4 Reasons Why Google+ is a Killer B2B Social Media Platform

Most of our B2B clients have staked a claim on Google+, but they don’t invest in it. Why? Because they consider it a ghost town. They say Google+ is irrelevant. They invest in Facebook and Twitter and (more and more) in LinkedIn. But you know what? Recent studies indicate that, while many companies were asleep at the switch, Google+ has emerged as the killer platform for B2B social media marketing.

B2B marketers need to understand these four reasons that Google+ is the next killer platform for marketing, and why it should be an important part of your B2B marketing mix.

1. Number of Active Users

According to GlobalWebIndex, Google+ now has 343 million active users, more than any other social network besides Facebook. Google+ is far ahead of Twitter, and light years ahead of LinkedIn.

Notice that qualifier: “active” users. The 343 million number is not a measure of the number of people who signed up for Google+ accounts, and who may or may not ever log on. Rather, it is a measure of the number of people actively participating on Google+. Over a very short period of time, Google+ has confounded critics and become a platform that cannot be ignored.

2. Circlecentric Marketing

Google+ circles enable you and your B2B company to market in a more intimate way to people who are following your company.

Consider this: because Google+ users can circle your company page, it means they have opted in to receive information from you without having to fill out any forms or communicate via email. That’s true on other social networks, of course, but what’s different is how you can then interact with them.

On Google+, you can do research on the person who has circled you, circle them back, and (most importantly) add that person to unique circles based on how that person fits into your target market. This means you can provide that person with highly useful and specific information, instead of just a general communication blast.

Furthermore, B2B companies can begin to interact with that individual in other, more personal ways. And this means that, in addition to creating a better communication channel, you can make those users feel like you notice and care about them. For example, by sharing that individual’s content and inviting them to private communities, private events, and private hangouts, you don’t just send them a message; you build and strengthen a relationship. And this is a cornerstone of any marketing mix.

Martin Shervington provides a more detailed description of circlecentric marketing.

3. Better Organic Search Results

In Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s upcoming book, The New Digital Age, he is quoted as saying: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

This is the clearest statement yet from Google (which tends not to be very clear) highlighting how authorship is becoming extremely relevant in search results on Google.

This essentially means that if you are posting on Google+ correctly, your content will be ranked higher than content posted elsewhere. Furthermore, because of Google+’s tight integration with the Google search engine, your posts are treated much like regular webpages (unlike posts on other social networks), and will therefore rank higher in search results.

4. Google’s Long-term Vision

Google+ is a social destination and a social layer across all Google properties. The integration they have made is breathtaking. It places a social layer upon:

  • Gmail
  • Google Maps and Local
  • Google Now
  • Android
  • Google Wallet
  • Google Offers
  • Google Chrome
  • Google Search
  • Google Adwords
  • Google Calendar and Events
  • Google Play
  • YouTube

What Google is really saying is that “Google+ is Google.” And this integration will only go deeper and become stronger over time.

It’s no secret that Google’s business model is to sell advertising. There’s nothing wrong with that and, in fact, their strategy is a brilliant one. Google wants to provide more and more relevant search results to users, so users will do more searching on Google. This means advertisers get better value from Google, which means Google sells more advertising.

Google has created Google+ to be the killer platform for B2B social media marketing. What is your B2B company doing to take advantage of it?

10 Google+ Power Tips for B2B Social Media

Early adopters flocked to Google+ when it was launched last year because that is what they do. Another social network was not what they needed, but it is part of Google and worth checking out. In the past year Google+ has shown to have an effect on search results, because Google is always trying to improve their search results. Social signals has proven to be another card in that deck.

There are also active and thriving communities on Google+, but again, among small niches. Former Apple evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, has written What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us to show everyone how to build a network and community on Google+ (This book was provided by the publisher for my review). I also have a copy to give away. See the end of the post to learn how to enter.

If you are looking for an in-depth guide to using the platform and gaining expertise, you should check it out. The book is focused on effectively sharing content and maximizing its reach, and it doesn’t matter whether you are using a personal profile or a B2B company page to do this. Rather than go into the details, I have pulled out 10 power tips from the book to help you with your Google+ efforts for your B2B company.

Circles

1. Sharing Circles
Circles are the core of Google+ and let you control both your outbound and inbound posts. You can segment your audience into circles and share content with just a particular circle. You can also create circles around industries or events to filter posts that are coming in. One way to add value to your followers is to create a public circle of industry journalists, bloggers, influencers or trade show attendees and share it. This makes it easy for people to circle these profiles.

