Posted by: mandi bateson | March 27, 2009

Social media and the brand advocate

Whether or not social media should be used in B2B marketing is a moot point as far as I’m concerned. Forrester already tells us that 91% of your customers are active users of social media applications with 69% using social media for business purposes. (Although how much longer are we going to continue to try to define and label the “purpose”? Um – tangent!) . Case closed. What I would like to discuss is the importance of the brand advocate in social media and find out what you’re doing about it.

A smart acquisition strategy aims to target the right person at the right time with the right message. Campaigns are refined and targeted so not a precious penny is wasted. The contacts are primed to ensure the very best chance of closing a sale – decision makers, ready to purchase, low cost to serve ratio. The funnel is pumping and the sales are flowing. Then along comes social media.

By integrating social media you’re not commiting yourself to a return to the spray and pray approach however you are opening up the conversation to include a wider audience. But how do you measure their influence and relevance to your strategy? Your new brand advocate may never purchase your product. They may have no need for your product. However if they are talking about your product, or the problems your product is claiming to solve, they deserve your attention because they have just become a member of your target’s decision making team – the influencer.

I would love to hear from anyone who has started to consider the non-purchasing brand advocate in their marketing strategy. What conversations are you having with your product and sales teams about these new influencers? How are you using their opinions to create interest in your solutions? What tools are you using to build stronger relationships through social media?

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