The Top 5 Questions for B2B Social Media Campaigns

I had a meeting with one of our newest (yet to be announced) clients on Friday. It's a solid B2B business that's seeking to leverage the power of...

QuestionsI had a meeting with one of our newest (yet to be announced) clients on Friday. It’s a solid B2B business that’s seeking to leverage the power of social media to connect with senior decision-makers in various industry sectors around the world.  It’s becoming a familiar request – and the questions they asked are becoming really familiar. Here are the top social media five questions I get asked by B2B clients:

Who should manage social media?

It is Marketing, Communications, Customer Services, Tech or a separate team? Once you talk through the implications of enabling staff to engage with potential customers on any topic, at any level (i.e. C-level to cleaner), it becomes clear that the traditional business approach won’t work. Engaging in social media has huge implications for all of these departments – so a full strategy needs to cross-cut the organisation. This is easier than it sounds and you won’t get it right first time. I would start by ensuring there is a general understanding of the impacts social media might have for various departments, but focus initially on getting specific results in a specific area (i,e. whichever team is keenest and most likely to succeed). The wider strategy will evolve from the learning and success of the initial project.

Is Social Media Personal or Corporate?

It’s a cliche, but social media is all about people. The reason most corporate blogs fail is because they lack the personality, humour, critical eye, and the failings (even) of a real human being. It’s the same for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Free and unfettered social interaction and discussion is anathema to strict corporate communications – so for social media to work, senior managers need to loosen those strings a little and allow staff to be themselves online. It’s a big ask! The issue is even more delicate when using services like LinkedIn – in which the account is personal (not corporate) and the contacts and reputation each person builds are their own, not their company’s. This personal vs corporate line needs to be drawn clearly and early on in the process.

Where’s the ROI in Social Media?

I’ve written extensively about ROI in social media and, while it’s not always easy to gauge, there are clear methods for measuring the success of your social media campaigns. Measuring is one thing, predicting accurately is quite another. In order to get sign off on a budget you usually need to state the anticipated results in no uncertain terms – and with social media that’s hard. Thankfully, I think we’ve reached a stage in the evolution of social media communications that most CEO’s realise they have to try to understand it and maybe pilot a project to see what results it brings. Demanding immediate, financially measurable, returns is unreasonable when you’re working in a space of such rapid innovation.

How Can we Find the Time for Social Media?

While some aspects of social media – such as posting to a blog, or sharing a video via YouTube – can be scheduled, becoming part of an “online community” on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or across the blogosphere requires regular participation. One of the first things I do with a client is stress that, without a daily investment of time, their social media campaign is likely to fail. Getting the staff responsible to put this time aside and have faith that, six months down the line, their investment will pay off is a tough ask – especially when they are judged on targets. This investment really needs to be written into their job spec and signed off by their Manager.

Are our Customers Really Using Social Media?

I’ve been asked this question since the really early days of online communities, when the big charities I worked with were concerned that 70% of their donors were over 50 and (the perception was) unlikely to be online. That was 10 years ago and the ones that led the charge then are still ahead of the game. The fact is: not all CEO’s are on Twitter. Many aren’t even on LinkedIn (though, these days, I think that’s little short of idiotic) and you won’t find that many using Facebook for business. The point is though, millions of senior businesspeople are on Twitter, interacting in LinkedIn Groups etc. and you can connect and communicate with them really easily and for free. There has never been a more cost-effective way of making global connections and any business person who fails to recognise that now will be behind the game. Even if you are 100% convinced your target market isn’t using social media, in my view you should still use it. Using social media is a learning process and the more you learn now the better equipped you will be to take advantage of it when you do need it.

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13 comments

  1. Vancouver Search Engine Marketing Reply

    Great post! The same can be said for B2C as well. Although not all people are using it lots do and not to be part of it is crazy! Love your ROI in Social Media article as well. Keep up the good work!

  2. Elizabeth Walden Reply

    Love the insight. On the last section, even if the target market isn’t by-in-large using SM, some will be. If there is at most 6 degrees of seperation between each individual (and lets face it everyone loves to spread info when they find out something good), then every person of your demographic using SM really equals 6+ people. So: take advantage!

    Thanks for the post! Keep it coming.

  3. Nathan Egan Reply

    Here is how you measure social media ROI: REVENUE.

  4. sheri allain Reply

    Great points. We are dealing w/ this also w/ our B2B clients; nice to have smart reference.
    cheers!

  5. Rajesh S Reply

    Great Post.
    Clearly, social media is not to be ignored.
    Also read your Social Media report and it is especially important for B2B guys to get on social media and connect with people.
    We have just started our social media efforts and see a good jump in our website traffic.

  6. Luke Brynley-Jones Reply

    Thanks for the comments folks! Elizabeth, I’m convinced too that pretty much everyone is connected in a valuable way, but with business a whole new set of issues arise. Opportunity cost, competition, intellectual property… You need to address each one with an astute boss. Nathan – ROI can be non-revenue, but still quantifiable. Measured in traditional PR terms, for example, targeted buzz can be extremely valuable without cash changing hands.

  7. The Top 5 Questions for B2B Social Media Campaigns | B2B Social Media Blog Reply

    […] From who should manage it to ROI from Our Social Times Top 5 Questions for B2B Campaigns […]

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    […] The Top 5 Questions for B2B Social Media Campaigns (from @OurSocialTimes) I had a meeting with one of our newest (yet to be announced) clients on Friday. It’s a solid B2B business that’s seeking to leverage the power of social media to connect with senior decision-makers in various industry sectors around the world. It’s becoming a familiar request – and the questions they asked are becoming really familiar. Here are the top social media five questions I get asked by B2B clients. […]

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  11. Neeraj Srivastava Reply

    Well, I think…giving a personal touch to professional or corporate profiles is really good idea and it will sure help to boost social media campaigns it done properly!

  12. Simon Reply

    ‘Are our Customers Really Using Social Media?’ – Drawing from B2G online comms I think the influencers of decision makers are important here; your message doesn’t necessarily have to get to your target directly & its indirect path could actually have an amplification effect by coming through a trusted source.

  13. Daniel Hall Reply

    Great blog! I’m currently working at the leading IT focused telemarketing company in the UK.

    While on placement i’m thinking of possibly exploring B2B Social Marketing for the company.

    Does anyone have any information or advice on where i could start? The Director mentioned it’s a path the company may take in the future and i need to start collecting research from within the company etc.

    Many thanks!

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