Zen Media’s own Stephanie Chavez, CTSM, and our Global Chief Marketing Officer sat down with our team recently to answer some questions about the importance of building trust and credibility in the B2B market.
Stephanie is equally passionate about growing businesses and mentoring others. A nationally recognized marketing executive and speaker, Stephanie is the Executive Vice-President of the American Marketing Association-DFW Special Interest Groups and a Cynopsis Top Women in Media honoree.
How important are trust and credibility in the B2B space?
Trust and credibility are the basis on which B2B relationships develop. Companies interested in lasting for the long term understand that maintaining trust translates to a stronger brand reputation, a more reliable social license to operate, and an ability to attract and retain talent and capital.
What are some strategies to establish yourself as a thought leader?
Here are some tried-and-true strategies for getting your message out effectively and creating a passionate following:
Set specific goals: It is important to ask yourself WHY you want to be a thought leader. What’s the motive behind it? What are you passionate about? Setting your goals will help create a path, clarify the direction, and measure your success.
Define your audience: Who is it you want to impact? What type of “community” are you wanting to attract and to help? Is it a type of business, a type of individual, or a community? Even from a B2B aspect, you’re still working with people. Build customer profiles. What do they look like? What do they do for a living? How do they spend their time online? Which social platforms should you concentrate on? When you know your audience, you’ll know how to best engage with them and grow.
Build a story to humanize your brand: People love personal stories—it allows them to relate to your journey, challenges, and successes. What’s your story? Do you have a unique experience or something bold to say? What have you done in your past that qualifies you to be a thought leader? How have you helped other people or companies with the information you are sharing?
Optimize your presence on social media:
- Start blogging and share educational content to help your target audience—2-3 times per week is preferred (800-1200 words per post + images).
- Start a monthly newsletter and share these insights and stories with your community. Share educational tips, industry insights, case studies, event information, etc.
- Share your stories/educational content on social sites. Engage with your community. Jump into conversations, be helpful, give guidance, and show you care. On LinkedIn, since company pages can’t join communities, etc., pick someone to be the “face” of the company on LinkedIn to join communities/comment, etc. This will also humanize your brand.
- Try to be a guest on podcasts, shows, etc. If this seems difficult, try creating your own podcast. Distribute the content EVERYWHERE.
Keep the fresh content coming: Listen to what your audience is saying. To maintain the connection, create valuable content strategically and regularly. Great thought leaders and their teams create full editorial calendars with strategies ahead of time.
PR: Getting mentions and features in the press lends HUGE credibility. Take these media hits and add them to your website, on your social channels, your email marketing, add to your employee email signatures—put it everywhere. There are strategic marketing initiatives you can create by utilizing the press you’ve received to build momentum and amplify your press hits.
Which strategies have proven most effective in your experience?
A combination of all of the items mentioned above. However, when you get to the point of having media-worthy articles published, PR is definitely the most effective—if combined with other strategic initiatives to amplify your message and keep it in front of your audience.