Social Media Week, B2B-Style

When it comes to events like Social Media Week, as a B2B public relations professional, I have often felt like a diabetic kid in a candy store. All of those sweet consumer marketing social media success stories look delectable, but where are the treats for me? That’s why I was excited to attend ABI’s social media panel discussion, “Integrating Social Media into B-to-B.”  The ABI team welcomed B2B marketers into their downtown office (which has a very cool industrial vibe) to hear from a group of professionals whose job it is to explore social media’s opportunities and implications for those of us who target businesses, not individual consumers. Here are my favorite pieces of B2B “candy” from Tuesday evening’s discussion:

“Your voice is your people.” This came from Dale Durret of LinkedIn. One of the big challenges that B2B companies face in social media is finding the right voice, particularly when working with content that’s highly technical or (let’s face it) a little dry at times. Durret cited IBM as a prime example of a B2B company whose employees are its best social media marketers: IBMers who are out there interacting via social media are smart, enthusiastic and tech-savvy – which resonates in their communities AND fits with the brand image the company strives to project.

“The bottom line is: are you showing up?” Kodak’s Brian Nizinsky arrived here in response to a question about how social media influences SEO. He went on to explain that search is ubiquitous, and the functionality of the search box is essentially the same whether you’re on Google or Twitter or any other platform – which is why it’s so important for companies to know what keywords their prospects and stakeholders associate with their particular products or services.

“Measurement is our justification to upper management as to why we’re spending so much time playing on the computer.” This was also from Nizinsky, and while slightly cheeky, speaks to a challenge that both B2B and B2C marketers are still figuring out:  how do we tie social media to ROI, leads, profits, or whatever other business goals the C-suite expects marketing to accomplish? Most of the panelists (which also included Jessica Tuquero of the International Trademark Association and PRSA’s Keith Trivitt) admitted that their organizations are still fine-tuning their approaches to measurement. For some, that entails experimenting with tools like Radian6; for others, it means tying social media data back to traditional PR metrics like share of voice.

Thanks to Amy Epstein and the ABI team for hosting an informative and interesting discussion. Did these insights satisfy your B2B social media sweet tooth? Who do you see as leaders in this space?

To reach Kelly:

Phone: 212.840.1661
Twitter: @kellydavis226
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