There are plenty of B2B-oriented small businesses who do remarkably well in social media. This revelation is partly due because they have ‘seen the light' and have committed themselves to using social media to earn trust and deliver useful information to decision makers in a creative way.
But, alas, there are still curmudgeons in the business world. Here are five debunked myths of social media for B2Bs.
- My clients don't use social media.
Of course they do. A recent study by KnowledgeStorm indicates that B2B technology decision makers engage in social media quite extensively. The numbers breakdown like this: 90% video; 80% blogs; 80% wikis; 69% social networks; 53% podcasts. This is important to consider as you deploy a social media strategy that works to attract and serve your prospects and customers with social media. I have a sneaking suspicion these numbers don't deviate much from other decision makers in B2B organizations.
- My prospects don't care about social media.
If they've watched a video, searched Google or have LinkedIn, they do. Social media helps empower them to stay connected to trusted contacts and often decision-makers seek out trustworthy information on Google. Video is one of many ways they engage in learning, disseminating and spreading useful information with their peers.
- My customers operate on contract, not this fluffy social stuff.
If you expect your contract to be renewed, you better differentiate and earn their trust that you're there for them. Social media enables B2B and B2C organizations scale their message on their audience' terms. Support, service and sales channels can grow through social media and if that's not enough cause to use social media, don't.
- My competitors don't use social media, why should I?
Assuming you've adequately researched your competitors and discover the rare chance they don't use social media, you're presented with opportunity. Opportunity to get your word, your message and your presence out there in a competitive market. Social media enables fresh content to hit the web, attract eyeballs and a genuine interest in your products and service. In addition, social media is known to shorten sales cycles when prospects are able to quickly and efficiently learn more about your business.
- Social media doesn't drive ROI. I need ROI.
Social media doesn't need an RFP in order to succeed. ROI isn't always revenue. It's effort. I recommend every small business – especially B2Bs – learn more about their customers and live in their shoes in social media. Once they've experimented, then it doesn't hurt to track ROI through web analytics, CRM and even raw sales and prospect numbers. The return on investment is in the form of brand awareness, engaging in relevant industry conversation and the obvious sales and marketing stats. Through consistent effort, you'll gain consistent results.
Above all, I always come down to the point that people generally accept. We are dealing with people. Not businesses. A business does not shake hands. A business does not smile. A business does not recommend your business to another business. A business does not sign contracts…
A person does.