Monday, July 12, 2010

B2B business need a Social Media Marketing(SMM)

In continuation with the previous blogpost, will try and attempt to address the other  objections stated by SMB marketers
·                     My customers prefer offline marketing and sales
·                     B2B business need personal touch and online is not personal

What does this mean?

Customers, especially B2B, prefer to trust organizations who take efforts to
·        Build relationship and
·         Engage them on a continual basis and in turn derive customer lifetime value(CLV)

But I do not believe in the age old marketing tenet that building relationships and engaging customers can happen only in the offline (face-face) space. Enter Social Media 

Social Media has given voice to millions of ordinary citizens who now share and relate their experiences with anybody at little or no cost. This is not a fad as people do not abandon technologies that help them communicate better. More so because
·         Social Media will help marketers create trust with the customers as there is minimal scope to fake or falter on “Say – do “ratio. Customers are watching  hence organizations tend to be alert
·         Social Media Marketing (SMM) is non-interception based approach unlike traditional marketing. Companies give more relevant information to the customer and do not hard sell its products or services. This creates a better environment for dialog thus lends itself for continuous interaction/engagement. Many companies have seen success. Take the example of Indium Corp, makers of solder, solder paste. In an industry not known for aggressive marketing initiatives, Indium has managed to humanize its interaction with their customers through an effective SMM strategy.

The inertia from B2B marketers is mainly due to following  reasons:
  •   If you interact with customers online, there will be negative feedback – So is it better to hide such feedback under the carpet or pull it out of the rug? Not knowing your customer perception is no good sign
  •   RoI is not clear – I liked Paul Gillin’s response “ Would you trade off unclear RoI with Risk of Inaction”
  •   Social Media is a Fad – I don't want to hit you with the stats.The fact that you are online and reading this post vindicates the need for strong online presence

Wait… don’t just jump into the social bandwagon. Here are some common mistakes why social media marketing(SMM) strategies fail in many companies:

  •   Tool/platform is more important than the objective – Facebooks,Twitters of the world can wait. In order to succeed in the online world think like a publisher, crystallize your objectives and then decide the Medium
  •   Its CEO’s pet project – If there are no takers at the implementation level, these initiatives will fail. Need  passionate resources
  •  Social Media based interaction used for wrong business objectives- For example, Social Media is not a substitute for affiliate marketing based lead generation campaigns

What next?
  •   Define your social media marketing objective in line with your business objective
  •   Define Social Media Strategy
    • Identify your Influencer
    • Choose the social media platform
    • Define the theme and relationship you want to build with the customer
    • Define metrics/surrogate metrics
  •  Execute your plan
    • Listen to conversations
    • Participate
    • Influence your customers
    • Act
  •  Measure- Conversation Mining
  •  Monitor Interaction/engagement index and optimize plans

I will take each of these points and explore in detail in the forthcoming blog posts. Till then read a few successful B2B social Media Marketing campaigns