08Jan
By: admin On: January 08, 2015 In: Social Media Comments: 0

I am a firm believer in the potential of social media to help drive business growth, and I tire of some of the uninformed criticisms of SoMe’s place in B2B business.

When assessing the usefulness of social media in B2B or any business, it’s essential to stand back and consider the bigger picture and look further than lead generation.

Social media can be an extremely useful tool in making introductions, identifying key trends and engaging with influencers.

It’s also a great way to drive traffic to your website and press coverage, as well as a powerful way to single out journalists and analysts and listen in on the conversations that might be happening.

Here’s what social media CAN do for you in 2015:

1. Social media can help you identify your digitally prolific influencers: Social media will always be more useful for some sectors than others, but as a rule of thumb, no matter your industry, there are going to be *some* influencers using social media, and if you are not broadcasting messages via any of the social media channels, they are not going to sit up and take notice, much less distribute those messages.

Compare it to the budget line your company has for analyst relations. Each year, you spend time (and likely money) briefing analysts so that they are aware of what your company does and what its strengths are in the hope that when asked, an analyst may speak favourably of your firm. If you are a smaller brand it may at times feel like a long shot that you will be included in any analyst’s comments, but most analyst relations programmes go ahead anyway on the basis that they are worth the effort, even for one mention by an analyst.

Sounds a bit like social media. And don’t forget, analysts are big Twitter users, which may be the only reason you need to get using the popular microblogging tool.

2. Social media can provide you with distribution channels that only cost as much as your time. It costs nothing to sign up to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and to focus on one or two of the combination of the four. Think Twitter is useless? For your business, it might be. It might just be that none of your decision makers or the right influencers are  on Twitter. But I’m willing to bet that LinkedIn is a useful social network for most B2B businesses, and now that LinkedIn has expanded its own blogging tool to encourage more people to write in long form, you’ve got a free platform to post content where you can put links directly to your own website. What I wouldn’t have given for this years ago!

3. Imagine if traffic signs had 140 characters. I’m tired of people being down on Twitter. Anyone who thinks Twitter is the remit of teenagers is sorely mistaken, as since 2013 it’s been widely reported that the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the over 55′s.

Recently, I was sent this article: You’re Oversharing Without Saying Anything: Or Why Nietzche Was Right. Great title and some really interesting content from author and academic Elizabeth Doyle who wrote it with an academic audience in mind, but from a B2B business perspective, it completely misses the boat. In the article, Doyle says:

Nietzche

 

When was the last time a B2B business wrote something on Twitter like “We want 2 get 2 no u so plz follow us 2day thx ur gr8″? 

Who does that?

B2B business tweets are like traffic signs. They are descriptive yet concise directions to content on your website or to industry news that you find useful and which a.) you think your followers will also find useful and b.) shows that you care about the industry you’re in enough to stay up to date on the issues affecting it.

Doyle has also missed out the idea of images in social media. A picture may easily be worth 1000 characters in a tweet, which is why tweets with images are so effective. You can’t tell me a tweet showcasing a sneak peak of a new GUI for the a vendor’s latest product release isn’t going to go down well. Doyle’s points may be very valid when considering teaching undergraduate philosophy, but they miss the mark entirely when it comes to considering Twitter in a business environment.

4. Social media can make your company more visible to journalists. Like the analysts, the journalists are definitely on Twitter tweeting their own articles and having a lot of banter with each other. If you take the time to create a Twitter list consisting of all the journalists that you consider influencers and then watch the stream as it ticks away, you’ll be privy not only to some good banter, but you’ll also become familiar with the issues that matter to the journalists very quickly. Twitter lists are a very powerful tool.

5. Social media will help you make sure you get the most out of tradeshows and events. Stop and think for a minute. We all have our doubts about tradeshows and the ROI that can be attributed to them, but many B2B companies still dedicate a large part of their marketing budgets to attending, sponsoring, speaking and exhibiting at tradeshows.

Most tradeshows these days will feature a #hashtag that you can tag your tweets with so that you can begin to identify and communicate with other people using the same hashtag, who will usually be people also attending the event.

Simply put, why wouldn’t you take advantage of a free tool available to you that may enable you to get more out of your  tradeshow investment, one that gives you more transparency regarding attendees? There may not be many people using that hashtag, but in my experience, if you invite those who are using it over to your stand, they are likely head straight over. You could just find that social media, that medium that started out seeming rather useless, gave you the introduction you might not have had.

Here’s to a busy and prosperous 2015 everyone, and to the success of SoMe in supporting your business initiatives. And if you need help, you know who to ask!

Jennifer Reid is Director at The CommsCo.

Trackback URL: http://thecommsco.com/2015/01/08/social-media-cynics-youre-missing-the-bigger-picture/trackback/