Social Media Strategy, B2b Social Media

Destroying the 7 Myths of B2B Social Media

B2B social media is one of the most nettlesome of all social media marketing topics. There are plenty of half-truths and misunderstandings about what, where, why, and how B2B social media works (or doesn’t).

I tried to dispel the most common B2B social media myths in this Webinar for Genius.com and Focus.

B2B Social Media Myth #1
“My Customers Don’t Use Social Media”

According to the recent Social Technographics® report from Forrrester, 81% of U.S. adults with an Internet connection use social media in some form or function. Further, last year’s Forrester study of B2B technology buyers found that they use social media nearly twice as much as U.S. adults overall.

Need more proof? Take your customer email list and find which of them are active where in social media using Flowtown or Gist.

B2B Social Media Myth #2
“Social Media Isn’t Worth the Trouble for B2B”

Quite the opposite is true. Because there are fewer overall customers, the advocacy impact of an individual customer in B2B is magnified. Further, B2B purchases are often highly researched, making reviews/recommendations/content/search more important. All of these are positively impacted by social media.

B2B Social Media Myth #3
“How B2C Uses Social Media Doesn’t Apply”

A 2009 study by MarketingProfs found that all companies, regardless of model and size, are predominately using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, and Linkedin. So, if the tactics are often the same, how does B2C not apply?

Further, the core ingredients of social media success: storytelling, humanization, kinship, and purchase intent are not B2B or B2C items. They apply as long as you have employees, customers, and prospective customers.

B2B Social Media Myth #4
“If Nobody Is Tweeting About a Company, It Doesn’t Need Social Media”

There’s a lot more to social media than Twitter. In fact, if there isn’t any social media chatter about your company presently, it put the onus on you to create content and spur conversations.

B2B Social Media Myth #5
“Having a Facebook Page is a Sufficient Social Media Strategy”

Having a Facebook page doesn’t provide any social media value per se, and too many companies launch fan pages that are little more than Yellow Pages 2.0. It’s what you do with your Facebook page that counts, and getting “likes” and winning the News Feed are the keys to success.

But even when/if you’ve created a winning, ongoing Facebook strategy, recognize that you need to create and support other social media outposts. Putting all your social media eggs in the Facebook basket is akin to building your house on rented land – with a weird landlord that changes his mind all the time.

B2B Social Media Myth #6
“Using Social Media for Customer Service is Inefficient”

Actually, the opposite is often true. Indeed, you only have 140 characters to provide customer service on Twitter (or slightly more on Facebook), but your customers only have 140 characters to complain! Answering the phone is among the most expensive interactions for any company, and Twitter and Facebook-powered customer support can be financially prudent programs that have the added benefit of being public.

B2B Social Media Myth #7
“Social media isn’t measurable”

Quite the contrary. Social media is among the most measurable of all marketing and communications modalities. The real challenge isn’t whether social media is measurable (it is), it’s what to measure in social media. Your business goals beget your marketing goals, which spawn your social media goals, which breed your social media success metrics.

Chapter 7 of The NOW Revolution (my new book with Amber Naslund) is devoted entirely to 25+ social media success metrics, and when each can/should be applied.

Related
  • http://www.puredriven.com Patrick Garmoe

    As always, great post Jay. Thanks for sharing the slides.I think the struggle for B2B companies (and the reason these myths develop) is that it’s not quite so easy at face value to see the B2B social media play for some companies, as it is for the typical B2C business.

  • Steve

    I love this post. I will use it for swelling to clients. Great job.

  • Steve

    I love this post. I will use it for swelling to clients. Great job.

  • http://www.drewhawkins.org Drew Hawkins

    I can definitely agree to number four. There isn’t a lot of chatter about our company online period. However, instead of taking the route of complacency saying “well I don’t have much to manage,” we’ve been active on content creation. Not having a lot of chatter represents a HUGE opportunity for a business rather than a disadvantage.

    • http://www.puredriven.com Patrick Garmoe

      It’s funny. It used to be companies feared chatter about them. Now it’s seen as a benefit if people are talking about you. I could see benefits on both sides.

  • http://www.drewhawkins.org Drew Hawkins

    I can definitely agree to number four. There isn’t a lot of chatter about our company online period. However, instead of taking the route of complacency saying “well I don’t have much to manage,” we’ve been active on content creation. Not having a lot of chatter represents a HUGE opportunity for a business rather than a disadvantage.

  • http://twitter.com/Twisplays Joshua Persky

    Great article, thank you!

  • Patti Church

    I’m planning to share this with a group of students at Algonquin College this evening. Your timing couldn’t be better. You will help uncover the mysteries of B2B social media. Thanks!

