Social media is a vital element of any B2B marketing strategy—especially given the need to build relationships over the course of long, complex sales cycles. See how B2B companies are demonstrating the value of social media and get answers to some of the key questions B2B marketers may have as they build programs to capitalize on that value.
Source: Social Media Today, “Five Awesome B2B Social Media Statistics” by Chad WiebesickAugust 25, 2011
A 3D Game – More than 20,000 network engineers learned as they played a 3D game, wherein they “defended the network” using the ASR. (Research shows that 17% to 18% of IT professionals play games online every day.) Top scorers went on to a championship round with the winner bagging $10,000 plus a router.“If they’re playing games, that’s how they want to engage and that’s who they are,” Brill said. “How do we make that applicable to what they do at work?”Results:9,000 people attended the social media product launch event – 90 times more attendees than in the pastSaved 42,000 gallons of gasNearly three times as many press articles as with traditional outreach methodsMore than 1,000 blog posts and 40 million online impressionsA Leading Lights award for Best MarketingOne-sixth the cost of a traditional launch
2.5 million-membersSCN gets about 1.5 million unique visitors per month and as many as 6,000 posts a day, posted to more than 350 discussion forums.5,000 bloggers…Only about 2% of the community’s members work for SAP.Building and maintaining a healthy community on the scale of the SCN is expensive, so there is unavoidable pressure to demonstrate value to management. "One of our KPI’s is driving activity to webinars and that turns into real pipeline opportunity dollars traceable back to activity in the community," says Rodgers. In effect, the community acts like a media channel, supporting other marketing efforts and ultimately, top-line sales.SAP set up an online store called SAP EcoHub that started within the community and is now an increasing channel that drives real leads and revenue.
Shoretel or Avaya? Time for a new phone system very soon.” In this case the nurturing process was a mere 13 days. It was about paying attention…this buyer was already well into “the funnel.” Avaya simply responded to exactly the right person at exactly the right time.
One reason we know about these success stories is because they are extraordinary. Strategy and flawless execution are important, but so is serendipity. You can’t simply set up a Twitter monitoring program and expect to score a quarter million dollar sale two weeks later. On the other hand, serendipity needs a venue—and a trigger. If you’re not there…it won’t happen.
Quote from the Foreword to “Social Marketing to the Business Customer” by Paul Gillin and Eric SchwartzmanKaren says “ B2B relationships are about being helpful…the best marketing is the kind that helps people to be successful.”
This includes blogging, publishing websites, video, audio/music, and articles or stories.
Identify the best networks for your business and go where your audience is already spending time.
As noted a few minutes ago, 86% of business technology buyers use social media during work. But which ones?Others that aren’t even listed here may be even more relevant to your audience: SlideShare, Scribd, user forums, communities, etc.
HOW B2B buyers use social media (at least while they’re working) may be different…keeping in mind that the same people who are B2B buyers in their professional roles are also B2C buyers in their personal lives.Corporate blogs show the most action: 1/3 contacted a tech vendor for more information after visiting a blog. 1/5 visited a recommended web site for technology information after going on Facebook.
The “Forrester Q1 2011 U.S. & European B2B Social Technographics Online Survey for Business Technology Buyers,” by Forrester senior analyst Kim Celestre points up some misalignment between where marketers are spending the most time and money…and where tech buyers are spending the most time. Buyers are using other social networks, such as user forums and communities (professional social sites not including LinkedIn or FB) to make purchase decisions…which are more difficult for marketers to participate in.This just goes to show that you need to understand YOUR customers and prospects and respond accordingly: As Kim Celestre, Forrester analyst and author of the Social Technographics report said in an interview with B2B magazine:Marketers need to understand customer social behaviors. We found that 86% of business technology buyers use social media during work. Business technology buyers are very social in how they interact with peers and go to online sources to get information. So knowing that and diving deeper to get an understanding of customer preferences will help the technology marketer start getting really strategic.It will be interesting to see what recent changes in Facebook mean for marketers as well as the roll-out of Google Plus for businesses…
Respondents in the BtoB survey said social sites are useful overall in supporting branding efforts, although different channels are considered to have their own unique strengths. LinkedIn, for example, was cited primarily for supporting lead generation, Facebook was considered strong in promoting products and events, and Twitter was noted for its website traffic-building qualities.Have to weigh costs, benefits of investing in forums and communities, versus using a platform that is already built. So how do you know which networks are right for your business? Well, that depends on your audience…and where they are already spending their time. Which brings us to…
SiriusDecisions blog post:In our study of senior-level buying habits, we wanted to know where the typical CXO (e.g. CEO, CFO, CIO) goes to get educated during a purchasing decision he/she is involved in. Here are the primary sources:25 percent use the Internet22 percent leverage an external peer22 percent rely on internal colleagues20 percent utilize an industry analyst11 percent join social media communitiesBottom line: By the time salespeople are knocking on the door at “mahogany row,” that CXO they are calling on has done a good deal of research online; in fact, these leaders have probably already begun to build not only a vision of what their needs are, but also what the possible solution looks like.
And of those who do register, the majority will not provide a correct phone number. (MarketingSherpa)So you have to engage, nurture and manage contacts in different ways…“Sales cannot step in and educate your audience until the audience is willing to hear from sales,” says my colleague Eric Wittlake, senior media director at Babcock & Jenkins. “Based on these figures, somewhere between 98% and 99.8% don’t want to hear from sales even though they’re interested in your information. You need to let the content do the selling.”
Go where they are and provide the valuable information they’re looking for.
Monitor the channels where your audience spends time and look for opportunities to engage.
Janrain, for example, enables you to have visitors sign in via their preferred social network…or even salesforce…and have their activity tracked and added to a single, integrated data record.
