Tag Archives: B2B

B2B social media bolsters interactions – If you measure your ROSMI

Business to business social media is often overlooked in the mad scramble to get social media views, likes and votes in the business to consumer world.  But B2B is a really important way for companies to connect – if they also measure their Return on Social Media Investment (ROSMI)

Accenture have published a report highlighting attitudes to social media – and as I said yesterday when I talked about why the CEO needs to step up,  1 in 6 executives don’t perceive social media as being important enough. 

There’s a low level of engagement too.  Have a look at this graph from the Accenture report.


Source: Making Social Media Pay: Rethinking Social Medias potential…

Although respondents to the survey acknowledged that social media was important, engagement was generally low. Figure 3 shows that more than 25% engage slightly or not at all.  Only 8 per cent of companies are heavily taking advantage of social media at the moment which gives early adopters of social media a competitive advantage.

Accenture’s research focused on social media attitudes and looked at two different groups: Those that reported significant revenue growth and those that reported declines in revenue.  Whilst engagement levels were similar, strategies were different:

Companies that experienced revenue growth

  • Social media programs for greater customer engagement, improved brand reputation, access to new revenues, access to new sources of innovation
  • 27 per cent of companies convinced of social medias impact on customer engagement
  • 39 per cent of companies ranked social media as very important
  • 39 per cent integrated social media with other customer initiatives
  • 15 per cent systematically measured return on social media investment

Companies with declining revenue:

  • Social media programs for enhancing customer engagement
  • 9 per cent of companies convinced of social medias impact on customer engagement
  • 24 per cent of companies ranked social media as very important
  • 20 per cent integrated social media with other customer initiatives
  • 0 per cent systematically measured return on social media investment

There are several case studies mentioned in the Accenture report including examples from Cisco, Dell, Oracle and Microsoft, some great advice about aligning your social media activities with your broader business objectives.  Social media needs to be positioned as the cornerstone of activity in order for companies to succeed effectively in their industry

Getting your interaction right can make the difference between growing the business.  Measuring your return on your social media investment is the key to your success – or not.

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


It’s about the discount–not the relationship



I found an interesting post on Nasdaq today talking about the differences in what companies think that their customers want, compared with what their customers actually want from them.  IBM carried out a study and talked to more than 1000 consumers – asking them how they used social media.  Company executives were also asked their opinion about why they though consumers interacted.  There are some interesting callouts from the study which seem to contradict the way that we think we use social media:


  • Consumers use social networks to stay in touch with family or friends
  • Consumers use social media sites to find discounts and for purchases
  • Companies feel that they are under pressure to engage with their customers
  • Companies believe that consumers hope to feel part of the community by this type of engagement


This is all very well in the B2C space, where, as consumers we’re searching for the best deals around.  This is how Groupon has become so successful. 

Groupon offers discounts (and earns its revenue by taking a fee of 50% of the Groupon offer price plus VAT).  Groupon has a way of retaining their customers.  Have a look at what happens when you try to unsubscribe! http://www.groupon.com/unsubscribe 

Loyalty, offers, discount and deals matter in the B2C space.  But what what about B2B?

With B2B relationships are important.  With B2B, companies rely on their partner network to sell their services, products and licenses.  I think B2B connections are all about relationships.

Sure, companies can offer their partners suppliers discounts and offers – but I don’t think that’s the only reason that partners connect.  Business partners need information, news, and roadmap knowledge so that they can tailor their own businesses to align with the direction of the company.  If they don’t have this early information, then a partner could invest in creating a solution offering which could be aligned with a product that is about to be sidelined or sunsetted.  An investment error like this could be a significant issue for a small business – much more than a potential partner service, discount or free offer.

Customer connections matter.  Relationships matter.

If you’re only aiming for a light touch or one time engagement with your customer, then a special offer will work wonders.  It will initially get people through your door.  It’s the relationship that you have with the customer after that first contact that might keep them coming back.

And that’s all about how you make the customer feel.  Part of a community that receives discounts might be the relationship that keeps them coming back to you.  Ask Groupon…

Image credit: Flickr

2.2% Hard-core Tweeters generate 58.3% of traffic

I’m fascinated with growth graphs – especially graphs that show when something has reached it’s tipping point and is about to get ‘BIG’ Sysomos have done some great analysis of this and have published some stats. Here’s what’s happened to Twitter last year:

Twitter Statistics 2010 Growth in Accounts

The tipping point for Twitter obviously happened at the end of 2008.  Before then, only those in the know were using Twitter, it hadn’t gone mainstream yet.  I know the end of 2008 was when the BBC started to talk about Twitter – always a sign that a product has hit the mainstream when the BBC start to talk about it.  (The same think happened with podcasts a year or so before them).

