Understand How B2B Social Media Connects to Your Audience

B2B social media is about connecting with prospects and customers, providing value to their business and tracking those interactions to leads and sales. Today’s round-up of posts address all of these issues.

I start with a post about click attribution, which makes the case for tracking all actions, not just first or last action. Not only does this give proper weight to your social activities, but it gives you a much better picture of all of your marketing activities. Next we look at a couple of articles that address the changing demographics of your target audience. Have you updated your personas to include millennial decision-makers? Their buying motivations and actions may be different from your traditional customers, and you might want to think about the gamification of your processes. The next post is just a reminder that prospects want to know what’s in it for them, and they don’t care about your products. I had to include this one since it is based on a presentation I gave last week, and even includes my slide as the graphic.

And finally, as reminder that Facebook Brand Pages are switching to the Timeline format the end of next week, here’s a pretty thorough review of B2B software product AutoCAD’s Facebook Page (pre-timeline), which now has one million fans. This should give you some ideas of ways to connect with your fans on this platform that is challenging for many B2B marketers.

B2B Marketers Need Every-Click Attribution
from Marketing Interactions
One of the beautiful things about digital B2B marketing is the ability to attribute behavior and engagement for prospects across a variety of channels that may be included in our marketing mix. Where things get a bit sticky is determining how attribution figures into revenue generation. For a simple transactional sale, this may be easier as sales cycles are shorter and less clicks are usually required. But, for a complex sale, attribution becomes a bigger challenge.
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Millennials are making B2B buying decisions. Are you engaged with them?
from B2B Insights Blog
In a previous post I shared that Millenials are moving into management positions and are shaping business decisions. I suggested three attributes – tech-savvy, highly educated, and a passion for meaning in their work – that B2B marketers need to pay attention to if they want to communicate effectively with them. With this post, I’d like to give you a few more behavioral aspects that will likely influence how they make buying decisions and what you need to know so that you can engage with them.
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4 Tips for Adding Gamification to Your Social Engagement Strategy
from Think Customers
While social media alone creates buzz around your brand, it’s gamification that drives engagement across your online community. That’s why many enterprise marketers are turning to gamification to measure and influence consumer behavior on their brand-owned Web and mobile sites.
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Prospects Don’t Care About Your Products. They Want Solutions.
from Social Media Today
Jeffrey L. Cohen, of Radian6, spoke about this at the CloudForce Conference in San Francisco last week. It comes down to offering valuable content and building a trusted relationship as key elements to your sales and marketing strategy. People have very short attention spans, and businesses that understand this are producing a frictionless way for their customers to get the solutions they seek.
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How AutoCAD Retooled Its Marketing With Facebook
from Social Media Examiner
Chris Hession has been a product and marketing manager for nearly 15 years. But recently, his job completely changed. “Just in the last year and a half, social media has become not just a component of our product marketing plan, but really the core component,” said Hession, currently senior manager of Autodesk’s AutoCAD product marketing.
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Social Media Agency Simply Zesty Creates Content in Balance

Irish social media agency Simply Zesty has made quite a name for themselves creating content and growing their social media footprint. They do this with a small staff, while serving blue chip clients like Sony and Volkswagen. When founder Lauren Fisher reached out to me to let me know they were acquired by UTV Media, I jumped at the chance to ask her about their content strategy.

Agencies are often in their own category from a social media perspective, but since their customers are other businesses, they can be thought of as B2B companies. And the lessons Lauren shared with me below can apply to any B2B company.


Lauren Fisher, Founder, Simply Zesty; John McCann, Group CEO, UTV Media plc; Niall Harbison, Founder, Simply Zesty; Nigel Robbins, Commercial Director – Ireland, UTV Media and Ken Fitzpatrick, CEO, Simply Zesty.

