I’ve just read a blog that was featured on Fastcompany.com on August 10, written by David Lavenda. It essentially asks the question – is social media marketing effective in a B2B environment, as much as it’s proven to be in a B2C environment?
Mu understanding of David’s opinion is the key issue that continues to raise its head is this – until tangible ROI sales metrics can be generated, many B2Bs are struggling to justify the spend required to really make an impact. In the blog, David mentioned that most Twitter success stories tend to be B2C and that many prominent business leaders and influencers don’t even have an active account. Additionally, while LinkedIn is viewed as the B2B social media tool of choice for most in business (in excess of 60%), many see the main benefit as a great recruitment tool and not much else. Facebook hardly gets a mention and the author has seen poor results personally.
The thing is sales metrics will be created to prove the value of B2B social media marketing. It’s going to happen because too many businesses are too deeply invested in it to let it fail. I know this is a cynical view, but its how this stuff works from my experience, and therefore, I believe it’s only a matter of time. Why do I believe this? I’ve witnessed many marketing sectors create metrics to justify their services (such as PR metrics), and I can promise you that the forthcoming measurability of social media will be sound enough to justify the benefits and the investment.
In the meantime, while we’re waiting on great metrics to justify spend, even when some of us know intuitively the value of B2B social media marketing for our own business communities, there is another evolution taking place that I believe is even more important right now.
Social media marketing is changing the way businesses market, from a “let me tell you what we can do for you” to a “what do you need to know? How can we address our marketing to solve your pain? How can we be your partner?”
I think this is the most important change taking place at the moment in Asia Pacific. B2B companies who are embracing social media are becoming more personal, really listening to their customers, meeting their customers’ challenges and solving their problems, educating them from their perspective, and more. I believe that this is a very good thing, and ultimately, the companies who do this well are going to be far ahead of businesses maintaining the status quo until they see hard proof that social media marketing is worth the investment.
Social media marketing is as much about what and how you say things, as it is about the sales metrics. Business culture and how we approach marketing is changing because of this new world, so I believe that waiting for proof is only going to put businesses further behind, because the proof is coming, and therefore, changing the business culture of how you market right now is vital, otherwise you may be too late.
So is your company pro-active or waiting on proof that it’s worth the investment?
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