Support SocialMediaB2B Founders at SXSW

b2b-sxswEvery Spring tens of thousands of marketers and developers descend on Austin, Texas for the annual SXSW Interactive Conference. This happens before and during the arrival of the filmmakers and the musicians to Austin for the more well-known, yet smaller festivals.

Long before this happens, thousands of sessions are submitted through the SXSW Panelpicker, and speakers are encouraged get the community to comment and vote on their sessions. Community support is not the only thing organizers use to select sessions, but it is about 30% of their decision.

Not everyone promotes their sessions, as it can get a little spammy if you tweet and share links to your session every day on your social networks. As commenting and voting is coming to an end this week, Kipp and I thought we should try to at least get a little support. Our sessions are solid and we think they can provide value to attendees, but of course we would say that. They are not strictly B2B sessions, but as B2B marketers, the content will be filter through our B2B experience.

What are the rules? Well, you have to create an account on the SXSW website to vote and comment for our sessions, and other sessions that might interest you. The commenting and voting period ends September 6, 2013 (11:59 PM CT), so if you want to support our sessions, please do so before the end of the week.

Here are our two proposed sessions:
(Click the title to leave your comments and positive votes)

WTF Is Context Marketing?
Consumers hate most marketing because it is devoid of context. Prospects are people not numbers in marketers’ spreadsheets. Context Marketing is about incorporating the interests, behavior, and devices of your prospects into your entire marketing experience. Learn how to create context across your key inbound marketing aspects including social media, analytics, email and your website.

Kipp Bodnar, Publisher, and Director of Marketing, Hubspot
Jeffrey L. Cohen, Managing Editor,

The Next Great Media Disruption: Corporate America
Companies have been hearing that they need to think like publishers, but in reality, they need to be publishers. Media companies continue to struggle with web-based business models, but a corporate publishing effort does not need to sell ads or subscriptions. The right content builds trust that can lead to sales. The key to connecting with customers and prospects is to create and curate content that is so compelling, helpful and entertaining, that people can’t help but read, watch and share it.

As marketers build their media empires, they are hiring experienced journalists to bring a different set of skills to the team. This session will include several content models from different industries, all of them designed to take the place of traditional online media outlets.

Jeffrey L. Cohen, Managing Editor,
Kipp Bodnar, Publisher, and Director of Marketing, Hubspot
Jenn Eldin, Senior Manager, Marketing & Content Innovation, American Express Open Forum
Rebecca Buckman, Vice President, Communications and Content, Battery Ventures

B2B Social Media Breaks Out at SXSW

For those of us in the social media bubble it is that time of year again where we try to get our friends, fans and followers to vote for our submitted sessions so that we can speak at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in March 2013. But as we have done in year’s past, we are interested in supporting the B2B community and promoting some of the other sessions in addition to ours.

Last year there was a B2B track with a day’s worth of sessions in one Standing Room Only room. It was a sign of progress for B2B content at the session. Kipp and I even did a book presentation for The B2B Social Media Book. Each year there are more B2B sessions submitted than the year before and this year continues that trend. Companies represented include many of the usual suspects like IBM, Cisco, Xerox, Salesforce, but there are also less known B2B companies like National Instruments and Honeywell Aerospace.

If you want to support your fellow B2B marketers, check out these and other presentations on the SXSW panelpicker site. Register for an account to like sessions, leave comments to make the sessions better, or even share them with your networks. Your support may help create more interest in B2B topics this coming year. If you are interested in attending the conference, note that hotels are selling out and the tickets are only getting more expensive as time goes by.

Digital A-Z for B2B

At last year’s SXSW, a starved crowd of B2B marketers shuffled into a standing-room-only session track to hear more about this often-neglected topic. Meanwhile, the volume of B2B transactions is 20 times higher than B2C – the B2B industry is worth more than $400 billion.

How drastically does the marketing world change when you’re selling to another business? Contrary to the Supreme Court decision, businesses aren’t anything like people. But marketing must reach out to role-based B2B tribes. What are the most civilized moves you can make?

