11 B2B Social Media Takeaways from BMA14

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)

Jay Baer Youtility slide

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)

Facebook mobile team

“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

– Over 300M professionals are on LinkedIn. (View tweet)
– LinkedIn is no longer a jobs site, it’s a content site. Users consume content 7x more than job listings. (View tweet)

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.

LiveCube Interface

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.

BMA14 closing 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.

Marketing Profs B2B Forum A Must for B2B Marketers

Marketing Profs B2B ForumThe upcoming Marketing Profs B2B Forum on May 3-5, 2010 in Boston is a great event for B2B marketers looking to expand their knowledge about all things B2B. This is one event where you don’t have to struggle to find the B2B relevancy within the general business content. It’s all B2B!

I will be attending the conference as part of the Marketing Profs blogger program, which means that I will be covering a variety of sessions and shooting short interviews with some of the great speakers in attendance (disclosure: participation in the blogger program includes forum registration).

Kipp, now Inbound Marketing Manager at Hubspot, will be speaking with our friend Kyle Flaherty about how social conversations can drive leads.

We would like to encourage you to attend this event if you can. Once you review all the great session topics and bios of the speakers, you need to justify the expense of the conference. Marketing Profs has taken care of that for you with an ROI calculator. Since they are in the content business, and understand how a better educated marketer can actually make an impact on sales, this tool shows the connection between the conference expenditure and sales increases. I would like to see a “Share with Your Boss” button to make it complete, but that would mean they would have to store the data rather than display it. And finally, to make it a little more affordable, here’s a discount code to save $200 on your registration. Just use the promo code BLOG when you register. Make sure you come back here and let us know that registered as a result of this post.

If you are not able to go, you should still look through the list of speakers and sessions to find what interests you. There will be lots of attendees blogging and tweeting about sessions using the hashtag #mpb2b. While I am primarily interested in social media sessions, I would like to know which ones you are interested in. Also, if there are specific speakers you want to hear from, or even certain questions you would like asked, please reply in the comments below. For instance, is there something you have always wanted to ask Mitch Joel about B2B marketing? I can try to do that for you. I am sure it will be a whirlwind event, as most seem to be, but I really want to provide some reader suggested content from this event.

And finally, if you are attending this conference, please let me know ahead of time and we can try to meet and talk about B2B and social media. We always like to hear what people are up and what their latest challenges are. See you in Boston.

12 Networking Tips for B2B Conferences

In the B2B world, tradeshows and conferences are still a major part of our sales and marketing strategies. Once you have been to a few conferences, you know how similar they can all seem and oftentimes overwhelming. There is a lot of information to sort through, tradeshow booths to see and attendees to meet.

We all have read about the benefits of relationship building and taking online relationships offline, but we may not be ready to practice what we preach. Tradeshows are a great opportunity to meet your online connections in person and to meet people in person and then continue the relationship online.

Here are some simple tips to get the most out of your conference time and make sure you are spending your time well and connecting with the right people.


1. Use LinkedIn to find people attending your conference – You can search for your conferences in the LinkedIn Events section and see who in your network is attending. LinkedIn Groups are also a great place to find people who are attending the same conference as you. Start a discussion in a group and make a plan to connect in person while you are there.

2. Find the Twitter Hashtag for the event – Many events now have a Twitter hashtag for their event so people can follow the stream of content being tweeted out about their event. If there isn’t a hastag, make one and alert your network about it.

3. Download mobile apps on your smartphone to collect contact information – Doing the ‘business card shuffle’ is stale. Most people I know have a whole drawer, cup, bowl, trashcan et al. of business cards from meetings and conferences. Find a better way to connect. Perhaps their business phone number isn’t what you need but you would connect better if you could get their Instant Messenger name, Twitter name or Google Buzz/Wave information.

I like to use Evernote for taking notes on the go (think: taking a photo of someone with an audio note of your conversation highlights). A fun way to exchange all of your contact information is with the Bump application. With a simple physical bump of your phone to the person you want to connect with, you can swap all of your contact information. Never underestimate the power of LinkedIn as they also have a great app to collect data on-the-go.

