The B2B Social Media Book Shares the Blunt Realitieof What it takes to become a Marketing Superstar

It’s been a while since I’ve utilized my trusty pink highlighter on a business book.  But, The B2B Social Media Book was jam-packed with such great information that it left me, and many pages, tickled pink!  Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen, the Book’s two accomplished authors, give readers straight talk about how to rock B2B social media and the “must haves” of any social media program.

For example, their introductory page to Chapter 7, on business blogging, states:

“It’s okay if you don’t have a blog yet.  Wait.  You are not going to create one?  Close the book now.  We are done.”

In Chapter 2, they challenge other social media “experts” by saying:

“The (social media) experts try to convince marketers that sharing a lead generation offer in a blog post, tweet, or Facebook Page update will result in the marketing equivalent of killing a cute and fluffy puppy.  These experts are wrong.”

I admire their “this is the way it is” attitude and more importantly, love their advice.  While the takeaways are too numerous for one blog post, here are my Top 3 Learning Lessons from The B2B Social Media Book:

LESSON ONE:   Could Social Media be better suited for B2B than B2C?

Well, in a word, “Yes.”  B2B marketers rarely market to the masses.  We determine target markets, identify decision makers and influencers and carefully map out buyer personas.  And, we don’t stop there. We understand their challenges and opportunities as well as their purchase preferences.  With all of this powerful information, doesn’t it make sense that B2B marketers are better able to engage in meaningful social media conversations and develop effective CTAs?

B2B purchases tend to be at a higher price point than B2C and usually carry a greater risk.  This is why B2B buyers partner with those people who they know, like and trust – relationship-based sales are “the norm.”  B2B social media is effective in starting and growing relationships overtime and moving buyers from the top of the funnel (“TOFU”) to the point of purchase.

LESSON TWO:  Why Rent Went You Can Own?

Many forms of outbound marketing – direct mail, advertising, radio spots and more – are “once and done” forms of communication.  You are, in effect, trying to rent someone’s attention for a short period of time.  Unless you are hitting someone with the exact solution to an immediate pain, your marketing investment is over with little-to-no return.   According to the Book, B2B social media is an annuity by delivering Web site visits, leads and customers over time, long after the work and budget for the social media tactic has ended.  Think about it – it’s true! One of Marketri’s blog posts, “B2B Marketing vs. Business Development – What’s the Difference,” was written and first published on December 6, 2011.  Over the past month, it was the landing page for 77 visits to our Web site and 94% of those visitors were first-time.  I would say that post is an annuity for Marketri!  And honestly, I doubt we have tweeted or posted to Facebook or LinkedIn since it was originally posted.  Think of the power of this popular post and how we could have really furthered our reach if we had used B2B social media more effectively.

LESSON THREE:  “TOFU” is not Bean Curd and “MOFU” is not a Bad Word

One thing is for sure, if you don’t ask, you aren’t likely to have a shot at getting the sale.  In B2B social media, CTAs are “must haves” for your time and efforts to be successful.  For added emphasis, the authors make it clear that puppies will not die if you provide a relevant and effective offer or CTA.  This begs the question, what is an appropriate CTA at the very beginning of a sales cycle and what might be the next step after that to further engage a prospect?

According to The B2B Social Media Book, “Top-of-the-Funnel (TOFU) offers are traditionally content-focused offers such as ebooks, white papers and webinars.”  The authors especially recommend ebooks for their “infotainment” value.  Once a prospect is somewhat engaged and interested in learning more about how their problem could be solved or how they might seize an opportunity, free consultations or assessments are often solid “Middle-of-the-Funnel” (MOFU) offers.  Both TOFU and MOFU CTAs work well in the B2B space as decisions are typically made based on gathering information, careful analysis and the strength of a relationship with a person or company.

I’m sure that many of my Twitter Followers, LinkedIn Connections and Facebook Fans have read The B2B Social Media Book.  Please share your favorite takeaways!  And, in case the authors read this post, I want to make sure that I practice what they preach: