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Social Networking for Business: How Is It Different?


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The difference between B2B and B2C online community are examined in this presentation by Vanessa DiMauro. Most models in the media are focused on B2C communities but there are different goals, returns and objectives in B2B communities. Best practices are discussed on B2B community.

Published in: Business, Technology

Social Networking for Business: How Is It Different?

  1. 1. The difference between B2B and B2C community Vanessa DiMauro CEO Leader Networks v
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>What are the main differences between consumer and business-focused communities? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the critical success factors for a professional network? </li></ul><ul><li>What business benefits should (or shouldn’t) you expect? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Three general community models B2B B2C Hybrid Select, narrow target audience Acceptance criteria Protected dialog Managed topical agenda Sponsor supported and sometimes member fees Open call, all interested Member directed Public forum Big bang Ad generated support Tiered membership Consensus/Trend driven Public forum w/ private area Thought leadership (responsive) Hybrid Revenues
  4. 4. B2C and B2B community overview <ul><li>B2C </li></ul><ul><li>Large in number </li></ul><ul><li>Users share an experience </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on low-touch services </li></ul><ul><li>Grows by mass adoption </li></ul><ul><li>Forums, ratings and self-serve offering </li></ul><ul><li>Typically quick to scale but users have weak ties </li></ul><ul><li>Vague mission: it is interpretive </li></ul><ul><li>B2B </li></ul><ul><li>Number can vary </li></ul><ul><li>Members share a purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on high-touch services </li></ul><ul><li>Grows by word of mouth trust </li></ul><ul><li>Programmatic membership offering </li></ul><ul><li>Typically slow to scale but members have stronger ties </li></ul><ul><li>Strong stated mission that is visibly embraced </li></ul>
  5. 5. Audience differences <ul><li>B2C: Target general public – any and all </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SEO, advertising and blogger outreach drives traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ accept” (celebrate!) all who join </li></ul></ul><ul><li>B2B: Target highly defined memberships by business process or solution focus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Invitations and WOM drives traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google tracking and SEO non-operational in private (gated) communities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop clear membership guidelines and adhere to them strictly to yield credibility </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Design differences <ul><li>B2B must offer a more intuitive and simplified tool set than B2C communities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumers are more agile users than business users. B2B users are more focused on solving problems and are less tolerant than consumers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make no assumptions about web 2.0 usage… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ basic” things like hover links are best explained or made explicit through helper text </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>simpler design... if a professional can’t use the community while having the phone ring and conducting a conversation in his office it is too difficult. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Information/ content differences <ul><li>B2B communities generally must offer less information.  The community needs to be the concierge of interactions and information for the members.  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Neiman Marcus Model” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information must be connected with purpose – solve a business problem or support a business process.  </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They are too busy for innate curiosity so each content piece must be useful, usable and engaging </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Exclusive information and WOM is well read </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid marketing slicks and language. Plain speak with a quirky or interesting POV. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Differences in interactions <ul><li>The goals for B2C and B2B are different. Exclusivity or attracting the “right” member is the key in professional networks. Professional groups need to be treated and engaged differently than consumers. </li></ul><ul><li>Protect and support your key members </li></ul><ul><li>Identify and design reasons for interactions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>they are too busy to connect for connection sake.  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Support different types of collaboration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborate and evaporate model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Longer standing collaboration (working) groups </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Create ways for members to take ownership over the community </li></ul><ul><li>Create safety in exposure – professionals are (generally) better at solving problems than asking for help. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Technology <ul><li>There are more similarities than differences with B2B and B2C communities. The nuances are in deployment. </li></ul><ul><li>Key question: build, buy or assemble? </li></ul><ul><li>Technology choices tend to be similar to consumer communities with password (LLDAP) authentication </li></ul><ul><li>Typically a CMS system + forum software and web 2.0 components OR </li></ul><ul><li>Community in a box solution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Server/Hive/Jive are examples </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hosted or in-house options </li></ul><ul><li>.net or java platform </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Costs can range from open source to $200K per year </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. B2B Marketing <ul><li>Member-Generated Content </li></ul><ul><li>Profiles / home pages </li></ul><ul><li>Endorsements and Reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews and high-value content creation </li></ul><ul><li>Requests for assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Member-To-Member Interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Professional links </li></ul><ul><li>Professional networks </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion Forums </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs, Wikis and social media entries </li></ul><ul><li>Phone calls </li></ul><ul><li>Events </li></ul><ul><li>Guest events </li></ul><ul><li>Expert Seminars </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual meetings / Trade Shows </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer / Leader programs </li></ul><ul><li>Polls / surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Driving Participation: Discussion group management and facilitation. (Only 10% of membership will participate in discussion groups) </li></ul><ul><li>Driving Conversion : All other site interaction. IE: polls / surveys, answering specific questions, rating content, participating in events…etc </li></ul>
  11. 11. B2B = Business Benefits <ul><li>Increase: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participation … of current and prospective clients </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Membership … expanding our reach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More clients represented </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Happy paying sponsors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Press and analysts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Value … for all of our constituents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Client retention </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Connections </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reputation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ease of use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Save and make money and value creation </li></ul>
  12. 12. B2B community business model in action Member has an idea Member seeks advice Member evaluates options Member expands network Member aligns with brand Goes to discussions Uses answers features Requests a review, participates in buying experience, purchases additional services Showcases thought leadership in profile, subscription renewal create value get benefit
  13. 13. Organizational Integration <ul><li>Leveraging what you learn </li></ul><ul><li>Use your knowledge assets widely </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sales </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Customer Service </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Product Development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research & Development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Competitive Intelligence </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Critical success factors <ul><li>Demonstrate high integrity and transparency at all times </li></ul><ul><li>Fix the rules of engagement and do not change them </li></ul><ul><li>Create rich member care programs </li></ul><ul><li>Trust and support UGC </li></ul><ul><li>Solve their professional needs and even the busiest exec will use the network </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Sum Of The Parts <ul><li>The combination of strong feature sets and a comprehensive membership support program can create a trusted, vibrant community engaging in deep professional collaboration world-wide. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The members will solve problems together, share information with each other and make plans to connect in person using the network. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The members will trust the network and view it as a true membership organization of great strategic value. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Thank you <ul><li>Vanessa DiMauro </li></ul><ul><li>CEO </li></ul><ul><li>Leader Networks </li></ul><ul><li>617 484 078 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>