Social Media Produces Mixed Results For B2B Marketers


Social media is all the rage in marketing these days. But does it bring value to business marketers? BtoB Magazine (Crain Communications) has been following this topic very closely with several excellent case histories focused on Twitter, which was published in the June 14, 2010 issue. Take the case of Con-Way, a pure B2B transportation logistics provider, who has jumped head first into Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. CMO Tom Nightingale points out that while the reach in B2B is not that of consumer markets, the users of social media tend to be day-in, day-out customers and prospects. Tom uses blogs to scour the Web for leads and employees. Because the trucking industry is totally wired with mobile devices, Tom is able to push information that is important out to his audience in the most convenient way.

But Twitter isn’t working for everyone. BtoB’s survey of nearly 400 U.S. marketers found uneven satisfaction with Twitter’s ROI as a marketing channel. Nearly half the respondents to the “Twitter in B2B Marketing” survey, which was conducted late last month, said they are dissatisfied with their return on tweets. That’s despite the fact that nearly 70% said they spend less than 30 minutes per day managing their Twitter stream. Four of five marketers also said they could not directly attribute revenue to micro-blogging.

To its enthusiasts, however, Twitter is a powerful channel. The 20% of respondents who attributed tangible revenue to Twitter are one-third more satisfied with their return than those who are still awaiting sales. And successful Twitter marketers are also more optimistic about Twitter’s future.

In addition, the survey suggested that marketers who generate revenue via Twitter are more active and commit more of their time to using Twitter, both to promote their own content and the work of those they want to influence. Indeed, some say Twitter is now more effective at driving traffic than search engine marketing.

Bottom line, Twitter is not for everyone, but when it works for your company it can be the most cost-effective medium. So how will you know if it has potential for your company? More than likely you will need to try it to find out. Or else, let your competitors figure it out first. One fact the survey made clear was that those companies who invested the most into it, received the most out of it. Sound familiar?