There’s all this buzz about using Web 2.0 technologies and social media marketing. Now more than ever, since these tactics are less expensive than traditional marketing campaigns. I’m sure you’re hearing about it. But in a B2B world there is confusion around the relevance of social media . Should we care? Should we care enough to think about how we can leverage social media in our marketing mix? So I went looking for information that could help make a business case for social media in general. Here’s what I found:Video -A recent survey conducted by DoubleClick found a high percentage of audiences interact with video ads, via mouseovers, use of the video control buttons etc. Viewers click the”play” button in video ads twice as often as they click traditional image ads. In addition, click-through rates are four to five times higher than with traditional text or image ads. Viewers actually watch video ads. On average, video ads play two-thirds of the way through. Ok. Video gets attention. YouTube -YouTube consistently rates in the top 5 of all web sites with close to 80 million visitors per month. A 2008 Bear Stearns research report notes that the 25-54 age group viewed 63% of YouTube videos; People under 25 accounted for 27% of video viewing. Other research indicates that YouTube’s gender ratio is approximately 60/40 male/female.Twitter -- Twitter’s growth rate in 2008 was 752%, for a total of 4.43 million unique visitors in December. Facebook - With 150 million users, half of them using Facebook everyday, if Facebook were a country it would be the eighth most populated in the world; ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria. hhhmmmm-Millions of people online, talking to each other-. Is it possible that a segment of this population matches your target customer profile? Maybe.85% Of social tools users believe that companies should interact with their customers via social tools (Source: Cone -2008 Business in Social Media Study)- And they want to hear from companies like yours.And then there’s these statistics I just received today from a local consulting firm:- 1% increase in word of mouth advocacy equates to $16M extra sales for the average company -- 1% reduction in negative word of mouth for the average company results in $49M in additional sales -- Social media tools such as RSS feeds, podcasts, blogs, and video on demand have reached over 50% penetration in B2B usage -- Social media is the second most utilized resource for accessing information relating to purchasing decisions for IT Decision makers These statistics look like reason to care to me. I think the challenge is to determine how to leverage the plethora of social media tools to effectively reach your specific target audience. Next week I will be attending the Cisco Partner Velocity event in Miami. I hope to come back with information that will make social media marketing more tangible and actionable for Cisco partners. What I do know is that the rules are different with social media versus traditional marketing. Things are a bit more democratic in the Web 2.0 world. Participants want to be respected and engaged in two-way discussions. It’s about the relationship and not necessarily about getting the lead. Things like expecting disclosure of personal contact information to access a white paper or other information offered as part of a marketing campaign are becoming a thing of the past. For traditional marketers, this is a 180-degree change. While I am at Cisco Partner Velocity next week, take a look at this example:Search for the phrase”email marketing metrics” on Google and you’ll find nearly 400,000 hits plus dozens of paid advertisements. This is a hot search phrase because people who want to manage an email marketing program for their organization often search for important email marketing benchmarks (things like click-through rates and the best days to begin campaigns).MailerMailer, a small company based in Maryland, controls the number one position on Google for this popular search phrase. MailerMailer sells an online tool that makes it easy to create, send, and track email campaigns. The tool is used by companies of all shapes, sizes and industries. This small company is Number 1 because of its free “Email Marketing Metrics Report”. The information in this report would probably cost thousands of dollars if it were developed by a consulting firm.Let me net it out -- the number one spot for an important search term was garnered by a company that creates some very valuable information and offers it to anyone for free.Metrics from the MailerMailer “Email Marketing Metrics Report” are quoted all over the Web in places like eMarketer, Marketing Sherpa, ad agencies, bloggers, reporters, analysts and others who use it for data in their stories and reports. According to MailerMailer, there are over 500 blogs pointing to the data. MailerMailer initially required an email address in order to download the report. They had some initial interest, but when they removed the registration requirement, they found that twenty times the number of people were downloading it.Having one of the most popular and most referenced sources of email marketing data is a huge marketing asset to a company that sells an email campaign tracking tool. It stands to reason that when people read about email marketing metrics in a report from MailerMailer, they naturally consider purchasing MailerMailer products and services to help them with their email marketing programs.Think about that. While you’re thinking and because most of you use email as a marketing vehicle, download the “œEmail Marketing Metrics Report” . It can help you be more effective with your email campaigns. Lastly, I’m interested in hearing what your thoughts are on social media marketing. Do you use it? Do you want to use it? What are you struggling with? Post a comment and let me know.