Dell Launches Social Media Training for B2B Channel Partners


Dell recently launched a social media training program for its B2B channel partners “to help our partners fully leverage social media tools to improve the lines of communication while elevating their own marketing efforts.” The first live session will be May 8 and will cover the following topics:

  • What is social media and how does it affect the channel
  • How Dell is using social media and lessons we’ve learned
  • How can partners can connect with Dell through social

I had the chance to ask Laura P. Thomas, of Dell Global Channel Public Relations, some questions about the program.

How did Dell decide to provide social media training for its partners?
We get feedback from our partners through a variety of channels, from town hall meetings to Twitter, and they told us it was something they wanted. With a platform of our own employee training, and several years of first-hand experience to build on, we were happy to oblige.

We know that smarter customers make better customers, but do more social customers make better customers?
We’ve certainly found that engaged partners make better partners, so those who take advantage of social media as an additional way to get involved with us are certainly on the right path to success. In fact, our partners who engage with us the most, grow their own business the most. Our partners who take training and become certified consistently grow their businesses faster than those partners who are not certified – in some cases, by more than 30 percent. So, we do our best to ensure our programs meet their needs and we have kept everything easy and simple for them to work with us.

Do you think other companies will follow suit? And how is this different than what IBM offered in 2010 and again earlier this year?
Other companies have offered similar training and probably will follow suit, as well. Dell channel partners aren’t the only ones grappling with how to integrate social media into their business strategies, but they are the ones who can learn directly from us – at no cost – knowledge gained through our years of experience on the front lines of new media.

Will there be live or in-person training sessions?
We will offer periodic live online trainings throughout the year that are available to our partners worldwide – currently in English, but additional languages are on the roadmap. And, we are also planning a special in-person training session at Dell’s upcoming Storage Forum 2012 in Boston, as part of a full channel program track. If the demand is there, we’ll continue to look for more opportunities to share this with our partners.

Has Dell considered a higher level certification program for partners, similar to the one for Dell employees?
Yes, that possibility has definitely come up. At the moment, our channel certification programs are focused on technology areas such as networking, cloud services & solutions, and storage. So, we will start with this introduction to social media and then make a decision regarding expansion or certification based on partner feedback.

How does Dell justify the cost for developing and providing this training across multiple industries?
We delivered more than 130,000 free training sessions to our partners last year and plan to increase that to more than 200,000 this year. We make the investment to develop and deliver these because we’ve seen our partners’ businesses grow when they invest in training, and that in return grows our business. So we don’t look at it as cost, rather as an investment in the partnership for mutual success. The more we can do to make it easy for our partners to work with us, the better it is for both of us.

What does success look like for this program?
Success initially will be measured by an increase in partner participation in social media that, in time, strengthens their relationship with their customers and with us – ultimately resulting in a stronger Dell Channel community, improved business processes and revenue growth.

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


SAP


Salesforce.com


Ogilvy


Cisco


Caterpillar

Illustrations


Dow Chemical


Marketo

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 B2B Uses of Pinned Tweets on New Twitter Brand Pages

Last week Twitter launched their new interface, which included brand pages with some added features. A limited numbers of partners had access to these brand pages, including B2B companies Dell, General Electric and Intel. One of the interesting features is the ability for companies to pin a tweet to the top of their stream, so it is always showing. Each of these three companies realized this was a perfect place for an embedded video, as Twitter now shows video within tweets. As these pages roll out to others, each approach gives you something to think about when planning your own B2B companies pinned tweet.

Dell featured the new Twitter video, which explains some of the new features. This provides some value to their followers in the form of education. General Electric shared a video showing the variety of products they make, and they used the number 140 to tie it to Twitter. Diversity of products and services is key part of who GE is. And Intel featured a customer unboxing a product. This simple customer shows the important of technology to our lives, and Intel is a part of that. Screenshots of each page are below, as well as each video.

Dell


General Electric


Intel


What do you think of their use of the pinned tweet, and what will you use for your B2B company pinned tweet when this feature is widely available?

