When you look into the background of what goes into the “social media business movement,” the threads reach back a long way, giving social technology far more momentum and much deeper roots than many people realise. It looks to be a fact that 2012 will be the year of social technology in business and really originated from three areas of maturity:

  • Technology— has its roots in open source; reaching back to the early 1990s.which has been pushing businesses towards greater openness and collaboration for a decade.
  • Marketing—since the 1990s, marketers have been trying to go social, first with loyalty programs and now with social media.
  • And then there’s the pure strand: The Social Enterprise is reflected by good corporate social responsibility. That is illustrated by the corporate organisations that did pretty well through the recession.

The implications are that companies need to think broadly and most impotently strategically about their social business strategies, and apply themselves to integrating social media through the business. In essence, they need to listen to what their employees and customers might be saying about them, their products and services and in addition what they might be looking for, in return for participation with brands.

The added reward can be understood as “shared value,” indicating to them that in a world where the “share” is optimum value, sharing then has to have tangible value.

Marketers need to be more focused on what works in social media

Now that social media has proved to be a force to be reckoned with  B2B marketers in particular are ready to get past the hype cycle and start focusing on what actually works and makes sense for the business. Understanding how their customers and prospects use social media—or whether they use it at all—will provide marketers more guidance on how much time and effort they should spend on each channel.

Overall usage remains low among engineering, technical, and industrial professionals. But that may not be the case in other industries or professions.

The key is to identify which channels, deliver more return than others. Then, ensure that your level of investment matches your audience’s use of that channel.

You should also understand what social media will and won’t do. Social media is great for networking, building relationships, and generally engaging with customers and prospects. But social media should still be utilised in conjunction with other more traditional B2B marketing efforts.