B2B Social Media Newsroom Example: Scania

Note: I don’t like using the term “social media newsroom.”  All newsrooms should be social, but because it has become an industry term, I will use it in this post.

One of the big complaints I hear when discussing the topic of B2B companies and social media is “All of the examples people use are technology companies, of course they use social media.” Because of this common concern I like to use examples that are as industrial and non Internet technology focused as possible.  I will not be the 1,000th person to write on Cisco’s newsroom, instead I am going to examine the Scania Group’s social media newsroom.

scania-social-media-newsroom

Scania is a leading manufacturer of heavy trucks, buses and industrial engines. They are about as B2B as a company can get. In doing research I have found that they have one of the best B2B newsrooms I have seen.

It Starts With Content:
For B2B companies exploring the idea of a social media newsroom the first thing they have to determine if they have or can produce enough relevant content for the media and customers to justify the development of a newsroom. Content is clearly something that Scania has made a priority. You can tell that instantly, because they have relevant video headlining their newsroom page and 245 “real” product images accessible via a link or a Flickr widget. They have also created a categories and tagging system that help to organize their content. The only true content area that Scania falls short in is that of written content. The only written content on the site is traditional product releases. They have not included any white papers, case studies, or other written documents that could add additional value for a site visitor.

It Has To Look Good:
Whether a company wants to admit it or not, design matters.  Branding, design and user experience matter when you are creating a site that has the goal to provide information quickly to all relevant audiences.  How did Scania do this?

1. Scania aggregated their social content:

scania-social-links

2. Scania categorized and tagged its content:

scania-categories

3. Scania makes their information easy to find through search. For example they have a descriptive page title for the newsroom.

scania-seo

4. Scania set a priority by promoting a heavy truck as a main design element of the newsroom.

scania-p-series

What is the value of social media newsrooms?
Sure this looks cool, but should your organization do it? Think of a social media newsroom as an intermediate step in content marketing. The value lies in being able to aggregate information in one place that helps build search traffic while serving as a clearing house for information relevant to the media, customers, and employees. For social media newsrooms to have value you have to have more than news releases to post, you need other information such as images, video, and social links that provide an added layer of information and perspective about the organization.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Kipp

    Firstly thanks for bringing these B2B social media examples to my attention. A great resource. But I have to agree with you that this one is just a little light on substance, big on design. I can’t help wondering what the difference is between this and just a super-charged design for the PR page of the website. Sure, the links to Flickr and YouTube are great (and I didn’t get time to see if there is useful content on there) but I just got the sense that this was not helping Scania to get involved with conversations between buyers. They’ve designed a wonderfully rich page but there’s no one bringing links to other stuff out there. What about the Twitter feed? What about the articles, debates and blogs that talk about their industry in general? Surely Scania wants to be a part of this, instead of sitting alone in a beautifully designed ivory tower?
    Maybe the analogy I’m looking for is that this is a great big shiny eighteen-wheel but with no one to drive it.
    Keep the updates coming
    John
    (@basebot)

  2. says

    John,

    Thanks so much for your comment! I think Scania is off to a solid start, but needs to up the conversation level as well as content to really get the most out of the site.

    Kipp

  3. says

    Ditto commenters above on drawing attention to Scania’s SM newsroom. Beautiful visuals.

    Scania C-levels, please listen to Kipp on enlarging content and you’ll have one amazing newsroom!

  4. says

    Kipp, John,
    Thanks for commenting our Social Media Newsroom – interesting and fruitful comments! What you see today in the Scania Newsroom is our first step within Social Media. Our strategy has initially been to share and visualize content (yes we do have video/images on Youtube and Flickr with a surprisingly positive stat) – to drive traffic to our group website and to product- and campaign-websites – and to test the blogging platform.
    This first step alone do not support in getting involved with the buyers, neither a perfect satisfactory conversation with our important stakeholders. We are however supporting our brand online whilst sharing content. Thanks for positive design-feedback by the way!

    The next and important step to take is to actually get more “Social”, to add more content and stories, to identify and get involved with bloggers. Lots of areas to work on, you have highlightened some of them and I would like to ask you what concrete actions you would consider to be successful?

    Erica M Zandelin
    Manager, Internet Communications at Scania

  5. says

    Erica,

    Thank you so much for chiming in on this post! Scania is off to a great start! Here are a few of my “concrete” suggestions for you.

    *Include sales materials for sale team to download and allow comment to help generate feedback from customers.

    *Showcase more customer experiences: written case studies, testimonials, videos with customers, etc.

    *Focus on search add content that is focused on your key search terms as a way to build awareness with a new audience.

    *Add a live chat function to answer customer questions or media questions in real-time.

  6. says

    Kipp,

    first – howcome and where did you bump into our Newsroom?

    Secondly – thanks for quick and positive feedback – highly appreciated. I will add your suggestions to our wishlist for a quick evaluation, point at the possible positive outcome and to get colleagues to fully buy-in resources required.