Let’s start at the top. Agencies frequently struggle creating social media content because their staff needs to focus on billable work. How do you manage to strike that balance?
For us, it’s been a learning curve of getting the right mix between brainstorming for the right video, design, app etc., the actual production time and then the eventual distribution. It’s very easy to get sidetracked with focusing on the content without figuring out how much time you need to properly plan and get the best idea. As a business, we’ve worked hard on ensuring we have the right mix of time spent on all 3 areas, and of course that the billing accurately reflects this!

Can you provide some insight into your content strategy? Are there certain topics you focus on, and others you steer away from?
In terms of the blog, we have decided to keep a focus on news, analysis and also easy to follow guides/tips. We’ve found that there is a ready audience there for each of those areas, provided we put the work in to do it well! We’ve also been genuinely honest about what we would find useful or interesting. Unless we have an exclusive, we would rarely cover a breaking news story with a simple summing up, but we would provide additional insights for brands to put something into practice, or how it might change things for them. And we have learned that if you put the time in to an article, it will generally pay off.

Even though you work with a number of large consumer brands, you are a B2B company because you are selling your services to other businesses. How do you bring that consumer sensibility to your social media properties?
We have tried to keep the company social media properties as personable as possible. No one really has an interest in joining our Facebook Page if we’re just going to post links to our blog. RSS is fine for that! We think about how we run our personal social media accounts and try to replicate this where we can, with informal questions, pictures etc. I think that is where we stand out, but again it has been a learning curve. There were times, particularly when we struggling with a smaller team and being maxed out on client work, when we let our own social media activities slip. But this was wrong. After all, we have actually gained new clients purely through our own social media profiles. One time we even gained a new client as one of our videos was shown as a similar video in the sidebar of YouTube and they got in touch!

How closely do you track conversions, in the form of new business, from your social media efforts?
Honestly, probably not as much as we should. Firstly because it is quite time consuming to do it well, but also because it is of a much more organic nature, and not always easy to track. We tend to be quite anecdotal about it. If a client mentions that they found us through a particular blog post, video etc. we would try and implement more of those. But unfortunately it’s not an exact science. Sometimes you just get lucky and it can be hard to replicate the success.

Any final tips for companies looking to grow their social media presence to drive new business?
Definitely take the time to do it properly. It’s very easy to let it slip when you have client work coming out of your ears! But you will probably find that the work you get through social media channels will have a longer lead time, so it’s important to keep it up even during busy periods in your agency, as you could see the benefit even months down the line.

Also try and focus on where the decision makers are, and what they might be looking for that you can help out with. It might well be the case that networking in groups on LinkedIn won’t drive that many business leads (it hasn’t really for us), but that by tweeting interesting campaign links etc. you provide people with a useful resource and these may well be the decision makers in an organisation.

Dun & Bradstreet Uses B2B Social Media to Bring Data to Life

One of the best ways to learn about B2B social media is to hear from marketers who are learning about social media themselves. Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) is the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses, with a global commercial database that contains more than 200 million business records. The following interview was conducted via email with Susan Lawler, Senior Vice President, Marketing.

What are D&B’s business objectives that are supported by social media and how do you measure success?

At a high level, our key business objective is to continue to be the leading source of commercial information and business insight so that our customers have the actionable intelligence needed to make sound business decisions. What that means is that we are everywhere our customers need us to be – from delivering payment trends on a new partner so you can determine credit terms to evaluating how the Japan disasters could impact your supply chain. We consider platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to be an extension of how we connect with, and can be a resource to, our customers, prospects and the community at large. What’s more, social media is part of how we bring D&B’s data to life: we’re a dynamic company and we want to connect D&B users with the people behind the data and insight as much as possible. Social media enables us to do that. We also use social media to tell our customers’ stories. For example, our 200 million campaign celebrated D&B’s milestone of reaching 200 million businesses covered in our global database. We said “thank you” to businesses around the world by inviting them to share their stories online.

