Stop Using Social Media To Drive Sales | B2B Marketing Strategy

You can lead a customer to your brand with social media, but you can’t make them buy from you using social media. This is my B2B marketing advice.

In other words, social media does not fit neatly into a B2B marketing strategy and last-touch attribution. So, don’t think you can tweet and directly cause a million dollar sale. However, you can get on the customer’s radar and start to build a relationship with relevant content and messaging.

Lead A Customer To Your Brand

Get Your Customers To The Watering Hole First

So, if want your customers to start drinking from your fountain of knowledge, you need to get them to the fountain first, right? That’s the job of social media for B2B marketing and sales conversion; to make your customer aware of and consider your brand and solution. And, with 89% of customers using a search engine to start their buying process and 75% of decision-makers using social media as part of their discovery, we all need to focus more on delivering content via social media to increase awareness. Sales conversion is best left for social selling and 1-1 interaction, since we know that email marketing and banner advertising does not work like it used to!

It’s a Numbers Game, No Matter How You Look At It

The number of watering holes and digital touch points has dramatically changed over the past five years. B2B customers are no longer waiting for you to send an email or serve up a banner ad. They are learning on their own. Customers are investigating LinkedIn groups and networks, reading blogs, following Twitter accounts and +1ing on Google+. Amplifying your information and content in these watering holes will help you reach an audience on their terms. Think about increasing your message reach and impressions to get your customer to know that YOUR brand is relevant to them.

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Some Brands Understand Social Media’s Sweet Spot, Why Don’t You?

Some companies, perhaps yours, are picking up on doubling down on social media and its impact on awareness, engagement and influence sweet spot. In fact, 47% of CMOs have stopped measuring social media success using a revenue-per-customer metric (source: February 2013 Business Intelligence CMO survey). And, this same report indicates that 16% fewer CMOs are tracking conversation rates. So why is anyone trying to attribute social media to driving a sale? However, social media is an important ingredient in the multi-ingredient conversion recipe.

With social media budgets expected to increase by 78% by 2018, the smart brands and CMOs are truly investing in social media. This increase will help direct digital marketing, social selling and paid media to work more efficiently convert sales.

Reach, Engage, Influence

Measuring Reach, Engage and Influence For B2B Marketing

So, how do you measure if you truly connect with your customer? Once you choose to focus on using social media to reach, engage and influence, how do you measure it? The questions you need to ask before you begin to decide are the social media activity indicators like retweets, shares, clicks, etc. are:

  1. Are your content and messaging reaching the most relevant and incremental audience?
  2. Are your content and messaging engaging enough to keep your audience in a ready-to-act or ready-to-buy state?
  3. Do your content and messaging deepen the relationship with your customer to help influence their purchase?

Where are you or your company landing on effectively using of social media to drive demand, leads and sales in? Please share your experience or plans below.

Remember, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. However, you have to let them know where the water is in order to get them there so they have to choice to drink. And, getting them to drink is another part of a B2B marketing integrated strategy!

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 13

  • Kathleen Schatzberg says:

    You can also drive customers away. When I respond affirmatively to a person I know as a business owner and then get inundated with advertising emails, I get infuriated. Sometimes I warn them to stop, sometimes I just “unfriendly” and tag the emails as spam.

    • Gerry Moran says:

      Yes, Kathy, it is important to understand how to relevantly connect and engage with customers without driving them away.

      Social media allows you to do that without being intrusive.


  • joe blow says:

    What the heck is an incremental audience?

    • Gerry Moran says:

      Hello Joe,

      An incremental audience is a group of people that you would reach by adding on an additional tactic.

      For example, if you only used email to generate impressions, then adding on social media would help you reach an incremental audience since it is likely you are reaching people in addition to your email list.

      This is an incremental audience.


  • Stacey Pierce says:

    This is so true and I’m glad others are talking about it. Small businesses especially think that social media is the only place they need to be visible and end up wasting time constantly managing it. I teach a seminar on Social Media Strategy and make it a point to tell the audience multiple times that it is all about brand awareness and engagement – not sales.

  • MKWeb says:

    Some solid pointers on using (and misusing) Social Media. All too many business owners and Work At Home people drink the Social Networking Sales Pitch koolaid instead of using it the way it was designed.
    They call them Social Networks for a reason. It gives you, the business owner, an opportunity to connect with your current customers better to help determine what you can offer them and what they are really looking for.
    Sure, you can lead a horse to water, but if that horse is hungry and not thirsty, your effort and energy has been wasted.

    Connect, Engage and Enlighten and you will see your results flourish.

  • Melissa Erickson says:

    I’m taking my first marketing class and working with a client that is interested in leveraging social media to move into a new market. Any suggestions for the newbie?

  • Levon Abrahamyan says:

    It is not only the numbers game. Remember Microsoft’s fiasco with Surface? Excellent integrated campaign, market excited, then Microsoft delays the product for over 8 months. Hype is over. Game over.

  • der says:

    Wow! Who would let some advertiser influence a buying decision? Use the internet to study every angle of a product including all negative customer comments before you buy.

  • Gravy says:

    No one has a problem with that headline? I guess I am misunderstanding something.

    • Melissa says:

      I might be missing something too. I just attended a great lecture on how to optimize your positioning through the use of social media. There were even some good examples of how to integrate platforms like snap chat for coupons.

  • Melissa says:

    HBR had a great article on “Marketing Is a Strategy?” It discussed how to position your marketing to grow revenue. What’s interesting is that the article never mentioned social media to drive revenue. Isn’t social media simply for brand awareness? To rive traffic to your website?

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