2. Search for Shared Circles
Rather than find individual people, you can find public circles that other people have shared. Search for “shared a circle with you” and this will return all the public circles recently shared. To reduce the number of results, or do a more targeted search, add a keyword, like B2B, marketing or an event name to your search.

Posting

3. Alert Someone by Email
If you want to share a post with someone, and they are not on Google+, you can + or @ their email address and Google+ will send the post to them. Use this sparingly. Do not mention all your customers this way on your Google+ posts, but it is a clever way to share off the platform.

4. How to Conduct a Poll
Instead of embedding a poll in a Google+, just ask a question and add comments below as the answers. Readers can +1 whichever comment is their answer. Disable comments on the post to make sure people vote rather than comment. This method of polling was started by Dain Binder.

Responding

5. Respond from Email
Because Google has integrated Google+ into so many aspects of its products, when you receive email notification of someone +mentioning you in a post in your Gmail, you can see the entire post and respond right from that email. This saves time and lets you engage with posts without too much disruption to your normal workflow.

6. Always Be Crediting
As you are building a following and audience on Google+, make sure you acknowledge the source of your discoveries. Curating content on Google+ and sharing it is an important part of what you should be doing, and it is a best practice to +mention the people, companies or sites that are the source of that information. It alerts them that you have shared their content and may provide a new connection for others. And it’s good karma.

Chrome Extensions to Improve Google+ Experience

Google+ has been designed for the Chrome browser. Additionally, any programmer can create an extension that adds functionality to the browsing experience, so you can get even more out of Google+. Here are some extensions mentioned in the book for particular tasks.

7. CircleCount
Roll over any profile or page name in Google+ to instantly see their follower history and the average number of +1’s, reshares and comments. This gives you a sense of someone’s activity and relevance to your company without having to click and leave your stream.

8. Replies and More
This extension makes it easy to reply to the author of post by making sure they see it. One click of the button +mentions them in the comment. The “and more” part of this extension provides more reach for your posts. It lets you easily share any Google+ post, yours or others, on Twitter and Facebook. You can build you audience and engagement on Google+ by letting people on other platforms know what you are doing on Google+.

9. Do Share
This extension lets you schedule your Google+ posts. If you have a global audience, or you just want to test posting on the platform at different hours of the day, you can schedule posts to both personal profiles and pages. Even if you schedule a post to go live in the middle night, try to check for comments as soon as you can. Most of the comments on a post occur within a few hours of it posting.

10. Streamified
If automatically cross-posting to multiple social platforms is your thing, this extension will automatically post what you share on Google+ on your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. This helps you share valuable content on the other networks, as well as drives traffic back to Google+. Streamified can also pull your blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn streams into your Google+ profile.

Are there any other power tips about Google+ that you would share with other B2B marketers?

Win a Copy of What the Plus!

I have shared this post on the SocialMediaB2B page on Google+. To enter to win a copy of What the Plus, share that Google+ post on your Google+ profile or company page (or both). Post the link to the Google+ post in the comments below. Enter by November 1, 2012 at 11:59pm ET and a winner will be selected at random on November 2, 2012. Only one entry per Google+ profile and one per page.

3 Ways to Get B2B Social Media Value from Google+

Many B2B marketers have already been scratching their heads trying to figure out how to make use of Facebook and Twitter. Along comes Google+, another social network that the average B2B marketer just doesn’t have the time to learn and master.

There are, however, reasons to believe that Google+ will be more valuable to B2B companies than Facebook and Twitter put together. And since getting in early is a big factor in determining long-term success, B2B companies should test the waters with Google+ right now. Here are a few reasons why B2B companies, even in niches like restaurant card processing and orthondontic website design, should be using this network.

1. Google+ Has More Appeal for Business than Recreational Users

The Google+ platform resembles Facebook, but lacks the pizzazz. The overall Google+ environment — particularly in terms of features like Circles and Hangouts – has much more appeal to businesses interested in talking business, than it does to individuals interested in harvesting virtual asparagus.

Action Step: Set up a company Google+ company page, and use it as a conversation hub. Through Circles, connections can be categorized according to product, service, the nature of the business relationship. It’s completely user-defined. Circles serve as an excellent, laser-focused system for both gathering market intelligence and sharing insights. Through Hangouts, companies can host private, real time video meetings.

