By Josh Davis
Many 2011 social media predictions include the emergence of Business to Business (B2B). Some predictions have gone beyond just B2B to focus on corporate B2B social media. I agree this is a huge growth area, but there are several significant barriers that may push the realization of this prediction to 2012 or beyond.
Social media’s most powerful use is the ability to converse. I don’t see many conversations happening on corporate or even mid-sized business Twitter accounts, and that spells big issues with making B2B a growth area.
Three problem areas to consider:
- Fear that brands are too valuable to link them to a social media account.
- Conversations aren’t happening (pretty much the death of any value to social media).
- Any connections made, aren’t between decision makers.
These are three considerable barriers to corporate and mid-size B2B growth, so let’s consider each issue.
When I try to convince businesses decision makers to start doing ongoing social media monitoring, they nod in agreement. They understand it makes sense to know what people are saying about their company, products and competitors. It is important. But lots of things are important. Budgets are limited and social media costs are high.
For example, a terrible made up quote for emphasis:
“Quit asking for more money. We like the social media results. Don’t try to up-sell us on something marginally valuable. My C-Level executive only started asking me about this Twitter thing two months ago. Hence, why we hired you, and you are here.”
OK, I have never heard that response, but I have heard undercurrents of it. You understand that the managers, VPs and executives are not dumb, but they also have tons of good ideas coming at them all the time. What is one more?
Well I think I have finally found the key metaphor/analogy/example that will finally break through and make them realize how big social media monitoring is. The New York Times ran a piece about how Wall Street and hedge funds are using social media content to make some of their high speed trades. They are doing what some of the best in the social media industry have been doing this past year: figuring out what is being said, who is saying it and whether it is meaningful. According to this article, some traders have found profitability by monitoring online sentiments. That is powerful. Powerful enough for me to tweet about it (thanks to @infoarbitrage for tweeting the link), but yes, so powerful I had to write beyond those 140 characters about it.
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