I’m often asked about the advantages of social media. There are clear advantages of social media for B2B and high value B2C companies. However social media, as well as any other component of B2B online marketing has its place within an overall strategy.
There is quite a bit of hype out there right now about social media. I’m afraid that there is a lot of money being spent on this hype and soon the time will come when CFO’s walk down the aisle to knock on Marketing’s office doors asking to prove the results of all this spending, and bubbles will then burst. Hence if we can learn something from the Buffett approach, it is simply not to believe in bubble-creating hypes and always stick to the fundamentals. If you build the fundamentals of your marketing platform, it will continue to generate returns over a long period of time; now and when your business grows to 10 times its current size. A good investment now will continue to deliver value for a very long time.
I also believe that if you invest in Online Marketing, or actually in any kind of marketing, you should have a clear picture of how your investment is spent. You should be able to track exactly what the impact on your business is in terms of leads generated and sales.
Online marketing is still quite young, and there is a lot to be learned. However you must seek the ability to tell exactly what is working vs. what is not working. Only by doing so could you quickly adapt your approach, allowing you to continually improve the return on dollars invested in marketing. So whatever you do, do not take your eyes off the results.
On the other hand, purchasing behaviors are moving more and more towards a permission-marketing protocol where the users are the ones that grant you permission to communicate with them. And the only way that they will allow you to reach them is if you really have something relevant to say, and if your approach is not to push the sale all the time.
There is a moment.
This is where the key advantages of social media are: if you have a relevant message for your audience, then the likelihood of your buyers opting-in to connect with you through social media, is higher. Focus on quality.
Social media is quickly becoming a relevant channel to keep your buyers in the loop when they are in the very early stages of the buying process. Once things get a bit more serious, marketing communication moves to email and other types of interaction with your website and your team.
So the way we see it, the advantages of social media for B2B or high value B2C are:
SM is a key component to publish compelling, relevant and valuable content for your early buyers to consume.
SM is a great set of tools to connect with your audience, only if it's adequately complemented with a strong content creation strategy. You can’t be publishing bogus or irrelevant content. If you do, your hard earned followers will quickly be turned off and opt out.
Social media is a fantastic listening tool where you get to learn from your prospects, competitors and current customers.
Social media is permission based, there fore it’s a perfect, non invasive way of staying top of mind with your buyers.
Social media is a great tool for buyers in the awareness and recognition stages of the buying process. Social media is not a conversion tool, and you should not attempt to sell or convert through social media.
Please comment, what other advantages of social media have you observed in your business?