What Drives Your B2B Social Strategy?

A new year and another opportunity to get under the hood and check your social engine. One of the keys to success in the social B2B space is having a strategy. The team here at B2B Voices have posted often on this topic of strategy from using social networking sites in B2B to looking at what makes a  world-Class social practice for B2B companies to asking the right question.

We all agree here that if you want to succeed you need to start with a strategy. Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter now has a must read paper titled “A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation.” The paper is a great way for the experienced and novice B2B communicator to step back and think about what you are trying to accomplish.

The social vehicle you choose should help drive your conversations and evaluation

The key takeaways for me were as follows:

Businesses struggle with strategy: On page six of the report it’s clear that companies are struggling to get handle on what they want to accomplish and how they will get there. One thing we always focus on here at B2B Voices is making sure your social media strategy aligns with your business and other communication initiatives. It should rarely be a silo. If you need help understanding what your strategy should be you can reference the graphic on page 13 of the study.

Vendors need to catch up: The rapid growth of free tools with premium tools is creating an overload of resources that in the end create more confusion. Page 10 and 11 detail the issues and in my opinion we will see an ongoing consolidation of these tools. There is a good review of many of the platforms in the report and we at B2B Voices would encourage anyone looking at tools to take your time in choosing where you spend your resources.

The one point to remember in this discussion is that strategy takes time and effort. Not only do you need to have the right tools to work with, but you need to understand your business goals as well as what drives your brand strategy. While it’s easy to “do” social it’s much more difficult to “do social well” and measure the results.

UPDATE (JANUARY 17): Apparently, Tac Anderson and I are on the same page when we think about social media. Here is his post (Can’t Find a Good Social Media Management Tool? Get a Strategy First) on the same study by Jeremiah Owyang.

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4 thoughts on “What Drives Your B2B Social Strategy?”

  1. I need to read through Jeremiah’s report, but I agree with you Allan about the struggle with strategy. And strategy clearly comes from informed research and that’s what some of those tools are supposed to provide. Their proliferation has reached absurd levels and most of them add so little value, kind of like an add-on to Microsoft Word that let’s you make text bold or italics. I would just note there is very much a role for paid research a la talk to your customers/prospects! It is amazing what you will learn. 

  2. Interesting thoughts, with good links I’ll check out.  “mak[e] sure your social media strategy aligns with your business and other communication initiatives. It should rarely be a silo.”

    I agree 100%, and I think it’s great that more and more B2B companies are realizing the power of using social networking to connect with customers, keeping their business strategy in mind, and not mindlessly accumulating more fans/followers.
    Will be a great year for B2B social media.

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