Are You Pro- or Anti-Social?

B2B Marcom Insider

There is a lot of buzz about social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) these days. There is the Pro Camp that touts social media is critical to the media mix. The Anti Camp says it is a waste of time. Who is right?

Depends.

Social media is evolving in the business-to-business (B2B) marketing world. Pro companies relish in delight of having the opportunity to share regular discussions with customers, prospects, employees, potential employees, regulators, government personnel, etc. The Anti side dismisses social media as a fad that is costly to implement and maintain while being hard to measure. The Anti crowd also claim their potential customers don’t use social media for business.

See which side is right…

The Pro-Social Media Side

  1. Social media is an important SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tool. Links from social media sites are playing an increasingly important role in search engine positioning. Since 80% of purchases start with a search, this reason alone is a good argument for embracing social media.
  2. This trend isn’t going away soon. 60% of Americans spend time on a social network at least once a week. YouTube reaches 36% of all business decision makers, more than Forbes.com. Interestingly, 93% of business buyers believe all companies should have a social media presence.
  3. With social media, you don't need surveys to find out what customers and prospects are thinking. They will tell you what they like and what they don’t like.
  4. Social media augments PR efforts. Journalists increasingly rely on social media to research story ideas, sources and trends.
  5. Social media produces very high conversion on leads. Leads from social media focus on quality not quantity. Prospects that engage with you on social networks are more likely to look favorably on your company and brand, and its offerings.

The Anti-Social Media Side

  1. Our technical customers are too busy to bother with social media. Many of their companies block social media sites.
  2. Social media is too expensive compared to the value it provides. It requires an investment to setup and develop the procedures for social media. Plus, it requires a skilled person who is knowledgeable in our business and knows how to deal with customers.
  3. Social media results are difficult to measure in dollars and cents. What’s the ROI?
  4. Postings may give the competition more information about what we are doing than we would like. There are also concerns that “masked” competitors may manipulate the conversations.
  5. It opens us up to public criticism, whether it is justified or not. Either way, the two-way conversation can be negative for our company.
  6. The costs for social media will have to be deducted from other elements of our marcom budget.

Pro or Anti?

Depends on your company’s goals and resources. Remember this though, if you decide to jump into the social media pool, be ready for an ongoing commitment to manage and develop content. If you aren’t ready for social media, you can always dip into the shallow end and swim to where you feel comfortable.

Remember too, social media is just a tactic within an overall marcom strategy. When considering social media, you need to see how it complements the other tactics you are using.

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