4. Tell your network you are going and find out what they want to know more about – Let your customers and network know you are attending this conference and ask them if there is anything they want you to make sure you bring back with you. Post a blog, a tweet or update your Facebook fans and you may get some great ideas from them on which sessions you should attend or who you should talk to.


5. Try using Twitter DMs versus email – When we all leave for a conference, we set up a vacation email. Why? Because we don’t plan on (or want to be held accountable) for checking our email while we are on-the-go. If you want to send someone a message, try sending them a direct message on Twitter for a faster response.

6. Get content for later – Too many people are trying to “live document” events. Save your energy and make a plan to collect information for later. Use a sound or video recorder to capture an impromptu interview and save it for when you get back. Edit your content to make it have one quick point and share it with your network.

If you make a good connection with a thought leader in your industry get their contact information and make a plan to contact them later. Ask to interview them later, after the conference, via email or over the phone.

7. Be a part of the experience – We have probably all seen those people who are documenting every minute of an event either by live blogging, tweeting or recording it. You will get more out of your experience (and the dollars it took to get you there), if you spend your time being a part of the experience, meeting people and listening to speakers then you will documenting the whole process. Take home key points and relationships, not mountains of text, tweets, audio and video footage.


8. Have a plan – There is so much content at conferences. Research speakers beforehand, if you can, and make a list of what you cannot miss and what you will fit in if you can. Set up meetings with business partners and potential clients before you go so you don’t get sidetracked.

9. Go with the flow – Yes you should have a plan, but you also need to leave some of your days up to chance and opportunity. You can’t do everything, so leave yourself some breaks in your days. Some of the best experiences I have had with conferences have been small groups meeting to the side of the conference or unplanned dinners with people I have met.

10. BYOP (Bring Your Own Power) – Bring your cell phone charger and computer power cord with you wherever you go. Want to make friends real fast? Bring a power strip with you and share the juice with your neighbors.

11. Make breakfast and dinner plans – Conferences keep you pretty busy all afternoon. Make plans with people you want some face time with before and after the sessions. I like to meet people for breakfast. Dinner can be tough after a long day.

12. Be friendly – This should go without saying but be friendly to everyone you meet or sit next to. You never know who is a professional blogger, your next sales lead, a Twitter celebrity or your next best friend.

Video: Social Media B2B Panel at Social Fresh Nashville

Jeff moderated the Social Media B2B panel at the Social Fresh Nashville Conference on January 11, 2010. Panelists included Greg Cangialosi of Blue Sky Factory, Kipp Bodnar of Howard Merrell & Partners and Stephen Bolen of Gamma Ray Media.

The discussion included

  • how to get started in social media for B2B organizations
  • how to convince the boss to use social media
  • using social sites for lead generation
  • using social media for sales promotions
  • when is it time to hire a community manager
  • blogging for a B2B organization

There were lots of audience questions that really rounded out the session with good information.

Are there any follow up questions you have for us after watching the video?

5 Things to Do at Your Next B2B Conference

Whether you manage social media programs or a corporate blog, next time you attend an industry conference, approach it like a content creator and you will actually get more out of the conference or tradeshow. Many others will be networking, exchanging business cards, and looking for new business, but you will be more engaged in the industry event if you focus on content creation. This will also start to position yourself and your company as industry thought leaders.

Thinking like a content creator is changing your focus to gathering and distilling information. Here are 5 things you can do to think like a content creator. These ideas assume you have a simple video camera like a Flip Cam or Kodak Zi8, but you can always interact with people by taking notes. It just might not capture the flavor of the person’s words.

1. Meet the Keynote Speaker and do a short video interview
The easiest way to conduct a short video interview is to prepare three high level questions which you can ask and showcase the speaker. It is more important to share their words, rather than present your point of view. Remember that conferences are noisy, so try to find a quiet room to conduct this interview.

2. Pick One Competitor and ask them why their product or service is better than yours
Chances are that you already have contacts at your competitor, so it should not be hard to have this conversation. You can frame this question as a blog post that you are working on. It would be great to do this on video, or even on the record, but an informal conversation works as well.