With social media, we are playing an active in role in the conversations our customers and prospects find important, as well as listen to what they have to say. In terms of measurement, we determine success not just by the number of followers, comments or shares (which we do monitor in weekly reports), but by the overall quality of engagement. In other words, are key business professionals and decision-makers, over time, continuing to respond to, share and leverage our content and insight? Are we helping them become smarter and more efficient professionals? And are we building trust so that our customers can help us improve our products and the way we do business? Seeing a two-way, thought-provoking dialogue emerge is a major success indicator for us.

What are your most important social platforms, and how do they differ from a content, engagement and resource standpoint?

For now, our focus is primarily on LinkedIn and Twitter, with Facebook being another place where we devote resources to interacting with fans and crowdsourcing ideas. We use some of our social media properties as a place to showcase our company culture, and this is something we’d like to do more of at D&B. LinkedIn is one place where we’re demonstrating our thought-leadership and having more expertise-driven discussions and Q&A’s, and we’re looking to do this elsewhere as well. Twitter is another platform we use to engage with our influencers: industry analysts, supply chain and risk management professionals, small business folks, and sales and marketing strategists who have a direct impact on the news of the day. We also use Twitter to respond to customer inquiries, share industry news, participate in Twitter chats, and publish our insights. We’re contemplating Google+ and how we can best leverage that community to expand and enrich our online presence.

What is your approach to blogging? Hoover’s (a D&B company) had two blogs and one of them has been retired. Can you share some of the decision making process of shutting that down?

Such a great question – I think the topic of corporate blogging can be a struggle for any company, as it requires significant resources and a long term commitment to be successful. D&B is experimenting with blogging, and it’s something we are planning to expand. For example, we have had success with the Hoovers’s blog Bizmology for sales and marketing professionals. The blog discusses trends and news in a non-promotional way. It’s full of great writers and industry experts and is more like its own news vehicle than a blog at this point. I encourage folks to check it out; it’s a great place to gather industry content and insight for prospect touch points. The other blog you’re referring to, The Break Room, was another experiment tied to our Hoover’s service but we quickly realized it was too much to nurture two separate blogs for a similar audience. But it was a good lesson in terms of not spreading ourselves too thin. As we look to the future for D&B, we will use what we’ve learned from these endeavors to shape our future blogging strategy.

What’s your take on Google+ for B2B?

This is a timely question, given the brand pages were just rolled out to businesses. I honestly think it’s too soon to tell, as even early adopters of the platform are still trying to get a foothold on their brand pages. Even the basic assumptions you might make about page ownership and capabilities are radically different on Google+. Right now at D&B, we’re discussing how we can differentiate our content, voice and personality on Google+ and what kind of exclusive content we can make available to audiences there. So far, there are some widely differing opinions on Google+ for businesses – Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki agree it’s a must, while Robert Scoble has his doubts.

What’s one prediction you have for B2B social media trends in 2012?

It’s two-fold: alignment of strategy and differentiation of content. So many businesses have checked the box on every platform – saying, oh, we have a Facebook page run by Sally in marketing, and a Twitter feed run by Jon in operations – but it’s going to take a truly consolidated strategy across all social media platforms to be successful and functional. At the same time, each social media platform needs to be treated differently, and the content needs to be tailored accordingly. So I think overall we’re going to see a trend of businesses consolidating their platforms and looking for ways to create more dynamic, engaging content specific to each platform and its audience. This will also require companies to operationalize social engagement throughout the organization, empowering (and training) a team run by a proven leader and building a universal framework for baseline metrics.

Is there anything else about your social media program that you would like to share?

As I said earlier, social media is constantly evolving and, as a result, businesses need to make the effort to keep up while continuously evaluating what they’re doing. At D&B, we recognize this and are the first to say, “Hey, we’ve been doing this online and it’s working, which is great, but what more can we be doing for our customers and communities?” It’s important to decipher what’s not working and how we can improve. We’re not drinking our own Kool-Aid, if you will, rather, we recognize that social media comes with its challenges and we’re up to them. At the same time, we don’t take ourselves too seriously! We’ve posted photos of cats and employees in their Halloween costumes online to showcase our culture. It’s important to be able to have fun with social media and humanize your business so your fans and followers relate to your brand and vision.

