B2B Social Media Marketing and B2B Social Communities: three reasons why they’re a must for 2009.

After participating in discussions on LinkedIn and other social media sites, I often see lots of skepticism about the viability of social media in B2B marketing. Many B2B marketers seem to feel that social networking is more effective for major consumer brands, and will not produce results for B2B. The perception is usually, ‘I don’t use Facebook,’ or ‘I don’t get Twitter’ or simply ‘I don’t get it.’

B2B Social Marketing is one of the hottest things going right now especially in a down economy. There are strategies for practically any B2B market, particularly in technology. Technology forums, for example, were the original online social communities. Whatever your B2B brand or product happens to be, there are lots of unique ways to generate interest through social media.
A couple key strategies to consider:

  1. Create your own social community-– I’m not sure how many B2B tech companies are doing it, but some are creating their own social sites (using ning.com or other platforms) that offer forums, news, blogs and more all in one place. And the key is, getting your company’s internal people to invite customers and prospects to participate, and encouraging them to join in the conversation. You can also use twitter to help point key customers and prospects to join in.
  2. Entice participation by discussing relevant, compelling topics— How do you know what these topics are? Well, you can actually use your online community to discover what these areas of interest truly are. You can use surveys, for instance, to discover key concerns, or to generally find out what would make your community valuable.
  3. Allow the online community to control the conversation— don’t dictate it based on your marketing objectives. Continue to add new features and vehicles to your online community based on what direction your conversation is going.

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