This morning I attended a Business.com webinar about B2B Social Media. While much of the information was fairly introductory in nature, there were some interesting tidbits that I thought I’d summarize/share.
Nowadays, social media seems to be about trying to keep your head above water and staying updated with the latest marketing trends in order to help your business and reach a relevant audience. The webinar shared a quote from a small business owner who stated, “At the end of the day, if we have spent a lot of our time tweeting, facebooking, and ‘me’tubing, I’m afraid [individual productivity] is on a rapid decline. What really gets done in a day that helps improve the bottom line?”
Below are the main social media challenges cited by small businesses:
It’s no secret that social networking usage among adults has grown rapidly in the past few years:
If adults are turning to social media and social networking sites, isn’t that a good opportunity for businesses as well? Absolutely — in fact, many businesspeople are using multiple social media sites and resources for business information:
However, there is a difference between B2B direct media and B2B social media.
B2B direct media:
- Tends to evolve slowly
- Is comprised of established best practices
- Is reasonably predictable
- Has a clear optimization path
B2B social media:
- Evolves extremely rapidly
- Can be comprised of temporary best practices
- Can be frustratingly unpredictable
- Has a shifting optimization path
A lot of B2B social media “half-truths” and myths have been floating around:
Myth#1: Nobody Uses Social Media for Business
A lot of business owners feel that Facebook, Twitter, etc. is just for keeping up with friends. The fact of the matter is that social media resources are broadly used. Businesspeople are using multiple resources and investing aggressively in different media channels.
Keep in mind, however, that the perceived importance of using social media for business depends on the industry. This chart illustrates that different sectors regard social media marketing to be more important than others:
Myth #2: Community is the Core of Any Social Media Strategy
The word “community” itself is often misunderstood — it’s the core spirit underlying social media, but there’s a difference between “community ethos” and “community creation.” Social media provides the opportunity, but not the obligation, to interact with others. The webinar shared this Venn diagram to help illustrate the point:
Myth #3: Metrics are Difficult to Measure
Social media is very measurable. Its success is no more difficult to measure than other online marketing, as long as you’re clear about business goals and make measurement a priority. In fact, B2B companies are usually better at measurement.
The important thing is to identify your main focus areas:
- Where is the real opportunity? Make sure your target audience is clear. Use 3rd party sources like Comscore and Nielsen to investigate target audience participation in social media. Survey your customers, look into which social media sites are driving the most traffic to your website, and find out where your best leads come from.
- Immerse yourself in key channels. Each social media channel has its different nuances. Immerse yourself and commit to finding out how these sites work and what matters most for your business.
- Do less with more. You won’t have the resources to execute effectively on everything, but you can do less (social media) with more (resources).
- Stay organized to stay focused. Carefully target your initiatives for specific target audiences and objectives.
- Focus on business metrics, not social media metrics. Business metrics are more important when it comes to benefiting your bottom line.
The webinar concluded with a POST analogy:
People — Understand how your target customers use social media during the business buying process.
Objectives –Align social media and activity with business goals.
Strategy — Determine how your objectives will change your relationships with customers.
Technology — Choose the appropriate tools and tactics to deploy.
Overall, the webinar shared some interesting stats about B2B social media adoption. Hopefully you found the information valuable!