8 B2B Facebook Landing Pages

B2B marketers see the growing numbers of Facebook users and join the ranks of businesses who set up outposts on the world’s largest social network. As Facebook is a tightly controlled environment, there are few opportunities for branding and creating a branded experience for your customers and prospects. The prime one is the creation of custom tabs, and especially landing pages that people see when they first arrive at your Facebook Page.

These Pages are now fully functional web pages hosted within the Facebook environment. This gives B2B companies more flexibility in design and functionality for these landing pages. One of the things marketers need to consider in creating a landing page is what action the visitor needs to take. The first should be to Like the Page, and many landing pages remind viewers to do that. After that, anything is possible, but there should be actions that keep them on the Facebook Page, rather than immediately driving them somewhere else.

Below are 8 examples of B2B company Facebook landing page tabs with a short list of features of each.

Buddy Media


Buddy Media
Like Call to Action: No
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: 2 download white paper buttons
Video: No
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: Embedded Facebook comments and poll

Dell Enterprise


Dell Enterprise
Like Call to Action: No
Other Facebook Call to Action: Event Calendar
Off Site Call to Action: 8 solution links and 1 download white paper button
Video: No
Social Profile Links: Yes
Other Notable: n/a

eMarketer


eMarketer
Like Call to Action: Yes
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: 1 product link
Video: No
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: Customer testimonials. Note this is an About tab, and is not set to load as a landing page.

EMC


EMC
Like Call to Action: No
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: 1 award submission button
Video: No
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: Temporary landing page for award submission

Google AdSense


Google AdSense
Like Call to Action: No
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: 1 sign-up button
Video: Yes
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: Sparse look, like Google brand.

Intel


Intel
Like Call to Action: Yes
Other Facebook Call to Action: Interactive map, products, jobs and deals drive to other Facebook Pages or apps within this Page
Off Site Call to Action: No
Video: Yes
Social Profile Links: Yes
Other Notable: Embedded Twitter feed

SAP


SAP
Like Call to Action: Yes
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: Conference registration, product page and YouTube channel buttons
Video: Yes
Social Profile Links: No
Other Notable: n/a

SAS Publishing


SAS Publishing
Like Call to Action: Yes
Other Facebook Call to Action: No
Off Site Call to Action: Links to store, blog, podcast, community, forum and Twitter
Video: No
Social Profile Links: Yes
Other Notable: Sets expectations for Page, shows people who manage social profiles

Are there other B2B Facebook landing pages you have seen that are effective at generating engagement and driving traffic? Let us know in the comments below.

B2B Social Media Example: Dell on Facebook

At the recent South by Southwest Interactive conference I had the opportunity to talk with Laura Thomas of Dell about Facebook for B2B companies. She is a Senior Consultant in the Small and Medium Business Group and responsible for digital media. Follow Laura on Twitter at @LPT.

We talked about:

  • Dell’s B2B Facebook Initiatives including Dell for Business and Social Media for Business Pages
  • Advice for B2B companies getting started on Facebook
  • How to handle attacks on Facebook by bringing customer service people into the process, whether you work for a large or small organization

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.

9 B2B Social Media SlideShare Presentations Worth Watching

In the world of business-to-business companies presentations with slides have become a staple for internal and external meetings. Because many of us rely on slides, we often need inspiration and help putting together the perfect deck. Recently I have become a fan of SlideShare.net, a site that allows users to upload and share their slide presentations with others. I have found it a great source for presentations on a wide variety of topics.

Today, I wanted to share with you some of the best B2B social media slide decks on SlideShare in hopes that they can be educational, and perhaps helpful, when you have to put together your own social media related presentations for management and other internal groups.

1. Dell B2B Social Media Huddle By Neville Hobson – This presentation mixes solid usage facts with larger strategic concepts that could be useful in selling social media internally, but also for creating a sound strategic framework.

2. B2B Social Media Marketing Techniques: Measuring the Impact from Creation to Closed Deal By Kyle Flaherty – Kyle outlines clear points for developing content that creates engagement that can lead to measurable results.

