B2B Social Media Marketing Is All about the Benjamins, Not “Buzz”
Let’s get one thing straight, insist Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen in The B2B Social Media Book, social media marketing works just as well for B2B as it does for B2C – and you can measure the results in dollars.
“Social media marketing,” they write, “is not about generating buzz, creating content that goes viral, gaining positive mindshare, or using any other fluffy metric. Marketing’s job is to contribute to revenue generation, not be a cost center for superficial activities with no clear return on investment.”
Right off the bat, Bodnar and Cohen present the equation for understanding the real cost of customer acquisition and the total lifetime value of a customer and establish a clear path for generating leads:
- Create content that answers questions (“Prospects don’t want to hear about your products” on social media, the authors assert. “They want solutions to their problems.”)
- Optimize that content for search engines
- Include a call to action in every blog post and link to a landing page with every tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn update (“B2B marketers often do a great job of driving traffic to a blog, but without a CTA, there is no place for visitors to go. At that point they are likely to leave. Remarkable content without a payoff is not worth the effort.”)
“If you are not driving revenue, or leads as their proxy, it is difficult to measure the return,” they note. “That’s why lead generation is the cornerstone of this book.”
The strong points of The B2B Social Media Book are its chapter-by-chapter guides to establishing a B2B marketing program using your blog, LinkedIn and Facebook company pages, and Twitter. The authors provide tips for “socializing” email marketing and present excellent ideas for making the trade show experience more social. Each chapter concludes with a three-step To-Do list to operationalize your program, along with key lessons and case studies from industry practitioners. (A downloadable workbook that accompanies the book was not available as of this writing, but should be coming soon to: www.B2BWorkbook.com)
Bodnar and Cohen do a deep dive on content creation – from blog posts to ebooks, webinars, B2B videos, and virtual conferences – and discuss issues such as buying leads. There’s a chapter on mobile, though it’s more about optimizing existing content for mobile rather than actual mobile marketing or a robust discussion of apps and how to create an effective one for B2B marketing.
The book stumbles a bit whenever the authors try to tie in the hype of the subtitle about becoming “a marketing superstar” and in sections on establishing a social media marketing program within a corporate hierarchy. These sections are far too short to do the topic justice and the recommendations suffer from a basic lack of expertise in the corporate arena.
In order to convince leaders of other departments, who don’t understand social media or your marketing strategy, you’re advised to “create a short slide deck (five slides or fewer) to show them how it works.”
If you need to make the case for getting access to company financial data: “After reading this chapter, get this person in authority to read this chapter. Tell him or her that you want to show the ROI and that The B2B Social Media Book says you need this information. Put you finger right here and say, ‘Look, it says right here that this is what we need to do.’”
This isn’t the only book to struggle with the topic of scaling social media programs for corporate. Like many before them, The B2B Social Media Book authors (Bodnar works at HubSpot, Cohen for Radian6) approach social media from the perspective of entrepreneurs.
The quality of their concepts, strategies, guidance, and tactics for B2B marketing on social platforms is so solid, the hyperbole is unnecessary. Ignore these final filler chapters and use The B2B Social Media Book as a finely detailed road map for B2B marketers who want to start using social media right now to generate valuable leads and turn them into customers.
**Social Media Club members (Open/Pro/SMB/Corporate) are welcome to participate in a free webinar hosted by Social Media Club featuring Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen, Authors of The B2B Social Media Book on Thursday, June 21st at 2pm EDT. Register here!**