It's a question I'm often asked: is social media really as indispensable as we are led to believe or is it an over-hyped marketing tool? I came across an interesting article by The Marketer which debated just this.
According to the blog, if you're a B2B marketer and you're yet to use social media, you are missing out on some serious opportunities. Quite simply, there are no excuses for a B2B brand to avoid social media; it can help with everything from creating a buzz and connecting with customers to building brand awareness and lead generation. However, you can't just think of social media as a "free" resource whereby inexperienced marketers can be let loose on it and wonder why they're not achieving the desired results. Instead, it calls for a detailed strategy.
So how has social media changed B2B marketing? Well, it's certainly changed customers' expectations in terms of response time. With Twitter and online chat, in particular, customers expect instant communication; social media is, after all, 24/7.
The Marketer article claims that around 70% of the B2B buying process in a complex sale is actually complete before clients are willing to talk to someone within the sales department. This is down to brands' social presence, including Google searches, extra information on social networks and peer recommendations across social media. It's clear that social media is the ideal tool for keeping your brand at the forefront of people's minds during the decision-making process.
One of the main advantages of social media - and most things in the digital space - is that it's highly measurable. The article claims that everything a marketer does should add value and be measurable. This is also something I firmly stand by. Proctor + Stevenson are all about adding value to your business, and we always measure the outcome of our work. This is why we say we're "measurably different"!