3. IBM Case B2B Social Media By Tim Washer – These slide walk through the IBM Mainframe case study and showcase the results created when B2B Social media is executed well.

4. LaPointe: B2B & Social Media: Performance, Measurements, and SEO Benefits By LIFT Summit 09 – Social media, tied to SEO and examples of good content, make this a useful presentation for helping to understand the bigger role of social media for inbound marketing.

5. B2B Social Media and Twitter – an Interview with Ann Handley of MarketingProfs By Andrew Spoeth – This presentation includes an audio interview that provides valuable insight from Ann Handley of Marketing Profs. Worth listening to to understand how Ann balances her time and uses social media for her business.

6. Community with Social Media and Web 2.0 – A Cisco Product Launch Case Study by LaSandra Brill – Cisco provides a great walk through of how they marketed a specific hardware product using social media. Often you see many examples of social media at the corporate level, it is helpful to see one that is product specific.

7. Building the B2B Business Case for Social Media By Christina Kerley – From influencer engagement to connecting social media to CRM, this presentations highlights the high-level B2B social media issues that companies will be dealing with in the coming years.

8. B2B Social Communications Case Studies – Intuit By Business Development Institute – I saw this case study presented live this past fall. It serves as a great example of leveraging social media to reach small business owners and the business results that can be translated from this type of program.

9. Social Media Strategy and Execution for Branding, Engagement and Recruiting By Polly Pearson of EMC – We can often forget that current and perspective employees are an important audience for social media. This presentation from EMC focuses on the employee relations aspects of social media.

Did you find these presentations helpful? Are there others that you have found helpful or provided inspiration?

Presentation: 10 Examples of B2B Facebook Fan Pages

Last week we published a post 10 Examples of B2B Facebook Fan Pages and it was very well received by our readers. Since one of the goals of Social Media B2B is to educate people about the value and benefits of social media in B2B and provide advice on how to get started, I have converted that post to a slideshare presentation. Now, as you are talking internally about your social media plans for 2010, here is an easy reference to use to discuss Facebook Fan Pages.

The presentation includes some introductory bullets highlighting some of the benefits of having a Fan Page; 10 examples of Facebook Fan Pages including a link, number of fans and a brief explanation of why the page is notable; and a summary page of the 10 examples. Share this presentation with your colleagues and your boss to start the conversation about what you could do with a Facebook Fan Page for your company.

[Updated] 10 Examples of B2B Facebook Fan Pages

July 2010 Update: This post was written seven months ago and many things about Facebook have changed. People are no longer fans of company pages, but they Like them. This causes confusion in referring to them. Are they Likers of a Page? And this week Facebook passed 500 million users. So we saw this as a great opportunity to re-visit this post and provide some updates. All new additions to this post will be indicated. Note that screenshots have not been updated. You can click on them to view the live page.

As Facebook continues to grow, now over 350 million users worldwide, more and more B2B companies are setting up Facebook Fan Pages. These pages give a business a home on Facebook and allows their content to be shared with their fans, in the same information stream with updates and links from their friends. Studies have shown that many people follow brands on Twitter looking for special deals, but Facebook is different. People become fans of companies and brands on Facebook for two different reasons. The first is that they want to keep up with the company and learn more about them. The second is they want to associate themselves with the company. That is they want to express their love of the company with others. The origin of the word fan, after all, is fanatic.

While many large B2B companies and brands do have their fans, and we will see some below, why would someone become a fan of company they don’t love? The reasons are no different than connecting on other forms of social media. These are building relationship with the company, getting value from the content, customer service, and yes, opportunities for special offers. So below are 10 examples of B2B companies using Facebook Fan Pages in a variety of ways.

