Thank you for the opportunity to join this great conversation. I’m curious... how many of you are involved in B2B marketing? Cool. Let’s get started. Who the heck am I? WhizBangPowWow is my strategic marketing consultancy. I work across linear, digital and social media and I have a reputation for turning startup underdogs into wonderdogs… and also for helping established companies with strong brands but uncertain futures through their mid-life crisis. My work is primarily B2B, but recently I’ve dived a bit into B2C. To support my sleep-optional lifestyle, I also blog for Social Times. I have a statement on my Twitter profile…
That I have a Mr Ed tweet philosophy. You may recall the old show about the talking horse. I guess I’m showing my age. Anyway, the theme song of the show had the lyric, “Mr. Ed will never speak unless he has something to say.” I’ve updated and personalized that to...
My philosophy of Tweeting. This may not help my Klout score, but, somehow, it’s authentically me. And one of the core elements of a successful social media strategy is authenticity and transparency. So Klout be damned.
I want to quickly hit on some of the lessons I’ve learned and been able to put to work for my clients. Then, I’ll provide a look at what some B2B companies are doing on social media that’s been successful for them. Good B2B social media case studies are hard to come by; my cients all refused to allow me to use them as examples. I think many B2B companies are fear their ideas will be stolen. But I did manage to collect a handful and I think you’ll each have at least one actionable takeaway.
Yes, social media marketing should, as an end result, create sales. But there are other measures of ROI that need to come into play.
[Read slide] Many companies are uncertain whether digital media activities are the responsibility of marketing, sales, customer service, human resources or some other department — the answer is all of the above. Note that I said digital media, as some companies are still having this internal debate about their websites as well as their social media. To be successful, social media should be fully interleaved with your company’s total communications plan. This may require internal education and, sometimes, a change in corporate culture. If, as one outstanding marketer told me, Facebook may become the operating system of the Internet, brands cannot risk failing in the social media universe due to lack of strategic deployment.
#1 — Remember that you are not your Tweeps. This should be simple enough. Each of us — regardless of what we’re marketing — probably don’t match the profile of our own ideal customer. Great marketers know that the messages they deliver are intended for someone who is not them. The way we exchange personal information with business connections via tweets, Facebook wall postings and the like reveals personal information about near-strangers. The instant familiarity of social media may lead us to drop our guard and forget the differences between our own interests and the interests of our customers. I know this sounds a bit preachy, but I have to say it — we must focus our social media actions on our users — and their social media conversations — rather than make our organizations the center of attention.
[Read slide] It’s essential that the conversation on your brand’s social media be lead by your customers. Here are some tips; there are many more: Ask open-ended questions (basketball or hockey). Don’t just thank someone for the kind words on his post, ask follow-up questions that encourage him to post more and to have others to join in. Create internal policies about when to respond to complaints publicly or privately. Many of the software programs I cited earlier allow messages to assigned to different company departments depending on content. Be helpful, not ham-handed. Another way to look at this is to avoid posting just to fill a void.
To foster the conversation, you must keep fueling it with interesting content and conversation starters. You don’t want to get caught in a rut – for example, posting a conversation starter at 9:42am every day. Yes, it’s hard to keep fans / followers / friends / connections engaged and sometimes they’re awfully quiet. But you have to be there or they never will. And – if you did not already know - there are some great software packages to help you automate the process.
There are some frightening statistics about how so few websites truly help visitors accomplish what they came for. Too many of our websites are LetMeTellYous. We’ve got 15 years of research on website usability — personally, I’m obsessed with the research of the Nielson Norman Group — and there now some good resources on best practices for social media usability. If you are going to invest time and money in motivating leads to your website or Facebook page, make the experiences a positive as you can.
Website web forms are my current peeve. There is nothing more discouraging than a going to a company’s contact page and finding something like this. There is so much wrong with this form, I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry. All fields are mandatory — including a fax number. Don’t we think those with real interest can send us an e-mail — in their own words — that we can properly route?
The Old Spice Video that was a big hit on YouTube and everywhere else. You know that one. The agency that did it said the tipping points for the campaign were on Digg, Reddit and 4chan. Go figure. So discover the platforms your customers use to engage with each other - and build your social media presence there first. Facebook may be the place to start, but, then again, it might not.
You don’t sell maternity goods at a big and tall mens shop; nor do you need to post your every Foursquare checkin to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Use each platform for how it can best build a community for your brand. Those engaged in social media are often part of multiple communities. Saying the same thing over and over and over on different platforms risks turning people off.
Yes, Facebook has much to recommend it, but it’s not the only game in town.
There are B2B companies with solid Facebook presence. If you’ve been to other social media marketing workshops you may have seen Cisco used as a poster child for B2B. Note the inks to other social media platforms, nearly 130,000 people who like and a goodly amount of user contributed content… though not as great as, say, Buffalo Wild Wings, one of my favorites
Large numbers of Cisco employees have access to its corporate video production and publishing systems, with the overwhelming majority of posts for sharing information with distant co-workers, training and other useful business functions. Only a tiny percentage are “just for fun.” What does this internal social video network say about Cisco’s corporate culture? Or can credit be given to the impressive Cisco social intranet that provides the model for how external social media engagements should be conducted.
This is socialmedia.cisco.com — don’t worry about the URLs, I’ll publish these somewhere where everyone can grab them over the next few days. Here you can see a social “call to action” and streams of some of Cisco’s owned social media.
Here’s the lower part of that page. Note the Facebook likers to enhance social cred links to the other Cisco owned social media. But the best part for us is that they give it away, Both their public policy and internal guidelinesare right there right there to download. You cannot pretend to be transparent... Cisco is walking the walk.
Here’s a quick one, just for some mental sherbert.
This case study was provided to me by Affect Strategie, an agency that I think really gets social media. Their client, Regus provides virtual offices, meeting rooms, videoconferencing and business lounges in over 1000 locations in 450 cities in 75 countries. They have 200,000 clients a day worldwide. A trial project had both clear goals and a clear understanding of their target.
This video was posted to YouTube and ran on those little video screens in the back of taxi cabs. The characters in this video were also used on Facebook and the web to promote contest. Entrants sent details on their current work space and the winner got a free year at a Regus space.
This was a full-court press across multiple social media platforms. Even better is the integration with linear media.
Activity was carefully tracked to see where the action was and, where possbile, where leads and sales originated. You can see, not huge growth in social media, but
The overall results were rather impressive. Needless to say, Affect got the Regus account in NYC and several other cities, too. Can the success be completely attributed to social media. Probably not, but this approach enabled the data gathering to inform future initiatives that may be more focused.
Global crossing is a B2B telecoms company with over 5000 employees in over 48 countries. Over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies plus 700 carriers, mobile operators and ISPs are their customers.
This info was provided to me by Alterian — I reached out to some social media companies that are not here to bring in some additional voices. No endorsement is suggested. But this is good example of how brands can quickly appreciate the value of monitoring the social media universe.
And disseminating that information widely throughout the company.
What does Global Crossing’s social media head report?
Guy Carpenter is a global reinsurance intermediary. To them, effectively communicating thought leadership is key to client confidence and increased sales.
The touch points for people to identify as Advocates were banners on the Symantec website as well as offline events (such as postcards.) Once they identified themselves as Advocates, they were asked to create a review and opt in for to be a customer reference.
Results Identified Advocates 1610 (59% Advocacy) Reviews Created In 60 Days 494 (31% of Advocates willing to write a review) Advocates who opted to be a customer reference 30%+ Est. sales value from these references $257,500