You're undoubtedly thinking about trying marketing through social media, so these questions probably come to mind:
- Should we engage in social media?
- Where should we engage? – where are we going to get the biggest bang for our buck?
- How should we engage?
Marketing through social media has changed buying behavior by changing the ways that people interact and influence one another. In the past, B2B marketing was a one-to-many broadcast conversation between a seller and multiple potential customers (think trade magazine advertising and direct mail). Today, buyers use social media to obtain information from peers, customers, competitors, and anyone else who might have an opinion.
The big question is: are people using social media to talk about your industry, company, or products? Are they talking about your competitors? If so, marketing through social media becomes imperative for your company.
According to Gleanster research, LinkedIn is the most popular site where successful companies do marketing through social media. Sharing links within email, on websites, and in blogs is the second most popular tactic.
Don't use social media to push sales information; use it instead to become a trusted advisor and source of valuable information. Your goal is to get in front of people and educate them. Social media isn't a sales channel, but it supports other channels used for selling.
Weigh ROI metrics based on the company culture and strategic imperatives, such as brand exposure. You can't measure marketing through social media with a single metric. Benchmark four areas initially:
- Distribution. Look at how many and which channels you're using and measure followers, fans, and mentions.
- Interaction. Count forwards, shares, and comments and measure sentiment,
- Influence. Look at your reach and credibility, as well as your Net Promoter score.
- Action. Track how many leads, conversions, and sales came from social media or appear to be influenced by it.
Marketing through social media can be challenging. Don't bite off more than you can chew, so to speak. Proceed slowly and methodically, and use metrics to determine how to go forward as you expand your investment in marketing through social media.