Google+ Pages for B2B Companies

Google+ has released their business pages and now B2B marketers need to understand why they need to join Google’s social network. The biggest reason is search. You may have heard about social search and how your connections influence your search results, well, Google+ does more of that. Share your content on Google+ and it has a better chance of showing up higher in search results.

If you jumped into Google+ when personal pages came out and you understand how the platform works, you know what kinds of posts resonate and how important engagement is to the platform, you should absolutely create a Google+ page for your B2B company today. If you are not familiar with Google+, you need to create a personal page and get started understanding it. Create your business page too, so you can start learning about how to use it effectively.

A Google+ Business Page is tied to ONE Gmail account and you cannot add other administrators at this time. Make sure you assign the right person to create your page, because they will be the only one who manages it until they roll out multiple admin support (which is expected). One way to address this is to use a company Gmail account, so multiple people can log in to the page. I did come across a reference to giving someone access to a page, but was unable to find details. I will update this as it changes.

11/11/11 Update: Google is discouraging people from creating a new company Gmail. They would rather people create a Business Page with their personal Gmail account, knowing that multi-account management is coming this quarter.

How to Create a Google+ Page

Go to the Business Pages Site and click Create Your Google+ Page.

Choose company, select your category and enter your information into the fields provided. Since this is brand new, there is not an obvious to edit this after it is created.

Google reminds users of the importance of including a web link on their Google+ Page.

Another huge benefit of Google+ is that it is the first social network that allows you to segment your customers, prospects, partners and even vertical industries into Circles so you can publish targeted messages to them. These sample Circles remind users of this important function.

Google wants to make sure you know what to do now that you have created the page, so they offer some suggestions, as well as easy ways to promote your page.

And just to show that the best way to learn is by doing, I created a page for Social Media B2B. Circle us to learn more about Google+ as we learn more.

Remember as you are learning about using Google+ and developing a content calendar, there are no tools that currently let you manage your pages. This means that publishing and engaging will be manual, at least for the time being. Make sure you have the resources to keep up with your plans.

Here are some examples of B2B Google+ Pages. Add yours in the comments below, especially if you have started one for a non-technical B2B company.
Argyle Social
Dell
Hubspot
Intel
Radian6
Salesforce.com

Always Thinking about B2B Social Media is a Requirement

Your approach to B2B social media must be thoughtful if you are going to be successful in driving business for your B2B company. Marketers and communicators need to focus on how they can make a difference, and that begins with thinking. Can you see the big picture of your organization, your industry and the business world in general? Can you read about examples of other companies’ efforts and think about the takeaways that apply to your company? Can you understand tactic execution plans and make them happen? If your answer to all these questions is yes, please read on, as you will find some value in the articles below.

If there are other things you are thinking about, or have been inspired to think about by a recent article you read, share it in the comments below.

How Social Digital Is Your Company?
from Harvard Business Review blog
Recently, the CEO of Edelman wrote a blog post celebrating a company milestone. In it, he referenced our efforts in the non-analog world as “social digital.” To most, this may seem insignificant because the word “social” is often overused in professional circles. But the addition of “social” to the “digital” is immensely significant because it symbolizes that the current revolution is not only digital, but codependent on social behaviors and interactions from human beings. If the digital revolution was about computers being connected (the internet) then the social-digital revolution is about people being connected (the social web).
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25 business-tastic B2B social media case studies
from Econsultancy blog
I’ve been asked quite a few times over the past couple of weeks for examples of social media marketing being used in a B2B context. This is actually more prevalent than a lot of marketers appear to realise – and is certainly something that’s not new to the marketplace. Here’s some great examples of B2B organisations using social media with commercial purpose. Some are old, some new, some you might be familiar with, others perhaps not.
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4 B2B Social Media & SEO Blunders to Avoid
from TopRank blog
There are some things that you can’t take back: including what you release on the Internet. With over 93% of B2B marketers using social media, online sales has very much become a social business. As marketers we need to do our best to present as well online as we do in person (if not better). Creating an effective online marketing plan amongst all the changes on the social web isn’t easy, but here are a few things you may want to avoid.
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Take the guess work out of B2B guest blogging
from MLT Creative blog
One of the best ways to add more voice and variety to your B2B blog is to open it up to guest bloggers. Your blog may start out with one individual responsible for all of its original content. If that’s showing positive results and attracting engagement from your marketplace, you’re doing a great job. But you can do better.
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Cisco Creates B2B Social Content in a Unique Place

