To be fair to your boss, she might be right 2 times out of 10. But it’s more likely that social media is going to benefit your marketing goals if you have a well thought out strategy.
So how do you convince your boss that social media can get more leads, drive sales, cut costs and build relationships with your customers?
First, some data.
63.7% of US Internet users are regulars on some sort of a social network (Emarketer, February 2011)
Worldwide, on an average, users spent the highest amount of time online (4.6 hours/week) on social networks. (TNS October 2010)
Social media grabbed the highest percentage of leads (74%) when pitted against other emerging lead generation channels like virtual events (Unisfair, May 2010)
57% of SMBs say that social media has been beneficial for their business (Ad-ology Research, November 2010)
LinkedIn generates the highest conversions (61%) for B2B marketers (Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing 2011)
Not bad, right?
But there are many valid reasons why social media is still not used by many marketers, especially from the B2B set.
For one, unlike traditional B2B marketing channels social media is not mature. Networks keep changing their features, new networks are introduced and older ones fall out of favor.
A bigger reason is that effective measurement of ROI is tough. Classical models of ROI calculations when applied to social networks fall apart- did the client make the buying decision because of the Facebook page or was it a combination of blog posts, webinars and LinkedIn?
If you, or your boss is wrestling with such problems these videos by Dr. Natalie Petouhoff will help clear the air. Originally created for Salesforce.com, they do a brilliant job of explaining how social media can help companies meet key performance indicators.
The first video makes a business case for using social media networks to help companies reach important milestones.
The second video shows companies how to calculate the ROI after deploying social media. (Math alert: this part has dollar figures and calculations)
This video also demonstrates how brands can use social media to cut down on customer service budgets by developing a community of engaged users.
The last video is about the role social media networks play in making sure that the decisions taken during the product development process reflect the true needs of the target market.
It also looks at how such networks can be used to break down boundaries between departments and ease information sharing so that companies can cut wastage and eliminate overlapping functions.
These videos don’t drill down to the nuts and bolts level of social media strategy-there are plenty of other resources online, both free and paid, for that. But for beginners and skeptics there is enough information here to get started down the right path.
I would like to thank Eric Schwartzman for pointing me towards these videos.
Image courtesy Amy Watts