Diving Deeper into B2B Social Media Strategies

Despite the fact that the majority of marketing executives surveyed by Accenture acknowledged social media as vital to their companies’ business, only eight percent of B2B companies in the US are extensively leveraging social media.

All right the rest of you… what’s the hold up?

Surely most of your regulation concerns have been answered, and you have probably seen your competition engaging your potential customers. What are you waiting for? Does your company have a social media strategy in place? Have you tried and failed in the past? Is it budget? Wait, you didn’t immediately think of Facebook and Twitter when you read the title of this post, did you?

In 2009, Chempetitive Group offered a webinar titled Social Media for the Life Sciences. We showed examples of how life science companies were getting their feet wet with social media and experimenting with different opportunities. Our closing advice was that if your company is doing nothing at all, make sure you are at least monitoring the conversation. Well, the times have changed. You need to be doing much, much more.

What hasn’t changed is our opening comment, which is that social media is now about what the Internet has always been about: listening and engaging.

Two years later, Dell and Forrester Consulting supported our 2009 message when they put out the study: Listening and Engaging in the Digital Marketing Age. It is packed with information, and their findings are spot on:

Social Media Initiatives have high corporate value.
There is opportunity to maximize business returns.
Industries utilize unique approaches.
Companies are increasing investment.
Companies are creating deeper engagements.

That last finding is worth expanding:

Companies are moving beyond simply measuring and monitoring customer conversations. 64% of respondents indicate that they are incorporating customer ideas into process or product improvements and other companies are creating even deeper engagements through custom communities and incentive programs.

How is your company responding to customer feedback?

When talking about social media, two words that you don’t need to use are push and broadcast. The people that you are communicating to must have an active role in the dialogue or your business is doing nothing more than traditional advertising.

One strategy is to ask questions that you don’t know the answer to. Surveying your audience or adding large comment fields to forms will give your business the insight from your visitors and the opportunity to prioritize and respond when appropriate.

Another approach is to transform your customer feedback into a sales opportunity. We have mentioned Kampyle once this week, so you are already aware that we are big fans of their feedback analytics.

Finally, remember that social media can be used in almost every step of the buying cycle. Whether you are generating, nurturing, or scoring leads, your company should be consistent with your approach and facilitate communication throughout the process.

Thought-provoking Links

Designing Social Interfaces
Accenture: Making Social Media Pay
Dell & Forrester Consulting: Listening And Engaging In The Digital Marketing Age
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