Friday, January 4, 2013
In this #InspiredMarketing blog series, we are sharing predictions on the future of marketing from 25 industry thought leaders. These predictions have been compiled in our new whitepaper, Inspired Marketing Predictions for 2013. In today’s post, Phil Szomszor of Firefly Communications shares his thoughts.
B2B Social Media Comes of Age
A recent eConsultancy survey found that 67% of marketing decision makers agreed that social media is integral to their marketing mix (and only 11% disagreed). But when I speak to B2B marketing and PR leaders, the received opinion is that social media is a “consumer thing.” Why is this?
There are 10 million people on LinkedIn in the UK—that’s about a third of the working population. A similar number of people use Twitter in the UK, while another survey found that companies that blogged more frequently closed more deals.
2013 is the year that B2B social media will start to see its potential. But to do so, we need to overcome a few objection points. Here are the top three things I keep hearing:
“Hardly anyone watches/reads my content.”
First up, with B2B social media you have to get over the numbers barrier because the universe is smaller. We’re not trying to make a “Gangnam Style” viral effect with B2B content. And that’s not a bad thing. Success in B2B looks different—if it helps to create a lead, it’s worth more than getting a bucketful of views. The key is not to create content for the sake of it and (it has to tie in to the marketing mix) measure its effectiveness.
“The purchasing lifecycles are too long for social media.”
Yes, you’re going to spend a longer time selecting a new piece of accounting software to roll out in 50 countries than you are to buy a new digital camera. But to me, that means that an organization needs to spend more time building up trust. You can’t spend all that time face-to-face with your prospects, but social is an excellent way of building on the relationship that you begin offline. And as the lines between personal and professional lives blur, social media can add to the client relationship.
“People aren’t using social media for business.”
Why would business people only want to get their news in print or via traditional broadcast channels? The answer is, they don’t. And why are videos, blogs, infographics and podcasts increasingly popular? Because they’re interesting (ok, maybe not in all cases) and easily consumed in bite-sized portions.
Phil Szomszor works in London as a PR and social media consultant with Firefly Communications, where he has the dual role of Head of Business and leading the agency’s digital services. Over the years he has worked for many well-known brands, in addition to a number of up and coming companies. And during 12 years of agency life, Phil has enjoyed working across all kinds of technology development, from IT hardware to web services, from broadband access to outsourcing. As a social media consultant, he has also had the opportunity to bridge across to the world of consumer PR working for retail, financial services and internet businesses.