Many B2B companies understand the need to create and curate content to connect with their customers and prospects, but Cisco has done it in a unique place, their newsroom. This very different approach to a social media newsroom was launched in June 2011. At its core, the newsroom, dubbed “The Network,” the winning name chosen by Facebook fans, is about extending the reach of Cisco’s content, whether it is a press release, feature story, video or third-party article, by making it sharable. The site also includes Twitter and Facebook feeds prominently featured in the sidebars.

Visitors Chose How to View Content
When a visitor arrives at the site, they land on a page with the featured news. As seen below, this can be sorted by latest news, most viewed or most shared. This adds the concepts of popularity and social proof to articles in the newsroom. And even though there is lots of additional content of various types, it seems that the press releases, or traditional news announcements, are the most viewed. Visitors can also click on the All News tab to filter the content and find what they are looking for. The robust filtering parameters include date, type of content, topic, Cisco Business Division, geography, technology and industry. This type of filtering is more like what people are used to in their online shopping experience, and it allows for greater affinity towards the site, rather than just an empty search box that usually returns press releases from 2006.

Content Follows Cisco’s Strategic Direction
Earlier this year, Cisco announced that is was streamlining operations “as it focuses on the five areas driving the growth of networks and the Internet: core – routing, switching, and services; collaboration; data center virtualization and cloud; video; and architectures for business transformation.” The Network newsroom is a way to organize and focus content in those areas as well. The content areas on the site are Data Center, Core Networks, Video, Collaboration, Cisco Culture and Social Media. The first four are exact matches for the key growth areas, while the last two, Cisco Culture and Social Media are two areas that are key to business transformation. Each topic area has a topic page manager. This not only provides a point person for curation of the topic, but humanizes that section and offers a Cisco expert for visitors to connect with on that topic. Each topic area also features a list of links of relevant Cisco products and communities.

Outside Writers Contribute Content
In additional to Cisco communications staff and subject matter experts, The Network features outside journalists who have covered business and technology for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes, Fortune and Business Week. This brings a new level of content to the site. Many B2B blogs feature guest posts, and some even feature outside experts writing on a regular basis, but to add this level of business and technology journalism to an online newsroom is beyond the realm of what anyone else is doing. This is providing value to customers, prospects and others in the Cisco ecosystem by creating top-notch content and spotlighting it along with company news.

Site Encourages Sharing at Many Levels
The site has many ways to share the content they are creating, published and curating. The top featured stories include a variety of social media sharing buttons in the scroll at the top of the page. The list of stories on each topic page includes sharing options in the list and on the articles themselves. And if you are inclined to share the whole site, there is a widget you can grab and put on your own blog or website. This is perfect for Cisco partners who want to easily share the latest in Cisco news with their networks.

What do you think of Cisco’s approach to the newsroom? Have you seen other B2B newsroom that have created content and shared it in different ways?

Video: Hubspot and the Content Marketing Funnel

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about content marketing and the sales funnel, we have a short interview with Kipp Bodnar, Inbound Marketing Manager of Hubspot. Kipp talks about how Hubspot creates and shares content with customers when they are at different points in the sales funnel. And if you are paying attention, this is the same Kipp that co-founded this site.