In this topic session, you’ll learn everything from 101 marketing basics to how much of your budget to protect for unpredicted innovations. Learn how web analytics and optimization testing can help determine what advertising, content, promotions and strategies are right for your business model.

Social Conversion: For Love and Money in B2B

61% of B2B marketers use social media to generate leads, but that isn’t enough. Marketers are ignoring a much bigger opportunity: social conversion. Social conversion uses social content and social media platforms to induce an action from an evangelist, lead or customer. Going beyond lead generation, social conversion enables optimization through all stages of the B2B sales and marketing funnel. By using social content at each step of the online decision making process, marketers can drastically improve their results, while giving prospective customers the most relevant content personalized to them. Inject social into all stages of your conversion process from landing pages to your website homepage to scale your online marketing to new heights.

Paradise By The Dashboard Light: Success in B2B

There is a big myth in business today — “You can’t track your social media efforts like you do other digital media.” False. With the right tools, every component of social media can be tracked & measured against a business goal. You better form your business goals with such metrics to influence all your marketing channels. Yes, all of them.

While looking to understand what impact social activities are having, Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating collaborated with WCG creating a consolidated dashboard to visualize its metrics. For upper management, this dashboard showcases all digital & social activities — in real time via web-based login, which can also be displayed for all employees to see in a common area. Independent figures as well as campaign specific data can all be expanded.

A business need to analyze and showcase ROI has become a real-time illustration board. The benefits to a brand are priceless in an age where strategies need to react as fast as social media unfolds.

Late Night Comedy Secrets for Social Business

Research shows that nearly 73% of people who read corporate blogs are people. One of the most authentic, intimate connections we can make with another person is to make them laugh; which makes comedy the ideal genre for corporate transmedia content. Learn how to apply the same comedy approaches used on Conan, Letterman and SNL to help strengthen and grow online corporate communities. Learn how to produce a comedy video for under $500. We’ll share a few successes, failures and near-fireable offenses; as well as case studies our productions including a Cisco video covered by The New York Times and an IBM video which ran on Comedy

Getting Away With It: IBM Social Sells the Cloud

IBM and its web-based offering, the IBM Public Cloud, has gone social with its selling – and is exporting the practice overseas. Beginning in the US, developed & launched an innovative Social Selling Program to help Public Cloud sales reps close new business using social media channels & techniques – primarily because traditional teleprospecting and email were not a market best fit. By embarking on internal social selling education, a social action marketing calendar, an influencer strategy, a social content management system, weekly reporting & prospect social tracking through the sales pipeline, the innovations has proven that social media has an invaluable contribution to the B2B sales & marketing mix. Hear from IBM on how this Social Selling Program was developed, the learning that the campaign has produced both in US and Europe – and the results that are now serving to influence the use of social media as a sales and marketing tool in b-to-b markets at IBM overall.

Bonus Session Listing (Not B2B, but mine):

The Incredible Disappearing Marketing Trick

Marketing is undergoing its biggest transformation in 80 years. It is disappearing. How can marketing actually disappear, you ask? Not only are marketers getting better at their jobs and creating things that don’t feel like marketing, but these highly valuable ideas are shared by your customers, prospects and advocates. By reducing the barriers between you and this army of supporters, your content can get amplified like never before. And this marketing trick will put you on the path to more customers in less time at lower cost. Now who’s the magician?

If there are other B2B sessions that sound interesting to you, add them to the comments below.

3 Unique Ideas from SXSW B2B Social Media Panel

At this year’s SXSW, one of the strongest B2B social media sessions was the panel “Social Media in the Underground World of B2B.” The panel provided eye-opening insight and touched on some unexpected topics, making it an invaluable learning session for B2B marketers.

SXSW B2B Social Media PanelThe presenters included Duane Schulz from Xerox Corporation (@duaneschulz), Jeanette Gibson from Cisco Systems (@JeanetteG), Shanee Ben-Zur from NVIDIA (@sbenzur), Susan Emerick (@sfemerick) from IBM and Melissa Chanslor from Text 100 (@Chanslor).

