For my Social Media class I was asked to read an article by Valeria Maltoni called The Truth About B2B Social Media Adoption. The article covers the frustrations that many business experience:
The truth about social media adoption… is that many B2B (business to business) marketers are frustrated and less than satisfied with the performance of their website, social, search marketing and sales conversion efforts. This is especially true in small and mid-sized companies…
Valeria’s article references a survey by Penton Marketing Services that reveals a majority of B2B companies are dissatisfied with the performance of their website in meeting their companies goals: It doesn’t deliver enough leads, doesn’t effectively support customer service etc. Given this fairly poor base it is easy to see why many small to mid-sized businesses are loathe to invest much money or effort in social media.
Determining the Social Media Marketing Mix
Companies that are investing in online marketing need to determine what marketing mix to use, for many businesses it is invested in those channels that have an easily measured impact on the business. Justifying marketing spend on vanity metrics like likes or re-tweets is getting increasingly trickier, tying the impact of social channels into metrics that reflect desired business goals is increasingly important. Ensuring these links are correctly attributing the impact of social media is important, Adobe recently published a report that shows that common methods of attributing the impact of social media can underestimate the impact by up to 94%.
On social media adoption Valeria writes that:
Among those who have social media outposts, Facebook, at 90 percent, is by far the most widely used networks, followed by Twitter at 53 percent, and LinkedIn at 47 percent.
B2B companies are mainly adopting the Hub and Spoke organization for their online properties. Companies can be seen to be using different social media channels for fairly different reasons:
Some channels are better suited to communicating certain messages. For example the professional focus of LinkedIn has made it a favored channel for recruitment, meanwhile YouTube is often used to provide additional product information or general brand promotion.
Impact of the Right Content Strategy
It is important to ensure that the right channel is delivering appropriate content that supports the business goal. Delivering effective online content and promoting it can dramatically lower the cost of generating new leads. Hubspot have estimated that inbound marketing costs about 62% less than outbound marketing per lead.
What is a content strategy and how do you know you’ve got it right? One of my favorite definitions of content strategy is:
Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content. Necessarily, the content strategist must work to define not only which content will be published, but why we’re publishing it in the first place. Otherwise, content strategy isn’t strategy at all: it’s just a glorified production line for content nobody really needs or wants. (See: your company’s CMS.)
If we know why we are publishing something we should be able to tie that into a measurable metric, whether it’s cheaper leads, increased order sizes, shorter sales cycles etc. At the end of the day to show an ROI we need to either show we are either making money or saving money by investing in this pushing content to our channels.
In her post Valeria makes the point that B2B organizations where many subject matter experts reside. If we want to effectively reach them we need to communicate using smart and engaging content.
If we can deliver this we can be influencers within our target industries so that when those organizations are early in their procurement life cycle we are top of mind.