It's the last month of the year, which means we marketers are knee-deep in planning for next year. And as a B2B you're likely looking to integrate social media into your marketing mix in 2010—or have it play a larger role than in past years.
But to get to your market, you must first get the green light from your Executive Committee... a group that may be ready to embrace social media—or very weary of anything to do with Web 2.0.
That's why this two-part article features 10 arguments to help you build the B2B social media business case for your toughest audience: the one inside the boardroom.
In part 1, we covered the first five arguments, including how social media can help drive ROI, achieve competitive advantage, and produce cost-savings. This week we complete the series with five more arguments to win over even the most skeptical B2B executives.
6. Generate leads. "Generating leads that, in turn, create more leads is rooted in relationship-building—which is core to social media."
In B2B selling environments, where high-price, high-risk buys and long purchasing cycles are the norm, B2B companies wholly understand how imperative relationship-building is in lead generation and business development. And since social media tools were specifically created as a means for people to easily connect and communicate, they are perfectly suited to facilitate relationship-building efforts. Explain to executives that social media provides...
- Fertile ground for growing relationships and revenues. Through two-way communications that facilitate knowledge sharing, professional networking, and problem solving, companies can leverage social media to build relationships with prospective audiences and grow those relationships into revenues for the organization. A recent consumer-based study notes how online engagement creates customers.
- Efficient way to create leads... who create more leads. By building relationships with prospects and customers, companies also increase the chance that their target audiences will use these tools to spread favorable online word-of-mouth (WOM) about their brands. Such WOM is especially critical given that B2B buyers are avidly using social media to research feedback from other professionals before making purchases (an argument featured in part 1 on influencing purchase decisions).
7. Increase reach. "Through social media tools, technologies, and platforms, we can increase our digital footprint and thereby extend our brand's reach to global audiences."
Through social media, and a worldwide Web, companies have a new channel to penetrate markets that were once out of reach. This is especially attractive for B2Bs, which either can't afford to increase their physical footprint to new regions or want to "test the global waters" before diving in with larger investments.
Ready to create a strong social media program? A Step-by-Step Guide to a Successful Social Media Program teaches you everything you need to know about building a successful social media strategy, policy, and team.