Nuts & Bolts - Social Media: B-to-B Marketers Find New Opportunities in Social Media
Social media's reach is growing beyond the personal application and into business strategy for many marketers, often by leaps and bounds. Based on a May 2010 article from BizReport.com, 86 percent of B-to-B firms are using social media, compared to 82 percent of B-to-C companies. However, only 32 percent of the B-to-B firms are actively engaging with their audiences using social media, compared to 52 percent of B-to-C companies.
According to the recent whitepaper "Are You a Wallflower at the B2B Social Media Party?" by Joy Scott, president and CEO of Los Angeles-based Scott Public Relations, the B-to-B sector is well positioned to make the full plunge into becoming less of a social media lurker and more of a social media participant. In the whitepaper, Scott provides several reasons why B-to-B marketers should slough off their laggard status and become active in the social channel:
1. Your market is actively participating in the social media channel. Scott cites the following stats from CKB2B Marketing: 57 percent of people use social media for business at least once a week; 37 percent of people post questions/ask for feedback and suggestions on social networks, then connect directly with respondents via social channels; and 59 percent share what they've learned from their online research and buying experiences.
2. B-to-B marketers can build relationships that lead to purchases through social media. In the B-to-B sector, it's highly important to cultivate relationships with customers. Scott reminds marketers that "ad campaigns raise visibility, but do not build relationships." Because the social channel is highly interactive, B-to-B marketers can use it as a springboard to start the conversation with prospects and customers.
3. B-to-B buyers are highly influenced by third-party feedback. The social channel allows individuals to easily share their experiences with products and services, influencing the buying decisions of others.