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B2B BRANDS AND SOCIAL MEDIA: A NEED FOR DEEPER ENGAGEMENT | Part One

June 1, 2016

B2B BRANDS AND SOCIAL MEDIA: A NEED FOR DEEPER ENGAGEMENT | Part One

Social media is currently top of mind for many brand owners. Not a day goes by without the appearance of headlines trumpeting new eye-popping growth stats (Facebook has grown by one million to 200 million users in less than five years), huge changes in where people go to get breaking news (Twitter became the de facto source of information when Iran expelled all foreign journalists during the last election), and massive shifts in marketing budgets (Forrester Research predicts U.S. online marketing spend to reach US$ 25 billion in 2014 and US$ 75 billion by 2017).

While social media promises efficient connection with a new type of engaged stakeholder, it also represents a real risk to companies that come down on the wrong side of the digital mob for a perceived transgression. Some companies have also been skewered online for trying to use social media as any other broadcast channel, pushing their key messages at a group of people, hoping that they can generate more positive impressions about their brand. For example, Kmart recently sponsored a pay-per-post campaign for influential people on Twitter. This move met much criticism, as it betrayed the spirit of what makes word of mouth so effective—i.e., unprompted, authentic recommendations for a product or service. As a result, many companies have been treading lightly while the medium continues to evolve, with their marketing, HR, IT, and legal departments continuing to slowly weigh the risks.

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