  • http://sbolen.me/ Stephen Bolen

    The one thing that’s almost always ignored about B2B SMM — and the one thing that I keep beating the drum about — is that purchasing cycles are vastly different in B2B than B2C, and often, in organizations of varying size and scope, purchasing decisions are handled by a procurement department. From a sales perspective, myth #3 is somewhat on shaky ground.However, from a customer acquisition standpoint (or a get-your-foot-in-the-door prospecting standpoint), B2B and B2C have quite a bit of overlap in regards to relationship building, et cetera. Unfortunately, though, once a manager or influencer turns over a bid or proposal to a procurement specialist/agent/department, social capital means nothing to a group of cold-hearted, number crunchers who are looking for the lowest possible number.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      You raise a valid point Stephen, that once the relationship between company and prospect gets turned over to someone who has no part in that interaction, all that socially-enabled purchase preference gets wiped away. Perhaps we can agree then, that in cases where a purchasing/procurement person pulls the trigger, social media can get you to the finals, but can’t win you the race?

      • http://sbolen.me/ Stephen Bolen

        Excellent analogy, Jay.

        As I’m sure you can tell by my comment, I’ve run into this problem more than once. :)

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    Re: “My Customers Don’t Use Social Media.”

    I often tell our Real Estate Clients they’d be surprised how many of their contacts/clients are already on various social networks. Go to Facebook and upload contacts from your database and look to see just how many people are on Facebook already. Though yes, Gist is a great app for this. A bit labor intensive up front to set up, but a great app.

    In regards to number 6, I think that it presents a tremendous opportunity to connect with existing clients, calm their concerns and strengthen the relationship. Showing that you care by communicating even via social media channels shows attention and regard and that connects and strengthens relationships which are at the foundation of a business that’s strong and referrable.

  • http://bazaarvoice.com/blog Ian Greenleigh

    Jay-

    Let’s say that business decision makers are not, in fact, using social media to the same extent (this is true, but an increasingly invalid objective, as you point out). Does it follow then, that the B2B play is less effective? It’s actually the opposite. The relatively few decision makers in social are far more accessible because there are less people pinging them, and you thus have more mindshare.

    Establishing thought leadership is far easier in the less-crowded field of B2B social. Their is less established leadership, fewer conversations of note, and ultimately, more eyes and ears on you.

    Think of it as marketshare. Now is the chance to snatch up your social territory–don’t miss it.

  • http://bazaarvoice.com/blog Ian Greenleigh

    Jay-

    Let’s say that business decision makers are not, in fact, using social media to the same extent (this is true, but an increasingly invalid objective, as you point out). Does it follow then, that the B2B play is less effective? It’s actually the opposite. The relatively few decision makers in social are far more accessible because there are less people pinging them, and you thus have more mindshare.

    Establishing thought leadership is far easier in the less-crowded field of B2B social. Their is less established leadership, fewer conversations of note, and ultimately, more eyes and ears on you.

    Think of it as marketshare. Now is the chance to snatch up your social territory–don’t miss it.

  • http://bazaarvoice.com/blog Ian Greenleigh

    Jay-

    Let’s say that business decision makers are not, in fact, using social media to the same extent (this is true, but an increasingly invalid objective, as you point out). Does it follow then, that the B2B play is less effective? It’s actually the opposite. The relatively few decision makers in social are far more accessible because there are less people pinging them, and you thus have more mindshare.

    Establishing thought leadership is far easier in the less-crowded field of B2B social. Their is less established leadership, fewer conversations of note, and ultimately, more eyes and ears on you.

    Think of it as marketshare. Now is the chance to snatch up your social territory–don’t miss it.

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  • Geminiebonyjones

    Mom & Pop stores, Dunkin Donuts, etc. with facebook and twitter accounts doesnt make sense.
    It’s social media for physical people not for non physical business

    If you own a business dont waste your time starting a blog, twitter account, or a facebook account. Just because they press like doesnt mean there going to stop twittering and go get a donut or hamburger.

    Spend that money and time on improving your product not seeing who like your tweet or shared your post.

    Ads aren’t friends.

  • Geminiebonyjones

    Mom & Pop stores, Dunkin Donuts, etc. with facebook and twitter accounts doesnt make sense.
    It’s social media for physical people not for non physical business

    If you own a business dont waste your time starting a blog, twitter account, or a facebook account. Just because they press like doesnt mean there going to stop twittering and go get a donut or hamburger.

    Spend that money and time on improving your product not seeing who like your tweet or shared your post.

    Ads aren’t friends.

    • http://twitter.com/tmatte63 Tom Matte

      There is a yogurt shop in our neighborhood that has bout 500 followers. The owner gives discounts and all kinds of promos to her followers. She has increased revenue by 30% due to Facebook alone. Facebook is definitely her friend.

