Conventional wisdom tells us that utilizing social media for B2B marketers is not a strategic initiative. The overarching opinion is that social media is for consumers and those that market directly to that audience.
Interestingly, a recent eConsultancy survey found that 67% of marketing decision makers agreed that social media is integral to their marketing mix (and only 11% disagreed).
That being said, social media marketing has had a tremendous impact on many aspects of our lives, from daily relations to our business practices. And as the lines between personal and professional lives blur, social media marketing can add to the client relationship. At the end of the day, it is still important for any marketer to be listening to the digital conversations that are taking place about a company’s brand, service and competitors. The real value, however, comes with going beyond listening to engaging with customers. There are three tactics that really underscore the need for B2B marketers to implement social media as part of their integrated marketing plan.
- Responsiveness. In order to retain customer loyalty and retention, it is critical for a company to monitor and respond to customer questions.
- 3rd Party Validation. Social media can turn good customer service and listening into great marketing. It can also create authentic customer referrals and testimonials on your company’s behalf.
- ROI. Running an efficient social media program can impact the bottom line. Seventy percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated, according to an ExactTarget report.
2014 could be the year that B2B social media will start to see its potential. With B2B social media marketing, you have to remember that the universe is smaller and success in B2B looks different. It’s also important to remember the purchasing lifecycles are much longer. Rolling out new accounting software to 20 countries is much different than purchasing a new smartphone. It means you need to build trust in the social media channels beyond the face-to-face time you have with customers.
What social media channel do you think gets the most B2B play?