Facebook And Twitter Not For Generating B2B Leads!


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Social Media is witnessing a phenomenal increase in the number of Enterprise users. B2B Companies are finally realizing the great potential offered by social media in closing the distance between them and their customers. It is no surprise then, to see companies incorporating at least some bit of social media activities into their overall marketing plans.

I personally believe, that social media’s exponential growth and the benefits it offers are hard to ignore, even for the most conservative marketers.

However the ROI for social media efforts by B2B companies strictly depends on how they use the medium. Being a social media evangelist, I encourage clients to take up social media activities. Having worked with many B2B companies, assisting them with their social media efforts, I have come to believe that social media yields best results when it is used by B2B companies for nurturing Leads rather than for generating Leads. Especially the more popular channels like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

A recent research report by LeadForce1, on how effective social media is, when it comes to generating leads, reaffirms my belief in this theory. Lead here is defined as an enterprise visitor.

According to the report – of the 4,365,377 visitors to the 261 B2B websites that were part of the LeadForce1 research during Feb 2010 to April 2010 – 1,418,171 were enterprise visitors. Of these enterprise visitors to the sites, close to 14% were from social media sites.

Linkedin topped the list of social media sites – sending the maximum number of leads, Wikipedia came second followed by Twitter and then Facebook.

While the initial findings of the report established the popularity of these social media sites among enterprise visitors – it was the second part of the report which really established the use case for these sites from a B2B perspective.

Here the research focussed on finding the intent of the enterprise visitors who came in from each of these 4 social media sites by analyzing the pages of interest once the visitors were on the site . [In the post I talk only of the 3 social networking sites (Linkedin, Facebook & Twitter) since, Wikepedia articles are not within a company’s control and cannot be considered a definite marketing tool. Probably it is this non-promotional nature of its content which makes Wikipedia such great lead generation tool.]

People who came in from Linkedin – visited the contact us and management page the most, followed by careers – clearly indicating that they were interested in knowing more about the people behind the company rather than its offerings.

People who came in from Facebook – mostly visited the About us page and the Corporate blog.

People who came from Twitter like Facebook were most interested in the Corporate blog followed by the About us page, indicating that both Facebook and Twitter visitors were interested in the content the company had to offer and the people behind the content.

The research also found that the average percentage of single page visit was higher for Facebook and Twitter visitors, indicating that most visitors just visited the content link shared by the company on these networking sites.

The research establishes the fact that social media is a place, people mostly frequent for ‘CONTENT’. This is true, in fact all social media advocates never fail to emphasize the importance of good content for social media marketing success. The importance of blogs as a social media tool is known to all!

Quality content which answers queries and helps in taking informed decisions is also the backbone of the Lead nurturing process for any B2B vendor – which is why social media as an independent content sharing platform, with its list of credible influencers and promoters has become an important part of the research process for any B2B buyer.

Today when B2B companies are exploring various solutions like marketing automation platforms and social CRM applications – in a bid to influence their target customers in the early stages of their buying decisions – social media emerges as an excellent place to present a 360 degree view on a company’s offerings, services, and overall customer satisfaction shared informally on a neutral platform – away from the company’s home ground – its website.

However, social media success is relative to how well companies and marketers balance their content between providing company related information and third party neutral views, word of mouth endorsements and customer experiences.

The LeadForce1 research confirms that social media channels like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter should be seen more as tools that assist marketing, sales and inside sales teams in B2B companies, gather more information on their prospects, to understand their motivations and to push unbiased content which helps their target customers, take informative decisions.

The problem with most marketers is that, the moment they find a new medium or a new channel which is popular with their target audience, they make it the epicenter of their promotional efforts.

But if you check – the most successful social media campaigns were those which stayed away from self promotion and offered value to their readers and followers in the form of rich content, research, experience or sheer entertainment.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Merlin Francis
Merlin Francis is Director of Communications for LeadFormix. Merlin has over a decade of combined experience in the field of print and television Media, PR and Corporate communications. This includes her 3 year stint as an entrepreneur running a successful public relations and event management consultancy.


  1. You are very polite and diplomatic when you say: “the moment they find a new medium or a new channel which is popular with their target audience, they make it the epicenter of their promotional efforts.”

    Just as much as finance people are bound to exploit loop holes in the law, marketers seem inclined to try spam wherever they can get away with it.

    But not smart, as you rightfully point out.

    Just one minor comment I wanted to add in the comparison of LinkedIn vs. Twitter vs. Facebook. The behavioral comparison is not fair unless the study is looking at truly comparable link clicks. Namely, Tweets usually point to a particular subject which you would expect visitors to then go check out. LinkedIn groups might be of similar nature. But click-throughs on LinkedIn profiles would naturally be done with the goal of understanding what the company does at the broadest level. You’d expect that behavior to be different.

    Doesn’t take anything away from your advice though.
    Thanks much.


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