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Social Media as a B2B Marketing Tool

social media.jpgWith the popularity of social media sites like Twitter and Flickr, it's no surprise that B2B marketers are starting to reconsider social media tools for their marketing strategies. Overall, B2B marketers have not fully jumped on the social media bandwagon, it seems however, that the tide may be about to change.

Back in June, Jon Miller of Marketo published What's Wrong with Social Media for B2B Marketing on SearchEngineLand. com. In his article, Miller argues that to effectively use social media, you need to be marketing trendy or popular products or concepts that will motivate users to interact with your site. And while B2B marketing can incorporate some social media practices - especially for traffic generation, brand awareness, and direct selling - the relative straight-forward nature of B2B marketing topics limits user interaction.

Lately however, it seems that more and more B2B marketers are realizing the benefits of using social media and are trying to implement social media on their websites and in their marketing campaigns. Enterprise marketers are starting to offer more live and virtual events, bookmarking and tagging options, and Web 2.0 applications that let their users respond to, comment on, and sometimes even create their own content.

Have you begun implementing social media in your marketing practices? Are you interested in learning more about how you can use social media to enhance your B2B marketing campaigns? I've found a few resources that may help you get started. Feel free to start participating yourself and leave a comment - after all, we can only make social media a B2B marketing reality if we're all ready to take action and interact with marketing campaigns.

Social Media: Where Should BtoB Marketers Start?, is a free archived webinar that features Vice President, Principal Analyst Laura Ramos of Forrester Research and Rob Solomon, CEO and Founder of Bulldog Solutions.

Deciphering Social Media is a free TeleBriefing in which Anil Dash, chief evangelist of Six Apart, and Chris Howard, VP and Service Director of Burton Group's Executive Advisory Program, join Principal Analyst Mike Gotta for a lively discussion on the challenges and benefits social media presents to the enterprise.

You can also check out Koka Sexton's Super List of 50 Social Media Links if you want to learn more about social media in general.



Although it is much harder to leverage social media for B2B vs. B2C, it's certainly possible.

We're a B2B company and have had a fair amount of success connecting to portions of our target audience and generating traffic/leads via social media sites like StumbleUpon, digg, and Facebook.

I'm not sure I'd agree that "the relative straight-forward nature of B2B marketing topics limits user interaction." Ultimately marketers are human just like everybody else (I hope this statement doesn't unleash a barrage of comments to the contrary) and are looking for insight into solving their very real problems. It's true that some social media tactics from the BtoC space might be harder to carry off--we're not going to ask our community of sales and marketing professionals to create their own versions of Shakira videos, for instance--but certainly the opportunity for interaction is as strong in BtoB as anywhere else. Interesting post and a good selection of resources, I hope your readers take advantage.

Barry –

The main point of my article was to suggest that people tend to link to, comment on, and vote for posts that are ABOUT social media much more than they link to posts about more traditional B2B topics such as internet security appliances or ceramic ball bearing friction coefficients. (This comment is a perfect example!)

As I wrote in the article, "I’m not saying that social media doesn’t play a role in B2B marketing, since it clearly has a big role to play in driving traffic, building thought leadership, and facilitating word of mouth referrals.” But what it does mean that B2B marketers need to think about the realities of how social media works to take the best advantage of it. Regardless of what you sell, if you want to be successful with social media, you need to create content that is unique and compelling, controversial and dramatic.

Finally, as fellow bloggers in this space, we and all B2B bloggers should band together to find ways to link to and promote each other’s content (even content that is NOT about social media). That way we can get around the inherent bias in social media.

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