Let us know in the comments below how you are using content marketing to move prospects through the sales funnel.

8 B2B Facebook Landing Pages

B2B marketers see the growing numbers of Facebook users and join the ranks of businesses who set up outposts on the world’s largest social network. As Facebook is a tightly controlled environment, there are few opportunities for branding and creating a branded experience for your customers and prospects. The prime one is the creation of custom tabs, and especially landing pages that people see when they first arrive at your Facebook Page.

These Pages are now fully functional web pages hosted within the Facebook environment. This gives B2B companies more flexibility in design and functionality for these landing pages. One of the things marketers need to consider in creating a landing page is what action the visitor needs to take. The first should be to Like the Page, and many landing pages remind viewers to do that. After that, anything is possible, but there should be actions that keep them on the Facebook Page, rather than immediately driving them somewhere else.

Below are 8 examples of B2B company Facebook landing page tabs with a short list of features of each.

Buddy Media


Buddy Media
Like Call to Action: No
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: 2 download white paper buttons
Video: No
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: Embedded Facebook comments and poll

Dell Enterprise


Dell Enterprise
Like Call to Action: No
Other Facebook Call to Action: Event Calendar
Off Site Call to Action: 8 solution links and 1 download white paper button
Video: No
Social Profile Links: Yes
Other Notable: n/a

eMarketer


eMarketer
Like Call to Action: Yes
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: 1 product link
Video: No
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: Customer testimonials. Note this is an About tab, and is not set to load as a landing page.

EMC


EMC
Like Call to Action: No
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: 1 award submission button
Video: No
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: Temporary landing page for award submission

Google AdSense


Google AdSense
Like Call to Action: No
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: 1 sign-up button
Video: Yes
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: Sparse look, like Google brand.

Intel


Intel
Like Call to Action: Yes
Other Facebook Call to Action: Interactive map, products, jobs and deals drive to other Facebook Pages or apps within this Page
Off Site Call to Action: No
Video: Yes
Social Profile Links: Yes
Other Notable: Embedded Twitter feed

SAP


SAP
Like Call to Action: Yes
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: Conference registration, product page and YouTube channel buttons
Video: Yes
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: n/a

SAS Publishing


SAS Publishing
Like Call to Action: Yes
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: Links to store, blog, podcast, community, forum and Twitter
Video: No
Social Profile Links: Yes
Other Notable: Sets expectations for Page, shows people who manage social profiles

Are there other B2B Facebook landing pages you have seen that are effective at generating engagement and driving traffic? Let us know in the comments below.

BtoB Magazine Selects 2011 B2B Social Media Winners

BtoB Magazine announced their 2011 Social Media Marketing Winners and they missed a huge opportunity to show off these examples of B2B social media. B2B marketers are looking for good examples of social media, as our search traffic has shown us, and while these selections from submitted entries include detailed explanations of why they were chosen, as well as results of the campaigns, they don’t include links, screen shots or embedded videos. Examples of online successes really should include images and links so marketers can see what was done and learn from the campaigns. Those details of each category winner are listed below. Click the read more link to read about the runner up in each category.

Integrated (Tech): EMC

EMC Corporation is the world’s leading developer and provider of information infrastructure technology and solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to transform the way they compete and create value from their information.
BtoB Magazine Summary: From influencer relations to promotional mailings to live events to YouTube, the EMC campaign used almost every channel at its disposal. Read more.
BtoB Magazine Results: More than 700,000 views on YouTube, more than 40 posts by influential bloggers, 2,500 participants in the community event and more than 1,500 tweets, which helped the #EMCBreaksRecords hashtag briefly break into the top trending topics on Twitter. The total Facebook fan base more than doubled in two weeks. An impressive 28% of all traffic to the event registration page originated from social media sites and/or social media engagement.