2. Content Associated with Google+ Is Highly Visible in Search

Not surprisingly, Google gives Google+ content favorable positioning on its search engine, which, by the way, has an 80% market share. There are two major ways a firm can strengthen its search presence through participation on the network:


Action step: Produce original content. Original content published on Google+ posts is indexed and ranked, and appears in both standard and personalized search queries. Keyword-optimized posts may achieve first-page positioning for matching search queries.


Action step: Deploy rel=author links. Google has begun to associate content with authors as well as with publishing sites, using what is called the rel=author link. If a company’s writers have personal Google+ profiles and link their content to their profiles, their content will be more widely visible.

At this stage, it is difficult to measure the impact of Google+ optimization with any precision, since Google is developing the platform rapidly and continually changing where and how content is displayed in SERPs (search engine results pages). Directionally, however, Google is giving us every indication that it intends to continue looking for ways to make Google+ content stand out in search.

3. Google+ Delivers SEO and Social Value without Participation

Let’s face it: a lot of B2B companies don’t have the bandwidth to post content and chat with business connections on social networks all day long. Yet even these firms can derive useful SEO and social marketing benefit from Google.

Social shares of content through likes and tweets increase brand awareness and generate leads. Social shares are also positive ranking factors for Google. While the Google+ share, referred to as a +1, may not be socially significant (yet), it is thought to carry more SEO weight than shares on other networks.

Google+ social shares have broader implications than many other network shares. When people +1 a firm’s content, it may become visible to their Google+ connections when they perform personalized searches, creating a social media/search ripple effect that can increase brand awareness and generate leads.

Action step: With this in mind, B2B companies can promote Google+ sharing simply by adding +1 buttons to key site pages and all blog posts, and by adding a link to the firm’s Google+ page to all site templates. Instead of proactively trying to build a Google+ community, firms can just make it easy for Google+ enthusiasts to come to them.

Time for a Strategic Social Shift?

By now, many B2B companies have had enough time to assess the value of their Facebook and Twitter marketing. If results are lacking, a shift to Google+ is a much better option than giving up on social media. For B2B marketers that have not yet taken the social marketing plunge, exploring Google+ could be the perfect first step.

Is your firm using Google+? How have the results been so far?

Getting Better at B2B Social Media

Social media for B2B companies is not something that you turn on, set it and forget it. Not only do existing tools change and new tools appear, but your customers and prospects interact differently with social media as they become more comfortable using it. Inherent in change is improvement. Professionally, we all want to do better than we did last month or last quarter or last year. Some of the following posts will help inspire you to do that. There is a reluctance to track hard metrics because this holds people and campaigns accountable for their success, but in the long run, we need to understand what works and what doesn’t so we can achieve better results.

12 Ways to Improve B2B Social Media Marketing in 2012
from MarketingProfs
Want to add some rocket fuel to your B2B marketing in 2012? Get 12 big ideas for improving B2B social media marketing from the experts.
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Why People Dislike Metrics
from Amplified Analytics Blog
I was talking to one of my customers about her experience trying to introduce the use of metrics into the business processes she is managing. Janet is in the gourmet food marketing business and was hoping to use analytics for discovering the patterns of shoppers’ consumption of her products by the time of day, as well as an impact of promotional events on the sales results. The food business, in her words, is a very fragmented environment and even the simplest business process tends to involve a number of companies to perform.
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How to Meet Google’s Newest Quality Standards for Content
from Content Marketing Institute
In the midst of Google’s latest algorithm change, many marketers are in a tizzy over how their search engine presence — and ranking — will be impacted. The SEO game keeps changing, and as a content marketer it’s important to understand what the changes are and how to use them to stay competitive.
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The Evergreen Laws of Marketing
from Chief Marketing Technologist
I’ve shared the laws of technology for marketers. But what about laws of marketing for technologists? The single most insightful marketing book I’ve ever read was published nearly 20 years ago, before the Web was anything more than an academic experiment: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
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Fear and Social Media Don’t Mix
from B2B Memes
Cynics might argue that institutions inherently distrust anything they can’t control. But their challenge in dealing with social media has more to do with the culture of caution and conservatism that every traditional organization seems to engender.
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Google+ Pages for B2B Companies

Google+ has released their business pages and now B2B marketers need to understand why they need to join Google’s social network. The biggest reason is search. You may have heard about social search and how your connections influence your search results, well, Google+ does more of that. Share your content on Google+ and it has a better chance of showing up higher in search results.

