You Should Know the “Why” Before the “How” If You’re Going to Jump Into Social Media

whyandhowI recently put on a Webinar on how social media could be used by B-to-B, and one of the most common questions is what tools should I use? Should I concentrate on Facebook, LinkedIn or is Twitter the best for me? When I ask them why are they doing social media, I get a silent pause. One of the first things we talk about is the “Why” you want to participate in the social media scene. If you can’t answer the Why, then the How doesn’t matter. Don’t get into social because you think it’s cool or that this will be the “silver bullet” that will save your business. You need to treat social like any other marketing program. Define expectations and outcomes. Adopt a phased approach to meet these business objectives. Here are some questions to answer to better understand your goals:

  • Why are  you participating?
  • How can social media improve your customer relations?
  • Can social media help you build/reinforce your brand?
  • Do your current customers use social and which sites do they frequent?
  • How do you define success?
  • What kind of metrics are you going to set in place to monitor your success?
  • How can social media help you gain more knowledge?
  • What kind of social media policy do you have in place?

Like any other program, success is based on developing a plan and then implementing it. If you want to be cool and hip, do your homework and you’ll find out that people respond when you have a plan.

What are your thoughts?


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B-to-B Marketers Have Opportunities to Build Better Customer Relations Using Social Media

Why should B-to-B companies use Social media? Oliver Young from Forrester Research sums it up, Marketers who embrace social media will outdistance competition, build community following and boost loyalty.” Is there a better time than now to start making that impression? People are still buying things, and with budgets being tight, decisions custrelationsare often made on relationships. I’m a firm believer that folks have to know, like and trust you before they start buying from you.

Laura Ramos, a marketing analyst for Forrester Research agrees in a recent interview with BtoB Online Marketing. She says today that most B-to-B buzz is around driving awareness, but it will ultimately have a bigger impact on things like customer loyalty and advocacy. With social media, you can give customers a way to engage with other customers and with like-minded individuals that can talk about the best products and services. Seeing a community like this is a much more compelling experience for prospective buyers than a case study or a pre-selected happy customer. Ramos went on to say that for B-to-B companies, social success will be about creating communities. The relationship is important, not the channel.

According to Lee Odden in a recent presentation at the Online Marketing Summit in Minneapolis, “Despite such optimism and benefits, social media is new territory for most companies. The notion of engaging customers in social is a new paradigm and will take a shift in thinking for most organizations to adopt. Companies that properly plan and implement social programs can reap a variety of benefits,” said Odden. These include:

  • Building thought leadership
  • Improving customer relationships
  • Improving recruiting
  • Reducing customer service costs
  • Improving search engine results
  • Increasing media coverage
  • Influencing sales

So what’s a company supposed to do to take advantage of these opportunities?

  • Identify a niche
  • Make a plan
  • Get senior management to buy in
  • Get started by listening first
  • When you do start communicating, make sure you always answer the question, what’s in it for them?

The opportunies are there for B-to-B marketers. Let’s make sure you take advantage of them.

Other posts that might interest you, Improving sales productivity and collaboration with social media – Laggards steps to success, by Nicky Jameson


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