Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

More to Social Media than Influence?

How much conversation is really happening in B2B social media?  Almost every company is using it as a direct marketing vehicle to push white papers, events, and opinion.  There is evidence of readership in the tracking of views and clicks.  However, retweets, comments, or forwarding is another story.  There seems to be a select few that engage in this manner.  I have to wonder if social media and the measurement of influence really makes sense for B2B.  Or, is it just that B2B uses it wrong?

For the sake of argument, I am not including a company’s internal customer portal that is like a private social network and really just an updated user forum.  I am talking about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  These are the properties that are measurable for an overall perspective of market impact and not just customer experience.  Take Klout, Social Mention, Radian6, and the various Twitter tools, and it is all about who influences who and the sentiment buzz.  Great for PR, not so great when you have to measure social media to revenue.

I did an analysis of my immediate Twitter network with the help of my engineering husband.  I wanted to see engagement level and topics of interest and determine the influence factor of my friends.

First, my network is divided between marketers interested in B2B social media (no surprise there) and those that are focused on data management (where I spend my marketing time).  I have a rarely even spit between these groups.

  • Between the two groups, my data management connections are most prolific in posting, by 8:1.5.  Makes sense since this group consists of consultants, companies, and industry analysts/media.
  • The marketing connections appear to retweet more frequently by profile.  Although retweets in general are low and infrequent.
  • Hashtag analysis showed a higher tweet count related to events in data management, where marketing was more interested in general marketing terms such as social media and marketing.
  • Replies account for about 1/3 of my network activity and mostly in my data management group.

So what?  Well, as a marketer, I already knew who my influencers were without having to go do Twitter analysis or run a social media report. I also had a pretty good idea without the report that they gravitate and communicate highly at events – that is where they spend most of their time.

The interesting thing was for the marketing group this was more organically grown and appears to be made up of those that lurk over engage.  However, this doesn’t bother me and probably wouldn’t if I was marketing to this group.  What I do know about them is what topics interest them based on their hashtag use.  I also can watch the growth of my following to see if what I say socially matters to the market.  I don’t expect advocacy as they aren’t inclined to do that anyway.  So, for a circle in my social media world that is made up of “groupies”, influence matters little to me.

What do I care about?  Who else do marketers listen to and what is being said.  I can make some guesses at a high level – there are the key social media gurus out there that we all listen to.  There are also ways to understand my followers’ network and analyze this.

In the end, as a B2B marketer wanting to connect to my customers, what my followers follow and potentially share, tells me more about how to engage with them than the influence and sentiment analysis.

Filed under: b2b, social media, social media marketing, , ,

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