You’ve probably heard at one point or another the question “does Social Media work for B2B?” Perhaps you’re even asking it yourself.
One of the main things that helped with me this is a post by Dan Blank called “Creating Interest vs Providing Solutions” from late last year. Dan says a number of pertinent things in this post, my favourite being:
If you can’t properly monetize 18 million unique visitors a month, how will another 5 million help clarify the way forward?
The point is that charging for interest is different to charging for a solution. Dan argues that many B2Bs, and publishers in particular, are thinking very narrowly about what their real asset is, and desperately trying to cling onto it, rather than actually start from the users point of view and explore what needs they really have around their interests:
Even in the cases where pay walls will work, it is not a complete solution, it is just one revenue stream. And in all likelihood, it is not one that will restore revenue and profits to the levels being lost by print.
Ads & Sponsorships are one model, but getting customers to pay you is another. If you rely solely on ads & sponsorships, how many page views is enough for your market? How many webinar sign-ups? How much growth can you garner year after year?
To differentiate your revenue streams, you may want to consider developing products that provide direct solutions. What service do you provide – could you provide- that people couldn’t live without?
Dan then linked to an exceptional presentation by David Cushman, called “a new era for specialist media.” Any regular here will find the ideas similar to our discussions on spreadability and people-to-people, but it is most certainly worth a look.
All of this discussion makes me think again about the need for Social Media to be useful. And by useful I don’t mean useful for you, I mean useful for your users and/or community. We really need to understand them, with quantitive and qualitative research, and deliver what lifts restrictions for them – what enables them to do what they previously could not do.
For a really good case study on this, watch Yann Gourvennec’s Insight at Like Minds. His work as the Head of Digital and Internet at Orange Business Services is very, very inspiring.
Your Leading Thoughts
- Are you a B2B player in Social Media? If so, are you providing a solution?
- How do we begin to think ‘solution’, because I think at the moment we are very caught up with interest over solution.
- How do you communicate solutions, without making everything a sales pitch?