I started blogging in 2008. Although there was not much research on social media at the time, there was a lot of discussion in the marketing press. I tried it and it worked. One measure of success talked about, even in 2008, was better search ranking.
Fast forward to today; you’ve been asked to start doing social media. You hear statements like, “We need to get into social media,” or “We need to be on Twitter or Facebook, or .” Why is this so important? Since 2008, a lot of research has been done on the topic. It is not just marketing buzz anymore, the facts are clear:
If you consider a company’s home page as the place you start learning about a company, then search engine results are the new home page. 93% of B2B buyers start their search for a product or service on a search engine,(3) not your website. Correct use of social media gives you the opportunity to show up in their search results and to show up higher than in the past because search engines favor fresh content that social media provides. While you might update your website monthly, you’ll post to a blog once or twice a week and Facebook or Twitter once or twice a day.
A 2009 study on trust shows that 90% of people trust recommendations from known people and only 70% trust brand websites.(4) Social media gives you a chance to be that known person and increase the trust of your brand.
A social media lead (inbound) comes at a significantly reduced cost compared to leads from traditional outbound channels.(5)
Social media can humanize your company. It exposes the individuals that are involved in designing, building, and selling products and services. It allows these experts to form relationships with customers and participate in online discussions. Since people buy from people, this is a big plus.
In June 2011, Google added a per person social component to its search results,(6) which means that if a searcher is “connected” to your company (e.g. following you on Twitter or LinkedIn), you will show up higher in their personal results than for someone not connected. For more on how social bookmarking sites influence search, see Rule 32 (“Boost Search Placement with Social Media Optimization”).
9 out of 10 buyers say that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find yousince using social media helps your search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO), you will improve your ability to be found.
Content marketing is a subset of social media marketing. Recent research by Econsultancy and Adobe found that marketers are more likely to agree than disagree that “content marketing is more important than advertising.” 7
From The 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report(8)
The number one benefit of social media marketing is generating more business exposure (reported 85% of marketers), followed by increasing traffic (69%) and providing marketplace insight (65%).
58% of marketers indicated generating leads and developing loyal fans are benefits of social media.
Those investing a minimum of 6 hours per week in social media marketing saw improvements in search engine rankings. Marketers selling to other businesses were more likely to achieve this benefit (59%) than those selling to consumers (50%).
58% of marketers who have been using social media for more than 3 years report it has helped them improve sales.
Social media marketing is very important in B2B marketing. While it sounds like a lot of work, don’t despair; in Rule 39 (“Make Social Media Part of Your Job”), we’ll show you how to use social media to replace some of your current workload.