B2B Niches Are Prime Audiences for Podcasting

I spoke with John Blue of Truffle Media at Blogworld about what he does within a B2B niche using social media. He produces regular audio shows, also called podcasts, for the agriculture industry, as well as video podcasts of conference presentations. Each show is targeted to a specific niche within the ag industry and he sends regular email updates alerting his audience about the latest episodes. He also uses Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep in touch with his audience.

Highlights from our conversation:

  • Due to the pervasive use of technology within this niche industry, Truffle Media has provided content in a form that allows the target audience to easily consume it.
  • Create a podcast by recording and editing an audio file. Upload it and embed it in a blog post. Share the link. Go to Podcast411.com for more details about creating podcasts.
  • Use industry experts to build a reputation for your podcast. And this takes time.
  • Truffle Media’s email newsletter is the primary way they spread word about the new shows.
  • Twitter and LinkedIn are also useful in expanding their voice, however, Facebook has not been very effective.

Share Surveys of B2B Social Media Usage with Caution

New studies constantly appear about the use of social media among B2B companies, B2C companies, as well as industries and niches within each. These are frequently shared via social networks and blogs (including this one). People also use these surveys to support, justify and sell their own use of social media. We wondered about the validity, relevance and representativeness of these surveys, so we talked to Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy at Edison Research, at Blogworld about this issue. Watch the video below to see what he said. Follow Tom on Twitter at @webby2001.

  • Many surveys shared on social media are not representative of anything more than the people who took the survey.
  • When looking for evidence to support something, you will find it online. Someone has done a study that you can point to.
  • Social media has become a mainstream American activity. Half of Americans have a profile on a social network.
  • Social media is where communication is going and based on the general adoption curve, businesses should consider using it.

Let us know about your use of social media surveys, and if you have ever questioned the data before sharing it with your network.

B2B Social Media and the Business Revolution

Jay Baer, social media strategy consultant and co-author with Amber Naslund of the Now Revolution, spoke yesterday at Blogworld in Las Vegas. I had a chance to chat with him about the changes he sees in businesses that allow them to take advantage of the real time web.

  • Social media success is more about customer loyalty and retention, rather than customer acquisition
  • Everyone in your company is a potential first-time contact, marketer and customer support person.
  • Social media is more important for B2B than B2C because of fewer net customers and more considered purchases.
  • The less social media chatter about your B2B company that is out there, the more content you need to create.

B2B Case Study: Supply Chain Firm Drives Traffic with Online Community

Kirsten Watson, Director, Corporate Marketing of Kinaxis presented a case study of their online community at the Marketing Profs B2B Forum. This video is a summary of the presentation, which was part of a session featuring four case studies moderated by CK.

Goals

  • Double web traffic
  • Double conversions (leads)
  • Foster a greater awareness of the company’s supply-chain management solutions

Strategy

  • Find out where the audience hangs out
  • Get involved in key online locations
  • Drive interest from there to the Kinaxis Web properties by adding value (not selling )through the creation of a highly engaging, content-rich “home” for supply chain experts to LEARN, LAUGH, SHARE and CONNECT.

Results
Traffic:

  • 2.7X increase in traffic to Kinaxis.com
  • 3.2X increase in conversions (leads)
  • 5.3X increase in traffic to the blog/community

Community:

  • 6X increase in registered community members
  • Over 2,300 registered members (35% increase since Jan. 2010)

Revenues:

  • Double-digit subscription growth (paid users of SaaSproduct RapidResponse), topping 30,000 users and counting

Here is a recent article from Fast Company that goes into more detail about this social media program.

B2B Social Media in the Construction Industry

Patrick Prothe (@pprothe) is the Marketing Communications Manager of Viewpoint Construction Software, which produces project management tools for construction professionals. I caught up with him at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum and spoke about getting started in social media in a niche B2B industry. He is looking at where people are talking online, and discovering that not many in the construction industry are using social media yet. The company is positioning itself for the coming growth in online conversations by trying to become human and building relationships with the industry people who are online. He recently created a blog to share things of interest to the company (and presumably their customers and prospects), as well technical aspects of their products. He stresses the importance of defining a company voice online and understanding what your company stands for. And he reminds newcomers to social media that even though many tools are low cost or free, companies need to understand the time commitment required for social media.

Importance of Mobile Strategy in B2B Marketing Mix

Christina “CK” Kerley, B2B Marketing Specialist at CKB2B Marketing, and Chris Koch, Associate Director of Research & Thought Leadership at ITSMA, sat down at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston and discussed the importance of integrating mobile approaches into the B2B Marketing mix. This is a great example of a hallway conversation that continues after a session, although it was arranged for video. For more of their thoughts and ideas, or to ask them follow-up questions to this video (in addition to leaving them in the comments below), follow them on Twitter at @CKSays and @CKochster.


Production Note: This is an odd beep in the beginning, but it goes away after the first minute.

They discuss the following topics:

  • Why should B2B companies consider mobile marketing?
  • What are some critical success factors for B2B companies and mobile marketing?
  • What are some other approaches to B2B mobile marketing?

Have you developed a mobile marketing strategy for your B2B company? This is just as important for small businesses as it is for enterprise-size businesses.

Better Business Blogging with Galen DeYoung [Video]

Galen DeYoung, Managing Director of Proteus B2B Marketing, led the Better Business Blogging session at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum. The session looked at three b2b blogs that were submitted for critique, and both Galen and the session attendees discussed what they saw.

While the blogs did a good job from a content perspective, with regard to writing in a proper voice and providing valuable content for their audiences, all three blogs had some search issues and some usability issues. Here are the details of the session and comments made about each business blog.

Galen also offered some tips for new business bloggers:

  • Understand business objectives
  • Identify target audience
  • Utilize a keyword strategy
  • Develop a content strategy
  • Establish metrics and measure them
  • Post consistently

Cisco Social Media Manager Talks Facebook

Autumn Truong is the Social Media Manager of Corporate Communications at Cisco Systems. Her role is continually evolving to reflect the ever-changing social media landscape but for now, she oversees the social media strategy and programs which includes social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and immersive virtual environments. The company has different groups focused on social media and her focus is on developing the strategy and working with different functional groups to execute social media plans within corporate communications. For more background on Autumn, please visit her bio page or you can follow her on Twitter at @autumntt.


facebook.com/Cisco
now has over 54,000 people who like it.

What made you think there was a place for Cisco on Facebook?

While Cisco has had established pages and groups on Facebook for a couple years now, most of these pages are focused on one technology or business. In addition, there are Cisco Facebook group and fan pages that aren’t created by Cisco employees. We felt this was an opportunity for us to create a Facebook page that is a “one stop shop” for our community on Cisco news, events and information. Similar to how we have a corporate presence on our blogs and Twitter (@CiscoSystems), we thought it was a great opportunity to have a similar presence on Facebook.

It is certainly important for Cisco to be on Facebook because it is another channel we leverage to communicate to our customers, employees, influencers and to anyone who is interested in Cisco. We want to be wherever they are.

What kind of content do you publish on Facebook?

There are a lot of different features on Facebook that allow you to customize and aggregate content from other social sites such as Twitter and Flickr. Each tab we created represents a corporate social channel that feeds into our Facebook page. These include Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, our corporate blog and online newsroom. Essentially, we have created within Facebook, our own online community. You don’t have to leave the Facebook environment to get access to the content across all those Cisco channels. Those are the tabs that we link to, and if you look at our wall, it’s an area for us to spotlight content that we think is important to share with our Facebook community. It could be as simple as an important press release to a humorous video recorded on the Cisco Flip Camera. We’ve had tremendous success with the level of engagement that our community has on the content shared on our wall.

What is your biggest challenge using Facebook?