If you jumped into Google+ when personal pages came out and you understand how the platform works, you know what kinds of posts resonate and how important engagement is to the platform, you should absolutely create a Google+ page for your B2B company today. If you are not familiar with Google+, you need to create a personal page and get started understanding it. Create your business page too, so you can start learning about how to use it effectively.

A Google+ Business Page is tied to ONE Gmail account and you cannot add other administrators at this time. Make sure you assign the right person to create your page, because they will be the only one who manages it until they roll out multiple admin support (which is expected). One way to address this is to use a company Gmail account, so multiple people can log in to the page. I did come across a reference to giving someone access to a page, but was unable to find details. I will update this as it changes.

11/11/11 Update: Google is discouraging people from creating a new company Gmail. They would rather people create a Business Page with their personal Gmail account, knowing that multi-account management is coming this quarter.

How to Create a Google+ Page

Go to the Business Pages Site and click Create Your Google+ Page.

Choose company, select your category and enter your information into the fields provided. Since this is brand new, there is not an obvious to edit this after it is created.

Google reminds users of the importance of including a web link on their Google+ Page.

Another huge benefit of Google+ is that it is the first social network that allows you to segment your customers, prospects, partners and even vertical industries into Circles so you can publish targeted messages to them. These sample Circles remind users of this important function.

Google wants to make sure you know what to do now that you have created the page, so they offer some suggestions, as well as easy ways to promote your page.

And just to show that the best way to learn is by doing, I created a page for Social Media B2B. Circle us to learn more about Google+ as we learn more.

Remember as you are learning about using Google+ and developing a content calendar, there are no tools that currently let you manage your pages. This means that publishing and engaging will be manual, at least for the time being. Make sure you have the resources to keep up with your plans.

Here are some examples of B2B Google+ Pages. Add yours in the comments below, especially if you have started one for a non-technical B2B company.
Argyle Social
Dell
Hubspot
Intel
Radian6
Salesforce.com

Thoughts about Google Plus to Inspire B2B Adoption

As a preview to its launch of Google Plus last week, Google launched the +1 button last month. In my post at the time, I wrote that one of the biggest problems for the use of the recommendation button for B2B companies was its reliance on people’s Google network, not their professional network. This network exists in their work email and LinkedIn network. I offered a suggestion to bring business network relevance to the search benefit of +1. With the new Google Plus social network, Google already provides a connection to your LinkedIn network as part of your social graph.

From a business perspective, it is still too early to use Google Plus, but you can already start thinking about the benefits and how you will use it for your B2B company. Google has announced that there will be business specific functions coming, but for now Google Plus is based on personal profiles. The following articles provide some context for your inspiration, rather than explain the platform. So many articles have been written and shared in the past week, that I figured if you were interested, you have already read them and are aware of the details.

Remember that at its heart, Google Plus is about tying social to search so Google can provide you better search results based on your social graph. Jay Baer’s post on Convince & Convert below does a great job explaining why this is so important to Google. If you have thoughts about how you can use Google Plus for your B2B company, let us know in the comments below.

The Google Plus 50
from Chris Brogan
If you’re curious about Google+, the new social network platform from Google, you’re not alone. I’ve logged several hours already on the platform, experimenting, testing, and observing. It sparks my attention from several angles: marketing, technology, community, media, mobile, advertising, and more. To that end, I wrote down 50 things to think about with regards to Google+, in no particular order.
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Why Google Has the Hammer To Make Businesses Use Google Plus
from Convince & Convert
My initial, abbreviated take is that Google’s new social toy is essentially a Facebook Twitter hybrid with outstanding ease-of-use and eye-popping potential. In the very first release, Plus has a killer integration with Picasa (Google’s photo service), and its live video chat feature (called Hangout) could very easily become a Skype killer. The most obvious and ballyhooed functionality is the Circles paradigm, which puts segmenting your contacts front-and-center and makes it an easy process via drag and drop controls.
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Why Google+ Doesn’t Stand a Chance Against Facebook
from Social Media Today
So by now, you’ve likely heard Google+ is coming to an internet near you. You may have taken a look at the demo, or gotten an early invitation, you might think this could usher in the next generation of social networking. And you might be right. I’ll admit, I’m anxious to see if Google’s actually gotten it right this time.
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How to measure Google Plus with analytics
from Christopher S. Penn
Right now, Google Plus (hereafter lazily abbreviated as G+) is in its infancy. That said, it’s certainly got the buzz and the shine that social media folks have been craving for some time. It’s got the ease of Facebook plus the asymmetric relationship nature of Twitter. As a result, expect marketers to flock there in droves as they get invited. Shortly after their arrival and spamming of their friends, the inevitable question will be asked:

