Social media is really antisocial for B2B

Edith Boundy - 95 years old on Tuesday and better at listening than 95% of all businesses that use social media as marketing tool
Edith Boundy - 95 years old on Tuesday and better at listening than 95% of all businesses that use social media as marketing tool

I’m a big fan of social media, it’s great fun and quite sociable really. But is it right for most brands or is it just a great big distraction?

Having given this lots and lots of thought, I’m becoming more convinced that a social media strategy for many B2B businesses is nothing more than a total waste of time that will ultimately serve to undermine their business.

A big statement, but lets look at the facts.

Email marketing
Sending lots of emails to your clients keeps them abreast of what you do.
If you’re doing well, as a B2B business you may have a 40% open rate. This is a 60% NOT open rate so more of your customers are choosing to not even look at the information you are sending them.

Lets say this takes 4 hours per month

I blog loads and loads that build links and web presence
But how many people read it and how is this adding to the SEO of your own company? It is far better to use all of your hard work blogging to populate your business’ site with lovely searchable words that Google can crawl all over and rank you more highly for than build an external blog presence.

You have to be incredibly committed to build an external blog with a Page Rank that will make the link back to your business site worth the effort. Realistically, one link from Linkedin to your business site will do more good.

To do this well will take 15 hours per month

I’m always Twittering
Unless you make the effort to build an engaged audience, you may as well not bother. How many people are actually listening to what you say. Most (over 80%) of twitter accounts are effectively dormant, so who cares? Are you shouting your thoughts in an empty room.

To do this well will take 6 hours per month

Facebook
It’s nice to see your business down their with the kids and yes it’s a huge fast growing audience base. But for B2B. Hmm, not really.

Will you sell more widgets, buns or B2B services by having a Facebook fan page? I doubt it. At least once it’s up, maintaining it is pretty simple, so lets say we allow 2 hours per month.

For consumer brands it can be completely different, they try to build religious fervour where people seek them out and want to know more and more. Their reputation can grow like wildfire with consumers looking for information in every available channel. So yes, I can see why you just have to have it here.

But if you’re a B2B supplier, wouldn’t the TWENTY SEVEN hours every single month, you’ve just saved be better spent hanging out with your clients and giving them a really good listening too?

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8 thoughts on “Social media is really antisocial for B2B

  1. Hi John,

    I am with you for most of this, but as I have said before, if as a firm we knew which 5% (max) of our various marketing strategies worked we wouldn’t bother with the remaining 95%.

    So the reality is that there is a mix of methods and twitter, facebook and blogs just form part.

    We do talk to our customers – and you are right, we should be talking more, but these newer methods are trying to tap into new markets?

    I has a view about my blog that I would see what happened after six months – and if ‘nothing’ was the answer, I would quietly drop it. But I have actually got a real job from someone who found me via the blog (or was that via a prominent google rank?) The job will pay for my time blogging for the next few years!

    Tim

    http://www.timgarrattnottingham.co.uk

    p.s you forgot to mention the therapeutic nature of “grumpy old man” posts – priceless at times!

    1. I totally agree about the therapeutic nature of blogging. I do find myself saying ‘Oh, I wrote a piece about that last week etc’ which feels good.

      And yes, you’re right that we don’t always know where our leads come from.

      I did write this with my tongue slightly in my cheek, but if we assume my 27 hours per month are somewhere near correct, I would throw the one right back at ya, that if you only got ONE job by spending 162 hours from your last six months of extra time with your clients would you consider this a good or poor return on your investment of time?

  2. “You have to be incredibly committed to build an external blog with a Page Rank that will make the link back to your business site worth the effort. Realistically, one link from Linkedin to your business site will do more good.”

    That demonstrates a rather poor understanding of the impact of a well-ranking blog on a website’s search engine ranking…

    1. That’s fine, but my point still stands about the time commitment it takes to build a decent social media presence. If you think differently and believe I am showing a rather poor understanding, please educate me!

      My whole post is based on the opportunity cost of the time it takes over the rewards it creates.

      I fully understand what it can do for you as 30,000 people have read my blogs now, but I also realise the time and committment it has taken too.

      1. I think the number of readers that you have is testament to the power of your blog and I’d imagine that it forms a fairly high proportion of visitors through to the PC site, although you’re quite subtle about the cross-linking I see.

        SEO/social marketing does take a lot of time though, absolutely agreed but the rewards can be well worth it. Compare the time it takes to write blogs etc to time spent at networking meetings, designing and sending out direct mail, advertising, writing PR etc, especially for start-ups and smaller businesses. How long would it take you to reach 30,000 people using those methods?

        (Saying that, my blogs are woefully out of date as I’ve not had the time to work on them recently!!)

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