The panel opened by covering social strategy and engagement. The panelists agreed that the best place to start B2B social media marketing is where your audience is. Identify areas where key decision makers spend their time. Shape your engagement strategy around where those prospects are. Use listening tools, participate in the conversation, and measure effectiveness.

Unique Idea #1: Use Facebook and OpenID for B2B Website Login
Show the connection from social to sales. Cisco Systems is using Facebook and OpenID for login on their website. It’s led to a 40% reduction in cost and has increased event registration by 20%.

When it comes to participation, find the best social citizens within your organization to enact the social strategy. Enable them to be true representatives of the brand. By recruiting the right subject experts internally, brands can bring value to the conversation. And no one knows your brand better than your employees, so enable them and make sure they reflect your brand properly.

IBM stresses the importance of their people understanding that they represent the brand, and if they do it well, customers will become brand ambassadors too.

Adoption among employees is key. Engaged employees equals engaged customers. So how do you get employees to adopt social media?  Expose them to it.

Unique Idea #2: Conversation Starters
NVIDIA and Cisco System have large LCD screens that display real-time Twitter streams and other social conversations in high traffic areas of their office (meeting areas, near bathrooms, etc.). Employees routinely stop to see what is being mentioned about their brand online. This tactic leads to employee engagement.

When asked about B2B social media challenges, the panelists pointed to ROI and internal resources being the biggest obstacles.

On the topic of ROI, panelists noted that social media ROI can’t always be measured. They recommended creating benchmarks and showing growth over time.  Show that you changed a trend.

Shanee Ben-Zur from NVIDIA provided additional insight: “Your business objectives should guide you to what you should measure. Tie social back to the original objective and use that as the measurement standard.”

Dwayne Schulz said that Xerox is not worrying about ROI for the next 2 years.  Their goal is to create a literate community within their organization first.

Unique Idea #3: Gamification
Many B2B marketers may feel that gamification is only for consumer marketing, but rewarding people for participation and incentivizing behavior are tactics B2B marketers can employ too.  Integrate game mechanics into an interaction to emotionally engage and empower users.

IBM and Cisco are using gamification now. “IBM is using gamification internally to build leaders through rewards and recognition” mentioned Susan Emerick.  And Jeanette Gibson from Cisco Systems mentioned how they were using it on their blog.  “You can get badges for sign up, reading, commenting, sharing, etc.”

Although the panel covered several other notable points, these topics seemed to generate the most interest from the session attendees.  And with good reason- all are unique concepts that help these notable brands achieve success with their B2B social media marketing.

Are you using any of these unique B2B social media ideas?  Share your thoughts, stories and feedback in the comments.

SocialMediaB2B Founders to Speak at SXSW

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in Austin Texas is one of the biggest web and social media conferences in the world with over 20,000 attendees expected. Kipp and I are super-excited that we are speaking at the event this year.

We are doing a book reading session for The B2B Social Media Book on Sunday at 12:30 in the Austin Convention Center Ballroom G. This short session will be followed by a book signing at the SXSW Bookstore, right outside of Ballroom G. We would love to see you there, if you are in attendance at the show. If you have read the book, we want to know your favorite parts. If you haven’t read it yet, pick up a copy at the bookstore, and we would be happy to sign it for you.

And if you will be at SXSW, but can’t make it to our session, reach out to us on Twitter: @jeffreylcohen or @kippbodnar. We would like to meet you and talk about what your B2B company is doing in social media.

We are also happy to see more B2B content being presented this year at SXSW. If you are attending, here is a list of other B2B sessions. Each session has its own hashtag, so you can follow the presentations on Twitter, if you will not be attending.

