Businessman Crossing Fingers

No matter if you are in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Mandeville or Slidell, Louisiana, this is what you may not know about B2B Social Media.

For business, Social Media marketing has long been the domain of companies focused on the consumer. Business-to-Business (B2B for this article) companies have largely either ignored this marketing medium, or done the bare minimum to be considered “in the social biosphere.” However, the number of B2B companies that have embraced and harnessed social media as part of their marketing strategy is growing.

  • 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form. (Aberdeen, 2012)
  • The majority of marketers (59%) are using social media for 6 hours or more each week. (Social Media Examiner, 2012)
  • 83% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business. (Social Media Examiner, 2012)

What many social media companies aren’t telling you, if you consider hiring one, is this:

  1. Most of what they are going to do for you, at premium prices, you can do for yourself.
  2. Unless they are knee deep in your industry or utilize some kind of brand immersion, they are unqualified to “do” social media marketing for you.
  3. When it comes to telling you about stats and ROI, there are easy ways for them to make their results sound better than they really are.

Now lets take a closer look:

b2b_social_media_ThinkstockPhotos-493533923Business-to-Business social media and online marketing in Louisiana and around the globe is most successful when it entails sharing industry knowledge, connecting customers with your brand, engaging your brand community, guiding the perceived value of your offerings, and enticing the right customers to do business with your company. On the “up side” for social media companies, if they are experienced in your industry or have extensive knowledge about your business and brand, and they only want to charge you an arm-and-a-leg, then you probably should pay the arm-and-a-leg. Seriously?! Yes! Getting social media for B2B right comes with a heck of a learning curve, AND requires a lot of time from “someone” on your team.

In fact, you may as well consider your social media management “a full time job” for someone who knows your business, your industry, and your marketing strategy, and who can compose well-written strategic messages that your audience will actually pay attention to. So, maybe this social media thing isn’t all that easy to pull off after all, and certainly not by a social media firm that only has a vague notion of what you do, how you do it, and whom you do it for.

Let’s consider these stats:

  • 52% of marketers cite difficulties in accurately measuring ROI as their biggest source of frustration in social marketing. (Adobe)
  • 96% of social media managers measure number of fans and followers, 89% measure traffic, 84% measure mentions, 55% track share of voice, and 51% track sentiment. (Awareness, Inc.)

So, measuring ROI seems to be quite the challenge, and tracking “obvious surface” results such as those seen in the stats above instead of real sales-generated and new-clients-gained seems to be social media firm status quo. The real question is: can and how does an investment in social media benefit your B2B companies? Answer: As part of a well-planned and carefully budgeted integrated brand marketing strategy, and only if it’s managed by a pro who is well versed in your brand.