A Brave B2B Social Media Book

A couple weeks ago I published here a Q&A with Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen on their new book, The B2B Social Media Book: Becoming a Marketing Superstar by Generating Leads With Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email and More. Here’s my review of the book itself:

Kipp and Jeffrey have chosen to bravely go right to the heart of the matter: how to apply social media for B2B lead generation. While there’s more to social business than lead generation, it’s refreshing to read a book that says it’s okay for social media to bring you more leads. It will help us earn the budgets from senior executives to further develop social channels. As they said in the book, “Social media marketing isn’t about hugs, kisses, rainbows, or any other fluffy happy words.” Engagement, in a marketing sense, needs to lead either to new sales or repeat sales.

Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen

Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen, Authors of The B2B Social Media Book

The authors correctly note that compelling content is essentially the fuel that makes social media marketing work. They explain how to leverage blogs as central hubs of content to move prospective customers to the all-important Call to Action that leads to positive ROI for social media investments (“Tweeting a landing page doesn’t kill a puppy.”) They also correctly note that reach is underappreciated in B2B. In most B2B segments, we do need online advertising, media relations and other reach-generating tools to introduce new audiences to our content and value propositions.

That said, there are certainly creative alternatives to corporate blogs. Facebook can be used in similar fashion.  Sophisticated social hubs like Cisco’s The Network also work, though they are much more expensive to maintain. A blog is a great way to start. And of course, ideally, you’d use all these things.

I would also argue that the chapter on calculating ROI is overly simplistic, especially if your business model is built on long-term customer relationships.

Finally, it’s also important for readers to understand there are realms of social media program management that are just as important and that are beyond the scope of this book, including customer service and customer relations, employee communications, and corporate reputation management to name a few (think topics like social media crisis management or online customer communities for ideation). In practice, a marketer must collaborate effectively with these parties to thrive in this interconnected world.

But that’s not what this book is trying to cover (and in fact, Kipp hinted that perhaps B2B customer communities could be their next book). From tradeshows to Twitter to the mobile Web, Kipp and Jeffrey have given you a crisp tome on bringing real accountability to B2B marketing to generate tangible results in social media. Remember that engagement is a means to an end for a marketer, not an end in itself. This book is a very good guide.

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