B2B Social Media Example: Indium Blogs

The next post in our example series is the top notch blogging of the Indium Corporation. This global developer, manufacturer, and supplier of specialty alloys, solders and indium compounds is one of the best examples of business blogging in the B2B space I have seen.

And if you want some background into how researchers and scientists at a chemical company were convinced to blog, read this interview with Director of Marketing, Rick Short from the Hubspot website.

blogsidebar

The first thing Indium does right is provide a prominent link to its series of blogs on the home page. This graphic show all ten blogs in a sidebar. Each blog is listed by name, with an author photo. For the multi-author blogs, the photos rotate among the authors. With this sidebar a reader can choose to view a specific blog, or go to the blog directory. This blog directory is also prominently listed under the Home navigation tab.

Indium Blog Homepage

The blog directory shows all the blogs, author’s photos, an excerpt from the most recent post, as well as a link to the author’s bio and an RSS subscribe button. Since these are specialty area and industry blogs, it is key to provide subscriptions options to each individual blog. There is also a tech support blog, a B2B marketing blog and a blog for the Chinese language audience.

annyzhang

Each blog has a similar look, which matches the company branding, and has many standard blog features, unique to each blog, like RSS subscription options, social bookmarking and sharing buttons, recent posts, most popular posts, a blog roll, author contact information, and archives listing.

Each blog carries a Creative Commons license, which is certainly contrary to most corporate ideas of copyright, This allows other bloggers to use the information from the Indium blog, so long as they provide attribution. There is also a statement that these are personal opinions, rather than company positions. The statement continues “Content published here is not read or approved by the Indium Corporation and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the company. In addition, they are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.” While this does sound like it was inspired by the legal department, it actually gives the bloggers more freedom to write what they want.

With the most popular post listing, it is easy to find posts with many comments. While the blog authors definitely respond to all comments, and in one case to follow up a sales lead by saying that a regional sales rep would contact the commenter, there are not many recent comments. It would be great to see more readers leave comments. As some of these bloggers have been writing for a couple of years, they need to challenge themselves to generate more reader comments. While I would not advocate controversy, it does work. But asking for comments is another way to get response. Simple questions about readers’ experiences can also help tease some comments out. Even though they are tracking page view and visitor metrics, comments are important part of engagement metrics.

So if you are looking to start corporate blogging, definitely check out what Rick has done at Indium, but realize that this was not launched overnight. Develop your plans and start with one blog, but make it fantastic. And make sure your site readers can find it.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for sharing this one. We’re planning a much-needed re-design to our blog index page, so I’m collecting samples. Adding this to my collection.

  2. says

    I have read this review of our blog program several times since it was first published. It is the most accurate assessment of our activities that I have seen. Great work. Here are some updates and more info (March 2010):

    1) we have recently scaled our blogging program – expanding the number of bloggers to 14 and the number of blogs to 70. We really embrace the “long-tail” concept.

    2) we have learned that most readers (customers) are very reluctant to COMMENT publicly – to avoid revealing problems, opportunities, projects, etc. that they and their organizations are working on. What we DO experience is a large (and growing) number of direct messages on the specific blog post topics/issues.

    3) this type of extensive and pervasive blogging is a strong enabler of other social media efforts.

    4) we must be relentless in our efforts to consistently reach our written goals for our social media program. Without a truly comprehensive program, without resources, without excellent people, this type of effort would fail.

    Thank you for your interest, analysis, and comments. They are much appreciated.

  3. says

    Rick:

    Thanks so much for coming back and leaving this update. Our readers are certainly interested in how great blog programs continue to grow and change over time.

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