A firm belief in many companies is their potential customers do not use social media. A conclusion is usually derived from:
1) We don't use social media - so why would our customers.
2) We have spent money on social media and it doesn't work.
In 2014 over 75% of B2B buyers and a whopping 84% of executive buyers used Social Media to make purchasing decisions. A figure consistently rising as social media becomes more accessible and social media savvy "Millennials" move into senior decision making positions.
Social Media is broad, from YouTube for video advertising, Twitter for sharing/propagating, Blogs for thought leadership content or LinkedIn for building a network. A effective strategy should recognise where your customers are online and how to combine the Social Media channels to influence their buying decision.
Most strategies fail as businesses elect a platform to use (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) without thinking about the customer and what they want.
For B2B businesses the powerhouse of the market is LinkedIn. Although it can be used in isolation to generate business, combining it with complimentary social media (blogging, video) yields better results.
Before engaging in a expensive social media strategy ask these questions.
1) What social media channels do our customers use? (Hint B2B start on LinkedIn, B2C Start on Facebook)
2) What value can we add to our prospects and how do they want to consume this information? (video, text, calls, email)
3) What do we measure and do we have technology in place to track our results?
Social Media ROI can be hard but not impossible to track. Measurement enables you to record direct conversions (someone read a blog and made a call) or trends in data (more website traffic is coming from twitter and inbound calls have gone up).
A successful strategy should be constantly evolving, staying relevant and using previous results to make better decisions.
Social media takes time to get right and inevitably more market will adopt it in the coming months/years. Opportunity lies in following our customers, meeting their new buying requirements and developing profitable relationships using Social Media.
"Since these are the buyers you want to engage with, it makes sense to meet them where they are"
1. Most Of The Buyers You Want Are On Social Media. Social media is helping drive purchasing decisions for most buyers and executives. A 2014 study by the International Data Corporation found that 75 percent of B2B buyers and 84 percent of executive buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions. And buyers who use social media have more influence, buy more frequently, and with bigger budgets. “Since these are the buyers you want to engage with, it makes sense to meet them where they are,” Chen writes.