Social Media: Is it really the future of B2B Marketing?

The East Midlands BMC met recently to debate whether social media is the future of marketing, discussing if we should start to embrace a broader range of platforms.

The evening began with a presentation by Robin Bodicoat, (Marketing Director of Quotient). There was a strong focus on the need to encourage all staff members to engage in company marketing and a concern that departments have found it increasingly difficult to encourage other employees to become more actively involved. Several agencies have taken a competitive approach offering incentives for high sharers. Could a reward system really help drive employees interaction with social media? Would you tweet for cake? Ahem.

Many openly admitted that this new incentive has certainly spurred on their employees to adopt a more active role in company marketing and in some cases has become quite the competition amongst staff.
With targeted global audience reach and low cost, it seemed obvious that the industry should be active users of social media but which channels stood out from the rest?

At the beginning of the evening all were asked to complete a survey rating the top 15 platforms from excellent to don’t use. Surprisingly for most, Facebook was rated with the highest excellent rating, Linkedin and Twitter coming in second, which soon sparked debate…

B2B marketers have previously developed the attitude that Facebook isn’t an effective tool, we all agree that it is predominantly a platform aimed at B2C but we have to question, ‘is it not time that we embraced the worlds largest user platform?’ Opinions on Facebook are slowly changing but worries of a crossover of business integrating with personal space soon generated concerns and seemed to be one of the top reasons for avoiding this platform.

With phenomenal content targeting tools and low investment, surely it could only be beneficial to create a FB company page sharing recent news, blog posts and awards? After all with a platform boasting an active user base of over 1.86 billion we’d be silly not to right?

We were all in agreement that Linkedin is the preferred business tool, now offering Sales Navigator, encouraging prospect engagement. It’s a safe way to build leads. We can refer back to the incentive social sharing as Sales Navigator generates an SSI score (social selling index) measuring how those individual engagements add up and how you are performing against your peers.

Twitter; is it just a news channel? With 313 million monthly users there is an expectation that every company has an active Twitter account and whilst the majority embraces the hashtag, one senior B2B marketer openly admitted to abandoning their Twitter account, having lost belief in its relevance to their business. Neglecting a platform was frowned upon by most, would followers start to question your professionalism and could this cause confusion as to whether you were still in operation?

After much debate the evening drew to an end and the majority was in agreement that B2B marketers should be open-minded when it comes to social media and should certainly start to adopt varied platforms. It’s debatable as to whether social media is the future of marketing but it is certainly a low cost option with the ability to reach thousands, if not millions of potential leads, so surely it makes sense to take advantage?

“Like this post, why not share it to Facebook?”
Claire Sherriff, BMC Marketing Executive