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In B2B Social Media Marketing, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Social media is becoming less about the masses and more about personal relationships. The change can be seen in pretty much every social platform. This post covers the rise of what Mark Schaefer has dubbed “private media” and how it is changing social media.

In a recent post and podcast, Mark Schaefer addresses this phenomenon as a transition from “social media” to “private media.” In this new world of private media, it’s not about how many followers or friends you have, it’s about the strength of your connections.

If you’re a marketer on Twitter, you know how many marketing “gurus” and “influencers” with tons of followers there are out there. Only a tiny percentage of these people have ever had an impact on me or you. The same holds true for a lot of social networks: a lot of “influencers” that you may or may not care about. I’m not alone: people don’t care about gurus as much as they care about people that know them, care about them and help them.

Snapchat leads the charge

Probably the most obvious sign of this transition from public to private is the meteoric rise of Snapchat. Snapchat, unlike virtually every other social media platform isn’t about the broadcast. While it can turn into that, it’s purpose is to facilitate relationships. Snapchat has found success because it speaks to people’s change in interest from public to private.

But this is old news…

In the b2b space, whether we have admitted it or not, the personal has always trumped the public. It doesn’t matter how big of an “audience” you have if that audience is unengaged and disinterested. The brands and individuals that get the most ROI from their social media efforts aren’t the ones with the biggest followings, but with the highest engagement and strongest relationships.

The rise of private media hasn’t so much changed the face of b2b social media as much as it has strengthened the need for us to remember a few key concepts. Whether or not you’re ready to jump into Snapchat, remember these things in your social media efforts:

1. Focus on relationships, not numbers

If all you’re looking for is another fan, you aren’t going to make people feel very valuable. Instead of trying to build a following, create positive relationships with the people who already do care about you. 91% of b2b consumers say they are influenced by word of mouth when making a buying decision according to Ambassador. Someone is much more likely to recommend a company for a serious business solution that they actually feel connected to, not just follow on Twitter.

In a recent Forbes article, Alexandra Samuel discusses how the more Linkedin connections you have, the less valuable your connections become. She suggests using the “favor” rule. If you know someone well enough to ask them for a favor, then you should connect with them on Linkedin.

Being “connected” with a thousand people you don’t know doesn’t really help anybody.

2. Engage, don’t broadcast

Engaging with customers, prospects and leads on social media in an personalized, honest and helpful way has always been an inbound marketing best practice, but now it’s more important than ever.


As the tide of content continues to rise, people are growing more and more impatient with content that doesn’t speak to their needs and interests. Delivering personalized content is a great way to cut through the noise and speak directly to each member of your audience. Learn more about how and when to use personalization here.


Not being afraid to say the truth, even if it’s a dissenting opinion is a great way to earn the trust of your connections.


People care about brands that help them solve their problems. No matter what platform you’re on you should be speaking to your audience’s pain points and offering the best solutions to their problems.

Learn How to Use Social Media to Find New Leads