Other B2B Sessions at SXSW

Social Media in the Underground World of B2B
with speakers from Xerox, IBM, Cisco, Text 100 and NVIDIA

Everything You Need to Know About B2B Marketing
with the authors of Complete B2B Online Marketing

How to Work in B2B and Keep Your Creative Shirt On
with speakers from Somnio Solutions

Humanizing B2B Brands with Video & Comedy
with Tim Washer of Cisco

Using Psychology to Increase e-Commerce Conversion
with Joe Rawlinson of National Instruments

The Promise and Pitfalls of Real-Time Marketing
with speakers from Dow Chemical and McDonald’s

6 Ways to Create and Share B2B Social Media Content Without a Blog

One of the best ways to use social media to drive traffic to your B2B website is to create a blog on your website and publish relevant articles to your prospects and customers. Rather than posting this content only on your social media channels, it is hosted on a site that you control. And you can use your social channels to share your content and bring visitors to your site.

For some organizations it is not currently possible to create a blog, but B2B marketers are still interested in creating and sharing content. In addition to the awareness benefit that sharing new content brings, marketers need to understand how to create remarkable content on a regular basis. Here are six ways to create and share content without a blog.

1. Email
This is the easiest one because you can do this now with no learning. The next time you attend a conference or industry event, make notes about the 5 most amazing things you saw. Whether you have an email program and customer distribution list or not, you can still write up your thoughts from the event. If you send regular emails, use this information in your next email. If you don’t communicate this way, provide your write-up to your salespeople, and they can use it as a reason to connect with prospects and customers.

2. YouTube
Shoot a short video on your phone with one of your product managers describing how one feature of your product solves a specific problem. Interview a customer telling a similar story and you have two different ways to showcase what your products do. Make sure you shoot the video in a quiet place so the audio is clear. Post these on YouTube and provide the links to your employees. They can share them on their social networks or include the links in an email as mentioned above.

3. LinkedIn
Companies can now post status updates on LinkedIn. While these often contain links to other content, it is also a good way to provide general company updates to those following you. You can also use it to curate news coverage about your company. Post links to stories and add a comment in the status update. Even though you may have a newsfeed on your LinkedIn company page, posting the most important ones as status updates will show them to your company’s network.

4. Twitter
Twitter has changed from a place where people post their thoughts to a site where many people and companies also share links. When building your B2B company Twitter account, you definitely want to share other industry content that is relevant, but you can also post thoughts from your employees. Interview your subject matter experts and post their responses over a series of tweets. This can be a fun way to get more employees involved in Twitter. Encourage employees to retweet these interview tweets.

5. Facebook
Posting photos and sharing non-work-related activities are great uses for a Facebook Business Page before you have ramped up your social media content machine. Once a week, share an employee photo. Make sure you are capturing photos of an community events. Include a brief story about the event and provide a link to the organization. These kinds of things show the human side of a company, especially on a platform that many people use personally.

6. Google Plus
Besides it’s benefit to search results, Google Plus is really good for having conversations. Ask leading questions. Provide insightful information. Reach out to people in your industry to engage them in conversations. Since these conversations are threaded, someone can join in and catch up just by scrolling.

If you start using these other ways to create and share content before you have a B2B blog, you will also start growing your networks on these platforms. This means that you will have an active community, and know where people are more likely to engage and share company content, when you do launch your blog.

If you have other favorite ways to share B2B company content without blog, please share in the comments below.

12 Compelling B2B Social Media Slideshare Presentations

B2B marketers give lots of presentations in today’s work environment, and are always looking for inspiration for new ideas and new ways to present those ideas. Below are a dozen B2B social media presentations from Slideshare from a variety of sources that should help get you thinking before you stand up and give your next presentation. Share your best work with us in the comments.

10 Ways to "Solve" Facebook for B2B
View more presentations from Eloqua

Dell B2B Huddle UK with Brian Solis
View more presentations from Brian Solis

Getting Better at B2B Social Media

Social media for B2B companies is not something that you turn on, set it and forget it. Not only do existing tools change and new tools appear, but your customers and prospects interact differently with social media as they become more comfortable using it. Inherent in change is improvement. Professionally, we all want to do better than we did last month or last quarter or last year. Some of the following posts will help inspire you to do that. There is a reluctance to track hard metrics because this holds people and campaigns accountable for their success, but in the long run, we need to understand what works and what doesn’t so we can achieve better results.

