The B2B Climb to the Social Media Advantage


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This presentation provides insight for B2B companies contemplating investing in the Social Media Platform as a Marketing Tool. When used correctly Social Media Marketing is advantageous to both B2B companies as well as B2C companies, especially since many companies are hesitant to embark upon the Social Media journey. It is important to remember that proper use of Social Media Marketing differs from B2B and B2C companies

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  • Social Media Marketing on the surface can appear to be rocky and ominous, especially for B2B companies. However, as more and more B2B companies begin the journey, they are taking it step by step and finding that each step is more rewarding. So what role has the emergence of social media played as a marketing tool, especially for other B2B companies?
  • According to an article by Gordon Goble, steps were actually taken as early as the late 70’s and 80’s to develop the social media platform. The problem was technology was not yet able to handle real time communications and computers were not yet mainstream. It was in October 2004 that Tim O’Reilly conducted the first Web 2.0 conference and coined the phrase for what would be the latest generation of Web infrastructure. It was at that conference that O’Reilly encouraged technologists to embrace how the next generation of Web users would utilize the web(Postman, 7). It was in 2009 that social media took the first steps to becoming a major presence (Goble).
  • Dr. Anthony Curtis, head of the Mass Communication Department, from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, published a research article outlining the history and timeline of the emergence of social media. According to his findings the actual dawning of social media was 1994. In 1994, there were more than 1,500 Web Servers online and the term Information Superhighway was coined for the internet community. Blogging began in 1997, followed by Google opening a major search engine in 1998. In 2000, the Web future seemed bleak but not for long. Wikipedia was launched in 2001 and Friendster that opened years earlier in Great Britain was launched in 2002 to include U.S. users. In 2003, My Space and LinkedIn launched. Apple also introduced ITunes that would ensure an increase of the younger users. Businesses began using LinkedIn in 2003, as a social platform for business professionals to communicate.Facebook was launched at Harvard College for students, then in 2005 became available to High School Students.
  • In 2005, YouTube began allowing users to store and view videos. In 2006 Twitter was launched, and Facebook launched another expansion to include all users over 13. In the following year, Facebook launched two important tools that would revolutionize the corporate world and marketing possibilities. The Facebook Platform was initiated to allow for third-party developers to launch apps. The Beacon advertising system was launched which allowed tracking of purchases and sent the data to sites for advertising purposes. This system was shut down later in 2009 on the basis of privacy issues. However, the ideas sparked during the use of the Beacon Advertising System would change the way businesses, marketers, and consumers viewed the social platform. Still in 2007, Apple launched the iPhone and other smartphones placing real time technology in the forefront. In 2009, Facebook had around 200 million users. In 2010, Facebook had more than doubled in users from 2009. Newspapers took second place, as the internet became the main source for news and events. In 2011, LinkedIn reached 90 million professional users. While in 2012, Facebook had more than 1 billion users. All businesses using social media to advertiser use and measure brand visibility and enhancement opportunities based on “likes” (Curtis). B2B business lean on the company follow application on LinkedIn to reach professionals needing other professional services, including that of marketers (Maul).
  • According to B2B Magazine (Maul), B2B are actually using social media more than B2C companies. Reports conclude that prospects research companies through social media avenues before contacting them. Most B2B marketers already use LinkedIn in personal time to keep in touch within their field. Jeffrey Cohen who is the Social Strategist at Radian 6 and Co-Author of The B2B Social Media Book says that prospects are doing their research, so it is the best interest of companies to provide the prospects with the right kind of information in the Social Media realm (Maul).
  • According to an article by Kaila Strong on the Search Engine Watch Website, B2B decision makers are already online and using the Social Media platform to help make business related decisions. Actually B2B companies are successfully using Social Media more than B2C companies (Maul). There was and increase of B2B marketers from 48% to 68% from 2011 and 2012.
  • Every company thinking on embarking upon the Social Media for Marketing views obstacles. It is really more about perception. Those that ride the wave like this waterfall become successful in the destination. Those that become overwhelmed when faced with obstacles will have a more difficult time with success in the Social realm. According to the website G2M Solutions (Chatman),data gathered by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 45% of the B2B businesses reported that the inability to track Return on Investment (ROI) was the biggest obstacle to investing in Social Media as a marketing tool. According to the same research, that excuse is no longer plausible. Closed loop marketing tools that use inbound marketing software are now able to collect data in each stage. The most noted software is HubSpot.
  • This research gathered and published on eMarketer shows that the United States companies use Social Media more than those in Europe for marketing purposes, the largest surprise is the differences in B2B and B2C companies. We already know that B2C companies using Social Media for marketing predominately can show an increase in sales. 71% of B2B companies worldwide use the social platform for marketing which supersedes B2C companies. However, B2C companies use social tools more than B2B companies. With more and more business relying on social tools to communicate and generate clients and influence the company’s online presence, there are definitely opportunities for B2B companies such as ours to persue.
  • There are many noted successes in B2B companies using social campaigns for marketing purposes. IBM, UPS, and Kodak lead the way but 28% of other companies are beginning to take the initial stepsto investing in the social media marketing wave (Strong). LinkedIn is the B2B companies’ biggest platform with more than 5 million monthly global visitors, especially since LinkedIn launched the company follow tool in April of 2011. The companies that are beginning to take advantage of this real time community have profit opportunities from investing in this marketing tool.
  • When Social Media is used correctly, a company can control how it is perceived and define it’s message (Postman). Companies are discovering the benefits of using LinkedIn Blogs and Forums and are even posting advertising videos and How-To videos (Maul). Software like Hubspot can actually provide data concerning visits that become potential clients. There is evidence that B2B companies using Social Media to market their services are expanding relationships (Maul). B2B companies that are on the forefront of the Social Media marketing are viewed as leaders because of their social platform (Maul).
  • In conclusion, where do we want to see our company? As a company that provides internet marketing and Web Design to our clients, a social present is expected. As the Forerunners climb the mountain to the top of the Social Media Realm, where are we? To be seen as leaders and the best in our field, we must prove that we are part of the present move towards Social Media especially as a marketing tool.
  • The B2B Climb to the Social Media Advantage

