The ubiquitous debate over whether or not social media is appropriate for B2B marketing is, frankly, getting to be quite tiresome. Though I will readily acquiesce that application of social media techniques within the B2B realm requires careful attention to a specific set of considerations, the bottom line is that all marketing (whether B2C or B2B) targets Real People. Real People are social. They enjoy conversations and value authentic relationships. Those are what well-executed social media efforts deliver.
I think the question is less about whether social media is appropriate and more about how it is most appropriately used. I wish I could provide accurate attribution to the concept of business-to-consumer vs. B2C or B2B - that's an idea worth pondering. (For more insights, read Chris Brogan's excellent post defining the difference (and similarity) between traditional B2C and B2B.)
There is so much to explore within this topic, but - for today - all I want to do is provide you with an arsenal of links to posts, reports, and videos that document and support the use of social media in B2B. Whether you're an in-house marketing director trying to convince your boss to spend some cash on social media, or a marketer-for-hire trying to convince your clients to dip their toes into the water; you'll find something in this list to bolster your case.
Most importantly, if you know of any great case studies, surveys, special reports, or random success stories involving B2B social media; please leave a comment below with all the details.
SAP Case Study via @JuntaJoe
This case study from Social Media Today outlines how SAP used a social community platform to boost engagement and saw "side effect" benefits in their brand and strategy development.
Forrester Research Report about B2B Buyer Participation in the Social Web @jbernoff
Author Josh Bernoff says it all when he describes the results of the Forrester survey as "startling, to say the least." B2B audiences are not as anti-social as you might think.
Laura Ramos Interview re: B2B Social Media
Laura Ramos (VP and Principle Analyst, Forrester) co-authored the Forrester study noted above. In this interview with Ben Hanna of B2B Online Marketing she provides some additional insights into the report.
B2B Conversion in 10 Social Media Steps @bethharte
Beth Harte of Harte Marketing shares her personal story of learning about, vetting, and ultimately engaging Hubspot - all through social media channels.
Slide Presentation: Social Media for B2B Technology Companies @marketplane
This slide deck from MarketPlane provides a quick overview as well as some nitty-gritty detail and a few concise case studies that support the use of social media in the B2B arena.
On demand Webinar (May take a while to download - patience is key.)
B2B Lead Gen via Social Media @brianjcarroll
Brian Carroll breaks down the 6 social media lead generation steps used by a company profiled in a Marketing Sherpa case study. He also alludes to the personal business success he has experienced through social media participation.
Social Media and Regional Business @shelisrael via @ScottHepburn
Shel Israel of Twitterville interviews Mat Saddoris, owner/operator of United Linens, on the subject of that company's use of social media (blogs and twitter).
B2B and Social Media - Not Just Marketing @shelisrael via @ScottHepburn
In this interview with IBM's Adam C. Christensen, Shel Israel drills down to the philosophy behind IBM's social media policies and discovers the internal benefits of using platforms like twitter for global collaboration.
Twitter and B2B - It's Real
B2B Magazine posts about how B2B companies are using twitter. Article includes quotes from Jeffrey Hayzlett, CMO of Eastman Kodak Co.; Jon Miller (@jonmiller2), VP-marketing at b-to-b software vendor Marketo (@marketo); and Dan Schawbel, EMC's social media specialist (@danschawbel).
ExecTweets - Twittering from the Big Guns
Visit this site to see a tweetstream dedicated to the 140-character musings of top execs from companies like Intuit, Unilever, Microsoft, NASA, and many more. You can also filter by industry - check the Technology feed.
Social Media for B2B from the Internet Advertising Bureau
A comprehensive (don't miss pages 2 and 3!) overview social media's role in the B2B arena. This article provides a great overview of the various tools, some great how-to tips, and a few brief case studies for additional reference and inspiration.
B2B Social Media Examples: Trucks to Electronics
The team at Social Media B2B provides some interesting case studies. This one is about trucking company Scania, but don't miss the links to additional case studies at the right of the page - more goodies there.
Social Media Tactics for Fast-growth and Start-up B2B Companies
Carabiner Communications offers a paper on how B2B companies can (and should) use B2B. They offer specific ideas on how to execute as well as some integrated case studies.
Motherlode of Social Media Marketing Examples @peterkim via @onedegree
Social marketing expert Peter Kim's wiki provides visitors with a massive list of hundreds of social media examples that can be sorted by industry, company, type of media, etc. Lots of exploring to do!
Behind the Scenes with the "Will it Blend?" Videos
The koroberi team shares a seven minute video interview with Blendtec's George Wright, VP of Marketing, and Kels Goodman, Video Producer. They reference their B2B successes from the wildly successful video campaign around the fourth minute.
First-hand B2B Success with Social Media for Small- to Mid-sized Businesses
Mark Harbeke of Winning Workplaces writes about how his corporate consulting business seen measurable growth as a result of his social media efforts.
Reaching B2B Customers with Chocolate-Covered Bugs
Of course, we have to share one post right from the Savvy archives - an overview of how Grasshopper (formerly Gotvmail) used a unique campaign in combination with social media tools to make a big impression with their entrepreneurial audience.
LinkedIn Group - B2B Social Media @diannahuff
Do you want to get into deeper conversations on the topic of Social Media in B2B Marketing? Hop over to Dianna Huff's LinkedIn group to engage in lively discussions with other marketers in this space.
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