Social media is becoming more pervasive every day. The one billion plus users on Facebook is testimony to that. Because we work with many B2B brands, we are often asked if social media is really relevant to a B2B marketing strategy. I think the answer is unquestionably yes. There are many reasons for this (which I will explore in other posts) but one of the biggest is that I really view social media as a commercial medium.
This may sound surprising if you think of social media as a way for people to share family news and post pictures of their latest vacation. But it’s not if you take an objective look at how much business-oriented content is already there.
Consider that the average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family, and co-workers. (recent Keller Fay, WOMMA study) More than half of Twitter users recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets. (ROI Research for Performance, June 2011)
Look at how social media plays a major role in hiring. LinkedIn is the major force here, but what employer is not going to also check a prospective employee’s profile on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Or ask yourself, how do you vet a technology? You go to the company’s website, of course. You checking out white papers and product briefs and then…ah, yes, discussion boards, review sites, peer to peer reviews, LinkedIn employees of the company, recent tweets for customer complaints or issues, editorial and trade press written about it, etc. According to a statistic quoted in a recent social media conference, the average business buyer looks at up to 8 different 3rd party sites and sources before they buy from you…if that doesn’t scare you into action, I don’t know what will.
If your company is introducing a new product or service, it may not make sense to emphasize how many “fans or friends” you can get on Facebook (i.e., a traditional social media metric) but you certainly want to get the blogosphere and your employees on LinkedIn on your side, saying nice things. If not, you may find yourself with a social media–I mean marketing–problem on your hands.