10 of the Best B2B Facebook Timeline Cover Photos

Hope you didn’t oversleep this morning, because if you manage a Facebook Business or Brand Page for your B2B company today is the day that the timeline goes live, whether you are ready or not. One month ago, Facebook announced the Page changes, and you had the whole month to get your Page in line. And you were able to launch the update any time during the past month.

Many B2B companies have already launched their new timeline updates. The most important functional update for many Page managers is the ability to privately message their fans, after the fan has messaged the Page first. But the most visual update in the timeline is the Cover Photo. This is an 851 pixel wide image that gives B2B companies a great opportunity to make an impact with the Page.

Below are 10 of the best examples that I have seen, and they are divided into three categories: product images, inspirational photos and illustrations. If you don’t have an existing image that works for this dynamic space, find someone either inside your company or outside of it that can help you create one.

One last thing before moving on to the cover photos. If you are still planning and preparing your B2B timeline page, here is an awesome Facebook resource post with everything you need to know.

Product Images

Fluke Corporation

Dell Enterprise

Volvo Trucks

Inspirational Photos







Dow Chemical


Have you updated your B2B Facebook Page to get ready for today’s roll out of the new timeline? Have you seen other great Cover Photos that you want to share in the comments? And yes, you can share your own Page if you are proud of it.

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.

Discover Your B2B Social Media Super Influencers

Every B2B company has advocates, fans and influencers, but they are not all created equal. In a recent article published on the The Network, Cisco’s newsroom there is a discussion of super influencers. Every company has those too.

Traditionally, you had a core group of customers that you went to for validation of your marketing or sales programs. These customers were also your biggest advocates. Others who sang the praises of your B2B company often went unnoticed by you. Well, unless they approached you at your trade show booth and managed to convey their excitement about your products in a non-creepy, pre-internet way.

Today all that happens online. Customers provide recommendations about your products and services. Sometimes it is solicited by others. Sometimes it is just put out there. Those fans and advocates now can shout louder and further about your company than ever before using a variety of social media. You also have the ability to easily discover them with free and paid social media monitoring tools.

When looking at your super influencer population, the Cisco article poses 5 great questions for understanding how to leverage this group in a social media environment.

1. What do your super influencers share?

2. Where do they share it?

3. What motivates them?

4. How can you make them famous?

5. What rewards do they want?

By answering these questions about your super influencers, you are on your way to using this online segment help spread the message, and the valuable content, of your B2B company.

What have you done to discover and nurture your super influencers?

Article reference: Used with the permission of thenetwork.cisco.com.

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?

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?

Top 10 B2B Companies on Twitter [March 2011]

Earlier this year we established a set of criteria to rank B2B company Twitter accounts. Below you will find this month’s version of the rankings. The biggest change to the list is the inclusion of @MarketingProfs, based on my interview with Ann Handley about her use of the account. When ranked against the other B2B company Twitter accounts, @MarketingProfs comes out on top.

One of the trends that we have seen in the list is that many companies gained significant followers over the past two months. The biggest gain is by Hubspot, which went from 40,000 to 100,000 followers using Twitter’s advertising program of Promoted Accounts. One of the components of the ranking is the ratio of followers to followings, and Hubspot, like the other companies gaining followers, did not increase the people they were following accordingly. This means the ratio component of their ranking went down, as compared to companies whose ratio of follower count did not change significantly.

SocialMediaB2B.com Top B2B Companies on Twitter
(March 2011)

1. MarketingProfs (@MarketingProfs)
2. Hubspot (@Hubspot)
3. eMarketer (@eMarketer)
4. Forrester (@Forrester)
5. CME Group (@CMEGroup)
6. comScore (@comScore)
7. Cisco (@CiscoSystems)
8. Gartner (@Gartner_Inc)
9. radian6 (@radian6)
10. Marketo (@Marketo)
Jan 2011


Other B2B company Twitter accounts that were ranked, but did not make the top 10 were @Accenture, @Eloqua, @Intel, @MarketingSherpa, @Oracle, @Salesforce and @SAP. As always, let us know your thoughts about the list, and if there are other companies that should be considered in the next ranking.

10 B2B Social Media Case Studies and Examples

As we have learned by writing posts for this site, people are interested in examples of what other B2B companies large and small are doing with social media. It is easier to justify your plans to clients and supervisors by showing successes that other companies have had. Below are some recent examples that have been written about.