Initially, it was a dedicated resource. It takes time to build and nurture your community. You don’t just log on one day and have 1,000 fans. You have to take the time to listen and engage with your community. We knew that we had to put one person on this and make sure that person is engaged and understands our Facebook community. Our community manager’s role, which comprises about 5% of her time per day at this point, is not just to post content, but to read the posts, listen, monitor and keep our internal team informed of the level of engagement on the page. We want to be listening 24/7, or at least as much as we can. The role of our part-time community manager is to ensure that conversations are continuing, that we are maintaining our presence with the types of assets and news we share and to ensure we are keeping a pulse on not just the positive feedback, but also any negative comments. Due to limited resources, we are primarily focused on amplifying our content and monitoring responses for the time being and are looking to engage more in the near future.

What was the goal for the Cisco Facebook page?

Our goal initially was to create a Facebook page where people can get news and information about Cisco that is qualified and authentic. We also wanted our community to have access to other Cisco social channels such as our corporate blog, Flickr page, Youtube channel, etc. within the Facebook environment.

After a year, we currently have 54,000 people who like Cisco on Facebook. And looking at the level of engagement from them, as measured by their comments, we do feel that we were successful in accomplishing our goals. By creating this page, there is now a Cisco community on Facebook where interested people can engage with us. On average, each post on our Facebook wall gets about 35-45 hits or likes or comments.

What do you think about the issue of transparency on Facebook, as it relates to a personal face for a company, like many brands do on Twitter?

While we still see companies experimenting with this, and as social media continues to evolve, I think we’ll see more of an expectation for disclosure and authenticity. I have a personal Facebook profile, people know that I work for Cisco and if you search for me on Google, you’ll see my bio and you’ll see a link to my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook page. I use Twitter more for work and Facebook more at a personal level, but regardless of where you find me on the social web, my connection to Cisco is apparent.

While we have placed a personal face to our corporate Twitter profile (@CiscoSystems), we haven’t done that on our Facebook page and mainly it’s because we haven’t set up an active engagement strategy. But once we do, I think we will also personalize our Facebook page as we’ve done with our Twitter profile.

Do you have some advice for B2B companies setting up Facebook pages?

1. Conduct an audit to determine whether or not you have an actively engaged audience on Facebook.

2. Determine your goals for establishing a presence. What are you looking to achieve?

3. Always think long term if you are creating a presence. What is the 12-month plan (at the very least) for being on Facebook? Do you have a plan for how you will share content, engage and interact with your community?

4) Determine what success will look like after the 12 months. Can you easily measure and track success?

B2B Case Study: Business Week Social Media Site

Ron Casalotti, Social Media Lead of Bloomberg L.P. presented a case study of the Business Week Business Exchange site at the Marketing Profs B2B Forum. This video is a recap of his presentation, which was part of a session featuring four case studies moderated by CK.

The goals of the site, which was launched in September 2008 were:

  • Increase user engagement on our sites.
  • Participate in the conversations that are important to our users (and target users) outside of our domain.
  • Extend the useful life of our business orientedcontent beyond the typical magazine or online news-site lifecycle.

The strategies used were:

  • The concept of the wisdom of the crowds
  • Long-tail marketing and the social media hook of people like me.
  • Basic human motivation for participating in social networks for the benefit of others.
  • The desire to be recognized as a thought leader and subject matter expert.
  • The need for a professional online persona.

Results

  • A growing list of over 1,700 topics suggested by users
  • Over 40,000 key influencer users contributing over 1 million article links.
  • Over 7,200 Twitter followers grown organically in 18 months (@bwbx).
  • Over 60 current and former business-side and editorial associates sharing links with personal Twitter accounts

Video: Inside B2B Social Media with Intel

YouTube Preview Image
Here’s a short interview with Bryan Rhoads, Senior Digital Strategist for Intel, where he discusses how Intel uses social media in its B2B marketing. This video interview was shot during Social Fresh Portland.

Intel started social media in the B2B space. They transitioned their approach through the following phases of digital adoption: grassroots, pilots, operational and widespread adoption. Online conversations are actually more natural in B2B because of subject matter experts. Now Intel integrates social media in all B2B communications and it helps awareness, community and customer support.

Follow Bryan on Twitter @bryanrhoads.