Welcome to our new series “Busted! Top 10 Myths About Social Media for Business,” where we debunk many of the myths out there surrounding social media as an effective business tool. Inspired by many objections I’ve heard (and overheard) from real business owners, I developed this series to help you separate the fact from the fiction in this still-uncharted territory. Stay tuned for more mythbusting every Monday and Wednesday ’til the list runs out!
In our last post, we debunked Myth #9 about social media for business—”Social media’s a fad”—with some facts that point to social media being anything but a flash in the pan. Now let’s take a look at the question of target market.
It’s easy to look at the extraordinary success of brands like Starbucks, Zappos, or even Lady Gaga and draw the conclusion that unless you’re selling a sexy consumer must-have, this social media thing just isn’t for you.
Sure, we might think, people will gladly hop onto Facebook and Twitter to talk macchiatos or Jimmy Choo slingbacks, but industrial drill bits, database systems, or large-scale cloud computing? Not so much.
DEBUNKED! The truth is, whether you’re a B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business) marketer, a strong social media presence can do wonders to help you attract and retain clients. And that’s not just my opinion.
For a prime example, let’s take a look at B2B technology powerhouse Cisco. Over the last 3 years, Cisco has developed a rich presence across Facebook (211,000+ fans), Twitter (2M+ followers across 108 feeds), YouTube (5,500 subscribers, over 622,000 views), and even the blogosphere. And they bring it all together in a beautifully designed hub called Social@Cisco.
In 2010 the company successfully conducted the launch of a major product—the Aggregated Services Router (ASR)—entirely through social media venues. Social Media Examiner offers a detailed account of the campaign, but let’s skip to the end and look at the result. The launch reached 9,000 people (90 times more than in previous launches) in 128 countries and saved the company over $100,000—not including the thousands its clients saved on the costs of traveling to an in-person launch event.
And that’s just one example. A 2011 survey by Worldcom reveals that 83% of B2B marketers are using social media to communicate with target audiences. Of those who do, Twitter is the most popular venue (85%), followed by Facebook (74%), LinkedIn (72%), YouTube (69%), and corporate blogs (60%). 89% of the executives surveyed believe social media will increase in value for their companies over the next year, and 58% expect the increase to be significant.
So if you think being a B2B marketer means you don’t need a social media strategy, think again … because chances are your competitors already have.
So, what’s your experience engaging in social media on a B2B level? Tell us about it in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!