Whether it is B2B or B2G, Social Media Marketing is Gaining Steam

It’s no surprise to see that businesses are finally catching up to consumers when it comes to social media use. A study of business-to-business marketers earlier this year showed 56% of businesses surveyed acquired new partnerships through social media, with over 93% of the participants targeting their audience through online channels, where they can engage the consumer directly and quickly.

Fast Company’s November 29 article on B2B marketing emphasized the shift from passive “likes” on sites like Facebook to social media marketing paying dividends for well-established brands such as construction manufacturer Caterpillar. Caterpillar Social Media Manager Kevin Espinosa said, “Social media has given the customers a voice. You must engage with them or soon become obsolete to them.”

In other words, social media empowers customers and makes them feel like they are a part of the equation, as opposed to traditional methods that do not allow for feedback, let alone self-directed interaction.

Businesses operating in the public sector have a lot to gain by embracing targeted social media channels such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter to engage with government employees and decision makers. Market Connections’ 2011 Public Sector Social Media Study indicated a significant increase in the acceptance of social media in the public sector—in 2010 55% of agencies banned access to some or all social media sites, but this number dropped sharply in 2011 to 19%, a substantial 65% change.

That same study saw the rise of social media in both public sector and contractor use. Linkedin grew from 32% using it in 2010 to 70% in 2011, while Twitter increased from 30% in 2010 to 55% in 2011.

And let’s not forget, government workers are first and foremost people. As the ubiquity of social media and mobile devices increases in the consumer realm, it influences the use of such media in the workplace as well. Respondents to the 2011 survey said they use social media 92% of the time at home and 74% of the time at work, and 70% of the time they are accessing social sites via mobile devices.

With the government sector’s willingness to loosen its grip on allowing social media usage, the B2G industry should be jumping in full steam. B2G marketers must look toward their B2B counterparts – the B2B marketing survey pointed out that marketers usage of LinkedIn is rising in 2012, with over 76% of B2B marketers upping their time on the social network. Facebook and Twitter have seen similar increases to date. Whether it’s the private or public sector, the audience wants to be a part of the equation and social media gives them that platform.

Much like the traditional means of communicating, the content must be focused, well thought-out, informative and relevant; whether it’s in 140 characters on Twitter, a 400-word blog post or in print. It’s important to remember social media sites are a means to deliver content to your target audience so they can begin talking about it. Social media is a tool, not a strategy in and of itself. Yet with its wide acceptance and use, social media certainly has the potential to substantially enhance the outreach of a well-established marketing plan.

It will be imperative to track these trends as they move forward, establish a plan and engage with your target audience via social media outlets. Audiences in any sector this day and age expect it.

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One response on “Whether it is B2B or B2G, Social Media Marketing is Gaining Steam

  1. Marc Hausman

    You hit on two important points in this post: 1) social media can serve as an effective and targeted channel for content distribution; and 2) the content has to be excellent.

    There’s a cliche that “content is king.” The truth is that it’s only “exceptional” content that it king. The rest is merely noise.

    I touch on the three attributes of exceptional content in this article published by Digital Marketing Remix:

    http://digitalmarketingremix.com/profiles/blogs/the-3-hallmarks-of-exceptional-content

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