Social Media – strategy concept

According to an infographic recently launched by Digital Information World, 90 per cent of b2b marketers see social media as a way to increase exposure overall in their marketing efforts.

That’s positive, you might say.

However, the same report tells us that “… 17 per cent of marketers find it difficult to show the impact of social media on their business.”

The question that this prompts in my mind is “Did they start with a strategy?” And, if so, did it include objectives?

Social media should not be seen as something separate from or unrelated to the overall marketing strategy. It must be an integral part of what the business is already doing.

Just like any other medium – print ads, broadcast, e-marketing etc. – social media is a conduit between business and audiences.

The first step, therefore, is to define your goals, and establish where the audience can be found.

Key objectives might include lead generation, establishing awareness, building partnerships, gathering market data or, simply, reducing marketing expense.

It should not be forgotten that the ultimate objective of everything we marketers do is sales. Either short term or long term, what we’re trying to do is sell more of our stuff.

Armed with that knowledge, we can start to identify the platforms available to us. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram can all offer a route to market but all have individual strengths and weaknesses which must be weighed before embarking on a social media campaign.

However, the old adage of “telling not selling” applies in social media, and even more so in b2b channels where we are (hopefully) talking to an informed and discerning audience.

It’s all about engagement, a word that has become a mantra for social marketers but has always been true of all marketing communications.

Whether b2b or b2c, social media offers incredible potential for marketers; if used cleverly and positively. And, is monitored and measured frequently and thoroughly.

So, be strategic. As the strategy builds, businesses in all sectors should be able to quantify and be confident in their social media activity.