But look at the explosion in new accounts created in 2009.  Lots of these are multiple bot accounts.  Applications like Hootsuite, CoTweet and TweetDeck allow you to switch accounts and publish the same Tweet from multiple accounts.  This shows up as buzz in sentiment monitoring tools and gives the client a warm feeling that the money he’s investing in Twitter implementation is worthwhile (<wry smile/>)

But others have started to create Twitter accounts.  As small businesses realised that Twitter (and especially Twitter search) can be Very Good for Getting You Noticed.  Hundreds of small businesses now use Twitter to connect (search for cupcakes, gourmet food and pork pies to see what I mean)  This has caused the explosive growth as millions more Twitter accounts appear. 

The growth in meaningful profiles, web URL’s and descriptions have also grown amongst genuine users (not the bots)

Twitter Statistics 2010

and has also dramatically increased in 2010.  if you’ve had a profile for a while, you’re one of 4.7% as people who created a profile before January 2009 only accounted for 4.7% of the total Twitter population.  You’re obviously thought leaders if you’ve used Twitter for some time (and nabbed the shorter account names too!)

And just over a fifth of users post 90% of Tweets



But don’t worry if you’re not prolific.  There are thousands of accounts out there that have been grabbed (usually for big brands who didn’t get there first) These Tweet squatters are waiting to sell on the accounts and are inactive.

The average number of Tweets per account is still one – so don’t worry if you Tweet once a week and wonder if you need to do more… There are millions of other accounts doing exactly the same. Smile

Full report and more images on the Sysomos blog


Reflections on 2010

I was going to make this post a whiz through the social media tools and give a few predictions for 2011.  I’m also going to reflect on the social media features that stuck out for me through my own journey through the year, the good and the bad and why these topics will need to be a focus for 2011 if you want to succeed in your social media marketing activities.  Bruce wrote a great post about what went right and wrong for him in 2010, but I think I’ll save my personal reflections for another post in 2011 and build on my post in 2009.  So this one is about 5 social media themes that I think will matter in 2011…

  • Social Web sites

More and more companies have included a social component to their websites.  Whether that’s an embedded Twitter feed or social buttons on a web page or blog, web sites have become more engaging.  And with search including social status messages and fees, real time search helps your SEO and rankings.  Social searching will find your site without any extra SEO  additions to the web page.

  • Crisis management

Large and small companies alike don’t know how to handle PR Crises often resorting to ‘delay. deflect, defend’ tactics that they’ve done in the past.  Yahoo!, who should know better had a wobble when news leaked out that it’s delicious bookmarking services was going to be sunsetted.

image (Image from the Techcrunch blog)

Without a viable alternative (Microsoft played around with a tagging service a couple of years ago), what would happen?  Delicous inicated on its blog that there may be a home for it outside the company but the search engine land blog had confirmation that this was unlikely and techcrunch reported that Yahoo had devalued delicious significantly if they were actually going to sell it!  not a good move

Having an effective crisis management plan in place would have significantly diluted the impact of this news – and having a good set of employee guidelines would minimise the impact of the leaks… Fail…

  • Lead Generation

There are a couple of interesting companies that have used Facebook to generate leads outside of the B2C space.  Forrester Research, for example has a fan page on Facebook which seems to be at odds with it’s B2B corporate image.  However, events and videos are linked to from Facebook, there are links to YouTube videos and there are reports you can download for free without a subscription. This is a really effective way of demonstrating that Facebook can actually be used for B2B successfully and acknowledges the blending of our work life and social life.  Nice one Forrester.  A great way of turning page visits into leads with a content rich, compelling and engaging Facebook Page.   Other B2B companies that use Facebook pages for leads are Cisco (who also initiate their graduate recruitment via Facebook as do Ernst & Young), Gartner, Hubspot and Dell

  • Location based applications

Facebook Places, Gowalla, Foursquare have all been talked about this year due oto privacy concerns, but they are a great way for B2C advertisers to tempt folks into the building with the promise of a coupon, discount or special offer.  Adding geolocation services to your application means that you’ll build a much richer application, and bring the community together at events and gatherings – only if the application is well written of course. I think that social commerce applications will come to the fore in 2011 – perhaps a deal with Groupon and Facebook places perhaps.