12 Ways to Improve B2B Social Media Marketing in 2012
from MarketingProfs
Want to add some rocket fuel to your B2B marketing in 2012? Get 12 big ideas for improving B2B social media marketing from the experts.
Continue reading

Why People Dislike Metrics
from Amplified Analytics Blog
I was talking to one of my customers about her experience trying to introduce the use of metrics into the business processes she is managing. Janet is in the gourmet food marketing business and was hoping to use analytics for discovering the patterns of shoppers’ consumption of her products by the time of day, as well as an impact of promotional events on the sales results. The food business, in her words, is a very fragmented environment and even the simplest business process tends to involve a number of companies to perform.
Continue reading

How to Meet Google’s Newest Quality Standards for Content
from Content Marketing Institute
In the midst of Google’s latest algorithm change, many marketers are in a tizzy over how their search engine presence — and ranking — will be impacted. The SEO game keeps changing, and as a content marketer it’s important to understand what the changes are and how to use them to stay competitive.
Continue reading

The Evergreen Laws of Marketing
from Chief Marketing Technologist
I’ve shared the laws of technology for marketers. But what about laws of marketing for technologists? The single most insightful marketing book I’ve ever read was published nearly 20 years ago, before the Web was anything more than an academic experiment: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
Continue reading

Fear and Social Media Don’t Mix
from B2B Memes
Cynics might argue that institutions inherently distrust anything they can’t control. But their challenge in dealing with social media has more to do with the culture of caution and conservatism that every traditional organization seems to engender.
Continue reading

10 Ways to Make Your B2B Trade Show Social

B2B marketers focus on social media as a way to connect online with prospects and customers, but social media offers a huge opportunity to enhance offline events like tradeshows and conferences. Trade shows still make up a large percentage of B2B companies’ marketing budgets, so the following ideas can help leverage those events and make them more successful. And more

1. Use Full URLs for Social Media Profiles
Every booth sign, business card and flyer includes logos for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Don’t make your prospects and customer search to find you on these platforms. Provide the full URL for your page. If you still have a long and unwieldy Facebook URL, go to to select a custom URL.

2. Encourage Facebook Likes Via Text Message
Even though smartphones continue to grow, many customers and prospects who come to your booth may still use feature phones. Show them how they can set up their phones to use Facebook via text messages and how they can easily subscribe to your Facebook Page that way. Just text “like” and the Page’s username to 32665 or your specific country code. This way, booth visitors can like your page while they are standing in front of you and continue to get updates on whatever device they use for Facebook, including their computer.

3. Provide Latest Topics from Relevant Industry Groups
Prior to the trade show, review topics and industry issues that are being discussed in LinkedIn Groups, or other online industry gathering places. Provide these topics, along with talking points, to your sales reps and other booth personnel as conversation starters. Yes, prospects come to your booth to learn about your products and services, but relevant, industry conversations can help build a relationship.

4. Post Content on Slideshare
Slideshare is not just for public presentations, although you should definitely upload any slide decks that are associated with talks you or other company representatives give. Create a short, highly visual deck about new product launches, booth highlights or even an industry news update. Share this deck on your social media profiles for those attending the show, and even for those who can’t make it. A keyword-rich description will also help this information get found on Slideshare.

5. Live Blog Keynote Presentations or Education Sessions
Most shows have some keynote address or educational content, even if there is not a full-blown conference track. Pick the most interesting, relevant or controversial sessions and live blog them. You can live blog the event in real-time, where you continue to update a blog post and re-publish with each new piece of information, or you can write the summary throughout the presentation and publish at the end of the session. The key to live blogging is that you publish before you walk out of the room. If you write about the session in note form, and hope to get back to it, it is unlikely you will.

6. Run an In-Person Twitter Chat
Twitter chats continue to be popular for many industries and ideas. Conduct a live Twitter chat, either at your booth or in a separate space during the show. The moderator can ask questions both in person and on the chat, so people can follow along both online and off.

