and businesses around us, get news and information through our feeds and tap into a worldwide network for reviews of companies and products.

How important is social media to B2B?

75% of B2B buyers use social media to support purchase decisions.

B2B buyers are 57% through the buying process before meeting a representative.

It is a powerful medium to start connecting with your customers, but if you didn’t grow up in an era where your every action gets captured and shared online for posterity, it can be a struggle to know where to start.

Everyone faces the same questions, fears and confusion so I thought I’d share some quick tips to you get started.

Collect Your Thoughts

“I know I need to start talking with customers through social media channels, but I don’t know what to say”

“Why will people want to read what I write or hear my opinions?”

I hear this all the time when I start working with a client. Here’s the funny part: I’m usually talking with someone with extensive experience in their field, is regarded as a subject matter expert and, is often fascinating.  At least, that’s my impression. When I start listing off areas where their experience could benefit others, they’re a little surprised.

Being humble is a good thing but don’t under estimate how your experience could help someone else or how the lessons you’ve learned could really benefit someone in a similar situation or how applying your tips could help someone’s project succeed.

Everyone has something to teach. What do you want to share?

If you’re struggling with ideas, think about a question a client asked recently, a conversation you had at lunch, something a colleague mentioned in the hallway, your perspective or opinion on an issue of the day, or something you’ve read recently that resonated with you. You can find inspiration in unexpected places.

Drop the Corporate-Speak

I remember reading George Orwell’s 1984 when I was in high school. A world where all news is government propaganda, Newspeak is a limited language designed to restrict freedom of thought, and speech and ideas are monitored and controlled, was terrifying to a future writer/journalist.

My reflections on 1984 aren’t a tangent (although you might think it is if you know me well).

When people get ready to talk with me about an article they want to write, a blog post or a newsletter, they immediately dive into corporate lingo, read a paragraph from a press release, pepper in industry jargon and rhyme off sentences that string together so many acronyms I have trouble understanding what the person’s really trying to say.

Stop Doing That!

The best interviews (or as I like to call them conversations) are much more natural. They should feel like a chat with a friend over coffee.  Yes, I’m asking questions, but I’m also sharing ideas and perspectives to get people to relax, which lets me draw out the best information to use in the piece.

In my experience, the most valuable content comes through when people are talking through an idea or a thought without trying to formulate the perfect sentence or lace in the latest buzz phrase.

Be Authentic

The best “voice” is your voice.

If someone reads something you’ve written or published, they shouldn’t feel a disconnect when the meet you in person. The way you “talk” in your articles should mirror your speech patterns in real life.

For example, you can tell by my company name (ACME), the logo (an anvil) and even the notification on my phone (the roadrunner’s meep-meep) that I like cartoons. I don’t take myself too seriously, and my writing isn’t formal, because I’m not.

I recently finished Kevin O’Leary’s Cold Hard Truth and I loved how the book was written – it sounded exactly as I expected having heard him speak and watched interviews and tuned into episodes of Dragons Den, Shark Tank and the Lang & O’Leary Exchange.  But he also shared personal experiences and gave us a glimpse into the man behind the “Mr. Wonderful” personality. It felt authentic.

Don’t be afraid to let people get to know your professional self.  People like to do business with people and companies they think they can trust and connect with.  Give them a reason to connect with you and be your authentic self.

Start Making Connections

Social media is here to stay and its importance for the B2B segment isn’t going away. Embrace the opportunity to build a new kind of relationship with your customers, start a new conversation and look for reasons to connect and engage with them.

It’s not just a tool millennials use to check out a product, IDC says 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of senior executives use social media for purchasing decisions.

Are you being heard? Let’s get your voice into the conversation.