Using Social Networking Sites in B2B Businesses?

In the B2B Online Marketing group on LinkedIn, Rob Schmelz, E-Commerce Manager for Central Restaurant Products, asked a simple question from people:

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The question got a few good responses that hit on several key issues involved in instituting social media into the B2B space.

Kathryn Korostoff, Founder and President of Research Rockstar, notes varied successes:

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A lot of success to date with B2B and social media use has been in cultivating communication with your current constituents: customers, clients, and employees.  As Kathryn mentioned, they had a ton of success using the tools for their customer support.  Other such examples are internal communities for current employees, or platforms that increase the connection to tier one clients.  She also highlights where social media tactics have room to grow: new client or customer acquisitions, or new sales.  In summary, at least in Kathryn’s experience, social media has been much more useful in making existing relationships stronger and deepter.

Scott Hardigree, CEO of Indiemark, which recently launched the mformer portion of their services to target B2B companies,

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There is still a place for quick, viral marketing to happen in the B2B space.  A lot of people think this and other forms of word of mouth marketing are reserved for the B2C space.

Maria Colacurcio, Co-Founder of SmartSheet,

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As Kathryn also mentioned, social media is a great way to develop your standing as an expert in your field and, ideally, an industry leader.  One of the primary ways this is done in the B2B space is to have a company blog where you’re able to post valuable information that brings readers back for more, and thus creates more brand awareness for when it does come time to make a decision on a certain product or service.  It’s icing on the cake that also boosts your SEO.

Jann LaGoy Mirchandani, Owner of Mirchandani Consulting, a graphic & web design firm in New York, commented:

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Some B2B industries may see more success than others when it comes to sales.  Part of that, as Jann points to, may be a result of having a company with a little bit more word of mouth capabilities.  Once you have happy customers, information on a jewelry design may have the capability to be more “talked about” outside your direct network or industry connections than, say, a supply management software application.

Do you have any thoughts on successes or failures in the B2B space?  What have been our experiences?

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3 thoughts on “Using Social Networking Sites in B2B Businesses?”

  1. Using social media either for business or individual purposes does have its pros and cons and that is just normal even with other strategies. A careful planning and implementation is needed on this kind of thing.

  2. Using social media either for business or individual purposes does have its pros and cons and that is just normal even with other strategies. A careful planning and implementation is needed on this kind of thing.

  3. Great article – I think you really highlight that current social media sites are not ideal for B2B companies.

    We have realized this and we have recently launched a beta version of a B2B social media site http://www.MyTradeZone.com, which targets the specific needs of businesses, including lead generation.  The key difference for MyTradeZone is that only businesses can sign up and create their company profile, list products or services, request price quotes, and even follow other businesses.

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