Twitter and Facebook for B2B? Really?
I have to admit being resistant to acknowledging that these social media conventions might have a place in my business – or that of my clients and colleagues. But I realized that I was being old school, and didn’t really know enough to judge. So I thought that I would invite in my friend and colleague Kim McLaughlin of Lyra Communications to fill in the gaps for me and a few clients of the same mindset.
So what did I learn? Well Kim was quick to disappoint me. You can’t make money on Twitter, she said.
But wait, you can extend you network, promote your expertise, deliver information, and develop relationships. Hmm… these sound suspiciously like all the precursors to business development excellence. There’s just no active selling. That’s okay, active selling should be the least of your business development activities. What this sounded like was referral marketing, and word-of-mouth campaigns – the two mainstays of SME business.
And Facebook? Well, it may be less important, but it works in essentially the same way. But on Facebook you need to be a person, not the company you represent. Fair enough, that’s the basis for any lasting relationship, business or otherwise.
And then there is YouTube. Video is changing the landscape for information, conveying personality, and most importantly extending reach. Canadians spend more time watching YouTube than reading books. Guess this changes my plans to write that pragmatic marketing bible I’ve always had lurking in my head.
The time involved in managing social media properly, and using it as an effective tactic for your company’s strategy (Kim reminds that it isn’t a strategy in itself) frankly scares me. I have trouble getting through all my e-mail, let alone tweeting and updating social networks. But that’s because I didn’t grow up with it the way the rising generations have, and to them it’s second nature. And e-mail is old fashioned. My 20 year old co-op student might be a great choice to tweet on behalf of Growth Path – and I can feel good about giving him the opportunity, and in joining the social media revolution.