Many B2B companies are skeptical of social media. While consumer companies consider it as part of their marketing mix, B2B companies are often hesitant to jump on board. Honestly, there are still some unknowns with social media, but companies are getting savvier about participating and tracking results of their efforts. Contrary to what you may think, social media can be an important investment for any company, regardless of size, product/service or target customer.
The reality is whether or not your company has an official presence in the social media sphere, someone out there is mentioning your company – be it an employee, a client, or the media – and it’s in your best interest to make sure your brand is protected and represented accurately. The bottom line is that not having a social media strategy is not a strategy!
Take for example, a client of ours – a large manufacturer of scientific industrial equipment selling a multi-million dollar product. While this manufacturer was doing well in their sales process, they were noticing a huge drop off when trying to close sales – prospects were being courted but simply were not buying. The company brought on RiechesBaird to try to help with their issue.
Through some research, we found that prospects were having conversations about the company’s products online in the social media sphere – and those conversations were negative. We found that through the sales process, the prospects were using an online search as a final validation of their purchase. Once the prospect found these negative conversations, they switched to alternative solutions. Social media, a seemingly insignificant “trend,” was having a disproportionate negative effect on sales.
Once we identified the problem, it was clear that social media had to be incorporated into the overall brand strategy of the company. We approached this issue head-on and identified the key influencers who were propagating these negative messages. We communicated with them in a positive and responsive manner to address their complaints and ultimately changed their negative referrals into positive ones. This, in addition to an integrated social media strategy, ended up with positive returns for the company.
Unfortunately, this company learned the hard way: Gone are the days of complete control over your brand!
So now you want to invest in social media. But if used correctly, social media can become more than a defensive tool – it can actually yield positive returns. Next time, we’ll talk about integrating your social media strategy with your overall brand and marketing strategy.
Is your company investing in social media? How has it worked for you?
Learn more about the author of this blog post, Kristy Gulsvig, by visiting her page at RiechesBaird.