A date in B2B Marketing history...social networking sites
“Business networking has learned lessons from friendship websites such as Friendsreunited – and is rapidly becoming a major force in B2B marketing”
This opinion, carried six years ago, hinted at a new era for B2B marketing. Take a look at social networking’s remarkable evolution.
The early models created by so-called ‘friendship websites’ meant ideas and information could be shared, contacts made and nurtured, and everyone was set to gain. But it would have been hard to appreciate just how profound an effect they were going to have.
Fast forward to 2011 and it seems difficult to remember a time when campaigns weren’t supported by Twitter feeds, Facebook walls and LinkedIn discussions. One thing that does stand out when casting your eye over the aformentioned article from almost six years ago, however, is that these three social media giants do not feature. Their stronghold on both business and personal communications seems to have come about remarkably quickly. LinkedIn now boasts over 85 million members globally and both Twitter and Facebook have successfully beaten all but the most spirited B2B naysayers.
Interestingly, the word of warning cited back in 2005 as something that may serve to disrupt the benefits offered by social media still has relevance today: the cynics failing to grasp the value of ‘spending time on Facebook.’ Though they are now significantly fewer in number – or at least significantly less vocal than they once were – it is still clear to see that those slower on the uptake risk being left behind.
Social media may not be ideal for every company all the time but there is little doubt that the developments inspired by the early friendship sites are definitely here to stay.
Then: Facebook had 5.5 million users and was not considered suitable for B2B.
Now: Facebook boasts in excess of 500 million users, and there are plenty of B2B brands making up that number.