B2B Social Media Example: The Cree LED Revolution

Ginny Skalski is the Social Media Specialist for the world’s leading LED manufacturer, Cree. The background she brings to this corporate social media job is not marketing or public relations, but journalism and community management. This means that she understands that the core of a successful social media strategy is to build a community around your business or organization. Cree’s new campaign is called The LED Revolution, a microsite supported by Twitter, Facebook and email marketing to promote the benefits of LED lights. They are promoting an idea rather than a product using cases studies, a monthly contest and well-lit photos. Yes, Cree benefits by promoting LED lighting because that’s what they produce, but Ginny tells me that the benefits are much greater talking about the larger issues.

Ginny also offers some advice on starting social media campaigns for B2B companies. If you are new to social media, as many B2B people are, you will learn that people in social media love to share their knowledge and experiences. And Ginny is a great example of that.

Comments

  1. says

    Jeff,
    Thanks for the interview. Frankly, it was very strange being on the other side of the camera. I’m used to being the one doing the interviewing. But you asked some great questions. I think it’s so important to emphasize that http://CreeLEDRevolution.com aims to get rid of the misconception that LED lights are not ready for general illumination. Seeing is believing and the site offers a chance for people to see some great examples of LED lights, learn more about the technology and potentially win some LED lights! Thanks again!

  2. Jeffrey L. Cohen says

    Thanks again for the interview, Ginny, and thanks for sharing your experience with our readers.

  3. says

    Jeff,
    Great post, great interview. What Ginny and Cree are doing is very innovative and in line with social media trends.

    When looking at a profile of such a potentially successful, but also indirect, marketing strategy (“They are promoting an idea rather than a product using cases studies…”), I began wondering as to the shelf-life for such an operation. Eventually companies will want/need to see hard figures from a venture like this – beyond forming a community around an idea – and I’m curious as to your thoughts about company patience in this regard. How long will they support an initiative like this until they need to see hard numbers defining its financial success?

  4. Jeffrey L. Cohen says

    Patrick: Thanks for the comments. One of the things that is changing with social media is that companies are connecting these type of initiatives to hard numbers and showing the sales impact. Social media is no longer about soft programs. By making connections through this microsite with companies already using LED lighting, and those interested in it, Cree can drive sales through this community. People just need to set up programs with hard number goals to measure.

  5. Suparna says

    Hi Jeff, thank you for this interview (and Ginny). Lots of very interesting and useful information in there. LED Revolution is an excellent idea. My question is similar to Patrick’s in that when selling these ideas into management they want to see clear numbers and forecasts of the amount of sales/leads to anticipate for the amount of money they may spend (ROI). You mentioned setting up programs with hard number goals to measure. By that do you mean establishing hard number KPI’s? Any insight into this would be helpful. Thank you

  6. says

    Patrick: That’s a good question, and I think Cree’s situation/shelf-life may be different than efforts at other companies. That’s because LED lighting is such a new technology, and there’s so much that must be done to educate customers and the public as a whole. If anything, an effort like the LED Revolution site/promoting an idea is a more cost-effective way for us to reach and educate a larger audience. From our perspective, the job won’t be done until all energy wasting light bulbs are replaced with LED lights.

    Suparna: If you’re in the tough spot of getting management to buy into social media, demonstrating the ROI can be tricky. It’s not always easy to track the metrics from your social media efforts and clearly demonstrate how they tie into more sales, happier customers, etc. I think if you can get them to buy into a social media trial by initially setting indicators tied to online numbers (such as increased web traffic, more twitter followers, more blog post comments) instead of sales/leads numbers , you’ll have an easier time displaying results to them.

    Chances are you’ll be able to demonstrate that by meeting your online indicators, you’re actually producing some of the sales/leads/customer service results that you’d expect. But by framing your initial pitch to management in the context of measuring Web numbers v. sales/leads, you’re buying yourself some time to ultimately demonstrate a better ROI. Of course, explain to them how these web indicators will ultimately play into your ability to demonstrate ROI. Then, once some of your initial online indicators are met, you can go back and produce those sales/leads numbers that may have resulted from your social media efforts, and hopefully you’ll have enough to prove that it’s worth the time/money investment management is putting into it. Sadly, I realize this may not be realistic, but if you think it might be, it could be a good way for you to make the pitch and buy some time to build your company’s community so that management doesn’t try to shut down your efforts prematurely merely because some initial sales/lead generations weren’t visible.
    Good luck!

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