Social Media has rapidly become a key marketing channel, and for good reason: It allows for virtually free communication with a huge worldwide audience, for gathering and targeting across a wide variety of metrics, and is versatile in its capabilities. As if that wasn’t enough, it is also viewed by around half the population each day. It is, essentially, the virtual motorway down which most people will travel for social visits.
Social websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn provide not only news, entertainment, and a space for interacting with friends, but they also offer space where companies can form an interactive relationship with their customers – something no other media has, up until now, been able to provide.
So with all of these amazing benefits of social media as a marketing space, is traditional marketing going to suffer?
It seems inevitable that TV advertising, in particular, will take a hit. However, it seems likely that TV advertisers will simply move to publish their adverts through on-demand programming. Newspapers and magazines have already taken a severe knock due to the rapid expansion of the internet as a source of news, information and gossip, and social media will only serve to exacerbate the decline in popularity of print media.
It’s in the b2b sector, however, that traditional marketing methods are set to stay strong. While social media undoubtedly has a huge business audience, it is primarily a social platform for interacting with friends and not companies. Even those companies using social media to target consumers still have to find ingenious methods of integrating their marketing with the social focus of the sites. While business users may well be scooped-up when attracting vast swathes of end-users, it is very difficult to specifically target these key decision-makers. This is where traditional marketing comes to the fore.
Traditional b2b marketing, such as exhibitions, live events, networking meetings etc., gather a dense crowd of decision-makers into one interactive environment. It is during these events that you will often make your initial contacts and go on to solidify these contacts into a working relationship.
So does this mean that social media has no real part to play in b2b marketing?
While events are often the best place to make new contacts, and even convert these to clients, it is through social media that you can dramatically increase customer loyalty and retention. This has the knock-on effect of enhancing your online visibility. By getting new contacts to add you on LinkedIn, follow you on Twitter, ask you public questions on Quora, and ‘like’ you on Facebook, you appear to the online community as influential, knowledgeable, and a thought-leader – and this reputation spreads.
We believe marketing works best when the right audience is targeted through the right medium, which is why we don’t propose a one-size-fits-all marketing solution. However, we are very excited about social media and how it can be used to enhance our marketing.
Maybe you disagree. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with social media. Or maybe you actually want to share your social media success story. Why not join the discussion by either leaving your comments here, visiting our discussion pages on Facebook and LinkedIn, or following us on Twitter?