Dell (Dec 2009: 51,183 fans; July 2010: 183,554 People Like This)

dell-facebook-page
Dell’s Page
features a custom landing page and a set of custom tabs. They also tell people why they should become fans. July 2010 Update: Some have commented that this is a consumer page, and since we published this post, Dell has called this a Consumer Facebook Page and created a Dell Business Page on Facebook with 583 Likers. They have also created a hub listing all of their Facebook Pages and Groups: dell.com/facebook

Cisco (Dec 2009: 24,289 fans; 74,400 People Like This)

cisco-facebook-page
Cisco’s Page
does a great job of adding links of other Facebook Pages and other places to find them on the web. July 2010 Update: As this page has grown its Likers, on page engagement has continued to grow. Make sure you read our interview with Cisco’s Social Media Manager about their Facebook Page. That interview occurred as a result of this original post.

Hubspot (Dec 2009: 8,046 fans; July 2010: 14,123 People Like This)

hubspot-facebook-page
Hubspot’s Page
does a good job of providing content makes people comment. These comments show up in people’s profiles and with the revised Facebook News Feed, updates with more comments are more likely to show in fans’ information streams. July 2010 Update: Hubspot has expanded their wall posts to feature posts from other blogs, as many people do on Twitter, including a recent SocialMediaB2B post (Thanks Hubspotters). They also have regular features like a question of the week to increase engagement.

Salesforce.com (Dec 2009: 3,569 fans; July 2010: 8,535 People Like This)

salesforce-facebook-page
Salesforce.com’s Page
displays photos and videos, including user-provided ones, from a recent conference. July 2010 Update: Here’s the latest announcement on this page: Facebook has selected Salesforce CRM to manage its fast-growing sales operations.

Forrester Research (Dec 2009: 2,593 fans; July 2010: 3,726 People Like This)

forrester-facebook-page
Forrester’s Page
informs fans about upcoming seminars and other events, in addition to aggregating feeds from their analysts’ blogs.

Gartner (Dec 2009: 2,059 fans; July 2010: 3,943 People Like This)

gartner-facebook-page
Gartner’s Page
promotes its latest research findings and promotes its events.

Ernst & Young (Dec 2009: 34,478 fans; July 2010: 47,611 People Like This)

ernst-young-facebook-page
Ernst & Young’s Page
was started as a recruiting tool for college students when Facebook was mainly a college-based social network. It’s usage has grown as Facebook has grown. Rather than using a custom tab as a landing page, they use the boxes tab to show a variety of content instead of their wall. July 2010 Update: While they continue to post content on a weekly basis, much of the wall posts are job seekers posting questions and the E&Y page managers responding with comments. They also no longer us the boxes tab as a landing page, people who do not yet like the page go directly to the wall. They do however, have targeted content in other tabs, as they did in December.

Sodexo (Dec 2009: 2,069 fans; July 2010: 4,194 People Like This)

sodexho-facebook-page
Sodexo’s Page
is also used for recruiting and is a channel for customer service and followup with applicants and interested parties. July 2010 Update: Customer service and communication with recruiters continues to be an important element in this page.

Cintas (Dec 2009: 1,156 fans; July 2010: 2,260 People Like This)

cintas-facebook-page
Cintas’ Page
also uses the Boxes tab as a landing page to show a variety of content. There is a large custom graphic promoting their company values, along with links to social initiatives, posted videos and press release. This page also includes a Facebook FAQ describing why they are on Facebook and what is expected.

CDW (Dec 2009: 753 fans; July 2010: This page no longer exists)

cdw-facebook-page
CDW’s Page connects employees and partners to an outsourced discount program and they inform their employees about about current items in the program. July 2010 Update: I can only guess that Facebook was not an effective way to manage this program and they moved to a different solution.

And finally, become a fan of the Social Media B2B Facebook Page. It is another way to receive the content from our site, within your Facebook information stream. And we are using Network Blogs to push our feed to Facebook, rather than just importing it to the Notes tab. This provides some additional sharing opportunities for the content.

Hubspot has created an ebook (posted on Slideshare) that features 15 more examples of B2B Facebook Pages. Are there other B2B Facebook Pages that are connecting with fans in different and innovative ways? Let us know in the comments below.

UPDATE (12/10): This post is now available as a Slideshare presentation, making it easier to share and discuss with your colleagues.