If you think that social media is only beneficial for business-to-consumer companies, think again.
What social media has to offer the business-to-business world is exposure, not necessarily direct customer contact. It’s about attracting the attention of referrers, generating leads, and enhancing reputation – not creating transactions. I think about it in terms of the difference between marketing and sales. When my business shows up regularly on social media, it helps people find me because search engines then have a lot more opportunities to find me.
Even if the people with whom you are interacting on social media do not match your client profile exactly, the interaction can still generate many business leads. After all, people talk to people and, in every crowd, there are “connectors” to help spread your message. These are the people whom Malcolm Gladwell (author of “Tipping Point”, etc.) says “link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together.”
In fact, research tells us that advice from them (a.k.a. “influencers” or “thought leaders”) is often thought to be more credible than from corporate sources (such as advertising).
I find that when leads turn into real customers, they emerge from social media contacts in this order: first through LinkedIn, then blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, in descending order. Additionally, research now reveals that social media and blogs get three times as much attention (in terms of minutes spent) as email (24% vs. 8%). LinkedIn drives most customers for business-to-business (65%), followed by a company blog (55%).
Best wishes, Connie
Connie Galligan is Founder and Lead Developer of RedHorse CRM. During two decades of consulting and software development in the industry, she has created custom tools, modifications and stand-alone systems to answer the needs of the clients and dealers she knows so well.