Using LinkedIn and Quora for business to business marketing

Clearly, businesses need a strong social media presence. This holds true especially for business to business (or B2B) marketing where the focus is on lead generation and the return on investment must be generated within specific time frames.

Although there is an almost unlimited number of social sites today, including the major ones like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that promote interaction with businesses, customers and prospects, there are two social networks that are in the limelight today for B2B marketing. These are Quora and LinkedIn. Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Quora for B2B marketing

Quora is a social Question & Answer platform. It has become very popular over the last couple of years with B2B marketers as it draws an elite audience of CEOs, entrepreneurs, top executives and high profile bloggers who participate in the Q&A. B2B marketers are using the site for crowd sourcing and research. Membership is free and the site currently has 1 400 000 registered members as of February 2011. Members can ask questions and follow topics of interest and Quora is a reliable resource for business owners who can ask questions and receive answers from the right people.

Some tips to use Quora for B2B marketing, besides helping with link building, SEO and connecting with customers are:

Market research

Quora’s top user profile spans industry leaders. For a business this includes its competitors who might be talking about their new projects and audience who is offering feedback on what it wants or what it does not like. By just staying tuned, businesses can get valuable information for building their own marketing strategy or new product development.

Building connections and partnerships

Quora offers a great opportunity for businesses to put conversations about their brand in the spotlight while getting their employees involved. Because of its high profile users, Quora helps connect with decision makers and this could create new business opportunities and partnerships.

Online reputation management tool

By running a quick search of their name, businesses can tune in to what is being said about their brands. Brands that receive a lot of mentions are likely to have their own Quora category which means more visibility to prospective clients.

Recognition as an expert

For new businesses, Quora is a great platform for getting established as a knowledgeable expert in the relevant niche by providing answers to questions and thereby building the brand and its following.

A knowledgebase for employee training

Quora is a mini-encyclopedia that contains answers to a plethora of questions on a variety of topics. This can be curated and used as a free training tool for employees to stay updated with the latest trends. This in turn helps in product development or expansion as it keeps the business abreast of what the market wants.

Using Quora involves a high level of engagement and initiative to attract business leads.

How to use LinkedIn for B2B marketing

LinkedIn is in a class apart for B2B marketing as it is focused on business professionals. There are currently 150 million members and every Fortune 500 business is represented on LinkedIn providing businesses with a captive audience full of decision makers who are approachable. LinkedIn can be used as an effective lead generation tool. Here are some tips for B2B marketers to take advantage of this professional networking site:

  • Well-designed profile page and company page that are continuously updated to stay current. This includes listing present employees, recommendations, awards, products and services with links that are clickable to the relevant pages of the business’ website.
  • Building meaningful relationships using LinkedIn’s Group Search feature and engaging with connections made, contributing to conversations in a meaningful way and helping to solve problems.
  • Like Quora, LinkedIn is also effective to establish oneself as an expert and a valuable, trustworthy resource that attracts customers.
  • Interacting with known people and expanding the business’ network and building useful contacts
  • Ensuring prospects can find the business’ website and other social media profiles easily by integrating them with the LinkedIn profile page so that it becomes easier to stay connected and discuss business across the World Wide Web.
  • Since LinkedIn is an information goldmine, this can be used to research and understand customers and the competition through their status updates and profile pages.
  • Amplify content by sharing it on LinkedIn through the status update. This can be a new blog post, a whitepaper or a thought leadership snippet while linking back to the business’ website.

A high level of engagement on Quora and LinkedIn can help B2B marketers to generate qualified leads and grow their business. As with all social media, the “soft sell” works best as a “hard sell” approach can scare contacts away.

Do you use Quora and LinkedIn as part of your B2B marketing strategy?