Which Social Media Channels Matter Most?

THE PROBLEM: “Competition is eating away at our market share … and using social media to do it.”
THE SOLUTION: Recalibrate your social media plan. Interview your customers and prospects to learn which social media channels are most important to them and why. Conduct in-depth interviews to learn exactly what kind of value and information they expect from you…across multiple channels. Use the voice of customer insights to craft a new, multichannel customer engagement strategy.

It’s true: Ignoring or minimizing the importance of social media now carries major competitive risks. Today’s consumers not only demand that the companies they buy from offer them easy access through multiple channels ... but they also expect companies to keep track of all their interactions across multiple channels! That expectation definitely includes social media exchanges.

In addition, an organization's highest-value customers interact with the enterprise through more than one channel. That applies to social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as well.

Today, offering customers multichannel access using these and other social media tools is not merely a trendy add-on to a single campaign, but a long-term strategic imperative for the whole enterprise. A recent study conducted by BtoB magazine found that 93% of all business to business marketers are now “engaged to some extent” in social media marketing campaigns.

Major takeaways from this and related recent research include:

arrow LinkedIn is a major lead generator in the B to B segment. At this stage, it should be considered an important part of any B to B channel mix.
arrow Facebook is the next most popular business-to-business social media channel, despite its emphasis on connections with friends and family. This is largely because of its potential strength in the area of branding.
arrow Despite wide use, Twitter has serious limitations, including a perception by many of "spamminess."
arrow Customer communities and targeted message boards can yield major competitive insights -- as well as invaluable first-hand feedback about your target audience's messaging, value, and channel preferences.
Top Mistakes Direct Marketers Make
Click here to read the BtoB Online article regarding what top marketing experts have to say about improving current marketing practices.

Use feedback from in-depth (60-minute or longer) VOC interviews to identify which of the "big three" social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) your customers prefer for communication with your company ... and why.

Learn exactly what kind of access, updates, and value customers expect to receive through these channels. Build the best suggestions into a brand new social media plan.

Be sure, while you are conducting VOC interviews, to also learn how customers want to engage with you across the broader multichannel mix, of which social media are one important element.

Get fresh VOC feedback on a quarterly basis (at least) on how your execution of this plan is being received by customers.