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Social media has come a long way since its early adoption. There was once a time where social was at the bottom of every company’s to-do list, delegated to the intern with no strategy and minimal budget or time commitment in place to maximizing its potential.
Over the past few years, marketing and PR pros have had a bigger stake in social media. B2C companies are devoting millions of dollars to large social media campaigns designed to boost both brand awareness and business results.
The B2B sector is also finding that sales need a personal connection and understand the need for social media. However, some companies still struggle to devote the time and resources needed to create a social strategy. Here are the top five misconceptions we hear about social media in B2B, along with reasons for why those myths are false.
1. My customers aren't on social media
This statement couldn't be more false. Social media gives brands the opportunity to tell their story in a creative and engaging way that can build relationships between companies. In addition, many decision-makers at the brands you want to reach are looking at your website and social channels to learn about your company and help make a purchasing decision.
2. No one is talking about my service online
Actually, they are. Perhaps no one is going to snap an Instagram with your offering, but they are sharing articles, reposting blogs and looking for answers to more of their complex questions. Conversations happen all over online with people talking about everything from software to logistics and everything in-between. It’s important to take part of those conversations as those are all qualified leads.
3. Social media is a bunch of vanity metrics
A poorly executed social campaign will focus on likes and comments without connecting those to a larger business goal. For businesses that care about web traffic, leads and conversions, a good social program certainly plays a role in your digital marketing program’s success. In addition, measuring engagement is an easy yet effective way to conduct market research. Find out which content is most engaging for your customers and tweak your messaging accordingly. To help brands accomplish this, we have a new tool called BUZZ, a social media report designed to help brands figure out how and when to engage brands.
4. Social media won’t lead to sales
The process of making a B2B sale is a long, complex cycle that takes multiple interactions on several platforms. Social media is another touch point for customers to download white papers, sign up for webinars and learn about new product or services launches. By creating an engaging social experience, companies can capture prospects by showcasing thought leadership and directing customers to gated assets.
5. We already do Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so we’re covered
Social media has become more sophisticated, reaching beyond mainstream channels. For example, the decision makers you want to reach are often using message boards (including LinkedIn groups) and reading blogs to make a purchase. A Nielsen study found that 84 percent of respondents say word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or family members are most influential in their purchasing decision. Taking advantage of blog content, Twitter chats and influencer outreach are all ways to get more recommendations.
Rather than thinking of social media as a checklist item, B2B companies need to dig deeper into social channels and look for innovative ways to get results by finding relevant communities. Even if you have a robust social media program, it’s important to remember that this is an evolving process. For instance, your 2014 Facebook strategy shouldn’t look like your 2013 one and 2015 will be another year of change.
What other misconceptions do you believe are out there about social media in B2B? Do you agree with our reasons? Respond in the comments below.