Big Data Provides Insights from B2B Social Media

In a recent post from eMarketer about the importance of companies managing their big data, there was not even consensus on the definition of big data. And 21% of those surveyed admitted that they weren’t really sure what big data meant.

IBM defines big data by example. “Everyday, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data–so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: from sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos posted online, transaction records of online purchases, and from cell phone GPS signals to name a few.”

As digital communications, in all forms including social media components, grow for B2B companies, more and more data is available to make better decisions. The biggest challenges cited by companies related to resources, especially manpower and time required to sort through the data, and the volume of data.

The top three uses for analyzing data are competitive monitoring, brand monitoring and pricing/product information. These are key elements of a marketer's job. What are my competitors up? What do customers and prospects think of my brand? How are people responding to my company's products and pricing?

It is no longer enough to rely on interns and anecdotal data. B2B companies, even those who have not started social media marketing plans, need to implement formal data gathering processes and dedicate the analytical brain power to determining the business ramifications. There have been several large consumer brands that have recently responded to a large social media backlash regarding pricing charges, including Netflix, Bank of America and Verizon. If your company were in a similar situation, would you have had anything in place to collect and understand the reaction?

According to a McKinsey report about big data, it “will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth and innovation.” The report includes seven insights from their research in five domains—healthcare in the United States, the public sector in Europe, retail in the United States, and manufacturing and personal-location data globally.

What have you done to address the gathering of big data for your B2B company?

B2B Social Media Metrics Need to Match Goals

One of the biggest challenges B2B marketers face is measuring their success using social media. Social media should not exist in a silo and needs to connect to your business goals. Tying these together may not something that you can do right out of the gate. You need to establish social media goals that are in line with meeting business goals, and it might take you several steps to get there.

For example, if one of your business goals is to drive sales, as measured by increasing leads, you need social media goals that can get you there. You might start by growing your following base to increase reach. You might develop a content plan so you have something to share. You might set baselines of page views or other traffic driving metrics. These are all short terms goals that get you to your longer term goal of tracking how social media drives leads. And when starting out, you may not even have significant data to tie to lead generation.

A study by Chief Marketer and published by emarketer revealed that most B2B marketers are really at an early adoption stage of social media, because while they focus on social media engagement in their tactics, they are measuring their success by largely irrelevant numbers. 60% track followers and likes and only 35% measure qualified leads from social media as a metric of success.

What are your biggest challenges in measuring your social media success, and how do they compare with what other marketers are doing?

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.

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)

Ranking
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

1
3
2
4
5
6
7
9
Change
new
-1
0
-2
-1
-1
-1
-1
0
new

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.

5 B2B Social Media Posts to Wrap-up the Week

The following is a selection of posts that may be interesting reads for B2B marketers and communications professionals. This is a good way to wrap up the week and prepare for next week.

Content Strategy and the Dying Art of Execution
from Junta42
Don’t get me wrong, content marketing strategy is critical to the success of a content marketing project. Not having a content strategy is like playing baseball without the bases (envision people running everywhere…not a pretty site). That said, I’ve seen a multitude of content strategies die for the following reasons.
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Is LinkedIn Finally Ready for Social Media Marketers?
from eMarketer
With more than 80 million users, LinkedIn has long been the top social network for the business crowd, and has grown quickly as a tool for recruiters and sales teams looking for new leads and connections. But what about brand marketing? Yes, LinkedIn has “Groups,” but they have always driven far less traffic, engagement and brand awareness than Facebook pages or Twitter—and as a result, LinkedIn has always been a something of a second-tier destination for tactical social marketing.
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Why Companies Need to F-R-E-E Their Case Studies
from Stories That Sell
A small software company recently ran an experiment… The company, which had been requiring registration to download its customer case studies, decided to unlock those stories on their website. Site visitors could read or download stories freely, without having to provide any information. The results were pretty shocking.
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Social Media Marketing Expert Interview with Neal Schaffer
from Vertical Measures
I spoke with Neal Schaffer, who is recognized as a leader in helping businesses and professionals embrace and strategically leverage the potential of social media. An award-winning published author of “Windmill Networking: Maximizing LinkedIn,” frequent speaker at social media events, and an avid blogger. Neal is President of Windmills Marketing, a social media strategic consultancy in Orange County, California, and has led social media strategy creation and educational programs for a range of companies ranging from Fortune 500 to Web 2.0 startups.
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And I would not be taking my own advice from this SocialMediaB2B post earlier this week if I didn’t post the following article. However, please review the B2B statistics with caution.

