B2B Social Media Marketing: Why should you start?

by Kate Brodock on 5 February 2009

Posted in: Business to Business

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Marketing Profs had a great post last week about the benefits of social media for B2B companies.  They focused primarily on the research advantages it offers, with the following highlights:

  • Conducting research to understand more about a prospect’s or client’s “buying desires.”
  • Finding decision makers for certain products and services.
  • Extracting names from a given community for lead generation.
  • Getting answers to questions, reaching out to other experts.
  • Finding joint-venture marketing partners and creating various “cooperative opportunities.”
  • Connecting with past customers, keeping them up-to-date.

The research capabilities that social media channels offer are great, without a doubt.  But I think there’s more potential that it can offer B2B companies, especially in the way of brand outreach and thought leadership.  A few ideas are below**:

Brand Outreach

  • People often congregate online based on common interests or professions.  Many of these people are, as you guessed, employed in their field and, if not in a decision-making position, are at least closer to the decision-maker than you may be.  Join in their conversation in a valuable way.
  • Sponsor groups or networks that offer a forum of exchange and engagement for people that might be in what you consider your “target company” (see above).
  • Rethink how you communicate with your clients.  Offer them a platform of 2-way conversation.

Thought Leadership

  • Provide valuable information that establishes your company as an innovate thinker in your industry.  The end goal is to position yourself as an industry leader.
  • You could post a blog on useful industry information, again providing timely and innovative content to your readers.  Kinaxis has done a good job at this with their blog, The 21st Century Supply Chain.
  • Develop a complete content production program with such things as eBooks, white papers, webcasts etc and utilize social media channels to disseminate your information.
  • Part of the idea of a content production plan is that the information that you’re outputting is ultimately connected to your brand in the eyes of the reader.

And of course, there’s good ole’ brand management and brand equity.

** This is not about broadcasting your brand.  Developing a concrete social media strategy is key for success!  Haphazard entry into the social media space usually ends up being ineffective at best, and detrimental at worst.

Can you think of anything other ways that social media can benefit B2B companies?

[Update] There’s a more robust follow-up to this post over on B2B Voices – “4 Great Reasons to Start a Social Media Program as a B2B

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  • http://twitter.com/hdbbstephen hdbbstephen on Twitter

    Using a blog and Twitter correctly can be a fantastic tool for creating a higher level of trust with your clients and your competitors. A recent survey showed that trust for corporate sites is very low, and a transparent, honest blog can remedy that for your company.

  • http://www.othersidegroup.com/adcomments Kate Brodock

    Great point! I would categorize that under brand management. I think your key word here too is “correctly.” I've seen it done quite well, and I've seen it done quite poorly, to the point where it further erodes brand image.

  • http://twitter.com/hdbbstephen hdbbstephen on Twitter

    Using a blog and Twitter correctly can be a fantastic tool for creating a higher level of trust with your clients and your competitors. A recent survey showed that trust for corporate sites is very low, and a transparent, honest blog can remedy that for your company.

  • http://www.katebrodock.com Kate Brodock

    Great point! I would categorize that under brand management. I think your key word here too is “correctly.” I've seen it done quite well, and I've seen it done quite poorly, to the point where it further erodes brand image.

  • http://blog.kinaxis.com Randy Littleson

    I was extremely pleased to see your recognition of the blog we've created at Kinaxis! And here I thought only my mom was reading it! :-)

    We've had a lot of people involved in this effort and our goal is to focus on providing value to our audience. We don't do this perfectly…yet, but that's our goal. We greatly appreciate you seeing the value in our efforts.

    Thanks.

  • http://www.avanta.co.uk/UK/meeting-rooms meeting rooms

    using twitter can prove to be a break through for small and medium size companies. I never knew about twitter until a couple of weeks ago and can tell you that the response has been great. Most people need that trust before buying any sort of ideas online. Those two platforms,blogging & twitting does it..!

  • http://www.othersidegroup.com/adcomments Kate Brodock

    No problem Randy. I think it's a great example not only of a successful B2B social media tactic, but also of a clear thought leadership strategy. Keep it up!

  • http://www.othersidegroup.com/adcomments Kate Brodock

    Great point! Trust is a large part of social media programs, and effectively gaining the trust of your audience. It's something that, while seemingly easy in theory, can be very difficult in practice.

  • http://blog.kinaxis.com Randy Littleson

    I was extremely pleased to see your recognition of the blog we've created at Kinaxis! And here I thought only my mom was reading it! :-)

    We've had a lot of people involved in this effort and our goal is to focus on providing value to our audience. We don't do this perfectly…yet, but that's our goal. We greatly appreciate you seeing the value in our efforts.

    Thanks.

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  • http://www.avanta.co.uk/UK/meeting-rooms meeting rooms

    using twitter can prove to be a break through for small and medium size companies. I never knew about twitter until a couple of weeks ago and can tell you that the response has been great. Most people need that trust before buying any sort of ideas online. Those two platforms,blogging & twitting does it..!

  • http://www.katebrodock.com Kate Brodock

    No problem Randy. I think it's a great example not only of a successful B2B social media tactic, but also of a clear thought leadership strategy. Keep it up!

  • http://www.katebrodock.com Kate Brodock

    Great point! Trust is a large part of social media programs, and effectively gaining the trust of your audience. It's something that, while seemingly easy in theory, can be very difficult in practice.

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    Social Media is really one of the best instrument in marketing…
    You will sure happy in the result if you will use social media properly..
    Social media is like a virus that cannot be stooped..

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