B2B marketers from across the world gathered together for BMA14, the Business Marketing Association’s annual conference in Chicago from May 28th-30th. During those 3 days, approximately 1,000 business-to-business marketers were exposed to the latest B2B marketing trends, thinking, research, technology, case studies and best practices.
Although the conference covered a wide range of topics, social media was a key theme in many presentations.
What was perhaps most interesting is how many brands were using a variety of techniques and social channels to spread and amplify their message.
Here are some interesting B2B social media insights and takeaways from #BMA14.
1. General Electric’s use of Vine, Instagram and Tumblr
Linda Boff, Executive Director Global Brand Marketing at GE, mentioned that General Electric has found Instagram, Vine and Tumblr as platforms where the GE brand has found its voice by sharing groundbreaking research and simple science experiments.
Creating great content that tells a story is key to attracting an audience that consumes and shares via social networks. Some examples of GE’s successful social campaigns include #6SecondScience, #SpringBreakIt and #GravityDay on Tumblr and Vine, and their 170,000 follower Instagram account.
2. Social Selling Gets Results
Could “social selling” be the next big thing in marketing? Many attendees of BMA14 believe so. Sales people need to be aware that they can be more influential and effective when using social selling techniques. Jill Rowley presented a powerful case for social selling by sharing how sales people always need to be connecting and curating quality content. 78% of sales professionals using social media outsell their peers that use traditional selling techniques.
Want a bit more info on social selling? Watch Jill’s “Traditional Selling vs. Social Selling” video.
3. Make your presentations tweet-worthy
Jay Baer, author of “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help, Not Hype” is always good for an entertaining and informative presentation, and his BMA14 keynote was no exception. Jay had perhaps the most tweet-worthy presentation at BMA14, largely because he includes tweet-worthy content.
Here are a few examples:
- Youtility is marketing so useful, people would pay for it. (View tweet)
- Youtility comes from the wizard, not the wand. (View tweet)
- Inspiration doesn’t respond to meeting requests. (View tweet)
- Content that is only about your products and services isn’t a Youtility, it’s a brochure. (View tweet)
- We are surrounded by data but starved for insights. (View tweet)
4. WhatsApp as a business tool
Lisa Abbatiello, CEO of Leo Burnett Business, New York, mentioned that they use WhatsApp for engaging among global groups and Twitter to highlight their team’s point of view on their client’s industries.
5. Market like its 2014. Use the tools available.
Keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk roused the BMA14 attendees with his edgy presentation style. Gary urged marketers to jab first (engage customers) before using a right hook (going for a sale). He urged marketers to use the tools available to them and to stop marketing like they did years ago.
He practiced what he preached by sharing stories about how he used social media to determine a prospect’s interests then used that information to start a conversation. This resulted in several big sales.
6. Use LinkedIn to make C-level connections
Scott Salkin, CEO and founder of IDS Marketing Technology, says LinkedIn is the most effective B2B social media platform. “It’s become a very credible way to connect with people and reach out directly to C-level executives.” Scott has achieved an impressive response rate of around 80 to 90%.
7. Social Media is Mobile
Marketers are aware of how mobile is impacting their business, but they may not be aware how much. Mobile was still one of the big topics at BMA14, and the speakers from the social media focused sessions had a lot of eye-opening mobile takeaways. Here’s a few:
“Facebook and The Move to Mobile” presented by Gary Briggs, Chief Marketing Officer, Facebook
- Facebook has 1 billion+ monthly actives on mobile, 609m+ people using Facebook on mobile every day. (View tweet)
- Every team has to be mobile. At Facebook, every team is the mobile team. (View tweet)
- 200 million people use Instagram each month. That’s twice the number of books in the Library of Congress. (View tweet)
- 85% of global mobile devices have WhatsApp. (View tweet)
“Mastering the Moment: the Live Opportunity for B2B Marketers on Twitter” presented by Richard Alfonsi, VP Global Online Sales, Twitter
- 80% of Twitter users access via mobile. (View tweet)
- There are 135,000 new users on Twitter every day. Chances are your customers are among them. (View tweet)
- Wednesday is when the most B2B conversations happen on Twitter. (View tweet)
“Tell Better Stories, Build A Better Business” presented by Nick Besbeas, VP Marketing and Customer Support, LinkedIn
8. Storytelling has an important role in Social Media Globalization
Social media took center stage during a panel discussion about the impact of social media globalization. While a brand’s logo and mission statement are consistent globally, its social media has to be flexible to address the interests of individual cultures while maintaining a cohesive voice.
For example, social selling is much more popular in Asia, as personal relationships matter to the point where people won’t do business with brands they don’t know. Brands should consider using visual storytelling to break down language barriers.
9. Game mechanics promotes participation and engagement
The attendees at the BMA14 conference were encouraged to use an event application called LiveCube. LiveCube fuses game mechanics and audience participation to promote participation and engagement. When synced to your Twitter account, the application would allow you to tweet, retweet and follow users through their interface, as well as get session information, participate in real-time polls and surveys and much more. And when you did so, you accumulated points for the various activities. In short, it made participation fun.
And the numbers showed it worked. By the end of the conference, the 1,000 attendees had generated 17,269 Twitter mentions which had an overall reach of 63.7 million impressions.
10. Facebook is still relevant in B2B
During the “Understand the DNA of a Growth Marketer” panel session, Mark Rentschler, Head of Marketing at machine tool company Makino, mentioned his shock over the last year regarding Facebook. “Facebook folks are converting at more than double the rate of normal marketing activity, and are spending from 10 to 30 minutes on our website.”
11. People love a good selfie.
When you have a conference that has as much mobile and social media content as BMA14, there’s no better way to wrap it up than with an Ellen-inspired selfie.
The Business Marketing Association (BMA) is the premiere marketing organization for B2B marketers. The BMA offers unparalleled access to the knowledge and network you need to be the best B2B marketer possible. What can the BMA do for you? Watch the video and find out.