Polle de Maagt, Marketing Consultant at InSites Consulting:
Never. Ever. Come to me with the excuse that it's difficult for B2B organizations to do marketing or advertising and to make use of social media or conversations. Most things that are normal for B2B, are skills B2C is struggling to implement.
More in Social media in B2B: "How conversations help you leverage the things you are already doing." for InSites Consulting
Flanders Investment & Trade is a government agency supporting Flanders-based companies doing business abroad and foreign companies looking to invest in Flanders.
One of their most important events towards Flanders-based companies is their De Leeuw van de Export award, which awards Flemish entrepreneurs with a flair for export in two categories: small and mid-sized to large companies. The creative concept behind this campaign was developed internally.
FIT obviously launched a microsite (http://www.vreemdgaanloont.be/ ) for this campaign, but for the first time they're mainly focussing on their presence in social media.
Some of these efforts are in the small details: twitter.com/fitagency keeps connecting and inspiring entrepreneurs and the key players in the field as it always has, but has adapted its Twitter background to match with the campaign.
But FIT also uses its own YouTube.com/FITagency channel, which at the time of writing contains no less than 11 short movies with testimonials and appeals from jury members and previous winners of the award. This is one of these YouTube movies, featuring their CEO Koen Allaert.
By the way: if you're an entrepreneur based in Flanders or if you know one, the registration for the award candidacy closes on Friday 29 April 2011.
According to a survey by communication agency Vierpartner, German sportswear company Adidas is the most popular German brand in social media worldwide. Adidas has 17.6mn of internet fans, subscribers and followers worldwide and is thus the company using social media online most successfully. Adidas employs 25 staff for its conversation management, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The internet is the company's key marketing medium, especially to reach consumers under 19. The survey by communication agency Vierpartner includes the DAX 30 companies.
Top 5 German brands:
- Adidas 17.632.221
- Siemens 10.351.950
- Volkswagen 8.966.364
- BMW 6.411.064
- Deutsche Telekom 5.683.377
Source: Social Media: Adidas hat die meisten Fans im Netz @ wiwo.de
If your company is serious about introducing a social dimension to its activities, this dimension must be embraced by every department and embedded within the company culture as a whole. This means that everyone in the organisation at every level of the organisational structure must change the way they work. But the good news is that the companies which make the effort will soon be able to discover the real return on investment of social media: innovation.
Below are the slides I used during my "Social media drives innovation" talk at Sanoma Magazines Belgium - including some examples from within the company itself.
Selling in a business-to-business environment is different from selling to consumers. One of the most striking differences, for example, is that the lead time is much longer. It is also true that b2b industries are generally not yet very active in social media – with the exception of advertising and marketing, and ‘tech’ industries such as software, it and telecommunications. In this latter category, companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems and Intel are leading the way.
And yet there are quite some inspiring examples of B2B companies active in social media outside of the technology/telco sphere.
From 7 Awesome B2B Facebook Pages @ blog.hubspot.com:
There are a couple features that make SteelMaster Buildings' page stand out to me. The request a quote and the find a Steel Building near you pages are another great example of making the visitors visit as enjoyable as possible. Instead of requiring you to call someone for a quote, go to their homepage, or go to Google to search for the closest location you can do this all from within their Facebook Fan Page.
More inspiring B2B cases in my presentation below:
We all remember the ‘Dell Hell’ of 2005, where journalist and blogger Jeff Jarvis vented about his frustrating dealings with Dell on his blog. This sparked a ‘blog storm’ as Dell consumers with similar frustrations linked to Jarvis’ blog, which eventually received widespread press coverage.
In a 2007 BusinessWeek article ‘Dell learns to listen’ Jarvis visits Dell and spends time with CEO Michael Dell to take stock of the company’s efforts in engaging with its consumers and the wider community. He opens the article with the statement that ‘[i]n the age of customers empowered by blogs and social media, Dell has leapt from worst to first’.
The Social Brands 100 was compiled over a period of three months with the contribution of an external panel of social experts drawn from business, academia, media and communications, and Brandwatch, the social media analytics data provider.
Belgian blogger BVLG has once more made a insightful analysis of the Belgian Facebook ecosystem. One of the most interesting pie charts in his Facebook Pages uit België post shows the page categories for Belgian Facebook top pages. (In this context: "Belgian" pages with over 10,000 likes).
BVLG's analysis is not entirely consistent with the results from an older Sysomos report on Facebook pages with over 1 million fans. Categories like "music" and "celebrities" however, a somewhat more fuzzy.
Here are some examples of very popular Belgian Facebook pages, one for each "category":