The Social Window….

If you ran a business and had a veritable window into people’s souls, especially those who you wanted to do business with, would you ignore it?

B2B Marketers – You’ll really feel the love if you go beyond simply marketing on social media and statrt listening to it.

Not if you wanted your business to succeed, yet that’s exactly what appears to be standard operating procedure for many of the country’s execs operating in the B2B space.

The tool? Social media, and according to the 2012 Harris Interactive 2012 Zeno Digital Readiness Survey, that’s precisely how a large minority of B2B decision makers use social media…. or don’t use it, if the survey is an accurate reflection of their behavior.

The survey discovered that while a majority of execs do take social media into account when making their business decisions, it’s a much smaller percentage than the number many people would guess, given the importance social media occupies in society today. Moreover, the percentage that never make a move without consulting their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest oracle is but 21%.

Consider this:

  • There are over 168 million U.S. Facebook users, equating to over 73% of the Internet-using population, and according to Facebook, they average over 40 minutes a day on the site.
  • U.S. Twitter users  topped 100 million for the first time in 2012, and Twitter using brands report getting twice the number of inbound leads as those that don’t.
  • 53% of B2B companies use Twitter.
  • 55% of B2B buyers use social media to help make purchase decisions.
  • 82% of buyers trust a brand more if its CEO is active on social media, yet midway through 2012, only 30% of CEOs are active on social networks of any stripe. (BusinessInsider)

It seems that using social media as a decision making tool  among B2B brands’ decision makers is far less common than one might have thought, even if their companies have a social media presence. While some companies, like eBay, have wholly embraced social media as a powerful decision making tool, even implementing real time listening posts to monitor social traffic and conversations, others have stopped at using social media for marketing only.

The Better Half?

As a marketing company we certainly support social media marketing, however companies that stop there are leaving much on the table. Social media represents the first time that businesses have the ability to not only affect a behavior change, through social media marketing, but also to monitor and correct their efforts in real time.

Brands that don’t do that are missing half the equation. You’re staring an opportunity to monitor your market’s trends, attitudes, and opinions right in the face. As social has grown increasingly mobile recently (According to Hubspot, 49% of smartphone owners use them for social networking) the real time feedback aspect of social media as a way to shape your marketing efforts has grown even more powerful.

Most decision makers are loathe to even take a shower without their mobile device, so this is definitely a trend not to be ignored. According to Techcrunch  22% of LinkedIn’s usres are now mobile, and that number is rising. Given LinkedIn is a B2B marketer’s paradise, how their user base acts definitely bears watching. Since mobile usders get things in near real time, the feedback you’ll get is that much more valuable.

The Social Register…

The bottom line; embrace not just social media marketing, but social media monitoring, too. Watch your blog comments, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn regularly. More to the point, get what they’re telling you, and act on it quickly. Your bottom line will go nowhere but up. Oh, and you C-suiters out there, get your butts using LinkedIn and Twitter, stat!

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More Sources:

Consumer Insight Group

Ignite Social Media

Statista