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Social media marketing, the 3 words which have completely changed the landscape of B2C marketing forever, but where does this leave us B2B marketers and is it worthwhile including a social media campaign into the marketing mix?

Social media marketing budgets almost doubled, worldwide, between 2014 and 2016 (increasing from $16 Billion USD to $31 Billion USD 2014-2016 – Hootsuite 2016), it is past the time where businesses are able to ignore their social marketing strategy and spend, and most certainly need to start paying very close attention to the leaders in the field.

Now, despite the massive increase in social media marketing interest and spend, 85% of B2B marketers haven’t been able to show a quantitative impact on their business as a direct result of social media spend (The CMO Survey 2016). This is a clear indicator of businesses treating social media the same as they have treated traditional media sources for so long,  that is, throwing a massive wad of cash at an ideas board and hoping something sticks.

A large percentage of companies are assuming that, by spending more money and blasting ads in front of as many people as possible, they will get greater returns on their marketing spend, but as shown in the results from the CMO survey, this could not be further from the truth.

Social media marketing is all about getting a great ROI, and having the ability to turn a small spend into a massive return. To do this, companies need to be more creative with their campaigns, and put themselves in front of their customers where and when the customer is actually engaged and caring.

Strategy – Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing is centred around the theory that there is a much greater chance that a person will buy something when it has been recommended by someone they trust.

More than 90% of all consumers trust earned media, I.e. word of mouth, more than any other types of marketing collateral (Nielson Report 2017). However, the next closest avenue for marketers is to employ thought leaders and industry influencers. For example, if you are selling the world’s best processor, a customer is far more likely to trust the word, or endorsement, of a 3rd party expert in the field, say Bill Gates, as opposed to an advertisement from your business saying the exact same thing. This is as true for B2B marketers as it is for B2C marketers.

Best Practice

One B2B company that has been able to make the most from influencer marketing is American Express. AMEX collaborated with Grace Bonney and her team at Design*Sponge, as well as cable’s HGTV host  Emily Henderson to design engaging Amex branded decals. These decals were designed to resonate with small merchants, and encourage and incentivise those businesses to display the decals in their business, and then share the results on social media.

This campaign generated over 5 million impressions, but most importantly, earned over 50,000 social engagements from small business owners (Shorty Awards 2015). These 50,000 engagements all acted as a type of influencer marketing for other business owners who were not currently offering Amex in their establishments. As a result Amex saw a huge increase in interest in their product from small businesses.

For more great B2B marketing tips, please read some of these great articles we’ve put together for you:

Using Your Competitors Knowledge to Build your Business
3 Signs you Should Invest in Email Marketing 

b2b digital marketing