    1. 1. Social Media The road to Social Media for B2B companies
    2. 2. The Emergence of Social MediaSteps towards Social Media in 80’sFirst Web 2.0 conference in October 2004 by Tim O’ReillySocial networking took first steps in 2009 to become today’s platform
    3. 3.  1997: Blogging Begins 1998: Google Search Engine 2001: Wikipedia 2003: My Space LinkedIn ITunes 2004: Facebook launched at Harvard College
    4. 4.  2005: YouTube 2006: Twitter 2007: Facebook launched Third Party Platform Beacon Advertising 2011: Linked has 90 Million Professionals Users 2012: Facebook “likes”
    5. 5. Current Landscape
    6. 6.  85% of B2B decision makers are online to help with decision making B2B companies are using Social Media tools more than B2C companies Increase use of social tools by B2B marketers from 48% to 68% from 2011 to 2012
    7. 7. Perceived Obstacles
    8. 8. Opportunities and Benefits Noted Successes in B2B companies using Social Media as a marketing tool Largest platform in B2B Business: LinkedIn Only 5% of B2B companies consider social media as one of their “mature” marketing tools
    9. 9.  Social Media used correctly can help the company control its message The use of LinkedIn Blogs/Forums Software like Hubspot can provide visit-to-lead ratios Expansion of Relationships B2B companies viewed as leaders
    10. 10. The View From The Top
    11. 11. Works CitedCurtis, Dr. Anthony. University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “The Brief History of Social Media”. (2011) Web 12 January.eMarketer. Useful Social Media. “The State of Corporate Social Media 2012. (March 2012) Web 12 January.Goble, Gordon. Digital Trends Website. “The History of Social Networking”. (September 6, 2012) Web 12 January.Maul, Kimberly. How and Why B2B Marketers are turning to Social Media. May 17, 2012. WebinarPostman, Joel. SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate. 2009. Pearson Publications. Web 13 JanuaryStrong, Kaila. Search Engine Watch Website. “B2B Social Media Marketing – Does it work?”. (December 6, 2010). Web 11 January. Amanda G. Sellers Jan. 2012