Do social media scores such as Klout effectively measure the level of influence an individual will have on a B2B strategy?
"Social networks have not always been carefully or auspiciously developed," says B2B social media strategist Jennifer Bishop. "Do you know who all your Twitter followers are? Are they the business users you want to influence? In the correct country or industry? Social networks have often been haphazardly created with a focus on quantity rather than quality."
Here, Ms Bishop discusses five key reasons why Social Media Influence for B2B cannot be measured in the same way as B2C Social Media Influence.
1. Understanding Business Influence
Let’s look at the definition of "business influence" - business Influence is not equivalent to social media reach, numbers of followers or engagement. Business influence across social media must be specific to the business target market segment(s) and suspects, prospects and customers. Tools like Klout do not measure social media influence across a specific target market segment. And unless you have deliberately created your social media network to include influencers in your "business segment", your ability to create influence in this segment will not be measurable by Klout in general. It is something far more pervasive than transactional and quantitative measures across what is now a mass spectrum.
In a business sense influence is about issues such as influencing business customers and prospects in your "target market" to consider using, reusing, and trialling your products and services. More than 70 firms globally have developed their own proprietary methodologies for targetting and influencing business influencers. But for most businesses there is a big gap between their social media activity and their social media influence in a targetted business community.
2. Consumer Marketing and Business to Business Marketing Are Two Different Beasts
The biggest mistake in measuring business influence in the same way as consumer influence is that you are using a measure that was not designed for a specific purpose. For example, a business service provider, say an accountant, would not measure market potential by sending out samples of his P/L to consumers. However, a hand cream manufacturer - eg, Dove, may measure its market potential by sending samples of its hand cream via mail direct response with a 1300 coupon and chance to win.
Therefore, it's just as senseless to measure B2B social media impact with a tool designed to measure mainstream consumer sentiment.
3. Mapping Buyer Behaviour and Targetting Influencers
Buyer Behaviour is the study of understanding and analysing the who what where and how and why of buying behaviour. Identifying influencers in the buying process is key to reaching the right people at the right place at the right time. Influencers are people who affect any component of the sales cycle, but are removed from the actual purchase decision. Consultants, analysts, journalists, academics, regulators, standards bodies are examples of business influencers.
Not all business influencers are equal. Some have more influence than others, and there is a need to distinguish between key influencers and less impactful people. This means integrating the target marketing and influencer model approach across key social influence channels such as Business Public Relations, Business Blogging, Business Social Media platforms. And identifying, targetting and including in our networks specific journalists, bloggers, academics, industry analysts and professional advisors "of relevance".
4. identifying People and Social Media Platforms
In the case of a business using an individual/consultant with a high Klout score to promote their business (in a B2B sense), how do you know that their 30,000 Twitter followers have not been purchased via “Fiver” and are in fact “spambots”. The only individuals I recommend following in the B2B space are those with extensive social proof in the B2B target segment you want to influence. Therefore the individual's Klout score I would argue is of less relevance than their recommendations on LinkedIn, followers on their blog, business publications and business success.
5. The Proof Is in the Pudding
In Australia, B2B Research 2012 from Green Hat identified that only 7% of business reported good ROI results from their social media efforts and four times that number say they are not happy with their social media results. While LinkedIn remains the dominant platform for B2B social media marketing (used by 78% of respondents), the fastest growing platforms are Twitter and Youtube. Interestingly industry blogs and professional blogs sit at around 30%.
Social media research shows that only 7% have said their social media strategy has been effective. Businesses need to understand the process for B2B influence and the process of buyer behaviour - “Who buys, how they buy, and why?”
They don’t understand the keys to social media influence in the b2b context.
This points to a need for greater knowledge and education of content driven B2B strategies integrated with a new model of B2B social media influence and measurement.
The next Social Media Influence Workshop, “The Secrets of B2B Social Media Influence”, will be held on February 29 and Mar 1st in Melbourne. Jennifer will be joined by Australia’s top Social Media Influencers in PR, Branding, LinkedIn, Social Media Strategy and Social Media Law.
For more information:
Or call Jennifer Bishop on 0425 713 191.
Content and Copy
Content and Copy Australia (CCA) works with business groups and individuals to transition from outbound push based marketing to “inbound” pull based content driven marketing.
P: 0425 713 191