Why social media makes big sense in business marketing

Social media marketing for Business-to-Business (B2B) organizations has a very large and growing impact on things like customer loyalty and advocacy. (Source) This is particularly true for my role running social media for a B2B enterprise technology firm because business technology buyers participate socially more than the average US adult. Forrester surveyed technical and line-of-business decision-makers who buy technology. Socially, this is an extremely active group compared to US adults or many other groups. (The Social Technographics® of Business Buyers, Forrester, Feb. 20, 2009)

My company has built out a significant social media presence designed to increase brand awareness, demonstrate internal thought leadership, and ultimately increase interest from prospective buyers.

Much like business development is fostered via a networking event at a local venue, social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn facilitate introductions, provide profile information, and allow like-minded professionals to connect, converse, and engage with one another ongoing. On social media sites, you will meet individuals you may never have otherwise been introduced to, and their social activity online will allow you to get to know their interests and their needs. 

From a Personal Perspective
Social media marketing requires having a social personality and an interest in meeting new people, learning from them, sharing ideas and discussing concepts and trends. The more I participate on Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites with my personal profile, the better I understand the social dynamics and protocols for how these social networks operate. I can leverage what I learn from my personal profiles to build out awareness and connections for my company's official profiles across social networks. I learn what kind of content is interesting to people, how they prefer to be approached or introduced, and what kind of content is likely to be shared and spread across the network. In the same way that I enjoy a party with friends, a happy hour event with a local marketing group, or a 5K race in my neighborhood, I enjoy spending 5 minutes or 30 minutes on Twitter every couple of hours because I am meeting new people, getting to know their personalities, and learning from them. 

I get to take my personal interests in just "being social" and apply it to helping my company become more social online, and because our target market is also very technologically savvy, the number of people with whom I can connect and share ideas is growing rapidly.

Here are some of my favorite social media related quotes from real experts in the space. I believe these speak to my point about the industry and what it takes to participate and thrive within it:
  • “What’s required is a kind of social media sherpa, who can find you the audience you seek, who can reach to them on the platforms where they are already congregating, and who can help promote in tasteful ways that fit the sensitivities of the networks where your audiences are found.” – Chris Brogan, author of “Trust Agents”
  • “Engaging in an authentic, meaningful conversation with consumers will be the key to marketing success and growth, even if that means acknowledging negative feedback; transparency is paramount.” Ron Blake, president and CEO of Rewards Network
  • As a general principle, the more users share about themselves, the more others in the community will learn about them and identify with them.” Matt Rhodes, writing in Social Media Today
  • “Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.” Matt Goulart    

Thanks to @MirnaBard for the quotes.