Notes on Social From the QuickTrip Pump

By Sander Biehn | Nov 23, 2013

Sander Biehn is founder and CEO of Thought Horizon, LLC. After a successful career in sales at AT&T, he founded his company in 2013 helping organizations to build, manage and succeed using social selling.

Standing at the QuickTrip yesterday pumping gas, I had an out of body experience. I was looking at an advertisement for the latest sugary coffee concoction that I could buy inside the convenience store. The sign read “mmmm” or something along those lines. The only other thing printed on the ad were the Twitter and Facebook icons. Was this an ad for coffee at the QT or social media? It was hard to tell.

Suddenly I was floating high above the QT and soaring toward a tall building where advertisers were discussing the merits of putting the Twitter and Facebook logos on the selfsame ad. “It couldn’t hurt,” says a man in a nice suit. A younger colleague cocks her head and stares at the coffee ad.

Reminding the consumer that brands are on social media has become a national obsession. While it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that your brand is on ‘social’, it seems that businesses are terrified of not being associated with a social media presence. But just standing in a huge crowd doesn’t warrant any attention.  Neither does just being part of the social media movement.

B2B marketers can learn a lot from B2C on this account. I think this obsession of just being associated with social is one practice that is  a waste of space. More so than B2C, B2B is about relevance and specialization for a targeted audience. Making a splash in a big pool is much more difficult than in a small one. While creating viral content is everyone’s goal, what is so bad about turning one head. Especially if that one head holds the purse strings on a multi-million dollar B2B opportunity.  The lesson? Being targeted and specific is the key to B2B social selling success.

Hard core marketing and  advertising is about the number of impressions a brand can get. In the B2B world I suppose this holds true, since B2B buyers are (gasp!) people too. However, I think that assuming a buyer who is employed at a large company to make important strategic purchases will use the same process and faculties to choose a software vendor as  she does to decide what soft drink to buy with lunch is far fetched.

Certainly potential vendors will need to be known to her, but what better way to create market awareness than by also including what is unique about your product or service. If you ask the buyer, she is probably much more impressed by a blog post that helps her with her business challenges and shows up on her favorite social media channels, than by seeing a logo on an ad on LinkedIn. No doubt there is a place for both. But I believe spending money on appearing intelligent is always the best bet in B2B.

As I floated back to the QuickTrip and  topped off my tank with gas. I decided it was time for a coffee. I grabbed a Pumpkin Latte and then headed off.  I never got around to checking out the QT’s social presence, but the coffee wasn’t bad at all.

Have you noticed a proliferation of ‘social for social sake’? What else can B2B marketers and sales learn from the good and bad in B2C social realms?

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