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Measuring the success of your social media marketing in B2B

Measuring the success of your social media marketing in B2B

We hear a lot of statistics about the success of social media marketing some of which seem to fly in the face of others and many without any real detail to the basis of their claims. We have results that claim "72% of small Australian businesses believe social media investment leads to sales" [Source: AIMIA] yet at the same time we also see "Social Media actually delivers ROI, with only 7% of respondents reporting good ROI results, and four times that number saying they are not happy with their social marketing results" [Source: Green Hat]". What is this really saying to business?

The real reason for such confusing messages is that there appears to be a general consensus on how one should measure success of your social media marketing effort. There are many tools in the market such as Klout, Sprout, SimplyMeasured and of course Google but the common theme across many such tools is that they treat B2B and B2C markets equally relying heavily on the concept of "influence scores".

The manner in which you influence a consumer as opposed to a business is quite different. Your target markets look, think and feel quite differently and thus how you influence these markets, particularly in the social media is quite different. basic Marketing 101 teaches us that marketing, in any of its array of delivery platforms, relies on you understanding your market, segmenting those market sectors and aligning them to your own business / product areas. It is about understanding buyer behaviour - the analysis of who, what, where, how and why of buyer behaviours, identifying the influencers in the purchasing process. The answers to these questions are quite different when examining consumer behaviour as opposed to business behaviour.

With most social analytics tools being orientated towards "social" interaction they are heavily orientated towards consumer patterns which generally do not apply in business. Interestingly enough, many large companies have developed their own proprietary methodologies for targeting and measuring business influence within the B2B market rather than relying on the more general commercial solutions such as those above.

So what does this mean for those who can't afford the luxury or expense of their won methodology? It is critical to understand the difference between B2B and B2C marketing strategies and to then develop your own strategy applicable to your market and your business.

Buyer decisions include a number of different factors (see our article link here) at Central to that process is the suitability of product and your authority to sell the product. The interesting point to note is the difference in weighting given to these two factors between consumers and businesses.

In business your influence in the social media will be more heavily orientated towards your credentials as an authority. Imparting knowledge and establishing your expertise the crux of your social media marketing in the B2B arena.

This therefore begs the question of what sort of people and businesses you want following your. It is not about the number of followers they have (which is more relevant in B2C market). It is about the quality and degree of influence your followers have. Just remember, anyone can buy 30,000 followers (the quality of which is generally low) stop

measuring the success of your social media marketing relies on you establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) that are aligned to your marketing objectives and goals. Secondly, if you intend to benchmark your results against others be sure you are measuring the same things. The selection of the types of KPI's is crucial in all instances and must not be used to measure "soft" results. You say that social media has lifted your bottom line then you must be able to show a direct correlation between your KPI's that lead to this conclusion. It is also critical to define the underlying assumptions and sample data that led to these conclusions.

For most businesses, the use of commercial tools as the most viable solution. How they are applied to present conclusions is most critical. You will need to spend time strategising and planning annual results need to be analysed and tested.

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