We’ve all heard many arguments for why consumer-driven businesses, especially retail, should be knee-deep into social media by now. Simply put, consumers use social media at all stages of their buying processes:
- Passively surfing the web and observing their friend’s behaviors
- Actively researching products and reading reviews, watching videos and soliciting feedback
- Evangelizing products they love (and those why they dislike the others)
But when it comes to social media for B2B, many folks stop and ask, “does it really work?”
I believe it does, and here’s why.
Business decision makers are still, by nature consumers. They are inherently influenced by many of the same things that influence smaller decisions throughout their daily routine. When faced with a difficult challenge, such as selecting a new long distance plan for a 1,000-person call center, or a new piece of hardware such as a network switch, they start with what they know – the search. The search reveals product reviews and those populate their decision set. Decision makers then look to peers for advice and slowly narrow down their result set. This is a social process.
Everything from product reviews, videos on blog sites, negative posts in forums, comments made by their peers, and so on, combine to influence the business decision maker.
Therefore, if your business is not present in these channels, and most importantly, not listening and participating in the conversations that are invariably taking place, you are missing out on opportunities. And, possibly, you are missing out on reputation management.
Here’s a great article for more insight on this topic by Glenn Gow for MarketingProfs.