Unlocking the Power of Social Media for B2B

Guest Post by Heather Loisel. Heather Loisel is a dynamic marketer who leads global teams. Most recently, she served as Chief Marketing Officer at Skillsoft, a cloud-based learning solutions provider.

Imagine that you’re a B2B marketer and the world is all a-twitter about social media. OK: that’s already true.  You may be lucky enough to have a CEO who tweets, or has spent 30 seconds asking you about the company Facebook page or the LinkedIn profile.   It is good news that your CEO, a B2B executive, is aware of social media, right?  Well, yes, but that awareness also brings challenges.

With all the hype, Marketing has an obligation to the CEO to quantify the value of the effort put into social media, or the opportunity cost of not allocating resources to social media.

We know that B2B Marketing has evolved in recent years.  We are very, very far away from the old adage “I know that 50% of my advertising is good but I don’t know which 50%.”  We can now measure almost all marketing activity like downloads, clicks, views, registrations and finally leads, which are often the culmination of a lot of those activities.  So we are better off as B2B Marketers because we can measure all those things – right?

Technically, yes – but it’s still really hard to make that connection from marketing tactics all the way through to pipeline and revenue.

Sure – you can typically gain agreement that a lead sourced from Marketing that gets accepted by Sales and converts to an opportunity represents some correlation between that specific marketing tactic and the opportunity.  The problem is that this is only the last touch. That last touch value correlation assumes a linear relationship between the marketing activity and the opportunity.

In reality, the marketing relationship is a pattern of activity by a contact at a company.  It’s not just that last marketing tactic that connects Marketing to the opportunity.  The last touch is not the whole story.

The whole story is the pattern of activity before the last touch.  The pattern is the multitude of interactions, many of which are in social media, which inform the contact about your company so that they eventually get to the opportunity.

Let’s think back to our measurements, then. If we only measure and optimize the last-touch activities, we may be eliminating the chance for the contact to get to that point in their buying process.

Our challenge, then, is to use a different paradigm for social media measurement. Sure, keep count of your tweets, Facebook fans and LinkedIn followers, but don’t stop there.  Challenge yourself, and your data and measurement organizations, to find the patterns that support the activity steps of the buyer up to that last touch.

Did they visit your LinkedIn page, forward your blog, follow your tweets, attend two webinars and THEN say yes to a telemarketing call?  If you know that pattern, you are well on your way to not only optimizing your social media energies but to explaining to the CEO why it’s worth the investment.

And, while you’re there, craft a few tweets for him to send out.

For more C-level marketing insight on the Vocus Blog, click here.

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