“Do we need to be on social media?”

We get that question a lot. Consumer companies already know they need to be in the social space. But what about B2B folks?

My answer is a resounding “Yes,” and if there’s one overriding reason, it’s because an established social media presence can prove invaluable for crisis preparedness and communications.

It’s not just a matter of hopping on Twitter after a crisis strikes. To be used effectively for crisis communications purposes, B2B companies need to know social media, and they need to have an established, trusted presence.

If your company has built social relationships with key influencers in your industry, they’ll be more likely to help if you’re in trouble. These key influencers help shape the larger conversation, and their online communications are important to companies—and potential customers—in your industry. During a crisis, their support can prove invaluable—but you won’t have it without a consistent, engaging social media presence.

How about key trade journals and other publications in your industry? Even B2B-focused media are likely to have a social presence—what are you doing to support them in this space? Again, it’s about building trust and relationships.

There are plenty of other questions to ask yourself:

  • How do B2B influencers, especially those in your industry, use LinkedIn?
  • Do you know how to reach them?
  • Who could you reach out to for support?
  • Who in your company would best be able to handle a crisis in the social space?
  • Do they know how to respond appropriately, covering the bases from a legal and reputational standpoint?
  • Could you get a statement posted to your website in less than two hours?
  • Without a consistent, well-maintained social media presence, the answer to many of these questions is more likely than not, “No.”

    And make no mistake – there are plenty of other reasons your B2B company should be on social media. But for those companies that might need the extra push in the right direction, think about your crises preparedness plan and how social can take it to another level.