B2B Social Media Usage on the Rise

Interesting report out from eMarketer on the rise of social media budgets. Of particular interest to us and our customers is the rise in B2B spending.

eMarketer observes that B2B services spending is keeping pace with its B2C counterparts, while B2B products spending is noticeably lagging. It’s comforting to see that so many B2B companies are shedding the perception that social media doesn’t apply to them. Or that it’s “only for their kids.” Part of the acceptance results from the clear fact that it’s not a withering fad and that that persistence is allowing people to become acclimated. So many people we spoke with 12-18 months ago shirked off social media, or begrudgingly said “I guess we need to do it” while they scoffed dismissively. Let’s face it, it’s usually easier to discredit something you don’t fully understand rather than admit you “don’t get it.”

The increasing familiarity with social media tools translates to an opportunity for technology marketers to still get ahead of the curve and embrace all the potential for customer relationship management, brand building and loyalty that social media so uniquely enables.

Keep it simple
While talking with a customer the other day who expressed his dubious interest in social media, I offered that they should stop calling it social media. Just forget all the hype around it for a moment. Once I stripped away all the tools and reporting packages and ROI banter, I asked what they did when a prospect sent them an email asking about their products and services. When my client quickly replied that they sent back an email answering the questions, I told them to think of that simple exchange as the core of social media. It’s a conversation between customers and you. We just happen to be serving up those conversations using new tools. The fundamental exchange remains as familiar (and non-threatening) as ever.

As Einstein said, “I wouldn’t give a nickel for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”

Keep it simple, folks. Social media is about returning to the proven tenet that people do business with people. All the tools and APIs and analytics and RSS feeds and reports are just the ways to help us rediscover those simple, prosperous roots.

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