    Do you by any chance have examples of global B2B companies who have actually been able to support – not only the brand – but also the business? I often get the question – “Ok – so Erica – nice features, nice design, good that you share your content outside your own websphere – but do you really sell trucks via an online channel?” Any spontanous reflection?

    /Erica

  7. says

    Erica,

    If you Google “social media newsroom” Scania is actually the 5th result in Google.

    As far as selling trucks on the web, that is a great question. I will give you a few quick thoughts now and then will write and more in depth post on the topic. You can sell trucks but more importantly you can build relationships and a community online that facilitates offline sales.

    Globally we are all becoming more dependent on the Web for research, socializing and entertainment. Because of this you are seeing a higher amount of B2B decision makers becoming active on the web, especially when it comes to using search. The SEO benefits alone of your newsroom have the potential to generate more leads than any of your competitors sites.

  8. says

    Erica,

    I would suggest that, within the next 3-6 months, you work to get people within Scania to embrace the concept of social media and then use their content/conversations on the newsroom site. They don’t have to be marketers, in fact it’s better if they are not. Technical experts, test drivers, designers, quality control, logistics people, resellers, fleet managers – they all have interesting things to say that will increase confidence in the Scania name. Your buyers are increasingly out there looking for answers to questions that are less direct than “which truck should I buy?”. If you can harness the power of your people and get them giving answers to some of the more peripheral questions, it will help enormously.
    Guy Kawasaki apparently said he would pay ¢500/month for Twitter alone, because nothing else gave him such extraordinary ‘reach’. If you have 50 experts engaging in truck/haulage-related conversations (however distantly) you have a $25k/month tool working for you for free! A lot of work to do to get people on board, but once you get it moving it’s as unstoppable as… (I’m back to the truck analogy again).
    Hope this is useful feedback – all the best
    John

  9. says

    John,

    thanks for feedback with concrete suggestions how to proceed. We have pinpointed the need – and you enhance and underline the necessity to take the next step… You are more than welcome to follow how we proceed.

    Erica

  10. says

    Erica, Kipp, and John,

    Thanks so much for a very, very interesting conversation! Just in time since tomorrow (May 13), I will be lecturing on the subject of “Leveraging networks and social media in Multinational Corporations” in Sweden for a group of international managers from Sandvik as well as other companies such as Sandvik, Atlas Copco, and Munters.

    I have a question though. How does a B2B company such as Scania encourage its employees “to embrace the concept of social media and then use their content/conversations on the newsroom site”? And then how does the company attract external people to the newsroom site? I am curious as to how companies can get the ball rolling….. Thanks!

    Robin

  11. says

    Dear Robin,

    thanks for following our conversation.

    The Scania brand is strong and people relate to us in a number of ways – as an employee, as a driver, customer or journalist and we know that our stakeholders are online. We want to be officially present in those channels where we know that discussions about us are taking place.

    To encourage our employees…
    …continous internal communication/information is vital for being able to get a fully bye-in of the concept.
    This is for sure one of the challanges and also the main reason for implementing “Scania in Social Media” step-by-step. First testing, then evaluate and point at the first concrete effect – on a basic level. I have used the statistics (Google Analytics) and pointed at the number of visitors/views in every single channel – Newsroom, Flickr, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook etc.

    External people…
    ….do you mean potential visitors? If so – some concrete actions on our side:
    – At launch of the Newsroom we had a Google Adwords campaign running for a couple of weeks. This action generated lots of visitors.
    – We add the link to the Newsroom on Flickr, Youtube and Facebook.
    – The headlines from the articles in the Newsroom are automatically feeded into Twitter.
    – We see to that the content are optimized for search engines. This is really important as we know that more than 60% of all visitors to our websites come from search engines.
    – Links from our marketing websites. See http://www.scania.co.uk (the footer) as one example.

    You are welcome to post more questions and I am really interested to get info on the outcome from your lecture tomorrow.

    I am also qurious about what feedback you will get from Kipp and John on this question – as they are experts in this field.

    /Erica

  12. says

    Hi Robin – thanks for following the conversation. It’s great when these things become so constructive, and thanks to Erica for being so forthcoming on her experiences.
    Re your questions:
    Getting employees to embrace the concept… I think this is carrot more than stick, if you see what I mean. IBM’s excellent approach to this is to praise its employees for their talent. The implication is that each employee is brimming with ability and it would be somehow wrong not to use that talent to its full potential (meaning two things: share talent with others, and use talent to raise IBM reputation in social media circles). Some employees will be reluctant and they should not be forced. Others will seize the initiative and rise to the challenge. You don’t need many such natural extroverts to start a movement. At the same time, I believe social media experts could help identify channels, blogs etc and help bring them up to speed. Social media training, basically. Without training, they will still learn, but it can be a time-consuming process and they have other work to do! Lastly, it is always viable to reward and publicise the early successes of the brave few to inspire the reluctant many.
    Attracting external people to the website… For me, the key is using wider social tools, eg Twitter, to make people aware that content is available, and that interesting conversations are taking place (like this one). It may take months to build up a network of suitable contacts/followers but once you start, it will grow inexorably, fuelled by its own momentum. Erica’s approach of using shrewdly timed bursts of PPC and other traffic generation is a great idea too.
    This is an incomplete response, Robin, but I hope there is some interesting stuff in there for you.
    Best of luck with the presentation. Let us know how it goes.
    John

  13. says

    John, Robin,

    this conversation do really add awareness and concrete examples on “how to”. If ok with you I will internally refer to this conversation and use extract/phrases from above dialog.

