Before we publish our 2012 B2B Social Media Predictions, we wanted to review of predictions for 2011, and see how the year turned out for B2B marketers and their adoption for social media. In general it seems that some B2B companies started moving forward with social media initiatives, but many of these conservative-minded companies did not embrace it with the gusto of their B2C cousins. Read on for the details.
1. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
Mobile continued to grow, as expected, and some B2B companies began experimenting with different mobile tactics, including QR codes, but B2B companies did not focus on making their websites mobile friendly.
2. Open APIs Support Information Portability
Some applications provided API access for their customers to use their data in more powerful ways, but this was not fully utilized by B2B companies for better reporting and analysis.
3. Collect, Analyze and Visualize Data
With the explosion of infographics as content both on the web and in mainstream publications, you could almost call 2011 the Year of the Infographic. But B2B companies did not take this to heart and incorporate data visualization principles into their business reporting. We still saw lots of line graphs and pie charts on people’s desks.
4. Share Compelling Stories
Successful B2B companies who understood the value of storytelling made a bigger connection with their customers, although many companies are still trying to break out of their product-based shells.
5. Continued Growth of Social Search
The growth of social search was huge in 2011 and B2B marketers learned the value of incorporating their social graph into business networks. Google+ is an important part of this growth, but leveraging the large number of connections on Facebook and LinkedIn is key as well.
6. Expanded Forums of Social Communications
It is hard to determine the success of these forums, but some like Focus.com certainly increased their prominence in 2011. This expertise site features more than 1 million members and over 5,000 business and technology experts asking and answering questions.
7. The Year of Conversions
2011 was the very early stages of social media conversions for B2B companies. Some began laying the ground work for this to happen in the coming year.
8. Customer Service is More Social Than Marketing
This was one of the huge advances in social media for B2B companies. Many companies understood that they needed to listen for and respond to customer service requests on social channels.
9. Daily Deals and Group Buying Change Pricing Models
With so much upheaval in the daily deals space, including sustainability questions about Groupon’s business model and copycat offers in the B2B space, it remains to be seen if daily deals will have any effect long term. It did not in 2011.
10. Social Media will be More Accepted in the Enterprise
Some of the most social B2B enterprise companies, like Dell, Cisco and Intel, continued to make social media an important component of the way they do business, but for many large organizations, there is still some reluctance to “go social.”
11. Companies with Limited Results Pull Back from Social Media
For some companies that did not see huge wins with social media, they re-focused their marketing efforts on tactics that have been successful in the past, like pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising and trade shows.
What are your thoughts on how these predictions came to pass for B2B companies and social media in 2011?