After a promising start a decade ago, social media has long been stuck in a rut of diminished expectations and attention. Social was originally expected to function as the omnipresent lens through which companies could understand and engage their buyers. But, instead — during an age of increasingly revenue-obsessed marketers – social media became regarded as al channel with a lack of meaningful metrics and impactful ROI.

The problem was never social; the context, technology, and expectations weren’t right for it to succeed.  Fast forward to the present and dramatic changes in B2B buyers’ behavior have created more favorable circumstances for success with social media in B2B. Some key takeaways from our research include:

  • B2B social has evolved, but outdated viewpoints are holding it back. Marketers often see social as a table-stakes tactic for promotional content that lacks a way to quantify a connection to revenue. Others believe social flat out doesn’t suit B2B buyers.
  • The metrics social offers are more than “vanity.” Customer-obsessed marketers are beginning to realize that follows, shares, and other forms of social engagement are valuable signs of prospect intent and contribute to their overall revenue story.
  • Social success stems from listening more and selling less. B2B marketers need to invest the time to actively listen to what buyers are telling you — about themselves and their companies. Only then can you hope to engage with the empathy and authenticity they demand.

We spoke to more than two dozen social solution providers and B2B marketing practitioners to get their perspective on why social fell short of original expectations, the current status of social, and where they predict it will go from here. To learn more about our conversations and our recommendations on how to develop your own social best practices check out my report “Hitting The Restart Button On Social Media.”