5 Ridiculous B2B Social Media Marketing Myths

B2B social media is gaining wider adoption. We are past arguing if B2B companies can use social media like we did in the early days of this blog. With the gradual adoption of social media marketing for B2B companies, some misconceptions and myths about B2B social media have been born. That’s okay, because myths are a part of change in any aspect of life. Heck, when people started using microwaves one of the big myths was that they leaked electromagnetic radiation. Change and myths go hand-in-hand.

Let’s squash some of the most ridiculous B2B social myths now before they spread any further!

5 Ridiculous Myths About B2B Social Media Marketing

1.  B2B Social Media Isn’t About Selling
This is likely the most common myth. Since social media marketing started to emerge there has always been a misperception that selling is off limits. This is wrong. Spaming people in social media is always off limits. Giving someone what they want when they want it is always a great thing. This is what selling in social media is about. It isn’t about endless product tweets. As we cover in The B2B Social Media Book, it is about providing relevant content and conversion opportunities through the buying cycle using social media.

2.  B2B Social Media Doesn’t Have a Clear ROI
In the world of social media, some purists, or “treehuggers” as I call them, will say things like “B2B social media doesn’t have an ROI. It has a return on emotion.” That is absolute crap. As marketers we are in business to generate revenue. Social media can be a valuable part of B2B lead generation. When B2B social media has a lead generation component calculating ROI is a simple math problem. You simply look at the revenue from the leads generated from social media and the cost it took to acquire that revenue. B2B social media has a clear ROI. Don’t listen to the treehuggers.

3.  B2B Social Media Can Replace Offline Marketing
Social media is only one piece of an integrated marketing effort. It is unlikely that social media can replace all of your current traditional marketing efforts. The truth is that to go cold turkey from traditional marketing is stupid. Instead, social media and traditional marketing efforts should be combined to amplify each other. Doing a direct mail campaign? Why not try testing including your LinkedIn Company Page URL? Don’t ignore offline. Figure out strategies for online and offline marketing to work together.

4.  B2B Social Media Is About Narrow Targeting
This might be the myth that bothers me the most! In B2B marketing it has always been thought that it is all about extremely focused and targeted marketing. The problem is that in a world of social media marketing is no longer linear. Everyone has the potential to influence another person or spread your content. For the first time a non-customer can actually have monetary value to your business. While someone may never buy your product or service, they can easily refer someone else that will. In the world of B2B marketing building an ever growing social media reach has never been more important. Forget targeted! Take a cue from the B2C folks and work on pumping up your social media reach.

5.  B2B Social Media Is Only About Lead Generation
Yes, Jeff and I wrote an entire book about social media lead generation, but that isn’t the only application of social media for B2B companies. In fact social media has applications across most aspects of a B2B business. For example, Lead management, is a post lead marketing process where social media can be extremely valuable. You might want to use data from social media to help better sales qualify a leads. You might want to send a custom product focused email to anyone who is an existing lead and mentions your product on Twitter. This is a simple example, but social medi can be a valuable source of data to determine which of your leads are sales-ready.

Did a miss any B2B social media myths? Which B2B social media myth do you think is the most widespread?

Photo credit: Flickr

Comments

  1. says

    #3 Bugs me the most. Too many social media (SoMe) “gurus” proclaim that traditional marketing is dead. Nothing can be further from the truth. SoMe is not marketing. SoMe is a vehicle, a tool to use for marketing. SoMe and traditional marketing should be used together to efficiently and effectively target the Customer.

  2. says

    Thanks so much for “myth busting”. Business owners need to understand how social media fits into their marketing plan. Too many of them are still not using social media or have profile up and have no idea what to do to make social media work for them.

  3. says

    A great piece. And while I don’t like to make lists any longer, I would add two myths to this.

    1. Social media is all for young people. I still hear this discussed, in spite of much research showing social media usage is wide spread among age groups.
    2. You need a tech savvy coder on your team to make the most of social media. Wrong. Social media is simply the latest communication platform. It’s not about the technology.

  4. says

    SoMe? What happened to social media marketing or SMM, Social media is just too filled with acronyms and not enough beef.

    #1 – I agree that social media can be used for B2B, but disagree that it is not about SELLING. It sure is hell is. I call it social selling. Good salespeople do not sell. They first try to establish a rapport, and develop trust, before closing the sale. You need to use these same techniques in the digital realm.

    #4 – Marketers should target B2B leads to decision-makers and influencers. Don’t use a shotgun approach.

    #5 – social media is the biggest focus group in the world. If used properly you can gain valuable knowledge about your products and service and what people are really thinking.

    I am still not entirely sold on whether social media is effective for generating sales. Promotions seem to work well, and have for some brands, but they seldom lead to future incremental sales or even brand loyalty. The research I have done bears this out. You can read about it here: http://xurl.at/6bl.

    Just saying.

  5. says

    Great article. I was struggling (and still am) with how social media can truly impact our business, but it is an excellent method for building relationships with potential customers.
    I appreciate the candor of the article, there is still too much fluff about social media, and too many buzz word obsessed gurus.

    Thanks

  6. says

    Another B2B Social Media Myth: My target audience isn’t on social media.

    I hear this especially in the industrial sector. If you wait until they’re all “on social media” then your competitors may already be establishing relationships with them. An often overlooked aspect of social media is its positive impact on search. That may be even more positive now that Google+ has merged with search. And search is still an effective way to generate B2B leads.

  7. says

    I agree with all these points, and the one Joan raises.

    I don’t agree that it has to do solely with search though, to my mind social media is just the same as face-to-face networking and the whole idea is to build up a relationship with people who will willingly recommend you to their network.

  8. says

    Item #4 worries me, Kip. I’m always telling marketers to stop thinking of social as just another channel for their collateral and press releases. This is about addressing prospects’ specific needs, not about blasting messages. To say social media isn’t about narrow is giving people permission to continue thinking of it as a mass medium.

  9. says

    Paul,

    Thanks for your comment, glad to have your expert opinion here. I agree with what your saying. I think that problem is that too many companies use that way of thinking as an excuse for being hyper-focused and not working on growing their top level reach which can have a huge impact on their social media goals. I go into this in great detail in Chapter 5 of The B2B Social Media Book.

    Happy to debate this further!

  10. says

    Glenn nailed the one about young people. I think another MYTH is that you’ll give away too many ‘trade secrets’ via social media marketing; wrong. You’ll know what to disclose what’s a real secret (i.e. good service, not a magic trick) and many B2B marketers can actually benefit from sharing more information, solidify their position as industry leaders. FWIW.

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