Social Media seems to be everywhere, doesn’t it? The big three – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – are global behemoths and their reach grows every day. “What’s trending on Twitter” is now a regular feature on morning talk shows, and getting Friended, Poked or Linked is a daily occurrence for most.
But in a business-to-business environment, is Social Media a legitimate marketing tool? Can they help build your business? A lot of experts say no; they challenge the ROI because the measurements are fuzzy, and Social Media is very labor intensive.
But the times, they are a-changin’.
I was not an early adapter of Social Media. My results-driven approach to B2B marketing made me challenge the effectiveness. Social Media makes sense in business-to-consumer, but in B2B there was a lot of smoke but no fire.
My change of opinion has been affected by my expectation of Social Media. As it has matured, its primary purpose is not to sell things; it’s a tool to capture leads and build relationships. Like any tool, Social Media is only as effective as the people using them.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GOOGLE
If Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are part of your marketing matrix, Social Media should be in your marketing mix. Google is the biggest search engine in the world, and when they conduct searches, they take into account the activity on websites and Social Media.
Google’s algorithms are secret (and they keep it that way), but with 90 percent of Internet users using Google, their role in the world of search is undeniable. The #2 search engine is YouTube which is owned by Google. I’ve written about video marketing in past columns, and will take a look at its remarkable evolution in an upcoming column.
VOCUS MARKETING SUITE: A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOL
The Vocus Marketing Suite is a proprietary tool that turns Social Media into Social Marketing. Vocus is the #1 news release service, and the Marketing Suite integrates Social, Search, E-mail and PR into a solution that helps our clients attract, retain and engage customers. With key words and phrases imbedded into each platform, the Marketing Suite is an integrated Social Media Management tool that conveniently displays all results in a single dashboard.
An important part of the Marketing Suite is its ability to track all marketing activity, measure the effectiveness of key word and phrases, and generate analytic reports using Google Analytics, as well as Vocus proprietary tracking tools.
The e-marketing component of the Marketing Suite is particularly … sweet. It can store up to 2,500 contacts in a database that can be segmented endlessly so messages can be tailored to specific audiences.
We develop e-marketing strategies that allow us to send e-mails, e-mail flashes, and e-newsletters. Then we compose and deliver e-mails and e-newsletters directly from the suite. It’s a great tool for suppliers with diverse audiences or portfolios.
Chris Hippler is President and CEO of Capital Letters, (www.capitallettersmarketing.com, a business-to-business marketing company with a focus on the commercial and industrial construction industry. He and his team get results for clients through print and online communications. Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 353-9918.