    • Serina

      I’m sorry, but I totally disagree with this comment. What do you mean, physical people vs. non-physical business?? I’m a very physical person with a non-physical business, and I follow, retweet, promote, and go to businesses who are engaging me on social media.

      Social media doesn’t equal “ads” but in many ways, social media does equal friends.

      And what a great way to improve your product by letting those on social media who use your product discuss it. Show the world you are listening and improving on ideas, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/MatDuda Matthias Duda

    Do not agree!! Sorry!
    http://www.viaggisportivi.it

  • http://walteradamson.com Walter Adamson

    Providing education is great but it’s really yesterday’s story. Cisco and IBM and EMC etc etc etc etc don’t spend millions on social media for B2B because it doesn’t work or doesn’t make sense.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Actually, IBM and Cisco spend a tremendous amount of time and effort on social media because it DOES work for them, and they have incredibly compelling proof that they frequently share at conferences and via case studies. I’m not sure about millions of dollars, but IBM has hundreds of bloggers, and Cisco has a very large social media program.

  • http://walteradamson.com Walter Adamson

    Providing education is great but it’s really yesterday’s story. Cisco and IBM and EMC etc etc etc etc don’t spend millions on social media for B2B because it doesn’t work or doesn’t make sense.

  • http://bit.ly/9PFJ1N Saul Fleischman / KdL Group

    Chris C., I thought of you when reading this. With MKTG, as with the above, “if there isn’t any social media chatter about your company presently, it put the onus on you to create content and spur conversations,” we need to create content, you and I, and then, do likewise for our clientele of businesses – which often have not begun to do so. In Japan, people still register on FB or Twitter, LinkedIn – and are surprised to learn that their work is not done. That is but the first small step.

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  • http://buhlerworks.com/wordpress JEBworks

    Excellent stuff. Like that comment at the end of myth #5 about Facebook!
    What’s evident to me is that it all starts with the culture and mindset of the organization. That’s where the education needs to start and the rest should follow. Having a compelling story to tell is a good starting point for engagement.

  • http://www.queensboro.com Jim Goodwin

    When discussing b2b SMM, many people overlook the value of customer interaction. As a company that sells logo apparel to thousands of small businesses, we have great success engaging our customers on Facebook. We run contests, games, and quizzes frequently and often give away items with their company embroidered logo as prizes. We use our behind the scenes blog to spotlight customers in their apparel and to explore random topics, many of which don’t have a thing to do with our business.

    In our case, these channels have become very useful in reinforcing our company personality to the businesses we service and to potential customers. We’re not just another faceless company on the Internet, we’re real people dealing with real people.

    Even b2b comes down to people making decisions. Most small business owners prefer to do business with people they like and trust. Keeping our promises, of course, is the key component of building that relationship but the social media side is also important.

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  • Serina

    I guess I just believe in getting back to the basics of business in the sense that it is all about the relationship – connecting, building, and engaging. Social media is one way to do this with your clients, vendors, and potential connections.

    I do deal with some of these myths with my clients, so I appreciate your insight very much. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Interesting article. I think myth 5 has been one of the most common I’ve come across. I’ve seen too many facebook fan pages go wasted because the content isn’t promoted enough. I’d like to recommend another article that discusses some of these myths and ways to fix them.
    http://www.greenbuzzagency.com/social-media-you’re-doing-it-wrong

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  • http://www.whitevector.com Mikko Rummukainen

    Thank you very much for the post + slideset!

    There is so much to touch up on here, so without going all off the wall with this comment, I would just like to say that we at Whitevector could not agree more with the 7th point.

    Social media indeed is measurable, and quite deeply so. It is also one of the best methods of acquiring feedback, setting objectives for your social media strategy (be it B2B or B2C) and eventually finding out how your social media performance (objectives vs. de facto results).

    We’ll surely have a talk about this post at the office tomorrow, so thanks again!

    Best wishes,

    Mikko Rummukainen / Whitevector Ltd.
    http://whitevector.com/blog

  • http://www.whitevector.com Mikko Rummukainen

    Thank you very much for the post + slideset!

    There is so much to touch up on here, so without going all off the wall with this comment, I would just like to say that we at Whitevector could not agree more with the 7th point.

    Social media indeed is measurable, and quite deeply so. It is also one of the best methods of acquiring feedback, setting objectives for your social media strategy (be it B2B or B2C) and eventually finding out how your social media performance (objectives vs. de facto results).

    We’ll surely have a talk about this post at the office tomorrow, so thanks again!

