Social Media – Driving Competitive Advantage for B2B Marketers
eMarketing Strategy’s Ruth Stevens, one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of B2B marketing, posted the above graphic on LinkedIn. Based on our experience speaking with many B2B organizations, these results pass the smell test. My only problem with the graphic is the 45 percent who claim they are “getting there.” This group could range from companies who are barely utilizing social media to those who are avid practitioners, but feel they could be doing better. But regardless of how the 45 percent is allocated, there is a significant majority of companies who are either not using social media at all or doing it in an ineffective manner.
To some, these statistics are troubling; to others, they spell opportunity. If only 12 percent of companies self-report as being currently effective at social media, this means that 88 percent are either totally or somewhat ineffective. This means that if you can join the 12 percent who are doing social media right, you have catapulted yourself to the top of the pull marketing pack.
WIT is an acronym I use to describe an important marketing attitude – it stands for “whatever it takes.” Creating and managing social media content can be an arduous task. But the fact that it is difficult will be a disadvantage to others (who won’t do whatever it takes) and an advantage to you (who will do whatever it takes). You don’t have to execute social media perfectly, but you do have to apply a little elbow grease and persist, even when you are tired or supposedly have “better things to do”.
Please resist the temptation to stop everything else you are doing and become a pull marketing addict. While you have to be relentless about your social media deliverables, you can do this in a steady, organized and cumulative process. As I said in an early 2011 blog post, B2B social media is meant to be a marathon, not a sprint. In other words, don’t rush out and start posting, tweeting and updating indiscriminately – but also don’t sit back and wait until you feel divine inspiration. The best path usually lies somewhere between these two extremes, with a healthy bias towards action.