Social Media – Is it effective for B2B marketing?

By Elisabeth Deckon on October 16th, 2009

Social media marketing. It’s a hot topic that everyone’s talking about, especially as companies are evaluating their marketing strategies for 2010. The big question is: Are social media tactics really effective for B2B outreach?Yes.Didn’t expect such a clear-cut answer did you? If you think about it, it’s a no brainer. Social media provides you with a communication platform where you can observe and interact with your clients, prospective clients, editors and industry experts (and that’s just to name a few). Obviously, that’s something you want to take advantage of.But the question lingers: Is the technology audience I’m trying to reach utilizing these platforms?Yes.

Don’t believe me? Check out these findings from a survey conducted by Forrester that focuses on social media targeting a technology audience. As indicated in the survey, 91 percent of technology decision-makers identified themselves as spectators, meaning they’re actively reading blogs, watching user generated videos, and participating in other social media outlets. The survey also shows that 55 percent of the decision-makers have joined social networks and 43 percent are actually creating and uploading media such as blogs, videos, articles, etc.As Josh Bernoff, senior vice president, idea development at Forrester Research, says in his post, “If you're a B2B marketer and you're not using social technologies in your marketing, it means you're late.”So, social media provides an opportunity to reach an uncapped number of people, and you now know that your target audience is actively participating. The next question is: What social media tactics should I be executing to achieve my goals?Well, there’s not a one-word answer for this one. That’s because it all depends on what your goals are. There are a variety of social media platforms that can be leveraged including: blogs; online communities; social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook; micro-blogs such as Twitter; and video sharing like YouTube.The main thing to keep in mind is that social media strategies should be customized to meet your unique needs and objectives. Whether you’re trying to generate brand awareness, build relationships with key audiences or promote a particular product, social media outreach should definitely be considered as a component of your overall B2B marketing plan.