Live Blogging from MarketingProfs B2B Forum. A series of posts covering selected sessions at this year’s conference in Boston.
Christina “CK” Kerley, B2B Marketing Specialist, CKb2b Marketing
Deirdre Walsh, Community & Social Media Manager, National Instruments
Mike Travis, President, Equation Research
Ron Casalotti, Social Media PR, Bloomberg LP
Kirsten Watson, Dir. Corporate Marketing, Kinaxis
Key Takeaways from the Session:
Be tolerant and accepting of users’ desire to discuss or point to other content that may be from competing sources or issues. People are going to have those conversations somewhere anyway; it’s a question of whether you want to part of those conversations.
Not every social media ROI metric is going to be a hard, financial one; you need to identify what concrete metrics matter for your particular situation.
This session covered various kinds of strategies B2B can use for social media. Panelists share their experiences with specific social media initiatives and four different social media strategies. This was a rapid-fire session in which there was only time to really hit the high points.
Ron Casalotti talked about launching Business Exchange, where the primary goals were increasing user engagement on their sites, participate in conversations important to their users and target users outside their domain; and extend the useful life our business oriented content beyond the typical magazine or online news site.
One key factor in the success of Business Exchange was the importance of letting users contribute content from a variety of sources and not filtering content that may point elsewhere instead of Business Week/Bloomberg sources.
While the goal was increasing user engagement, the ROI was, at first more difficult to measure. What they found, however, was that users of Business Exchange were more likely to open subsequent emails, approximately 10 times the normal open rates. Also, Ron said they used user generated content to help identify ideas and concepts for stories.
Ron’s Top Tip
“Ignore the numbers. The key is engaging your users on a meaningful level and on a 1:1 basis. Be out there, be real, be responsive, be transparent, and the number will follow—organically.”
Deirdre Walsh shared her experience as Community & Social Media Manager at National Instruments.
For NI, community and social media spans support, development, marketing, and sales. In the NI support community, Deirdre said that 50 percent of user questions are actually answered by other users.
Key strategies for NI communities include focusing on technical content; providing a forum for technical collaboration, both with others and as a direct connection to R&D for product development and refinement; providing a system of rewards and recognition for users;
Community members answer 50% of online support questions posed by other users
40% of site traffic comes from long-tail search and user generated content
Growth of the community..now 140,000 engineers and scientists in the NI developer community
Deirdre’s Top Tip:
It’s easy to get distracted by all the technologies, so use something like the POST method (people, objectives, strategy, tech) outlined in Groundswell to develop your plan.
Mike Travis, President, Equation Research shares his experience with a Crowdsourced Marketing Industry Trends Study.
The goals of the program were to increase brand presence in the B2B space; position the business as a truly different kind of market research company; and grow the permission-based contact list.
Strategies included engaging the audience through crowdsourcing; focus on one program that would be the first of its kind in the industry among target audiences; and design and develop a survey that 100% by marketers for marketers.
A 200% increase in website traffic
A five-fold increase in the amount of leads generated
400 new prospects that opted in to be contacted by Equation in the future
Mike’s Top Tip
Especially when targeting B2B, the first step in engagement should be asking, “How can we add real value to the conversation?”
Kirsten Watson, Dir. Corporate Marketing, Kinaxis, shared her experience launching a supply chain expert community in June 2009. Kinaxis initially started blog in 2006, and it took a long time to grow and build it. This made them fearful of trying to launch a community where engagement would be even more critical.
The goals in launching the community were to double web traffic, double conversions and foster greater awareness of the company’s supply-chain management solutions.
Strategies included finding out were the target audience “hangs out”; get involved in key online locations; and leveraging interest in the community to drive traffic to the Kinaxis web properties by adding value (not selling) through creation of highly engaging, content-rich “home” for supply chain experts to learn laugh, share and connect.
2.7x increase in traffic to primary Kinaxis site
3.2x increase in conversions (leads)
5.3x increase in traffic to the blog/community
6x increase in registered community members (now 2300 registered members)
20% of community members are actual customers and 80% are prospects
Kirsten’s Top Tip
When creating and maintaining your social media program, always be thinking SEO.
Interesting fact shared by Kirsten: Of the 160 people who work at Kinaxis, 18 are bloggers.