Live Preview of B2B Social Media Lead Generation Framework

B2B marketers need to understand how social media can drive leads and sales for their businesses. Kipp Bodnar and I, the founders of SocialMediaB2B.com, have focused our efforts the past six months on creating a framework for B2B social media lead generation. This is the core of our new book, The B2B Social Media Book.

SocialMediaPlusWhile we can’t wait for the book to come out and share these ideas with B2B marketers, we have the opportunity to present them in person. We are excited to speak about social media lead generation at SocialMediaPlus, the Mid-Atlantic region’s biggest and baddest Social Media Conference and Exhibit, in Philadelphia on November 16, 2011. Other speakers at this event are Jason Falls, Christopher Penn and Frank Eliason, so it is bound to be helpful and informative for you.

If you are interested in attending SocialMediaPlus, we have a discount code for you - JC15. This will save you 15% on your registration. This is on top of the discount that is offered through September 30. So if you want to save a bit on registration, do it today.

We will be going out on the road in 2012, meeting marketers and speaking about B2B social media lead generation, so if we don’t see you in Philadelphia in November, we hope to see you next year. If you are interested in inviting us to your event, this B2B social media speaker request form will help start the process.

16 Best Practices of B2B Corporate Blogging [PRESENTATION]

I previously wrote a post called 10 Business Blogging Best Practices. I have used that post as a reference for several speaking engagements, but I never made slides from it. Well, I am presenting this material twice this week (BMA Carolinas and WordCamp Raleigh), so I finally managed to put the best practices in a deck with some explanation and some examples. And my 10 best practices have grown to 16. Now that most of the points are illustrated with examples of corporate blogs, it all needs to be blogged about, especially since the presentation below does not contain any of the details. At this point, I will wait until I have given the presentation, so I can incorporate any feedback I receive.

Presentation: Using Blogs, Facebook and Events For B2B Lead Generation

Most of the questions I get about B2B social media are centered around lead generation. In 2009, I did several presentations on the subject and received valuable feedback from listeners at those events and readers of this blog on the topic. I have but together a presentation that addresses B2B social media lead generation using blogs, Facebook and offline events. The presentation below also includes audio that is synced with the slides that describes these examples in more detail.

I hope these ideas and examples are useful to you as you compose your lead generation plans for 2010. What else should be included in this presentation? Do you like these embedded slides with audio? Would you like to see more presentations on SocialMediaB2B.com?

My Recent Social Media B2B Pitch Talking Points

Recently I was part of a client pitch. I handled the social media portion for an old school, B2B industrial firm. Before I share what I talked about, I want to describe my presentation experience. Six different people from our team would be sharing the presenting responsibilities. We practiced beforehand standing at a podium at one end of a conference room table. This was a very comfortable way for me to present. When we arrived at the client’s site, due to technical difficulties that I didn’t fully understand, we presented from a laptop in the middle of the table, rather than at the podium. This now meant our presentations would be given while sitting at the table. After my first segment was done sitting at the table, I decided that did not work for me. It was conversational and informal by just turning to look at the clients at the other end of table, but it was a bit too confined for me.

When I talk about social media, especially to people who are just starting to wrap their heads around it, I tend to get excited. I speak with my hands. I also needed to point to the slide on the screen just a little bit. I decided that I would stand at the end of the table. I waved my arms. I walked back and forth while I made eye contact with our prospective clients. I spoke about our social media plans with passion. I had a few notecards with some bullet points on them. I didn’t look at them, but just waved them around. Below are some of things I said as an introduction to Social Media in the B2B space.

Social Media’s Role in Public Relations

There is an ongoing discussion about whether social media lives within marketing or public relations as a primary communication medium. While most social media strategists would recommend that social media needs to be pervasive throughout an organization, one department or function frequently launches the foray into social media. Using the conversation prism model, this demonstrates the modern view of public relations that includes an ongoing feedback loop with traditional sources, as well as social web outlets.

Public relations involves crafting messages that express the company’s position or touts their products. What if you can send those messages out into the wild and let them go? Find the influencers that can take those messages, change them, make them their own, and spread them further than the reach of a news site or a printed trade magazine. And you must monitor those messages and mentions. Traditional PR services involved clipping. Now we “clip the web.” And this can be done at a simple level using basic monitoring tools, or at a deeper level with more complex tools. These choices are determined by the scale of your online universe. As these idea come back through monitoring you can determine what worked and what didn’t in a continuous evaluation and analysis process.

Content

Much of the legwork of the content creation of a social media plan can occur within the PR function. They interact with company subject matter experts. They interview industry thought leaders. They are in constant contact with editors, writers, bloggers in the industry to keep a pulse on what is happening. While press releases are happening in this world, this is not important to this part of the story. We are more interested in the deeper dives of the case studies and white papers. This information can be turned on its side for the more informal content required for a blog, which is the core component of social media for a B2B company. The best thing about a blog is that it shows how a company thinks. Don’t talk about products, services, features and benefits, but use a blog to show industry leadership. What are the questions others are asking? You can answer them. And all this content needs to be published on a regular and consistent basis. Your PR team can develop and maintain an editorial calendar to keep this on task.

And this blog content can now radiate outward. Repurpose it on a Facebook fan page. Post links to in Twitter. Share it on LinkedIn. When people ask questions in an online forum use content from the blog to answer them. You can tell them you wrote a blog post about it, excerpt the relevant section, and provide a link if they want to read the rest of the post. This will start building relationships.

Relationship

So now the question comes up is social media right for B2B? Is it too early? Are we ready? Well, B2B selling is all about relationships, engaging and a long sales cycle. That’s why social media is perfect fit, because that’s what social media is all about. It’s about building relationships. Engaging with others with similar interests. Developing trust by providing value and solutions. Social media provides many opportunities for continuous touch points over a long sales cycle. But social media can’t fix your product. If you have quality issues, those become magnified through these relationships. No social media plan can cover up company problems. In fact, many times, these types of programs provide the incentive to get the product right. And if you brand stands for quality, now is the time to back that up.

Community

So the last piece of the social media landscape is community. These relationships don’t happen in isolation. The point is to connect with others in an ever-growing web of connection and influence. By engaging and building trust with your connections, they can share you ideas with their connections. The influencers are the leaders of these communities. Some are formal, while others are informal. Yes, there are opportunities to sponsor and support these communities, but companies and brands will never lead them. There is more value in letting go of control and letting your message spread organically through the community. This is building your brand through social media.

While I was speaking within the context of a larger presentation, these concepts work as a stand alone explanation of the benefits of social media in a B2B organization. What are some the keys points you use to sell social media either within your company or to your clients?