Why Are B-to-B Marketers So Reluctant To Embrace Social Media?

January 4, 2012

It’s not like social media just came out. The B-to-C space has been using it successfully for the last 3-5 years. So why are B-to-B practitioners slow to adapt?

I think it’s because they don’t know where to start. You should probably start by developing a strategy that is included in your overall marketing plans. If you use social media to help build better relationships with your customers, I think you’ll find that it can help with more than just brand building.

I read a post recently in emarketer.com on why B-to-B was still unsure about social media strategies. Some highlights include:

  • 66% of marketing executives view social media as extremely or very important, but only 7% were leveraging it heavily.
  • 9% of B-to-B marketers weren’t using social at all.

Nearly 50% said that new tools and technology would make their social efforts more effective.

Changes that Need to Be Made for Their Social Media Efforts to Be More Effective According to B2B Marketing Executives in North America, May 2011 (% of respondents)

So if you’re a B-to-B marketer, what’s holding you back? Is it a resource issue?


Do You Put the Cart Before the Horse in Your Social Media Strategy?

August 9, 2011

I still am amazed that marketing executives, especially in larger companies (80% 0f companies with 100 plus employees), acknowledge that social media is a legit marketing tool, but yet fail to take the time to develop a strategy for it.

It’s like ready, fire, aim!

Priority of Social Media Business Strategy for Their Company According to US Executives*, by Size of Business, May 2011 (% of respondents)

A recent post in eMarketer.com, Executives Fail to Focus on Social Media Marketing Strategy, quotes several sources as to the reasons.

Here are  several disturbing points:

  • No surprise, most of these executives feel tentative about making social strategy a priority.
  • They are not overly optimistic about their current strategy.
  • It looks like small and medium sized firms have the advantage over larger ones.

It’s funny that that the marketing priorities for social – customer retention, customer acquisition and branding – are not foreign words to marketers, but somehow there is a disconnect when putting an integrated plan together that includes both traditional and social in the same plan.

I don’t get it. If they put together a traditional plan they way they do social, they probably wouldn’t have a job.


Corporate Social Media: Are You Ready?

September 29, 2010

Your company may see the value in social media, but they may not have yet taken the first step. The real question is, are they ready for it? You don’t want a READY-FIRE-AIM strategy.

I recently read an article from Lee Odden in the Online Marketing Blog titled, 19 Questions to Determine Corporate Social Media Readiness that I thought was appropriate for this audience.

Identifying a company’s current state of social media readiness helps them establish a baseline on which to build. There are a number of either free or low cost tools out there that can help you identify your company or brand’s current social activity level. It’s important to get a handle on the difference between how social the company is and will need to become so you can put together a strategy and plan.

Lee outlines 19 questions you should be asking. I’ve highlighted the top 5 that got my attention:

  1. What goals do you want to achieve with social media as part of your marketing effort?
  2. How will you measure/evaluate social media?
  3. Are you conducting a formal effort at monitoring social media channels?
  4. What are your current social media channels and destination websites/pages?
  5. Is there a particular business unit or product that can serve as a test case?

I’d be curious what questions you’d come with to add to the list.

If you find this post interesting, please pass it on.

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Social Media Strategy: READY-FIRE-AIM

July 20, 2010

60% of companies using social media have no plan. Shooting from the hip does not make sense. Your purpose should dictate strategy.

Companies are going about social strategy backwards, by first concentrating on the tools and technologies instead of focusing on what they want to achieve. My understanding of social media and how to use it was greatly expedited because my rifled focus on applying it for new business.

A survey conducted by marketing firm Digital Brand Expressions found that 78 percent of client companies responding to their survey said they use social media, but only 41 percent said they have a strategic plan in place to direct their social media efforts.

Other key findings from this survey that should be of interest:

  • Of the companies that have no plan in place, 88% agree that it is important.
  • Of those companies that work from some plan, 94% said that marketing activities are included in the plan.
  • 71% of those with a plan said their Marketing Department is the group with the primary responsibility for creating and maintaining the firm’s social media presence.
  • Of the planners, 71% indicate they use social media for public relations communications while 55% said that they used social media for sales-related activities. A surprisingly small percentage (16%) say their HR team is using social media for recruiting, employee retention, training and development, etc. and 26% use it for customer service.
  • Social media efforts are being led primarily by Marketing (71%) and PR (29%) departments.
  • Even among those with a plan, few (29%) have written policies and communications protocols in place, leaving the organization exposed to problems arising out of employees communicating in ways that inadvertently hurt, rather than help, their company brands.

“It’s fairly well established that social media is a channel that businesses must participate in, leaving CEOs with the new challenge of planning and implementing brand aligned initiatives enterprise-wide,” said Veronica Fielding, president and CEO of Digital Brand Expressions.

Click on the link to download a PDF copy of: Corporate Social Media Report

If you like this post, these others might be of interest to you:

 Social Media Catching on in the B-to-B Markets

Social Media Marketing Continues to Grow: Great Way to Reach the Professional Tradesmen.

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So What’s Your Social Media Strategy to Reach Professional Tradesmen?

September 2, 2009

Everyone in the manufacturing sector is feeling the pressure from around them to get in on this social media phenomenon. So you open a LinkedIn account, set up Twitter and even get a Facebook page set up. Wow, that was easy, now all I have to do is to wait until somebody finds me. Unfortunately, this scenario is much truer than one would like to think. Social media is no different than any other marketing program you have. You have to have a strategy in place before you go and start implementing it. You need to determine why you’re on the social media scene before you implement the how. Here are some helpful hints:

  • What’s your point? Do you want to build awareness, build loyalty or generate new leads?
  • What’s your point of differentiation? You have to define a niche or specialty.
  • Do some research into how your target audience uses Social. You may find contractors use Facebook more to try to promote their local business or maybe it’s Twitter. Do you know?
  • How will you determine whether your social program will be successful? You need to determine expectations before starting a program.

Jason Baer wrote a great post recently, Develop a social media strategy in 7 steps, that you might find interesting reading.

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