If you haven't seen it, here is the latest research (here) from Onalytica as to the state of the B2B social media marketing industry, I have picked out what I think are the important parts and added my commentary.
Onalytica say ..
"The social media landscape is rapidly changing, and the way B2B marketers are creating content is changing with it."
This is very true, when I wrote "social selling - techniques to influence buyers and changemakers" back in 2015, there was probably 60% of the business world on Linkedin and it was a jobs board. You could look people up before you went to a meeting, but that was about it. Now pretty much everybody in business is on it. Or as a colleague said, "if you are not on LinkedIn, then you have something to hide".
We even have businesses that have pivoted to digital, I got Chris Flemming CEO of Cyberhawk to discuss why they became a digital business two years ago in my new book. Note, I'm not saying that Cyberhawke got some Linkedin expert in to do a hints and tips session which will deliver nothing. I'm talking about a CEO of a business, strategically using digital and social to run their business. Also note, I'm not talking about some future state, being a digital business is pretty much old news, Chris did this two years go. Think about how behind you are if you haven't done this to your business?
In my third book, I talk about how your business can create digital dominance and who is the leading technical and commercial digital influencer in your market or vertical? This was never thought about back in 2015.
Onlytica go onto say
"With the ever-increasing number of decision makers, an extended sales cycle due to the impending recession and the number of social media platforms available for content creation, it is imperative that social media strategies deliver real cut-through to drive business outcomes."
I always find this interesting, extended sales cycles is not something we see in out clients, quite the opposite, we se sales cycles shorten when a business uses a methodology such as ours for social selling. But I do agree that business must cut through the noise on social.
Onlytica go onto say
"It comes as no surprise that 100% of B2B marketers are creating content on LinkedIn – LinkedIn, by nature, is a business networking platform – It is the platform to educate, influence and engage with prospective B2B buyers."
While I'm sure this is a given, but are any of these companies seeing a return? It would be interesting to understand how many meetings this is giving people? how many proposals this gives a business? and how much revenue people are getting? If people are "posting and hoping" what's the point?
We often explain to business that posting on social media is pretty much a waste of time. Why? Because social media is about conversations, it's in the name, ... social ... media. And we know that conversations drive sales. So it's pointless posting unless it's going to drive a conversation. Research shows, here, that people come to social media to be social and not read brochures.
Onlytica go onto say
"A close second is Twitter, with 85% of B2B marketers creating Twitter content. Surprisingly, only 55% are creating blog content – a real missed opportunity for B2B marketers to educate their buyers on their own channels."
Buyers come to social to read blogs, that is to gain insight, it's a massive missed opportunity.
Distributing content versus tailoring
This reeks of push marketing, people standing on top of a building and shouting "buy my product because we are great".
As Onalytica say
"Tailoring content to each social channel maximises cut through and increases probability of resonating with your buyers. When you understand how and why each platform is used, you’re able to match the mindset of the buyer. For instance, being in news mode on Twitter, learning on LinkedIn, or being entertained on Facebook – and that is what is at the core of memorability. A buyer doesn’t browse Instagram to be served content that was made for LinkedIn."
Influencer marketing is still not understood, as an influencer I get many brands coming to me and I turn most of it down and they want to treat me as paid media. It's in fact an advert, where I say "buy this product because it's great". I tell people to stop wasting their money.
Come to me and say, we have this data, would you write a report now that is interesting. Subtle difference.
The role of social
This is probably the most scary of all the graphs, the question isn't asked on how many leads are created, how many proposals are created and how much revenue is created.
For a start, buyers will ignore branding on social media, it isn't the place for it and this research backs that up. And most employee branding is where brands push out brochures which all that does is make your company look stupid and train the algorithm to ignore and train your prospects to ignore you. I refer to this research here.
Content marketing barriers
It's interesting to see that, still, senior leadership buy-in is a problem. Why? Because social is still seen as a tactic, as in it's not strategic and business see little to no value from it. Strategic can be strategic, I talk about Chris Flemming the CEO of Cyberhawk above.
If you check out this video of Chris Mason CEO at Oracle reseller Namos, and DLA Ignite customer, fast forward to 19 minutes 55 seconds. Chris talks about a $2.6 million win from being on social, after completing the DLA Ignite social selling and influence course.
What happened? They buyer was on social media looking for a solution to their problem, spotted one of the Namos salespeople, who had a buyer-centric profile and asked if the salesperson could help them. That turned into a $2.6 million deal.
Want to know more about social selling, check out my new book
In this brand new edition, I have updated all the text, I have also got 15 practitioners, so people who are doing this already to explain how they are get (practical) business benefit. From the CEO that has been running a digital business for over 18 months to sales leaders who use social selling every day.