There’s tremendous pressure on B2B companies to embrace all social media. In fact, it’s almost de rigueur that every company should have a Facebook page and Twitter account. When you stop questioning whether you even need something, chances are pretty good that you’re devoting your scarce resources to channels that won’t give you the kind of payback you’re looking for.
If you can strip away the hype, social media should be viewed through the same prism as traditional channels. Any initiative should have a defined objective that clearly supports business strategy. If it doesn’t further the company’s core mission, don’t do it.
For instance, if the answer to any of these questions is yes, your company needs to revisit what it hopes to achieve with its online-marketing efforts:
- Are you blogging but you’re not sure why?
- Does your Facebook page have few fans and no compelling reason for people to join?
- Does the number of tweets on your Twitter account fluctuate wildly from week to week?
- Has traffic to your website remained flat for an extended period of time?
- Do you have meaningful metrics to gauge the impact of your online-marketing efforts?
I think it’s very important to state plainly that not every company must have a Facebook page—but it depends on the business. Does it mean that not having the little “F” icon on your website will make people think your company is bush league? If they’ve been to your website, you’re already doing something right; now you just need to ensure that they have a reason to come back.
Many businesses, especially B2B companies, should view their website as the hub of activity. Facebook and Twitter can be effective ways to drive people to your site initially or remind them why they should come back. Social media can also be used for customer service, to establish thought leadership, and stay involved in industry conversations, among other things.
Before you commit resources, think about where your target audience naturally resides. For instance, if you’re a professional services firm, is it more likely that people would want to research service offerings using a search engine or by looking on Facebook? If someone is looking for an IT consulting firm, will they be using Twitter to find one?
Social media channels might still have significant value for your company. But don’t just assume that they will. Review your strategy, identify your audience, determine where and how they look for information, and reach them through the right channels with offerings that will drive them to your website.