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Is social media and B2B marketing not the right match?

May 5, 2012 by Jonathan Hemus

Xerox’s recent attempts to engage with Twitter (for example through Promoted Tweets) and Pinterest have been met with a rather lukewarm reaction. The high expectations were simply not met. Christa Carone, Xerox’s chief marketing officer, observed that social media for B2B companies may not constitute the best investment of time. She said: “I know that the CIOs of major companies are not going to be making a $5 million… deal based on their connection with Xerox on Facebook.” So, should B2B companies jump off or stay on the social media bandwagon?

Ultimately, social media provides just another set of channels through which businesses can reach their stakeholders.  Just like any other communication channel, some are better suited to achieving certain objectives than others.  And some are suited to certain organisations more than others.

As Xerox is quickly recognizing, it’s about using the right channels for the right tasks.

Many organisations are still feeling their way with regard to social media, and this is certainly true of business to business operations and corporates. There’s a degree of trial and error, and figuring out what works best to achieve certain tasks such as brand-building, reputation protection, customer engagement or pure sales. As with other communication techniques, the key is to measure and evaluate what works best and amend campaigns accordingly.

There’s no doubt in my mind that social media has an important role to play for B2B organisations. The question that organisations need to answer is exactly what that role should be. Those that come up with the answer quickest are likely to achieve competitive advantage over their peers.

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