So the question circling of late, over the past weeks for me but arguably it probably goes back months for some, is whether there is true business, or more specifically marketing value for B2B within social networks (like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn). “It’s about tapping into the network, it’s about building a brand, it’s about SEO”, I’ve read it all. Facebook is more social, LinkedIn is for the business professional…
As an executive in a SaaS-based start-up in B2B marketing automation for SMBs, I’m looking into how to capitalize on these mediums. I have been exploring and evaluating all of them. For me, it came down to if I could make money on my investment (time). But isn’t that what all business decisions come down to?
So in cutting to the chase and as the title proclaims, I’m a skeptic turned convert. My first experiences were frustrating, to say the least. How could this possibly add business value through marketing? It’s noisy – I didn’t care what people were eating at that moment (albeit amusing at times), where they were going, or their activities. It also consumed way too much time and I wasn’t getting any immediate return. But with time and effort, it started to fall in line. As they say, patience is a virtue.
The decision for me was about going back to the fundamentals of marketing.
Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
This seems straight forward and obvious. Social media clearly presents a medium for communicating, delivering and exchanging of offers. The question is whether you can identify your customers, clients, and partners within the membership. The opportunity lies for those able to “crack the hard nut” and find their customers in the broader community.
It all comes down to Generate, Manage, and Convert. Generate your leads through inbound marketing activities through the social media groups. Manage and nurture the leads with an automated marketing solution. Then identify qualified leads ready to convert to sales. An investment with a measurable return – business value!
I began the process as a skeptic and now must confess I’m a convert. Who wouldn’t be? Social media offers a large community, opportunity, and a clear demonstrated value for a start-up business in using Social Media to drive our inbound marketing. So we’re currently using social media to raise awareness, build the brand and grow the top line through new customer acquisitions.
We’ll see where this adventure takes us.
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About Dayna Cosgrove
Danya is a creative professional specializing in web design and development, with experience in marketing, advertising, and graphic design.