    Best wishes,

    Mikko Rummukainen / Whitevector Ltd.
    http://whitevector.com/blog

  • http://www.realwebmarket.com Pradeep – SEO LinkBuilder

    I want to fist congratulate you for taking great step to bring awareness or facts about Social Media marketing. However, I think people have few other myths from their own experiences in which I found the most common myth as: “social media is more money consuming marketing channel which doesn’t fit to my company/business size”.

  • http://socialprattle.wordpress.com Joshua Barnes

    Excellent deck. I appreciated someone covering this with some research. Quite useful for a number of conversations. Sometimes we just need dots connected and this does that; great work!

  • Epaulson

    Well done! We find ourselves in many conversations recently about the applicability of social media in B2B. You have created a logical and compelling business case for B2B in social media. Thank you for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/insideview InsideView

    This s great content. I’m going to share it with my followers.

  • http://www.emarketeers.com/training-courses/social-media Jonathan Saipe

    Well done. Compelling post and very useful deck. Thanks for this.

  • http://www.ways2moremoney.com Hunter

    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    Loved this point: “Putting all your social media eggs in the Facebook basket is akin to building your house on rented land – with a weird landlord that changes his mind all the time. ”

    So true.

  • http://twitter.com/jonmikelbailey Jon-Mikel Bailey

    Probably one of the best analogies I have seen lately… “Putting all your social media eggs in the Facebook basket is akin to building your house on rented land – with a weird landlord that changes his mind all the time.”

    This is a great post and should be required reading for any B2B marketer who doubts the importance of social media. We used to experience the same resistance with companies and websites. We would hear “nobody is going to look for us on the web”. Sound familiar?

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Yeah I heard that “nobody is looming for us” line about 10,000 times.

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  • http://www.shareofblog.blogspot.com Glenn Cressman

    My favourite is “We’re opening ourselves up for negative comments.”

    That’s a myth because you’re ALREADY at risk for negative comments – it just may be on another site. And if you’re not engaged in the discussions, you have no idea what’s being said and how to defend yourself… or better yet, turn a negative into an opportunity.

  • http://twitter.com/ViralCEO Viral Marketing

    Myth #1 is our number one objection that our sales consultant face when dealing with prospects. They are convinced that the decision makers are not using Facebook, Twitter, nor LinkedIn. One of the first questions we ask is who are some of their customers. Then we answer this objection by walking them through some LinkedIn profiles of their existing clients.

  • http://twitter.com/ViralCEO Viral Marketing

    Myth #1 is our number one objection that our sales consultant face when dealing with prospects. They are convinced that the decision makers are not using Facebook, Twitter, nor LinkedIn. One of the first questions we ask is who are some of their customers. Then we answer this objection by walking them through some LinkedIn profiles of their existing clients.

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  • http://green9media.com/ Glenn Friesen

    Great post. Endless thanks for providing me a resource to reference when I hear these false (and too common) objections!

    The comment above is from the marketer in me. The comment below is from the human in me (the objectified “user” of social media).

    Please help perpetuate these myths!!! They’re one of the few shields I have from being completely inundated by direct marketers, spammers, and “Big Brother”! I hate it when brands respond to my online conversation about their products — their opinions are obviously biased, and I believe their participation is only to spin my honest feedback into continued sales of their inferior products! When will social media really be the “place for friends” I was told about, and no longer “a place for advertisers to reach me through my friends!?”

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I love the “split personality” comment. A first here at C&C! Thanks Glenn.

  • Kevin Kerner

    Good stuff. Think another myth I’ve heard recently is the social media in B2B is no different than B2C. Not true. Channels, tone, how aggressive we can be in using social for demand generation for B2B, influencer categories (and how to approach them) all change the landscape for B2B marketers. Also a fun time to be innovating in social for B2B as many are still approaching with a B2C lens.

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  • letstalkandchat

    If you’re looking for webinar software, then check out Evergreen Business System. Its perfect for marketers and let’s you automate the scheduling of your webinars, build your list, and even follow up with your webinar registrants. If you’re going to buy Evergreen Business System, then you might as well get a free bonus! So check out http://www.mikelmurphy.com/evergreen-business-system-bonus-webinar-software/ and you’ll get a great bonus that tells you how to create a webinar, what is a webinar, and a blueprint for making a successful one. None of the other people offering bonuses are offering this. Hurry in case the guy (some dude that worked on Lord of the RIngs) offering the bonus decides to pull it down.

  • juandecop

    Excellent post.

    Descargar Ares

  • juandecop
  • http://www.leftygbalogh.com/ Lefty Balogh: Social Media Str

    Thanks a bunch Jay.

    Can I suggest a +1 myth? Something along the lines of: you can get an ROI / justify the cost.

    Counterexample: I remember very well when one of my marketers got a 7K deal from a tweet… And so does the rest of the company.