FOUND the ROI of Social Media for B2B Marketers!

FOUND the ROI of Social Media for B2B Marketers!I think it is fair to say that Social Media has hit the mainstream these days but the big concern on every B2B Marketers mind has been where is the ROI? As a result I hear of many Social “science experiments” going on across several organizations that may or may not yield the results the marketer is hoping for. But I believe there is one place that delivers a strong ROI in Social Media and if you follow my advice not only will you conquer social media but you will delight your customers in the process!

Most of the time when I am talking with other B2B marketers they seem to be taking classic approach to social media and treating it like just another media channel posting press releases, sharing events, posting videos and expecting to see instant results like they get with other online media like banners, text links and search. There is no wonder why they find it hard to find a strong ROI with that approach.

Others are looking for a tool to do the work for them and I would argue that they shouldn’t be focused on finding the right tool, they should be focused on finding the right approach!

Enter Social Customer Support …

Social customer support I would argue is the single best place to focus your social media efforts since it can reduce customer churn and increase retention rates faster than any other program I have ever seen before. Listening for and spotting a customer issue, responding to them and solving their problem in minutes using social media provides what can only be called an “exceptional customer experience”.

Don’t take my word for it, a recent Forrester study showed that customers actually prefer a better customer experience compared to everyday low prices and that they would actually be willing to pay an average of 10% more to a company that provided a superior customer experience. Moreover, great customer experiences drive positive word of mouth (WOM) which capitalizes on the viral nature of Social Media. And finally companies that provide great customer experiences have customers that defect less and are more profitable to them in the long term. So why wouldn’t you center you social media efforts on providing outstanding customer support?

Not everyone enjoys calling into a contact center and more and more as social media evolves it provides a choice to your customers on how to interact with you. Going forward they will expect to get support using the channel that they prefer and feel most comfortable using and in many cases that is going to be social!

The downside of poor customer service has been well documented on the web more and more people are taking to the web to warn other would be customers of their dissatisfaction so don’t let that be your company! I never read a Social Media case study that started with “we completely ignored this customers issue they were blogging or tweeting about and everything worked out great” in fact it is always the opposite.

Supporting and retaining your best customers is always a good strategy especially when in B2B where a few customers account for a large part of your revenue. Keeping them happy and engaged with you is easy to do with social media and it turns out that it is the best place to find an ROI as well.

16 comments to FOUND the ROI of Social Media for B2B Marketers!

  • Paul,

    Its amazing that social media had definitely hit the mainstream market, and yet so many people fail to grasp exactly what you’re saying. Look at using the media for customer support and the positive experience will go viral. Try to push your message, events or videos and your message will stop dead in it’s tracks.

    I remember hearing a saying once, ‘customer service is the new marketing.’ If we take that approach than social media marketing is really delivering great customer service using social media.

    A great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • @Mike – amen – I love that notion of Customer Service is the new Marketing – it can even go so far to be Customer Service is the new PR!


  • I could say this message has hit at the perfect time and has given me some great ideas for workshops to. Thanks as usal the tips here in your newsletter/blg are priceless. I have always been big on customer service but sadly many managers and owners look at it as a ower priority than a new sale.

  • @Mark – great I am glad you found it useful – thanks for commenting

  • […] etc.  But according to Paul Dunay, this is like looking for love in all the wrong places.  In a post on his Buzz Marketing for Technology blog, Paul argues that the best use for social media – and hence the easiest/quickest place to […]

  • […] posts.  For instance, Paul Dunay had a great article at Buzz Marketing for Technology entitled “Found the ROI in Social Media for B2B” It gave me a great idea for a blog article and I link it to Paul’s article. Bloggers love it […]

  • Jacqueline Prue

    I love this idea!
    Are there any social computing companies that devote themselves exclusively to providing customer service?

  • @Jacqueline – not pure social computing companies but many firms large and small from Dell to Comcast to AT&T to Citigroup to even Avaya ;-))

  • What I love most about social customer service is that you can actually shift some of the burden to your customers and they will perceive it as an improvement. Engaging the customer on the front line — the person who has been through real-life situations and solved the problem — is the most powerful kind of customer solution. I laugh at how rarely are the questions on a customer support FAQ the questions *I* have. But when you peruse real customer questions, that’s usually where I find my best answers…from other customers.

    From a business perspective, you’ve shifted some of the burden to your customers, decreasing your costs and improving your perception of responsiveness. A beautiful thing.

  • @Jonathan – Agreed – which is also why forums like the Apple forums where brand enthusiasts make it so easy for you to find an answer!

    thanks for commenting Jonathan!

  • I think it’s important to point out that social media based customer support requires more than just agreeing on the strategy and opening the doors. Successful companies provide (at minimum) well-crafted membership programs that encourage and reward customer involvement and well trained company moderators who ensure answers are reasonably accurate and keep the conversations on point. Without these two elements,customer involvement is hit and miss, and unhappy–and very vocal- customers can ruin your brand.

  • @Marty – I love your take on this – yes that’s the next layer down as far as specificity of a social customer support program – we started with a few trained people (including me) to do support and we are now institutionalizing it within the firm. We dont do a membership plan per say but we have done an “advocate” plan with Zuberance.

  • Using social media as a customer service tool is a great way to utilize it. Often people jump into social media without a strategy, but this is a great one. Customer experience with a brand is very important when it comes to long term success.

  • @Nick – thanks for the comment – yes customer experience is the key especially as we scale social media and social customer support!

  • […] etc.  But according to Paul Dunay, this is like looking for love in all the wrong places.  In a post on his Buzz Marketing for Technology blog, Paul argues that the best use for social media – and hence the easiest/quickest place to […]

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