When conducting social media marketing workshops, one of the more common questions I receive is something along the lines of, “This all sounds wonderful for a business-to-consumer business model, but does it work for a B-to-B?” My approach to answering this question always results in a form of the following dialogue:
Mr. Farr: What are your current methods of attracting new business?
B-to-B: Direct sales, word-of-mouth, and branding.
Mr. Farr: What makes each of these categories successful?
B-to-B: More leads, healthy relationships, and a defined identity.
Mr. Farr: So your marketing plan should include 1) a strategy for creating more industry visibility for your products and services, 2) methods for strengthening customer relationships and encouraging social sharing and referral, and 3) a plan for establishing trust using branding fundamentals. Is that a fair statement?
Mr. Farr: What if I told you that integrating a social engagement strategy into your marketing plan has the ability to cover all three of these areas more effectively than any other method?
B-to-B: I’m listening.
The good news is this is not just lip service. The evidence of the value of social engagement for all types of business is multiplying daily. A recent study from PulsePoint and Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) demonstrates a whole list of advantages companies are realizing as the result of effective social engagement:
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, authored by Bill Lee, goes as far as to say that traditional marketing is dead. “First, buyers are no longer paying much attention’” Lee proposes. “Several studies have confirmed that in the ‘buyer’s decision journey,’ traditional marketing communications just aren’t relevant. Buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way, often through the Internet, and often from sources outside the firm such as word-of-mouth or customer reviews.”
This concept is illustrated well in this video:
So, the truth of the matter is that, not only does social engagement strategy work for all types of business, but it is key to navigating the paradigm shift occurring within the sales and marketing discipline. It’s the key to being visible, the key to preserving and improving relationships, and the key to proliferating brand equity in the modern marketplace.
Learn the fundamentals of social engagement strategy at Jibe Media’s hands-on training workshop: Wider Net, More Fish – see upcoming dates and locations.