The State of B2B Social Media Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]
from Mashable
B2B marketers are increasingly using social media to connect with their customers, but oftentimes they are not using those tools effectively. One report found that only 32% of B2B companies engage with their customers on a daily basis via social media. Another discovered that 46% of B2B marketers thought social media was irrelevant. And another found that 60% of B2B firms have no staff dedicated to social media and just 10% of B2B firms use outside agencies or consultants. While the vast majority (86%) of B2B companies use social media for marketing, it’s clear there’s considerable room for improvement.
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Are there other posts you have read this week that you want to share with other readers in the comments?

Roundup of B2B Social Media Posts

As there are more people writing about B2B social media, we will try to highlight some posts from other blogs around the web that offer some good insights and helpful ideas for B2B marketers and communication professionals. If come across a good post that resonates with you, please let us know in the comments below, via email contact AT SocialMediaB2B DOT com or on Twitter @SMB2B.

10 Essential Social Media Tips for B2B Marketers (from @Mashable)
When we write about how companies or individuals are using social media in their marketing strategies, it’s usually in the context of a business to consumer relationship. However, business-to-business (B2B) marketing is really getting a boost from social media as well. According to a recent study, 60% of B2B marketers plan to increase social media marketing spending this year.

5 Ways to Write a Killer B2B Blog Post (from @Marketo)
A challenge many B2B organizations face is consistently creating content that’s unique, relevant and resourceful – all at the same time. Learn to write killer B2B blog posts with these 5 tips.

6 Steps for Getting Control of B2B Social Media (from @Gyro/HSR)
I had the opportunity last week to speak on social media at a couple of B2B conferences. It gave me a chance to get out of the bubble and speak with folks in the trenches. It turned out to be an eye-opener. Attendees at the conferences were marketers representing original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) heavy industry, and the financial services industries. As a group, they market complex, long sales cycle products to a well-defined B2B audience. As a result, understanding the value of social media is more difficult.

Is your company built to blog? (from @markwschaefer)
Every company is getting into blogging it seems but somany people seem to be struggling with it What would you guess the biggest problem is?

Why Social Media Makes Sense for B2B Marketers (from @emarketer)
Consumer-oriented social media marketing represents the lion’s share of the discussion these days, but business-to-business (B2B) firms have been making inroads as well. Probably the biggest advantage B2B firms have in the social realm is that they tend to focus on outcomes that actually mean something to their bottom line. They are more apt to hone in on leads than softer metrics such as brand awareness.

eMarketer: B2B Marketers to Spend More on Social Media


In a post from eMarketer, according to the The CMO Survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association (AMA), social media budgets of both B2B and B2C marketers are rising across the board, and will continue to do so in the next five years. There is no surprise in this, as marketers are changing their mix for 2010 and looking for more lower cost options to get their messages across. Social media spending is expected to rise, according to those surveyed, to nearly 20% of their budgets.

The survey breaks out categories of B2B and B2C marketing into products and services, and finds that B2B social media marketing for services is on par with marketing for all consumer products and services. Social media for B2B products spending is less than anything else and will continue to be for the next five years.

The post continues to say that social media aligns well with B2B marketing goals with its focus on building customer relationships and brand awareness.

Look for us to begin reviewing and publishing our survey data of SocialMediaB2B.com readers soon, which also confirms a general increase in social media spending in 2010. Has social media become a bigger part of your marketing budget in 2010?