Social Media and B2B Marketing: Two Questions with Multiple Answers

A friend of mine, Anne Gallaher, owns an agency in Pennsylvania and recently sent two questions to a select group of her peers in preparation for a speaking engagement on changes in social media marketing.

Among those who received the questions included, Glen Gilmore, Mark W. Schaefer, Amy D. Howell, Christopher Lower, and me. Several of us own agencies and some are well-known authors, teachers, bloggers and speakers on the topic of social media marketing, which makes the blend of answers rather intriguing.

Knowing that several of the experts could answer the questions from a more global perspective, I based my feedback on what we’ve seen firsthand with our work for clients and our agency’s social media experience for ourselves:

  • What has changed in the social media landscape in the past year?

oracle clockThis past year, our clients became believers but each in their own unique ways.

Although all are not lighting up Twitter or Pinterest, our clients do have an active blog, optimized LinkedIn company page, and optimized LinkedIn personal profiles, where they have engaged company personnel and leadership on LinkedIn via content updates and engagement in groups. And most have added social media into their process for “listening” and customer / prospect / competition research. They are seeing more organic traffic to their websites, more inbound links to their content and more leads. But they all have work do to and more to learn and so do we.

Social media and inbound marketing work.

There’s no doubt about it in my mind. The amount of traffic we have to our site that comes from our social media activity as well as the leads we convert with our HubSpot inbound marketing process proves that our efforts are working.

Ironically, because our clients are more invested in social media and request our help, we’re having less time to invest in our own efforts. We don’t have the time I wish we did for social media, but we do find as much of it as we can. And that challenge actually helps us better advise our clients on how to make time for it by working it as much as possible with the day-to-day flow of business.

We have plans for changing our game when it comes to social media and taking it to a different level. There’s always more to learn and that keeps it interesting.

  • What shifts/trends do you see coming in social media for business?

We will continue to encourage our clients to invest time, money and more of their company’s culture and passion into social media.

No two clients are using social media exactly the same way because of industry differences, buying cycle complexities, etc. Rather than trying to be successful in every possible platform, they are finding what works best for them and working to improve based on analytics. We encourage them to test new ideas too, knowing some will fail but that brings better ideas.

Those businesses still window shopping for social media magic potions or miracle workers will lose their money and either give up or wise up.

If they only use a fixed formula from a menu, they won’t learn, their results won’t meet expectations and they’ll never be more than a me-too with some obligatory social media icons on a flawed website. Businesses in the know can now recruit social media talent that is proven, hire agency services that are proven and select software solutions that are proven. But they still need to work at it and never quit learning.

We have many ways to improve our use of social media for our agency and our individual staff members. I accept that as a never-ending challenge. Though our social media presence isn’t perfect, we are still able to attract leads, which allow us to see what is working and what isn’t in order to create a better plan. So while we’re working to improve our use of social media as part of our inbound marketing efforts, we are also working on our sales process. That includes filtering those looking for a quick-fix from those we know we can help over the long haul.

I hope my answers provided some helpful perspective for you and I’m interested in yours too. How would you answer the two questions for your business?

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