Call it a gut feeling that B2B marketers feel strongly that social media is good for their business. Why a gut feeling? Well, according to a report published by eMarketer (available for their subscribers only) there is plenty of ‘feel good’ around the social marketing channel but B2B marketers are still having a rough go directly attributing social to critical business metrics.
In an article eMarketer says
B2B marketers know intuitively and anecdotally that social media brings them good leads. But when it comes to proving that social marketing shortens the sales cycle and delivers revenue, things get hazy. According to a new eMarketer report, “B2B Social Media Lead Generation: Best Practices for 2013,” B2Bs still haven’t found a proven formula for exactly how social helps close a sale.
Even though the measurement and attribution are not real strong, the confidence in social media as an effective channel for marketing is growing every year and shows no signs of letting up.
It’s this rather untidy understanding of just how important social media is without some of the measurement that has been promised (or quite simply hyped) by the social media industry that makes many uneasy. They are uneasy because they simply know that it is important but can’t always point to direct results that impact a business’s bottom line.
In the age of analytics where marketing executives being called to the mat to prove that they deserve a seat at the strategic head table this disconnect can be more than a little frustrating. So what to do? Quite simply marketers have to get creative. It is now incumbent upon them to give sound reasoning and logic why social is important even if there can’t always be a number attached to it. And it goes beyond simple exposure and engagement. Those are a given in that even the most social media un-savvy executive knows those metrics are not all that telling.
In most cases it’s as simple as allowing a brand to tell a story and to let it be out in the wild for potential prospects and customers to finds as they do their research. Nothing more nothing less. You can’t assume that anyone knows anything about your company. Instead, give them a chance to hear your story in their way and on their timetable. Social media is really a great storytelling channel and the smart marketers will embrace this concept to keep themselves ahead of the competition.
Are you a B2B marketer? Are you seeing the true value of social media? Are you allowing your story to be told and be out in the digital ether for discovery? If not, why?