Do I use them?  Hardly at all.  I’m busy interacting with folks on another medium like Twitter or Facebook to collect another foursquare badge…

  • The rise of mobile

This is best explained by this infographic from the Flowtown blog

If you’re focusing on B2C, you need to be on Facebook, you need to have a mobile app and you need to take advantage of geo-location services.  There are over 4.5 billion mobile devices out there, many with a data plan.  Smartphones are the way to interact with your customers and allow them to connect with each other.  If you’re running a social commerce site, you need to be here…

Roll on 2011.  There are some exciting times ahead Smile  Happy New Year!

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How to spot a social media veteran

… apart from their age that is Smile

I spotted this over on the smart blog  They pulled up some great findings from over 6,500 respondents and compared those who have been using social media for a few months and those who have been using it for a few years.  The findings are quite interesting.  Here are the bullet points showing some of the top line results.

  • Veterans invest more in social media,
  • Veterans are more likely to have support from their leadership.
  • Veterans are more likely to diversify their tools.
  • Veterans use social media for more than just marketing.
  • Veterans are more likely to listen.

I particularly like the last point.  Often I attend meetings with the Agency that is tied in to delivering Agency work and PR for the client itself, and in an effort to demonstrate how much they know, they mug the whole business meeting, with buzzwords, jargon and ideas about “viral”  often, listening is all I can do – I can’t get a word in edgeways.  I let them run their course, and take notes.  Then I get on with working out the underlying mechanisms that will make the best sense for the customer.  Often, it’s not a viral campaign at all, but a coordinated blogging strategy across all departments.

With almost half of companies experimenting with social media, and 30% piloting applications for consideration, there are a lot of things to learn.  Social media is dynamic and moving fast.  Keep hold of your experts – or try to hire people with experience.  you’ll save money in the long run, as well as getting industry experience on the team.

It’s a big task, but if you start small and proceed slowly with all of your back office processes in place, you won’t go far wrong.  Make sure you do enough brainstorming sessions to thoroughly understand all of the ramifications and risks before you get unwelcome publicity when you go live. 

Behave like a veteran – right from the start…

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The rise of B2B social media?

interesting infographic from Mashable on the rise of B2B social media marketing – something I’ve been doing since 2004 Open-mouthed smile

From the look of the graph above, lots of companies still have such a long way to go =- and there’s a lot of education and workshops still to be done in the B2B space to help companies understand that it’s NOT just about a Facebook page… Smile

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How do you measure a hunch?

imageThere  are loads of social media monitoring tools out there on the market that claim to give you deep insight to your customers and how they feel about you and your market offering.  They drill deep into social media platforms and search for keywords to measure sentiment and emotion.  They range from £30 per month to £3000 per month (when associate with a brand agency).  But are thy accurate in gauging the real feeling of your audience.

I’m convinced that the only real way you can find out what they’re thinking is to actually talk to them and I’m not sure that these tools can ever replace the feeling you get when you’re face to face in front of your customers.


Darrell at Advertising age has a couple of great examples where these tools can get things wrong…

Here’s one it thought was "negative" about the ubiquitous coffee chain: "im tired of this cheap coffee crap. need starbucks!"

And one it thought was positive: "Pumpkin chai. Mmm. Very good. Not from Starbucks. From Argo Tea."

That’s where you need to have the personal relationship with your customers.  Surveys and sentiment don’t really connect t with the people that you want to.  i received a survey the other day from a large storage company asking me about my perceptions about the company.  i know them well.  They provide SAN solutions.  I have no idea what else they do, apart from SAN solutions. So asking me to comment on their other brand offerings was a waste of time.  And my answers, like many others I suspect, might skew their results about what folks think of them.  They do storage not cloud in my opinion!

so I think that the main point of this is that no matter how sophisticated your monitoring solution is, or how much it costs, or how good the dashboard is, it can never replace the human hunch

You need a team of people to monitor your social media traffic and conversations, and their hunches and insight will tell you how folks are feeling about you.

Sure, you’ll get the hard metrics your CFO needs, but you need to manually analyse the comments themselves to make sure you’re on the right lines with sentiment. 

It’s the human touch that buys your products and talks about them.  Make sure that the human touch analyses what your customers are saying too – and provides the extra insight that a computer can never do…

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