Spotlight on Social Media
Keep Your Eyes Open
Social media is fickle. If you are researching social media on the internet, just be sure to check the date, because what was true as little as six months ago may be completely wrong today. One article will report Facebook is dead, while one written the same day extols the way advertisers use Facebook boosting to get in front of new clients. One article outlines the reasons Twitter is not good for marketing; another points out the number of Twitter users who use only that platform and cannot be reached elsewhere. Pinterest is ridiculed as the home of Baby Boomer housewives, but it is also the leading site used by Millennial brides to plan their wedding. The arguments continue to go back in forth in both directions for every social channel.
An interesting article by Accenture looked past which social media channel is the best and focused on what is important. Accenture announced that 61% of B2B transactions start online. That's a big number. They did not walk into a building. They did not call someone on the phone. They did not reply to an ad in an industry publication. They did not meet someone in a booth at a convention. They did not talk to a salesman who had cold-called or warm-called. They did not get a referral. The B2B transaction began online.
SEO, Social Media and Such
Since only 61% of the B2B transactions begin online, that means 39% are happening like they always have. You may still be having great success with the marketing efforts you have used in the past, but be warned the clock is ticking. If you provide a service to businesses and you don't have an online game, your days of success are numbered.
An online game includes an updated, mobile-focused website with great SEO. The website stands shoulder to shoulder with several channels of social media which are active, engaging and up-to-date. More and more businesses use apps, AI and other tools to be the business of choice for online savvy customers. But for real success, Accenture recommends an omnichannel strategy.
Omnichannel means you embrace every online tool available, but you don't stop there. "B2B companies must move away from thinking digital is simply a commercial order entry channel. Instead, they need to see it as a driver of omnichannel, end-to-end customer experiences combining branches, distributors, salespeople and contact centers seamlessly with the web," says Accenture.
In other words, customers want to be able to find you online when, where and how they want to, but they also want a human to pick up the phone and sit at your reception desk at multiple locations. They want you to deliver it, but they also want to come pick it up. In some cases, they'll look at your FAQ page, but then again, they want to show up in person or chat online. Access is the name of the game.
Not A B2B? Look at This!
The same Accenture article pointed out that 51% of customers turn to social media for initial research. In other words, the old paradigm is dead. The pendulum is swinging. Your next client is more likely to find you online that anywhere else, whether you cater to consumers or business.
"But," you say, "I can't afford to be omnichannel!" Indeed you might not need an app and AI, especially if all your clients are right here in the local area, but you can't depend on the old roadways alone. Google yourself and/or your business on your phone. What do you see? Do the same thing on a computer, a tablet, a laptop. Then try Microsoft Edge, Foxfire, aol, yahoo and other servers. Are you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In and You Tube? Does your page have anything on it? Are you following anyone? Is anyone following you? When was the last time you were active?
Don't be afraid of technology. Put yourself out there. Sign up! Sign on! Like, share and comment. Above all post something to your channels on a regular basis. Keep your web page/site fresh. Digital is here to stay. If you need help - we speak digital and we would be glad to help.