UPS launches a B2B social media marketing campaign
from Social Media Influence
UPS, the global shipping firm, is launching a new “logistics” ad campaign in the coming days to boost its credentials with small businesses by leveraging social media networking power. Catchy ad music aside, this could be one of the best examples to date of social media utilization for B2B.
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How Social Media Helped Cisco Shave $100,000+ Off a Product Launch
from Social Media Examiner
As early as 2008, networking giant Cisco was well along in its social media evolution. Back then you could find the company on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Yet something was missing – the hard business case for social media. Like most companies, Cisco knew it was benefiting from social media, but it couldn’t prove it.
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Plus a good interview with LaSandra Brill, senior manager of global social media at Cisco.

3 B2B social media case studies and why they work
from Arik Hanson
There’s no shortage of social media case study posts online these days. And, I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. Case studies give us examples to learn from and situations to study. All in all, it’s a great way for most to learn.
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5 B2B Social Media Winners
from TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Take a moment to think about, and count, the number of B2C social media success stories that pop into your head. I’ll venture to guess that you could immediately name five to 10, if not many more. From Ford to Dell to Zappos to Best Buy, B2C social media winners – those organizations that caught on early and created a cult following of brand cheerleaders via the social web – are hard to miss. But how about the B2B social media winners? I’m guessing these weren’t as easy to name.
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What are some other examples that you seen that have influenced your social media plans?

Social Media B2B Editor Speaking at Upcoming Conferences

I have a number of speaking engagements coming up this fall and I wanted to highlight them here. I will be both presenting and moderating on a variety of topics, although they are variations on a theme, social media for B2B companies. If you are attending any of these events, make sure you say hi and let me know you are a reader of this site. We like meeting readers in person and always appreciate the feedback we get.

Lift: The B2B Social Commerce Summit (@liftsummit)
September 23
Atlanta, GA

Panel: Social Shopping for B2B
Exploring the effect of flash sales sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Woot (recently acquired by Amazon). How B2B can join the rapidly growing online trend of social shopping. How companies are utilizing new sales techniques and outlets.
Moderator: Jeffrey L. Cohen, Managing Editor of SocialMediaB2B.com
Robert Ball, CEO & Co-Founder at OfficeArrow (@RBOA)
Sam Decker, CMO at Bazaarvoice (@samdecker)
Mike Lewis, Chairman & Co-Founder at OfficeArrow (@MikeLewis_ILD)

Converge South
October 1, 2:45-4:00
Greensboro NC

Presentation: Content Marketing for Small Business
In today’s challenging business environment, it is imperative to get your business in front of potential customers. Many small businesses are already under-resourced and frequently marketing gets pushed aside. This session will provide tips, tricks and tools to use existing materials and business knowledge to promote a small business online.

BlogWorld Badge
Blogworld and New Media Expo (@blogworld)
October 16, 3:30-4:30
Las Vegas NV

Panel: Effective B2B Social Media Strategies
This panel features case studies from Cisco, Hubspot and Kinaxis, showing how social media for these business to business (B2B) companies makes a bottom line difference. By using blogs, community forums and other social networking platforms, these three leading companies have generated significant and measurable results.

Moderator: Jeffrey L. Cohen, Managing Editor at SocialMediaB2B.com
Kipp Bodnar, Inbound Marketing Manager at HubSpot (@kbodnar32)
LaSandra Brill, Senior Manager, Global Social Media at Cisco (@LaSandraBrill)
Kirsten Watson, Director, Corporate Marketing at Kinaxis (@kirstenewatson)

Updated B2B Facebook Page Examples with Data

This short post is to let you know that we updated the 10 Examples of B2B Facebook Pages post. As that has been one of the most popular posts on this site, and still generates regular traffic, we wanted to make sure the information was updated where readers are still going. But the best way to let you know about something in an old post is to write a new post that shows up at the top of the home page, in RSS and in email subscriptions. That was just a tip I hope you caught.

The original post now has a curent number of Likers, since they are no longer fans, and some updated observations about best practices and changes to the pages. Since I can’t let this post go without putting a little content in it, the following is a list of the pages and increase in people who like the page since December 2009. Note that over this time, Facebook users increased nearly 43% from 350 million to 500 million and almost all of these B2B Pages grew faster. The CDW Employee Perks Program page must not have worked for them, as it no longer exists.

Page Dec 2009 July 2010 %Increase
Dell 51,183 183,554 259%
Cisco 24,289 74,400 206%
Salesforce 3,569 8,513 139%
Sodexo 2,069 4,194 103%
Cintas 1,156 2,260 96%
Gartner 2,059 3,943 92%
Hubspot 8,046 14,123 76%
Forrester 2,593 3,726 44%
Ernst & Young 34,478 47,611 38%
CDW 753 0 -100%

And always, if you have B2B Pages that you think are doing a good job providing information and creating engagement, or just doing something different, let us know in the comments below. You can even share your own if it is worth sharing.

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.

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?