Sure, everyone says you should be using social media, but can you really use it effectively for the critical tasks you get paid to accomplish as a marketing professional, like lead generation and helping your company’s sales team move the needle?

Truth be told, no one is an expert here. Social media is new to all of us, and even the founders of big social sites like Facebook and Twitter are still searching for their business models by changing a little everyday. However, social media is at the same early stage of development that e-commerce was on the Internet back in 1995. Those who got in early gained the advantage over their competitors as more consumers started to buy online, and the same is likely to happen as social media continues to change the relationship between companies and their prospects and customers in B2B.

As the smart guys at the social media sites have figured out how to make money with their own services, similarly, you can get a return from social media on your own B2B marketing programs by using social media as the vehicle for linking prospects in your market to the content you produce.

No matter how half-baked social media seems today, as a business marketer there’s still no substitute for getting your content out there squarely in the middle of it, to generate interest, comment, and interaction with prospects in your market who use it. And it’s certainly better to get your company out there now, than to leave social media to your competition. Think of social media as another, increasingly important element of your marketing program that will become more important as it evolves into more useful and more effective forms.

Conventional Marketing v/s Social Media Marketing:

The current (conventional) approach: For example, let’s say your company sells an anti-corrosion coating process to manufacturers. The conventional marketing approach would be to run ads with either a catchy headline or (better) a strong sales benefit about this process, a product shot, and some body copy, and some copy to get readers and viewers engaged enough to link to your Web site or call your sales rep.

This is how most companies produce advertising today, with variable results. For many advertisers, it’s not working as well as it used to because prospects aren’t paying attention anymore—i.e., they’re not reading print trade publications nearly as often. Not when they can Google the keywords describing your product and compare and evaluate pages of factual detail on virtually all available solutions to their corrosion problems.

Benefits Content Based Social Media Promotion:

Once you develop the content, the best use for online and social media for lead generation is to use this content as a token of exchange for attracting the attention of the prospects in your market who are using online and social media, and to draw them closer to the point where they will contact your company and become prospects.