Why the hesitation in B2B companies to incorporate social media into their marketing plans? Here’s what I think… it’s the culture of the company and B2B industry as a whole. People who sell in the B2B industry like the traditional marketing efforts and face-to-face meetings. They show up in pressed suits, carrying a briefcase and are there to “pitch” you the next best thing. However, one thing that these traditional companies don’t understand is that to the younger generation, social media is that first face-to-face meeting. The younger generation searches through your website and checks out blogs and tweets about you and your company before you ever get a chance to meet face-to-face. With times being so busy and technology being such an integral part of our lives, people live in an instant gratification and instant communication world. They don’t always have time to schedule a meeting with everyone and thus do their preliminary scans of a company through social sites.
So how does that equate into results for the a company in the B2B industry? Well, with social media being a relatively new means of marketing for the B2B industry there aren’t a lot of solid number success stories out there (at least not that I have heard of, however, I have been known to be wrong). But there are definitely benefits that B2B companies experience from engaging in social media practices. One way to measure if what you are doing is deriving any sort of traction is to track your website traffic, page visits, retweets and followers. Often times when someone reads a blog post or tweet that they are interested in, they become a follower of you on twitter and to learn more about the company who posted it. Either going to your website or searching for you in Facebook and LinkedIn. So being involved in those means of social media and making sure that you are engaging the audience is key. Social media is not about advertising and promoting yourself, it’s about engaging your audience and developing relationships. Through those means you are increasing your company recognition and growing your credibility which inevitably may result in the extra nudge that is needed for a company to decide to buy from you. Remember, social media is more powerful than word-of-mouth since you can reach a far larger audience in a much faster time. This can be a positive or a negative thing for your company, which will all depend on what people are saying about you now. So when you begin to develop your social media strategy and take the first step in getting your company out there, be sure to listen to what people are already saying and respond. Keep your content fresh and engage your target audience. Results will take time, so don’t expect to see results overnight.
Do you agree or disagree? Let me know your thoughts.