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Generating Buzz With Social Media

Can social networking enhance the buyer-seller relationship in the electronic components market? That's the subject of a discussion in the electronics components supply network on LinkedIn.

The consensus of most participants is that social networking is an up-and-coming way to get the word in the business-to-business space but not necessarily as a platform to close sales. At least one company, FTDI Chip of Birmingham, UK, revealed a proactive strategy of engaging with engineers and potential customers over LinkedIn and Facebook. Some participants expressed the concern that once B2B social networking catches on, it may get clogged with a lot of the nonsense one sees in general social media chatter.

Nick Lidington, managing director at Sequoia Technology Group, for one, was skeptical about the utility of social media to sell electronic components. “The telephone continually rings off its hinges in our office with people wanting to talk to us about our stuff. To my knowledge we have not had any lead, order, or request for anything that emanates from social networking to date,” he said.

Social media is catching on in B:B segments, but whether it's  a tool for closing, lead generation or something else is not yet clear.

Social media is catching on in B:B segments, but whether it's
a tool for closing, lead generation or something else is not yet clear.

On line one…
“Social media should not stop a phone from ringing,” said Nigel Watts, group managing director at Ismosys. He added: “In fact the opposite could and should be true. I see social media as a lead generator not a closing tool. We have numerous examples of customers who have found us as a result of a live feed or other social media activity. Social media is a very cost effective way of getting your message out to the marketplace.”

“Social media plays a huge part in my toolkit,” said Jen Cooke, a PR Manager at Premier Farnell. “I see social media as a way of enhancing a business's reputation. It is not a sales tool but is a part of the whole armament that makes up public relations and brand reputation.”

FTDI Chip director of operations Graeme Cook believes that B2B social media in the electronics sector has yet to prove itself. Nonetheless, the company uses LinkedIn to engage in discussions with engineers and is receiving an increasing number of inquiries and support requests through its Facebook page.

It's all about content
Cook recommended taking the time to create engaging content, especially video, to post on social platforms. “In order to make social media an effective communication channel, effort must be put in to make compelling and thought-provoking content that will catalyze meaningful dialogue,” said Cook. “Uploading of exciting video content tends to get far greater response levels. We are continuously updating content on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Youku,” the Chinese equivalent of Youtube.

Brian Harding, manager at Spectrum Electronics Group, recommends that his colleagues try social media “but don't leave it too long.” “It's still early days for B2B social media marketing,” he said, “and my fear is that once it becomes a mainstream activity, followers will not have the time or the patience to sort the good stuff from the junk.”

Sequoia's Lidington remained skeptical, acknowledging that B2B social networking may gain traction sometime, “but my 2014 forecast is not relying on it.”

Social media in the B2B space has yet catch on, but, as with the business-to-consumer sector, many companies will likely try it to generate buzz and greater awareness and trust before a customer is engaged. At the end of the day, though, in B2B, more so than B2C, the old-fashioned practice of picking up the phone and selling is probably not going away anytime soon.

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7 comments on “Generating Buzz With Social Media

  1. Anand
    May 3, 2013

    and my fear is that once it becomes a mainstream activity, followers will not have the time or the patience to sort the good stuff from the junk

    @Peter, thanks for the post. I totally agree with Brians comments that  followers will not have the time or the patience to sort the good stuff from the junk. In future so much data will be generated on social media, users will find it to follow and understand all the data that is present on social media forums.

  2. prabhakar_deosthali
    May 4, 2013

    Whether it is radio of yesterday, TV of today or the social media of tomorrow, the business is invading all kind of places which are actually meant for entertainment .

    Why can't we spare  pure individual/family entertainment and social contact and gossip sites  from commercializing .

    people today need pure entertainment . Social media like Facebook or twitter are supposed to be the tools for individuals to express themselves and connect with others , not the billboards for business advertising, I suppose

  3. ahdand
    May 5, 2013

    This is good up to a certain extent but if you try to overdo the buzzing it becomes a nuisance to the followers and the whole concept of buzzing and following will be lost.  

  4. Anand
    May 5, 2013

    people today need pure entertainment .

    @prabhakar_deosthali, I think you can get pure entertainment but you need to pay extra permium if you want ad-free content. For example currenly HD transmission in India is ad-free because the monthly subscription charge is pretty high compared to the normal transmission channels.

  5. prabhakar_deosthali
    May 6, 2013

    Anandvy,

    I agree  regarding the paid channels availability without commercials.

    But my point is that why businesses should try to convert a pure social networking platform like say Facebook into an Advertising platform for their businesses.  The basic idea of social networking is to bring people together and allow them to interact , exchange ideas, share experiences like being a part of a global society. It is like a gossip corner after office hours where you want to shed all the burden and tension and anxieties of your day's work and just want to unwind.

  6. Anand
    May 6, 2013

    But my point is that why businesses should try to convert a pure social networking platform like say Facebook into an Advertising platform for their businesses.

    @prabhakar_deosthali, true no body likes to see the ads. Infact you can apply your arguments to television also. Television is meant for entertainment and no one wants to see ads on television. But if companies cant tap ad market television and social networks then how are going to reach out to the bigger population ?

  7. SP
    May 7, 2013

    Social media has been playing quite an important role among consumer electronics products. Many groups talk about the latest smartphone they have bought, they debate on features and so on. Social media is just like chit chatting among friends and family. Its like spreading word of mouth. In this age when people dont have time to meet near and dear ones personally, these social media sites are sources where they can virtually meet and discuss.

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