It’s time to rethink social channels as part of the B2B marketing mix.
I was pretty discouraged when the news broke about the breach of security at Facebook. Data continues to be the ultimate prize of social platforms — data that can be sold to the highest advertising bidder for the right price. The sharing of ideas and useful interaction is long over on many platforms today.
In case you missed it, Cambridge Analytica, a data and analytics firm that focuses on political communication, has been in the news for harvesting Facebook data from millions of user profiles during the most recent presidential election. As a result, information was being served up to specific segments of the database with customized headlines that the firm felt would influence or solidify opinion about certain candidates. Some pundits have even suggested it’s a form of social media censorship — just tell people what their profile data says they want to hear.
Mark Zuckerberg responded, saying, “This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” To me, this signals the end of a lot of things — first and foremost, the fact that the word “social” no longer describes any of the platforms at play today in digital marketing. But most importantly, it signals a loss of trust.
Manipulating Data To Create A Preferred Outcome
I have watched Twitter and Facebook closely as a tool for B2B social selling and I’m convinced now, more than ever, that the value for small and medium-size businesses is underwhelming. In a study we conducted in 2016 that focused on buyers and sellers of products and services, it was confirmed that less than 12% of the business buyers surveyed wanted to receive important product updates through social media.
While it might be perceived as a useful tool for news and education during the buyer journey, getting targeted and sold to via social channels was seen as the equivalent of telemarketing, which garnered a 1.2% rate of interest from respondents as their desired form of communications with sellers. Taking the next hot platform — be it mass advertising in the 50s, telemarketing in the 80s or social media in the 2010s — and targeting people with tactics, blatant or otherwise, is never in vogue.