7. Build a Keyword-Based Trade Show Page on Your Website
Create a page on your website that features your presence at the upcoming show. Use your regular keywords on the page in conjunction with words that relate to the show you will be attending. This way, when prospects look for information about the show, your show page also comes up in search. And since social search plays a role, encourage attendees from your company to share the page on their social networks.

8. Connect with Show Organizers
Most tradeshows these days have their own social media profiles, and sometimes the organizers struggle with content or connections on those profiles. Connect with the organizers and offer to provide content they can share with other show attendees. Promote their content on your profiles as well. Talk with them about social media sponsorships, hashtags and informal events during the show. These may be new ideas in some industries and you can become a valuable resource.

9. Run a Booth Contest with Twitter Clues
Use Twitter to announce contests and giveaways at your booth that require winners to come to your booth. They might need to answer a question or share a photo. Make sure you check with your legal department before conducting any contests. You may need to post contest rules on your company website.

10. Conduct Video Interviews
The best thing about tradeshow video is that you can get physical access to lots of people in your industry that are not normally together. This is a great opportunity to interview multiple people about industry trends, or sit down with an industry influencer. You may want to use a camera that has a mic, or find a quiet spot to shoot your interviews. Tradeshow can be very noisy. And with these 10 ideas very social.

What are other ways that you have used social media to make your B2B tradshows social?

Photo: Flickr

Live Preview of B2B Social Media Lead Generation Framework

B2B marketers need to understand how social media can drive leads and sales for their businesses. Kipp Bodnar and I, the founders of, have focused our efforts the past six months on creating a framework for B2B social media lead generation. This is the core of our new book, The B2B Social Media Book.

SocialMediaPlusWhile we can’t wait for the book to come out and share these ideas with B2B marketers, we have the opportunity to present them in person. We are excited to speak about social media lead generation at SocialMediaPlus, the Mid-Atlantic region’s biggest and baddest Social Media Conference and Exhibit, in Philadelphia on November 16, 2011. Other speakers at this event are Jason Falls, Christopher Penn and Frank Eliason, so it is bound to be helpful and informative for you.

If you are interested in attending SocialMediaPlus, we have a discount code for you - JC15. This will save you 15% on your registration. This is on top of the discount that is offered through September 30. So if you want to save a bit on registration, do it today.

We will be going out on the road in 2012, meeting marketers and speaking about B2B social media lead generation, so if we don’t see you in Philadelphia in November, we hope to see you next year. If you are interested in inviting us to your event, this B2B social media speaker request form will help start the process.

How to Create Great B2B Presentations

This past week I spoke at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston, and one of the keynote speakers was Nancy Duarte. Her presentation about presentations was very inspiring. I speak a fair amount at conferences and events and I usually create a new presentation for each event. My mostly visual presentations are filled with information, examples and ways to accomplish things.

The main point of Nancy’s presentation was that we need to use story and structure to convey our ideas to achieve change. Whether you are looking to change the world, as Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King were in her examples, or you are convincing a room full of communicators that it is worth their time to invest in social media, as I often do, it can be done with the right kind of presentation.

The message for B2B marketers, who are used to bullet point-laden decks where the only visual excitement is when each bullet point zooms onto the screen, is that they need to focus on the idea and what action they want the audience to take. It might be a sales presentation to a prospect. It might be an internal lunch and learn. It could even be a project summary for your boss. Before you begin creating the slides, determine what action you want your audience to take after hearing your idea. By using Nancy’s structure of repeatedly showing them the future with your idea in place, they will begin to own the idea themselves and go forth to change the world. Or at least their small portion of it.

If you have recently been inspired, whether to create better presentations, or some other aspect of your marketing efforts, we would love to hear about it in the comments.

Below is Nancy’s presentation from TEDx, which is a shorter version of the talk I saw earlier this week.

And here’s a link to Nancy’s latest book, Resonate.