How do you measure this thing?
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Google+ Invites
from sbdc blog
Traditionally, invites have been handled via a company giving out a set number of invites to beta users who then decide who to send those invites to. But with Google+, they are doing something different. Rather than giving beta users a set number of invites, they are systemwide making invites an option or not. They are turning on the invite/sign up process when they want to add to the userbase, and then turning it off when they think they have enough people.
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How B2B Companies Can Use Google +1 for Recommendations

Google just announced the +1 feature to bring social recommendations to search. The initial presentation of the button is that it gives people the ability to endorse search results, and share that with their networks. The problem with that idea is that people are unlikely to recommend a search result without clicking through to the page. But the real idea behind the +1 button is that it will be incorporated on web pages and blog posts across the web (see it live to the left), and when people in your social network +1 things on the web, they will show up in your search results.

If this sounds like the Facebook Like button, that’s correct, but there is more power in this feature if it is adopted. Instead of updating a Facebook profile one time or leaving a trail of likes on sites across the web, the Google +1 shows up when people are looking for information using search. The +1 is meant to be an additional cue to get users to click on search results. These recommendations will also be incorporated into Google’s search algorithm, thereby strengthening the power of personalized search results over pages optimized for all.

Google has continued to struggle with social networking because they have tried to add social components to existing Google properties, but the success of these has been limited by their lack of access to a user’s true social network. In the B2B world, people focus on building strong LinkedIn networks that they can leverage for business recommendations. How would you like to incorporate that network into your search results? If people in your network start using the +1 feature on pages and posts, you can follow the steps below to get more value from search results. As an experiment, click the +1 button above. We’ll see how many +1s we can get and determine how it shows up in search.

Google lists the following as sources for +1 endorsements:

  • People in your Gmail (or Google Talk) chat list
  • People in your My Contacts group in Google Contacts
  • People you’re following in Google Reader and Google Buzz

As I noted above, these are not the sources that most people would consider their network of business professionals. Additionally, the Google world is based on a Google profile and Gmail, which are not necessarily where people in B2B companies maintain their contacts. Google does offer that to include people’s +1 recommendations into your search results, add them into the one of the above categories. And this is where you can thank LinkedIn for offering the ability to export your contacts. Follow these steps to bring your LinkedIn contacts to your Google contacts, where they can influence and improve search results for B2B products and services.

1. Go to http://www.linkedin.com/connections.

2. Click the link in the lower right to Export Connections and follow instructions to export for Microsoft Outlook (.CSV file).
3. Log into your primary Gmail account.
4. Click the Import Contacts in the lefthand navigation
5. Click Choose File and select the one downloaded from Linkedin.
6. Click the check box for “Also add these imported contacts to:” and choose My Contacts from the dropdown menu.

7. Click import and you are done. If people in your LinkedIn network indicate their recommendation of things by using the +1, it will now appear in your search results.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below about using Google’s +1 to improve B2B search results. Are you suffering from sharing button fatigue and having trouble deciding on which networks to share the best content?

Watch Google’s video below, but remember that the power of this lies in the second part of the idea and its implementation across the web.
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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.

Reviewing Our 2010 B2B Social Media Predictions

Before we start looking forward with predictions for 2011 in B2B social media, we thought we would look back at our predictions for 2010. It is worth looking at these predictions not to determine our skill at predicting the future, but to see how quickly or slowly various aspects of social media were adopted or ignored by B2B companies.

1. Sales Staff Get Social Media Savvy
This is something that definitely started to happen in 2010, but not to the extent that we might have thought. The first steps of this occurred, which are the education and awareness of the benefits of social media to a sales force, and a big part of that is through the growing online conversation about sales 2.0 and social CRM.

2. Inbound Marketing Gets Cash
Spending is definitely increasing around areas that bring customers to online destinations, including social media. According to the CMO Survey, social media spend is expected to be around 10% of the marketing budget for B2B companies within one year, and up to 18% within five years.

