Stop Using Social Media To Drive Sales

You can lead a customer to your brand with social media, but you can’t make them buy from you using social media. This is my B2B marketing advice.

In other words, social media does not fit neatly into a B2B marketing strategy and last-touch attribution. So, don’t think  you can tweet and directly cause a million dollar sale. However, you can get on the customer’s radar and start to build a relationship with relevant content and messaging.

Lead A Customer To Your Brand

Get Your Customers To The Watering Hole First

So, if want your customers to start drinking from your fountain of knowledge, you need to get them to the fountain first, right? That’s the job of social media for B2B marketing and sales conversion; to make your customer aware of and consider your brand and solution. And, with 89% of customers using a search engine to start their buying process and 75% of decision-makers using social media as part of their discovery, we all need to focus more on delivering content via social media to increase awareness. Sales conversion is best left for social selling and 1-1 interaction, since we know that email marketing and banner advertising does not work like it used to!

It’s a Numbers Game, No Matter How You Look At It

The number of watering holes and digital touch points has dramatically changed over the past five years. B2B customers are no longer waiting for you to send an email or serve up a banner ad. They are learning on their own. Customers are investigating LinkedIn groups and networks, reading blogs, following Twitter accounts and +1ing on Google+. Amplifying your information and content in these watering holes will help you reach an audience on their terms. Think about increasing your message reach and impressions to get your customer to know that YOUR brand is relevant to them.

Some Brands Understand Social Media’s Sweet Spot, Why Don’t You?

Some companies, perhaps yours, are picking up on doubling down on social media and its impact on awareness, engagement and influence sweet spot. In fact, 47% of CMOs have stopped measuring social media success using a revenue-per-customer metric (source: February 2013 Business Intelligence CMO survey). And, this same report indicates that 16% fewer CMOs are tracking conversation rates. So why is anyone trying to attribute social media to driving a sale? However, social media is an important ingredient in the multi-ingredient conversion recipe.

With social media budgets expected to increase by 78% by 2018, the smart brands and CMOs are truly investing in  social media. This increase will help direct digital marketing, social selling and paid media to work more efficiently convert sales.

Reach, Engage, Influence

Measuring Reach, Engage and Influence For B2B Marketing

So, how do you measure if you truly connect with your customer? Once you choose to focus on using social media to reach, engage and influence, how do you measure it? The questions you need to ask before you begin to decide are the social media activity indicators like retweets, shares, clicks, etc. are:

  1. Are your content and messaging reaching the most relevant and incremental audience?
  2. Are your content and messaging engaging enough to keep your audience in a ready-to-act or ready-to-buy state?
  3. Do your content and messaging deepen the relationship with your customer to help influence their purchase?

Where are you or your company landing on effectively using of social media to drive demand, leads and sales in? Please share your experience or plans below. Or, contact me directly on MarketingThink.com, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

Remember, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. However, you have to let them know where the water is in order to get them there so they have to choice to drink. And, getting them to drink is another part of a B2B marketing integrated strategy!

Gerry Moran is a global social media and content marketer. He is a marketing strategist, entrepreneur, educator and mentor with close to 30 years experience with iconic brands like Purina HBO, IKEA, and SAP. He’s also worked for award-winning digital advertising agencies like imc2, Whitman-Hart and Digitas. Gerry also founded a boutique marketing agency and has been an adjunct professor for over 10 years for St. Joseph’s University.
Gerry Moran

9 Comments

  1. Michelle

    Hi Gary,

    Nice post. Good reminder and clarification for executives trying to get their arms around social media, quality content and the marketing budget.

    Best,

    Michelle

  2. Gerry Moran (Post author)

    Thanks, Michelle! Yes, my goal was to clearly and simply articulate that it’s easy to get started if you are a CEO or an AE.

    Gerry.

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  6. Dylan Pemberton

    Nice piece Gerry, I only just came across it now. We actually did a complete (free) guide to Watering Hole Marketing last month which was packed full of top top tips, useful strategies, best practice etc. You can view/download it here:

    http://marketing.superfluity.co.uk/acton/media/6965/watering-hole-marketing-guide

    Follow us on @SuperfuityUK, @MarketingAutom8 and @DigitalSocialUK

  7. Briana Lawrence

    This was a great read and I completely agree. Social media is an important tool in marketing, but it doesn’t do everything for you. It’s the platform to build relationships with consumers, to get them interested in you as a whole, not just for a sale. The reason why it’s so successful is that, since it develops relationships versus seals a one time deal, your consumers come back to you and, most importantly, talk about you and spread your market to others.

    Also your drawings make me smile 🙂

  8. Tatiana

    Hi Gerry,
    I just stumbled upon your Twitter account and decided to check out your site! This article is extremely relevant for me, as I am the social media manager for a CRM and marketing automation company, GreenRope. We have been using Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for a while, but are just not solidifying a strategy for each platform. We have especially found that continuing to post and share has kept our brand top of mind and increased traffic to our blog and website.
    I look forward to reading more of your articles and posts, as they already seem right up our alley!

  9. Gerry Moran (Post author)

    Thanks for stopping by, reading and contributing with your comments to my blog, Tatiana!

    You bring up a good point about the three channels – each has a separate role to support your overall strategy.

    Good luck!

    Gerry.

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