In a #b2bchat one of the participants touted the value of social media for content registration: they enable users to register for webinars and white papers through Facebook & Twitter, and 5-10% of registrations come from SM. (no twitter handle in the recap)
Integrate social media into your marketing mix…not instead of but in addition to email and other outbound tactics.And, according to SiriusDecisions, following up with social touches can ultimately lift response by 20-30%.
“No matter what business you are in, buyers are constantly seeking information to either grow their revenue, reduce their costs or eliminate risks. They are not waiting for just the right campaign to come along and solve all their problems with an offer they can’t refuse.”Blogs and relevant user communities are popular and influential because of peers…and CONTENT. The awesome Ann Handley did a whole webinar on content earlier in this series, so I won’t go into too much detail on content here…except to show how content fits into your B2B social media strategy.
Social media, content, and the B2B Buyer’s JourneyIdentify goals and objectives…don’t expect social media to address all of them at once or in the same way.All social content needs to be created with two thoughts in mind. Does this show a prospect how their business need can be solved, and would they be willing to share this with other connections online? (Jeffrey L. Cohen, Social Media B2B)
Identifying a need or problem.
Relevant, engaging content drawing attention to a problem or need…Then making it easy to share…email, social networks, embed it in your own site or blog…or even watch it with your friends or colleagues in a Google+ Hangout!
Identifying a solution.
Making a short list of vendors and moving toward a decision.
Making a short list of vendors and moving toward a decision.
At many companies insisting on ROI is code for fear. I want to know why the CFO holds social networking to a different standard than other things the company does like give BlackBerrys to salespeople. I've asked hundreds of management teams to show me the ROI calculations on salespeople's' Blackberry provision and zero do it. So why hold another form of communication to a different standard?
Now this is real crowd pleaser at conferences or book signings…
Flowtown even made a pretty awesome infographic out of it…
You need metrics you can track and act on.
In order to measure success, you have to define what success looks like…and identify metrics for success
This just begins to scratch the surface: You could spend an entire 60-minute webinar talking about ROI and social media metrics. Whole books have been written about it! To dig a little deeper, I recommend the book Social Marketing to the Business Customer by Paul Gillin and Eric Schwartzman. Ultimately, the R in ROI is about money…but as Paul and Eric write in their book…with the right data, you can often correlate softer metrics such as awareness and sentiment to hard outcomes such as increased sales.Is your audience responding? How much time do they spend on your site or with your content?Do they click through to the next level?Does a prospect that engages with your content eventually buy something?Would they recommend your product or service to a colleague?
The Value of Social Media in B2B
The Value ofSocial Media in B2B
A Compelling Case for B2B Social Media • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads/month than those who don’t.1 • 41% of B2B companies are acquiring customers through Facebook.2 • Social media helps B2B marketers improve search results.3 1 Hubspot, State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Report, 2010 2 Hubspot, State of Inbound Marketing Report, 2011 3 BtoB Magazine, July 2010 2
Yes...and No. “B2B relationships are fundamentally not about companies but about people.” — Karen Quintos, Sr. VP and CMO, Dell Inc. 8
Business People Are Still People. 86% of business technology buyers use social media during work. Source: Forrester 2011 B2B Social Technographics Report 9
And They Don’t Just Sit on the Sidelines. 32% of business technology decision makers are content creators. Source: Forrester 2011 B2B Social Technographics Report 10
Key Differences in B2B • Longer, more complex buying cycle The average sales cycle has increased 22% over the past 5 years due to more decision makers involved in the buying process.1 • Multiple stakeholders The higher the price tag, the more people are involved in the purchase decision. • Relationships are critical Professional reputations are at stake; buyers need to trust you. 1 SiriusDecisions 11
Where Should You Be? • Identify the best networks for your business 12
Which Social Networks Do IT Buyers Use? 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% Professional Personal 30% 20% 10% 0% LinkedIn Facebook Twitter YouTube Source: 2010 and Fall 2011 Social Media At Work Studies, UBM TechWeb 13
How IT buyers Use Social Networking Sites59% To learn about new products, services 47% To seek advice from peers about technology purchases42% To learn about new companies/brands Source: 2010 and Fall 2011 Social Media At Work Studies, UBM TechWeb 14
But buyers and marketersaren’t always on the same page… 15
Top Social Networks for B2B Buyers 5% 9% 16% Forums 49% Communities Blogs LinkedIn Facebook 28% Twitter 30%Source: Forrester 2011 B2B Social Technographics Report 16
Top Networks for B2B Marketers 7% 13% 26% LinkedIn Facebook Blogs 14% Communities Twitter YouTube 20% 19%Source: Emerging Trends in B-to-B Social Media Marketing, Insights from the Field, BtoB Magazine 17
Who Are Your Influencers? • Find your tribe…and go where they go. 18
What Are the Secret Ingredients? • Relevant content • Trusted relationships 33
“No matter what business you are in, buyersare constantly seeking information…. They arenot waiting for just the right campaign tocome along and solve all their problemswith an offer they can’t refuse.” —Michael Brenner, Sr. Director, Global Integrated Marketing at SAP 34
But seriously…When your clients or boss askabout the ROI of social media,what are you going to say? 47
Start with Strategy: Goals & Objectives Awareness: Increase number of unique visitors by 50% Lead generation: Increase webinar registrations by 40% Sales: Increase channel sales by 30% Customer support: Reduce call center costs by 20% 48
Metrics: Converting Followers to Customers Contract renewals Page views $ Up-sell Referring URLs Cross-sell Inbound links Unique visitors Loyalty Awareness FollowersCustomer support Tweets, RTs and @repliesCommunity Likes, +1s, shares, embeds Social bookmarks $ Sales Lead Gen Downloads Share of voice Registrations Sentiment Subscriptions Influence 49