3. Location-Based Fills In The Gaps
Location did not happen for B2B companies in 2010. The value of the check-in, and even the growth of location-based coupons, did not adapt well to the complex relationship-building process for B2B social media. Even Foursquare, the leader in location-based applications, acknowledges a consumer retail focus and prevents non-retail businesses from claiming their venue on the site by stating “we’re trying to limit foursquare specials to places where people meet, socialize and linger. Think: cafes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, museums, theaters, etc.” This limits experimentation of non-traditional approaches of checking in.

4. Social Media Lead Generation Becomes Common Place
While social media lead generation is definitely happening across multiple platforms, this is not a common occurrence. Many B2B companies are still challenged how to move beyond engagement to lead generation.

5. Social Media Publishing Gets More Multi-Media
The growth of audio and video content has been huge in 2010. While every successful campaign like the Old Spice Guy encourages clients and bosses to ask for viral videos, causing marketers to cringe (because you don’t make viral, it happens), they do increase the awareness of video as compelling online medium.

6. Influencer Marketing Gets Even More Important
With the decline of traditional media, marketers are looking for other ways to share their messages, and influencer outreach is definitely a growing approach. With sites like Klout to measure online influence, as well as other determinations based on site page rank or offline industry influence, many in the B2B space are learning who to reach out to.

7. Mobile Can No Longer Be Ignored
It is hard to find any statistics that don’t point to the growth of mobile in the US and around the world. Look at growth of smartphones, sales of iPhones, the growing Android platform and even a Gartner report from earlier this year that says the number of mobile phones that can access the web will exceed the number of PCs by 2013. More B2B marketers are understanding the importance of a mobile experience, especially as it relates to communicating on social networks and driving traffic back to their content.

8. Corporate Web Sites Get Social
Some B2B companies who understand the importance of connections through social media have made corporate web sites more social. This is not something that has gotten very pervasive, but there has been a large adoption of social media follow badges and share buttons across many B2B sites.

9. Social and Real-Time Search Drive B2B Social Media Adoption
More B2B communicators became aware of the importance of real-time information and the required response using social media and other outlets. Google, Twitter and even Facebook pushed the notion of real-time to the top of their platforms, which helps B2B companies see the importance of social media adoption.

10. B2B Gets Smart About Social Data
Most B2B companies are still overwhelmed with the amount of user generated content created around their customers, prospects and industries, and there just have not been good solutions for mining this data for actionable information. The beginnings of this are happening with social CRM platforms, but it is very early in that space.

11. The Firewalls Start To Come Down
Many B2B companies started 2010 by blocking access to social sites on their corporate networks. Not much has changed in those instances, but as social media matures, B2B companies will start to understand the business value of employees accessing sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. If companies are worried about employee productivity or inappropriate online comments if employees have access to social media sites, that is an employee problem, not a social media problem. And with the continuing growth of mobile, employees will bypass corporate networks entirely when searching social sites for business recommendations or polling their networks for information.

How does this compare to what you have seen in 2010 in your B2B companies? Let us know in the comments below. And look for our 2011 predictions next month.

100+ SEO Resources for B2B Marketers

One of the biggest benefits of social media for B2B companies is how it helps drive search traffic. By better understanding the basics of search engine optimization (SEO), which is the process of making sure search engines can find your website or blog, marketers can increase the value of their social media programs. Following are more than 100 great resources to help you learn more about SEO, or brush up if it has been a while since you have dug into this topic. Even if you are pretty well-versed in SEO, there are probably some good reminders here for things that you know you need to do, but just haven’t gotten to.

And here’s an SEO tip: Notice that the link to each one of these resources below has “Search Engine” or “Search Engine Optimization” in it, not “click here” or “for more information.” These are called anchor links and sites you are linking to, in this case SEO sites, get more search benefit from these keywords than from generic terms.

Beginner’s Guides
Google has recently released a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide as a pdf. Since they are responsible for approximately 65% of the search traffic in the US, it is wise to understand their approach to optimizing your sites for search.

And to provide additional perspective from outside the Googleplex campus, here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization from SEOmoz that is available via the web and a pdf download if you prefer.

Resources
Hubspot offers a ton of blog posts, webinars and other resources on their topic hub about Search Engine Optimization. Many of these are geared more towards marketers than hard-core SEO people, so they may be more relevant to you.

Search Engine Land features a list of resources for those interested in learning much more about Search Engine Optimization, including topic areas on their site and a list of other notable SEO blogs.

Glossary
If you just want to brush up on the latest terms, here’s a Search Engine Glossary from SEObook.

What are some your go to sources for SEO? And do have a simple SEO tip to share with other B2B marketers?