Brian Larson

Marketo Summit Session: Destroying the 7 Myths of B2B Social Media by Jay Baer

Jay Baer's Session at 2012 Marketo Summit

Jay Baer Keynotes Wednesday Lunch Session at 2012 Marketo Summit

There has long been a widely held (and incorrect) belief that social media is a B2C sandbox. ‘Stay out B2B marketers, this social thing has nothing to do with you.’ Of course, there have been countless studies that have documented B2B marketers successes in driving results in social.

With the notion that social is only for B2C debunked, in its place now are new myths. Each chalked-full of misinformation and hyperbole regarding B2B’s ability to implement, engage and monitor social. Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, lead a high-impact and high-energy presentation at the Marketo Summit aimed to call-out and ‘destroy’ some of the more prevalent myths.

The session was titled ‘Destroying the 7 Myths of B2B Social Media‘, and here are the 7 myths Jay shared.

1. My Customers Don’t Use Social Media

As Jay puts it, the people who believe this are projecting their own lack of social media adoption. Forrester research shows that 81% of online adults use social media. Regardless of whether your business is B2B or B2C, it is people who ultimately make the purchasing decisions…and 81% are using social.

2. Social Media Is Not Worth the Trouble

Forrester research also found that 86% of business technology decision makers use social media for professional reasons. Jay argues that social is actually MORE important for B2B than B2C. Why? With longer sales cycles, social can actually reduce the touchpoints needed to close a sale.

3. Social Media Doesn’t Apply to Our Business

Here’s the litmus test: does your brand have a story to tell? If you answered yes, than social applies to your business. It’s a forum to tell your story. According to Jay, the primary reasons any business uses social are:

  • awareness
  • sales
  • loyalty

Of course, these reasons apply to ALL businesses.

4. If Nobody Tweets About Us, Then We Don’t Need Social Media

If people aren’t discussing your brand in social you shouldn’t use this as a free pass to continue to ignore this platform. In fact, this highlights the opportunity that exists for your business. People should be discussing your brand, but you need to give them something to talk about. Or as Jay more succinctly put it, content is fire and social media is gasoline. Together, they are powerful (and a fire hazard).

5. Having a Page=Having a Social Media Strategy

There’s no participation points or ribbons in social. Creating a page does not equate to have a real social media presence. ‘Don’t do social, BE social,’ says Baer.

6. Social Is Just Marketing

Social is very much a customer relations management tool as well. Businesses need to start thinking of each customer as a reporter. If a person has a poor customer experience, where will they turn? Social media. Consider this, 70% of customer complaints on Twitter go unanswered. Would you ignore 70% of your incoming calls or emails? Your customers deserve a response, regardless of medium.

7. Social Media is Not Measurable

Jay goes on to say, only half kidding, that the most overrated metric in the history of math is Facebook ‘likes’. A much more powerful metric is tracking behavior. For an excellent B2C example of social influencing behavior in a measurable way, Jay shares the story of California Tortilla.

Within social, California Tortilla gives clues or passwords for free or discounted items. So one day the message may be ‘say ‘fresh’ to our cashier and receive free chips and queso.’ With that, California Tortilla is effectively influencing behavior and driving consumer demand, and all in a measurable way.

Some Interesting Social Stats to Know

  • In 2010, consumers consumed 5.3 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision. In 2011, that number jumped to 10.4.
  • 33% of B2B marketers have fully embraced social media marketing.
  • B2B customers contact a sales rep after 60% of the purchasing decisions have been made.

What myths or barriers have you encountered while developing a B2B social media strategy? Share in a comment below and let’s see if we can’t take a page from Jay and debunk yours too.

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  1. Avatar R. A. Bavasso says

    Jay:  I appreciate your perspective on social media B2B.  However, I do not think it goes far enough.  I think people need to understand that eBay is B2B social networking.  As you mention, too many companies  this social media is B2C, however, too many companies who seek to conduct B2B social campaigns look either at customer services, branding, or advertising.  I feel B2B needs to be defined as “transactions.”  That is a true measure of B2B success.

    • Thanks, R.A. This was a live-blog post summarizing Jay’s presentation at the 2012 Marketo Summit. Jay’s presentation was really focused on debunking prevalent B2B myths and less on how business should track and evaluate success. 
      I do agree with you that ‘transactions’ are often overlooked. Maybe that should be myth #8? 🙂

  2. While the content of the article is sound, the author should re-read his work and proofread it a bit better. I found myself re-reading a couple of sections and adding or rewording it to make better sense.

    • Thanks, AJ. I’m glad you enjoyed the content and I appreciate the feedback. Admittedly, this was a live-blog post that included a few typos that I should have caught.

  3. Social Media is The Number One Solution for Getting Targated Leads For Your Business Now-A-Days. Provided it should be done in a Correct way…
    Here’s HOW..??

  4. Thanks for the article Brian. Social media is the most talked about strategy these days. Considering the benefits of social media has to give to your company. It’s another avenue where you can find new business opportunities and plus the fact that it is cost effective. With the use of right tactics your social media campaign will turn out into something that is very useful.

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  6. Hey Andrew. Fair point. Since measurement needs to tie back to objectives, each business may measure and track social success differently. For a few B2B examples, check out this previous TopRank post

  7. Thanks for the heads up – checking that out.

  8. Anyone managed to find the reports from Forrester?