Integrated (NonTech): Omni Hotels & Resorts

Omni Hotels and Resorts wanted to promote its meetings and event services to meeting planners and used social media to communicate with online influencers in the space.
BtoB Magazine Summary: Its blogger outreach campaign to promote its meetings and events business hit a home run with the kind of influencers that competitors ignored. Read more.
BtoB Magazine Results: The program resulted in more than 290 conversations with meeting planners and their influencers, with 14% of the conversations relating to Omni services. An estimated 70% of the key influencers were contacted, and six large sales leads have resulted.

Twitter: Mongoose Metrics

BtoB Magazine Summary: Mongoose Metrics‘s objectives in using Twitter were to raise awareness about the value of its [call tracking] service to the sales process and to position itself ahead of competitors that were less active in social media. Read more.
BtoB Magazine Results: Over an eight-month period, it grew its follower base from 211 to almost 8,500 and counted more than 3,200 mentions in social channels.

LinkedIn: Accenture

BtoB Magazine Summary: Accenture Management Consulting is an outstanding example of how to use relationship marketing in social networks. Its careers group on LinkedIn has more than 5,000 members, but what impressed us most are the subgroups, each of which is managed by a different Accenture consultant. Read more.
BtoB Magazine Results: The LinkedIn campaign has resulted in a few new hires already, and those numbers are likely to grow significantly as word-of-mouth spreads.

Facebook: Firehouse.com

BtoB Magazine Summary: Firehouse.com is keenly focused on the needs of this dedicated group of professionals. Its 75,000-circulation magazine, website and events business are leaders in the fire and EMS industry, but until last year its community-building efforts had lagged. Firehouse.com turned to Facebook to invigorate the conversation. Read more.
BtoB Magazine Results: The number of “likes” for Firehouse.com’s Facebook page more than doubled in six months and today approaches 120,000.

Viral Video: Cisco Systems

BtoB Magazine Summary: While watching a live, streaming video, a viewer can operate a robot arm to yank the route switch processor card out of a network router. The action should cause at least a temporary hiccup in the video stream; but Cisco Systems is betting it won’t, and it goes out on a limb to let customers see for themselves. The 100-second invitational video was posted on YouTube in October and promoted through banner ads, blogs, social networks and email blasts. Viewers were invited to contact a Cisco representative to set up the demo. Read more.
BtoB Magazine Results: In the first four months, the promotion drove nearly 6,000 video impressions and 500 contacts from interested users. That resulted in 216 demos and 60 qualified leads. Cisco estimates that the live demo program has driven more than $80 million in revenue and led to 11 customer testimonials.

Blog: Sybase Inc.

BtoB Magazine Summary: Sybase defined UberMobile’s mission as “to shed the traditional corporate mantra of being a marketing page by providing compelling, journalistic pieces that encouraged visitors to be a part of the discussions.” Read more.
BtoB Magazine Results: Monthly traffic to the blog and its syndication channels leapt from 1,000 page views in May 2010 to almost 140,000 in January 2011.

Closed Community: LexisNexis Risk Solutions

BtoB Magazine Summary: The network was conceived as a way to raise awareness of Accurint for Law Enforcement, a LexisNexis suite of investigative tools. Read more.
BtoB Magazine Results: The LexisNexis Investigators Network has already signed up members from 1,700 agencies in all 50 states.

Do you have thoughts about these as the best B2B social media examples, or are there others you would select in their places?

B2B Social Media Example: Dell on Facebook

At the recent South by Southwest Interactive conference I had the opportunity to talk with Laura Thomas of Dell about Facebook for B2B companies. She is a Senior Consultant in the Small and Medium Business Group and responsible for digital media. Follow Laura on Twitter at @LPT.

We talked about:

  • Dell’s B2B Facebook Initiatives including Dell for Business and Social Media for Business Pages
  • Advice for B2B companies getting started on Facebook
  • How to handle attacks on Facebook by bringing customer service people into the process, whether you work for a large or small organization