pursuit of happynessA Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions survey has found only 5% of companies would consider themselves to be “highly satisfied” with their social media campaigns. In a way it comes down to the age-old conundrum of how can you truly measure happiness? For businesses, it will be measured in success or failure. If you see something as a success then it’s happy days, anything else and we’re not going to be impressed.

Is it possible to be truly happy with your social media? What is that this 5% are doing? Is it that they are being optimistic, ambitious, realistic or naive? In the end, it’s about how you use B2B social media; meeting your targets and seeing a return on your investment.

Investments

In looking over this survey, which came in the form of a nifty infographic, it struck me that there was a direct correlation between happiness and investment. I’m resisting the urge to make a happy marriage analogy here, but it’s basically a “you get out what you put in” situation. 27% of companies had a dedicated social media team, averaging around 2 people or so, but an alarming 65% assigned social media tasks on top of existing roles. 25% used interns to help with some aspect of social media, but 78% had no intention of taking anyone on to manage their social media in the next year.

The key to social media is in the name, it’s social. In the B2B environment it becomes particularly important to stress the social aspect of this marketing platform. And yet, only 58% of the companies surveyed posted on social media 2-3 times a week. The major roadblocks identified in social media campaigns were lack of time and manpower, which is understandable because effective B2B social media marketing demands equally high amounts of both.

B2B social media is only now seeing increased investment following in the footsteps of the B2C market, which makes sense because B2Cs seemed to embrace social media with open arms. It’s rumored that some of the large fashion houses have an employee for every social media platform in the company’s network, sometimes two – now if that’s not investment I don’t know what is.

Setting Goals

In the end, we can only really be happy with our B2B social media when we can see tangible results. The top three goals of social media campaigns were increasing brand awareness, web traffic and improving reputation; all admirable goals but to they show quantifiable data for you to compare with how much time and manpower you have invested?

Maybe we need to set clearer targets in the short term so we can be happier with our B2B social media in the long term. Is counting your followers and likes enough, just as 86% of companies choose to measure their campaigns, or do the 31% have it in looking at their sales figures? When we really look at it social media is a long-term investment. It’s the first link in a chain of communication that ideally leads to a sale. The success of your social media relies on how effective your subsequent actions are. Yes, you lead people to your website but is your website selling your company in the right light or is it letting the side down?

Going forward, to be happy with our social media we need to set milestones as part of the wider picture. Want to drive more sales? Then pair it back to steadily increasing your online community, building up your credibility, networking and marketing your services. Eventually, done right, all this effort will pay off.

In business it’s natural to be wary of jumping on bandwagons for fear it backfires, but it’s becoming clear that it will do more harm than good to ignore B2B social media as part of your digital marketing strategy.

So setting smaller goals to measure success such as targets for how many people you want in your network or producing quality content you know you are proud of will give you something you can look back on and say, yes I’m happy with that.

If this has got you thinking about your own social media, you can download our 10 Tips on Monitoring your Social Media and learn how to start discovering new opportunities and gain that competative edge.