3. Talk to an industry journalist about the top industry trends

Journalists, or even bloggers, who cover the space are frequently able to provide a broad view on your industry and can often easily encapsulate their thoughts in a short list of trends. They are usually willing to do a short interview where you can take notes. This is good content for both your company blog and for internal intelligence.

4. Interview one of the Conference Organizers

Conference organizers, especially if it is a smaller conference, are happy to talk about the process of planning the conference. They are probably completely swamped during the event, so you should make contact and plan to followup with an email interview after the dust clears. And by the way, conference organizers are frequently well-connected contacts that are good to have.

5. Go to the Demo or Presentation and Find a New Product or Service

Anyone with a new product or service is happy to talk to you about their new offerings. Again, great to do a video interview if you have a small camera and can find a quiet spot, but mobile photos and a brief write-up can serve the purpose as well.

Please let us know if you have any more suggestions for techniques to create content at your next conference or tradeshow?

Event Showcases B2B Social Media Case Studies And Round Tables

Kipp Bodnar and Jeff Cohen of SocialMediaB2B.com will be speaking at an upcoming B2B Social Communications Case Studies and Round Table event organized by the Business Development Institute and PR Newswire. The event is September 16, 2009 at the
The Graduate Center of The City University of NY in New York. To get additional speaker information or to register, check out the event page.

This event has pulled together some of the best minds in the B2B social media space including BtoB Magazine, Pitney Bowes Inc., Deloitte Services LP, DuPont Electronic & Communication Technologies, and IBM Communications. As part of the event Kipp and Jeff will lead round table discussions about “Lead Generation Through Social Media” and “Business Blogging Best Practices,” respectively.

So if you plan to attend this B2B event, make sure you join us for our roundtables. There are two sessions of roundtables, so you can attend both Kipp’s and Jeff’s. And if you attend other roundtables that you find more compelling, or because your boss told you to, please make sure you catch up with us and meet sometime during the day. We love to interact with our readers, especially in person.

Social Media B2B Panel at Social Fresh

Kipp Bodnar and Jeff Cohen spoke at the Social Fresh social media conference in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 24. Kipp moderated a panel on Social Media B2B which included Jeff, Nathan Gilliatt of Social Target and David Thomas of SAS. The video of the complete panel discussion is below (except for a bit at the 2 minute mark where we experienced technical difficulties and had to change cameras). We discussed some of the following topics tying B2B social media to business objectives, social media policies, listening and monitoring in the B2B social media space, and offering some actionable takeaways for B2B companies. If you have any follow-up questions to the information presented in the panel, please leave a comment below.

Upcoming Social Media Business Forum with B2B Track

There is lots of talk of social media being the next big thing in business, but many people do not know how to incorporate it into their businesses effectively. The Social Media Business Forum, to be held on October 23, 2009 at the School of Education at North Carolina Central University in Durham NC, will feature national and regional speakers from marketing companies, technology companies, and social networks discussing ways in which business communications have changed due to social media.

The Business Forum, presented by OurHashtag, will include three different tracks of related sessions. The first track is “Getting Started” and it for those just starting out in social media. The next track is “Advanced Social Media Communications” and it is for communicators who have started social media strategies and campaigns, but need insight into how to achieve measurable results from their plans. And the third track is “Business to Business (B2B) Social Media.”

The B2B Social Media Track includes the following sessions:

  • Business Blogging Best Practices
  • Who Should Own Social Media?
  • Why Email Is The Currency Of The Social Web
  • Generating B2B Leads With Social Media
  • Social CRM: Connecting Your Sales Force To The Social Web
  • Identifying Prospects and Leveraging Niche Social Networks

Each of the sessions will focus on providing actionable takeaway items for attendees to immediately begin to implement in their businesses. People who should consider attending the Business Forum are business owners, executives from all business functions, business communicators, as well as key organizational stake holders, interested in gaining practical knowledge about social media.

Some of the speakers include:

Go to SocialMediaBusinessForum.com today to learn more about this conference and to register at the early bird price of $125 (before September 18).

Speakers will be added to the schedule shortly. The above schedule is subject to change.