    /Erica

  14. says

    Thank you very much for some interesting insights! Erica, I would very much like to learn more about your step-for-step approach. I will let you know how the discussion goes today, and I will upload my presentation to slideshare afterwards as well.

    Robin

  15. says

    The session went very well today! The session was for a group of international managers attending the International Management Program that IFL at the Stockholm School of Economics runs (www.ifl.se). There were around 25 people from companies such as Scania, Sandvik, Atlas Copco, and Munters.

    While a small number of these managers are on sites such as facebook and linkedin, for many of them social media is something only for the younger generation, and they do not have time to use any more new communication channels. It becomes added work – an extra thing to do in a day that is already so busy – “I already have a million emails to answer.” In addition, several had not heard of sites like Twitter nor tools such as wikis. There is also the challenge of being able to use the technology …even typing can be seen as a hindrance – it takes some people a long time to type what they could say much more quickly. Finally, some of these sites are completely banned by some companies so employees cannot even access them from work, and who wants to sit at a computer when he/she gets home at night. (Although previously someone at another company told me that he uses his phone to access social media sites to get around the company blocking access.)

    I showed them the tweet that I found yesterday that led me to this blog and then I showed them the Scania Social Media Newsroom as well as this blog. It is a fascinating example of how a simple tweet can turn into a valuable discussion. I also mentioned the Scania in social media step by step program above, but unfortunately none of the Scania people had heard of it. However, one person did mention that Scania has a site for truck drivers where they can discuss different problems with each other, such as where to put your shoes when driving.

    I also showed them some examples of how other companies are using different media to improve knowledge sharing and creation within the company as well as with others outside the company, eg Serena Software and FB, GE Healthcare and Twitter, Unilever and Second Life, IBM and atlas, Ericsson and blogs, Target and Wikis etc. I also gave them a guided tour of Second Life to show some of the possibilities for training and collaboration. But at the end of the day, while there were some real enthusiasts, many people were reflecting and having difficulty seeing how they could start incorporating any of these into their everyday worklife. This was a generational thing…..they said.

    This is not the first time I have had this kind of reaction. I lecture quite frequently at various more traditional organizations and find this. So, the question is what should a company try to achieve with the use of these media? Should this be something for just the younger generation? or should a company try to get a high level of buy-in with the older generation? How does a company choose which media to focus on? Any other comments?

    I will post my slideshow from today’s presentation to slideshare tomorrow. Unfortunately, the internet connection is quite poor where I am at this conference center in the Swedish countryside so I could not do this now.

    Erica, I would love to continue this conversation offline as well! Your tel number suggests you are in Stockholm?

  16. says

    Here is the link to my slideshow for the presentation I made yesterday. Feel free to download and use for your own purposes if you find anything of interest. And I would love to get some feedback!
    Robin

  17. says

    Robin – the issue of being too busy to consider yet another communications channel is a tough one to answer but the truth is that if your customers are starting to do it, you need to do it too. Your customers only have 24 hours in a day as well! I look forward to looking through your presentation- thanks very much for sharing. John

  18. says

    Robin,

    thanks for sharing – interesting input.

    Being busy… – yes we for sure add possibilities and its not that easy to take things out from your agenda if you are an “early adopter”. However, once you can point at the effect it gets easier to get a buy-in.

    I am now focusing on “next step”, defining a reasonable timeline, buy-in and dedicated communicators.

    I obviously have some internal communication to work on as well as the participants from Scania was not aware of our actions:-)

    Lets keep up the conversation – I work at the Scania HQ in Södertälje.

    /Erica

  19. says

    Dear all,

    I have spent my first half hour of my working day reading your posts and increaing my passion on this new age of communication. In Scania Spain, we have also open our social media newsroom and we want to start the conversation with the stakeholders!

    Thank you all and keep posted
    /Ignacio

  20. says

    Would you guys consider doing a case study on us. About 4 months back I was granted time to work on a social media plan for our company (Expert Laser Services, a B2B company pulling in about 3 million dollars yearly) out of which came our semi-famous “Destroy Your Printer” Video contest which was covered by the international trade magazine “Recycler” who did an internet TV special about our contest which was advertised through social media such as our blog, Facebook, Twitter etc. Please consider. Many thanks

    you can see Recyclers internet TV special about our contest here: http://www.therecycler.com/recycler-tv.aspx

    (VIDEO IS ALSO ON HOME PAGE)

    Nathan Dube, Social Media Marketing at Expert Laser Services, Inc.

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