While there are still some B2B executives who dismiss social media as an effective tool for engaging key audiences, the truth is that many B2B companies have successfully embraced the interactive world of “Web 2.0”, adapting core tools and technologies to connect with prospects and customers in ways they could only dream of a few short years ago.
In fact, earlier this year Forrester Research reported that B2B buyers have very high social participation; this presentation on Slideshare (“Using Buyer Social Behavior to Boost B2B Social Media Success”) outlines their 4-step approach, as well as Forrester’s Social Technographics ladder, a segmentation slice of online users based on their likelihood to leverage and/or participate in social media in business decision making.
The conclusion is simple: “If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, it means you’re late.”
B2B social media touchpoint examples: Different approaches, common goals.
Social media touchpoints needn’t look like your teenage daughter’s MySpace page. Nor should they – but that doesn’t mean B2B marketers can’t make us laugh.
IBM (Consulting and Products) The now-famous “Art of the Sale Series” shows the fun side of IBM in their videos, a take-off on “The Office.”
Accenture (Consulting) Global consulting firm Accenture has entered the social media world with several employee-written blogs, including a Consulting Analyst Video Blog, along with other tools and channels focused on sectors, clients, prospective employees, and others.
- Accenture Blogs
- Accenture’s Blog for Green IT
- An Accenture Developer’s Journal
Kelly Services (Staffing) Kelly Services takes a slightly different approach. Although their client list is comprised of Fortune 500 companies, Kelly has focused social media efforts on improving the “product” (employees) with videos aimed at honing job interview skills by showing humorous videos of interviews going awry. The videos can be found on their website for job seekers called getajobthatdoesntsuck.com. Kelly can also be found on Facebook and YouTube.
Boomers = mainstream = safe for B2B
Now that popular social media tools Facebook and Twitter have been invaded by Baby Boomers, we can safely conclude that these sites are now “mainstream” and “safe” for even the most skeptical B2B marketers.
According to the post “Are Baby Boomers Killing Facebook and Twitter?”, Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, says:
“Boomers are the mainstream of the country now,” says Rainie. “When you attract a mainstream audience, you’re going to attract a lot more commercial interests. Boomers validate that this is a big market, and that this is a place where commercial interests can make money.”
Bottom Line: If you’re not in, you’re already late.
No matter your industry, if you’re in B2B (or B2C or Non-Profit, or…) and you are not yet leveraging some of these tools, then you’re late. But it’s not too late.
Though wildly successful at connecting people, businesses in general are still feeling their way through the options. Even though most businesses won’t see immediate sales, the ability to drive awareness and influence your audiences is high. From micro-blogging (e.g. Twitter) to You Tube, and Facebook to LinkedIn, the range of touchpoints is broad, and the ability measure influence and activity is high.
Which leaves us with one question: What is your social media strategy?