Which Social Media Channels Matter Most?


Share on LinkedIn

THE PROBLEM: “Competition is eating away at our market share … and using social media to do it.”

Recalibrate your social media plan. Interview your customers and prospects to learn which social media channels are most important to them and why. Conduct in-depth interviews to learn exactly what kind of value and information they expect from you…across multiple channels. Use the voice of customer insights to craft a new, multichannel customer engagement strategy.

It’s true: Ignoring or minimizing the importance of social media now carries major competitive risks. Today’s consumers not only demand that the companies they buy from offer them easy access through multiple channels … but they also expect companies to keep track of all their interactions across multiple channels! That expectation definitely includes social media exchanges.

In addition, an organization’s highest-value customers interact with the enterprise through more than one channel. That applies to social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as well.

Today, offering customers multichannel access using these and other social media tools is not merely a trendy add-on to a single campaign, but a long-term strategic imperative for the whole enterprise. A recent study conducted by BtoB magazine found that 93% of all business to business marketers are now “engaged to some extent” in social media marketing campaigns.

Major takeaways from this and related recent research include:

arrow LinkedIn is a major lead generator in the B to B segment. At this stage, it should be considered an important part of any B to B channel mix.
arrow Facebook is the next most popular business-to-business social media channel, despite its emphasis on connections with friends and family. This is largely because of its potential strength in the area of branding.
arrow Despite wide use, Twitter has serious limitations, including a perception by many of “spamminess.”
arrow Customer communities and targeted message boards can yield major competitive insights — as well as invaluable first-hand feedback about your target audience’s messaging, value, and channel preferences.
Top Mistakes Direct Marketers Make
Click here to read the BtoB Online article regarding what top marketing experts have to say about improving current marketing practices.


Use feedback from in-depth (60-minute or longer) VOC interviews to identify which of the “big three” social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) your customers prefer for communication with your company … and why.

Learn exactly what kind of access, updates, and value customers expect to receive through these channels. Build the best suggestions into a brand new social media plan.

Be sure, while you are conducting VOC interviews, to also learn how customers want to engage with you across the broader multichannel mix, of which social media are one important element.

Get fresh VOC feedback on a quarterly basis (at least) on how your execution of this plan is being received by customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ernan Roman
Ernan Roman (@ernanroman) is president of ERDM Corp. and author of Voice of the Customer Marketing. He was inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame due to the results his VoC research-based CX strategies achieve for clients such as IBM, Microsoft, QVC, Gilt and HP. ERDM conducts deep qualitative research to help companies understand how customers articulate their feelings and expectations for high value CX and personalization. Named one of the Top 40 Digital Luminaries and one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing.


  1. Before launching a social media campaign it’s important to do research. This includes conducting interviews and surveys of your target audience. You want to make sure that you are reaching the right people with your message so it’s important to know where they are.

  2. Ernan with all due respect to your post but I’m completely opposed opinion.

    First – but that is just semantics – I’d never call social media a “channel”.
    If I ask a client what “channels” they use is the point in time where I realize the mistaken term. Nobody who wants to build relationships, asks for help or best practice would know what you are asking.

    Second – a five question survey may be acceptable. Hence Facebook or LinkedIn don’t provide in-depth survey tools. Not because they can’t but because it would be very annoying.

    Instead, why not just building relationships with as many as possible of your existing customers? Everything else falls into its place.


  3. Axel, you may not call social media a channel, but I know a lot of people not only call it one, but they treat it that way.

    A marketer using social media to distribute the same marketing messages (e.g. promotional Tweets or blog posts) is getting value from social media as a channel. What’s wrong with that?

    Of course, I agree completely that social media can potentially be much more — a way to create more engaged relationships. But I suspect most companies will use social media to get an incremental improvement on what they’re already doing, rather than something more transformative.

    So, my take is that social media is not just a channel, but it is at least in part a new interaction channel for companies.

  4. Thanks for your comments and feedback.

    It’s all about the quality of relationships a company establishes with customers.

    These relationships are built and sustained across an increasingly complex multichannel mix.

    Social is the latest addition to an ever more complex mix. Marketers are just beginning to understand some of the rules.

    However, because of its power to significantly strengthen relationships and drive bottom line sales, companies view it as an element of their channel mix.

    The most effective deployment of a multichannel mix must be guided by the wisdom and requirements of customers and prospects. There are many research tools for gaining these insights. Selection of the right research methodology, i.e., depth-interviews, on-line surveys, etc. should be driven by the complexity of the objectives.

  5. I liked Nick Stamoulis’ comment on doing your research first when starting a social media marketing plan. You can definitely generate awareness, leads and revenue with social media. But it is seldom an overnight path to success. You usually have to gain your followers and establish your reputation over a period of time. You will be best rewarded by approaching your social media adventures as a marathon, instead of a sprint.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here