Is marketing via social networks useful in a B2B environment? Tiffany Street, Director of Innovation Strategy at Magnani Continuum Marketing, thinks so.
“A big reason it’s important for B2B companies to participate in social media is because having corporate transparency is key and social media allows for that,” she says. Companies need to be, or at least appear to be, more accessible and more human to other companies and consumers, regardless of the demographic they are marketing to. “It doesn’t matter whether you are making choices in your personal or professional life, people use the same ideas and principles to make a choice,” Tiffany explains. “And those principles include using opinions they trust.”
Although becoming more accessible to consumers via social media is an easy step for many companies, staying visible presents a challenge. “Google indexes Twitter and other news sources that it trusts in real time. So if a company isn’t being talked about on one of those trusted sites in close proximity to that moment, it’s not going to show up on the first page in a search,” she says. “With Google, accuracy of the content related to a search seems to be less important than its popularity.”
In order for a company to stay at the forefront of its consumers’ minds, it has to have direct contact. Comcast is one company that is taking the idea of direct contact to a new level. When a Comcast customer tweeted about the cable repairman falling asleep on her couch while waiting on the phone with service support, the company realized it needed to do something about the lack of contact it had with customers. What better way to do that than to use the exact social media device the customer used to complain about Comcast? @Comcastcares now has nearly 40,000 followers, with several more thousand following the 10 name specific Comcast customer support people.
While currently social media may be viewed as one of the most trustworthy sources for accurate information on a business and/or product, it might not always be that way. “Social media has credibility now (not that we agree that is should), but as soon as the space gets crowded and oversaturated, businesses will find the next “big thing,” she says. “Then, a new channel of communication will become popular and who knows? Maybe we’ll all be social minimalists in our next phase!”