Your customers are not just using social media to access the Internet and engage with friends and contacts: most of them are treating social media as the Internet. Websites may be there for transactions but, for many other activities, social media is a primary focus. This applies whether you are in B2B or B2C.
Consumers, and business customers, are making buying decisions based upon what their friends and followers are saying on social media. A recent study from Pingdom notes that, across all age groups, advice being sought is coming from either colleagues or social media sites. If you’re on social media, you have a chance to influence those purchasing decisions.
You can monitor and analyse competitor social media in real time and have very fast insight into marketplaces and trends. Collecting and analysing data in social media is now a mainstream marketing activity and a precursor to your own initiatives.
Your customers are looking for an opportunity to share your brand with their friends and contacts. If you’re on social media with decent profiles, content and activity, you can give them that chance. A portion of your customers are just looking for an opportunity to become an advocate for your brand or business and social media facilitates that in very simple ways.
LinkedIn is an intrinsic part of many business-to-business manager’s working lives and they are influenced by strong profiles and activity for company and employees. As I write, LinkedIn has announced key changes to the functionality of a Company Page.
Your competitors are on social media but they may be dragging their heels in a series of internal debates about what to do. Steal a march on them: arrive, like Napoloeon did at Waterloo, and catch Wellington in a ball! Don’t, however then split your forces and attack two numerically-superior opponents established in strong defensive positions. And the Imperial Guard? Forget it.
Social media is still evolving but shows every indication it will become the medium through which much of the Web will be accessed, particularly from mobile phones. A younger generation is growing up on social media and older generations are flocking to join them. Planning a relevant social media marketing strategy will give you an early mover’s advantage.
Social media is a cost-effective investment: what you don’t spend in media costs is often made up for with staffing. If your marketing department is overwhelmed and understaffed, consider outsourcing social media to a third party provider.
Return-on-investment? There are arguments about what should be measured but what is not in debate is that nearly everything can be measured. The real skill is extracting numbers that matter and feeding them into a dashboard which aids feddback and decision-making.