In yesterday's blog post, My Social Media Experiment. It bombed - or did it? , Rita Jackson wrote a very engaging post about a disappointing experience she had on Twitter.
It generated so many comments that I decided to do a follow-up post on the subject.
Rita tweeted, five times, asking what great books were available about Social Media. And she got virtually no responses.
Rita's conclusions (read her post):
- Her followers are not interested in helping her.
- There is so much “noise” on Twitter, that something like this is just a flash in front of everyone’s eyes.
- Those Social Media experts out there DO NOT KNOW what they are doing.
- Those Social Media experts out there DO NOT PRACTICE what they preach.
- Social Media is all a FARCE. It doesn’t work! It is a waste of time! It keeps many people busy doing a crap load of nothing!
Here is my take.
Your problem Rita is that most B2B companies using social media have no idea how to use social media. Arming most B2B marketers with a Twitter account is the equivalent of giving a kid a gun.
They are dangerous.
I'll explain. In a roundabout way………
Most B2B companies that I speak with sense they need to have a blog and be active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook yet they cannot accurately measure the ROI of these efforts or give examples of any actual business closed as a result of their social media efforts.
So they give up or never really get started.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the companies that have a false belief that social media is the holy grail of marketing that will deliver unprecedented numbers of leads and propel them into fame and fortune.
So they spend ridiculous amounts of time on these platforms and move a big chunk of their marketing budget to social media. Yet, they don't use the tools properly - nor do they "listen" (a concept that Brian Solis discusses in his excellent book Engage).
Both camps are wrong.
They are wrong because they are not understanding the role of social media in the buying process (sales cycle).
Social media is about awareness and branding and monitoring what others say about your brand. But most importantly, it is about relationships. And B2B is all about relationships. So they go hand-in-hand.
Social media plays an important role in moving prospects along the buying continuum from awareness to interest to evaluation to purchase and post-purchase. So not participating is a mistake. But so is allocating too many resources to social media at the expense of other more traditional marketing and PR tactics.
BECAUSE SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATING MARKETING TACTIC.
You can be the most popular person on Twitter but that alone will not grow your sales pipeline. That's a recipe for becoming a really great but starving artist.
The problems you encountered Rita are twofold. One, social media is not very effective at lead generation or in your book recommendation example, soliciting information. Second, and related, is the fact that for most people on Twitter, it's all about them. They tweet all day but don't actually observe and listen. They don't care. They don't get the fact that in B2B Twitter is all about relationships.
An upcoming HRmarketer white paper will discuss the role each marketing tactic plays in the typical B2B buying process. And in this white paper we'll spend a lot of time discussing the role of social media - stay tuned!
But have faith Rita, because you get it. I know because I see how you use Twitter and other social networking platforms and I watch the relationships you build - they are powerful, strong and lasting.
BTW - Rita, as I recall you have had some positive experiences on Twitter as you wrote in your blog post The power of the Tweet - Good or Evil.
So don't give up!
Post by HRmarketer CEO Mark Willaman. Join Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Labels: buying process, social media marketing, Twitter