Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finally, Some No-Nonsense Pointers on B2B Social Media

Why do so many people continue to view social media as only a B2C realm? Well, it could be the continuing gap between social media hype and actual, practical advice for B2B companies.

But that’s starting to change with folks like Eric Schwartzman and Paul Gillin.

Eric and Paul have co-authored “Social Marketing to the Business Customer,” a new book hailed as the first full social media reference exclusively for B2B marketers. (Full disclosure: our own Mary Scheibel presented with Schwartzman at the Plastics News Executive Forum. But just to be clear, no, this isn’t a paid endorsement.)

We haven’t finished the book yet, but we’ve already picked up on some good points. It turns out B2B companies actually have more presence in social media than B2C folks. The book cites a report showing that 81% of B2B companies have accounts or profiles on social media sites, while only 67% of B2C companies do the same.

Here are six reasons the authors point to for why this is the case—and why you could benefit from developing a social media strategy, as well:

  • Group decision making (typical of B2B transactions) is accelerated when everyone is more aware of the circumstances—a process facilitated through social media.
  • Sales cycles shorten, since tools like Skype and LinkedIn make it easier to reach people.
  • Good rapport increases persuasiveness, as people are more willing to buy when they’re connecting with the people behind the brands.
  • Interactions happen at every level, not just in the boardroom, helping win over key audiences throughout an organization.
  • The more communication, the less complex the sale.
  • And finally, joint promotion and marketing is more likely. (Take this blog post, for example.)

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