Fellow social media pro Jay Baer, and author of The Now Revolution, is busting some social media myths with his latest post, Destroying the 7 Myths of B2B Social Media.
My favorite busted myth was “My Customers Don’t Use Social Media”. I hear that one a lot from businesspeople.
“That’s interesting,” I said to a business person once. “How do you know?”
“Well, because I don’t use it,” said this otherwise-intelligent business owner.
I wanted to say, “You drive a sedan. Does that mean all your customers buy sedans? You have two kids. Do all your customers have two kids?” But I didn’t, because I’m a nice guy.
However, had I known what Jay knows, I would have instead offered some pretty interesting statistics instead:
According to the recent Social Technographics® report from Forrrester, 81% of U.S. adults with an Internet connection use social media in some form or function. Further, last year’s Forrester study of B2B technology buyers found that they use social media nearly twice as much as U.S. adults overall.
In other words, if 67% of US homes have broadband access,, 81% of them are on a social network, or 54.27% of people with broadband access are on a social network.
That’s half your customers, half your vendors, half your competitors. And if social media is so cheap to use, and your competitors are already on there, they’re reaching your vendors and your customers more efficiently, more frequently, and more effectively than you are.
Don’t assume that just because you don’t use social media means that the rest of your customers are waiting to join social networks until you do. Just because you do or don’t do something doesn’t mean your customers will follow suit.
If you want more proof, Jay recommended that you take your customer email list, and see which of them are active on different social media accounts by using Flowtown or Gist.
Another way to see whether your customers are using social media is to do the following:
- Create a new Gmail account with your company name or your name. (You should do this if you’re trying Flowtown or Gist too.)
- Upload your entire customer list to Gmail. (Don’t worry, your original is still safe.) Merge any duplicates.
- Create a Twitter account (Twitter.com) or LinkedIn account.
- You’ll be prompted to import your email list to see which of your contacts are on that network. Follow those instructions and connect your Gmail account.
- Start connecting with/following anyone in your list.
Those are the people who are using Twitter and LinkedIn. My guess is that at least 25% of your list will be found on those two networks, and possibly more.
So why aren’t you communicating with your customers on this channel? It’s cheaper than any advertising or trade shows. It’s more effective than traditional marketing. It targets your audience better than direct mail. It’s new enough that people are still paying attention to it. And it’s got enough acceptance that it’s not going away.
Basically, if you think your customers don’t use this because you don’t like it, you’re making a big mistake. Social media is not going to go away, and it’s only going to get bigger. People said the same thing about the Internet, computers in the workplace, fax machines, and telephones. But newer, more technologically-daring companies are willing to try these things, and they’re going to leave you in the dust.