Friday, July 24, 2009

As Social Media’s Status Rises, Don’t Ignore the ‘Why’

In an interesting if unsurprising development, BtoB has released a study declaring that “Social media use soars among b-to-b marketers.”

Indeed, we’re all atwitter about the interactive, community-building possibilities. And as we’ve said before here, here and here, you should be experimenting in social media.

But at the same time, a word of caution. We’re talking about experimenting here. And experiments sometimes fail. As marketers, we can’t let ourselves get so tangled up in social media excitement that we don’t recognize when our efforts aren’t achieving any marketing objectives.

For example, as one BtoB commenter points out, it’s nice that we marketers are flocking to social media, but we should also consider whether our target audience in any given case is active in these emerging channels. If not, why waste the time?

So while we’re listening and chiming in online, we also should be thinking about how social media dialogs fit with our goals and strategy. Shooting for a quota of sales leads? Just trying to stay on top of what customers care about? We can’t expect too much from our Tweets, replies, status updates, etc. But we should expect something.
In social media, at a minimum, we need some idea what we’re getting into—and what we’re trying to get out of it.

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