Thoughts On B2B Social Media Adoption Factors and Implications

Just some thoughts on the trend towards social computing and the implications it will have….

Trends Driving The Adoption of Social Media/Social Computing

  • Consumerization of IT: Technology is trickling into the enterprise from consumers who are using cutting-edge IT at play – “Web 2.0”
  • Multi-Generational Workforce – As older generations (Baby Boomers) exit the workforce, younger – very different ones – (Gen X, Gen Y – a.k.a. Millennials) enter.
  • Extreme Competition – Quickening pace of globalization creates both new markets and new competitors
  • Next Wave of the Web – Web 2.0 is representing a wave of intense innovation with rich participatory models & programmability.
  • Social Networks – Technology & services that create unique profiles, map out relationships, & leverage personal connections.
  • Innovation Networks – New business model that enables firms to match their demand for innovation with global talent
  • Next Era of the Digital Age – Connecting & monitoring of products & devices.
  • Virtual Worlds – Virtual realities (Second Life) have peaked in hype.  Do they still represent a real-world opportunity?

Audiences Are Taking Control Over The Messages

  • Audiences don’t always trust traditional messages and channels
    • Dismissive of “corporate spin,” the “organizational voice”
    • Credibility shifting to individual voices — personal influence is personal!
  • Audiences are taking control of the message and the medium
    • Individuals are participating and becoming highly influential
    • Organizational role becoming that of influencer as much as authority
    • Dialogue is now a critical element for outreach
    • Does your product do what you say? Is it a promise kept or broken?
    • Transparency is everything.
    • Audiences have more choices than ever before
    • There are about 23,000 daily newspapers and news periodicals around the world. 
    • There are a few hundred million blogs worldwide

Implications for Marketing Strategists

  • An active conversation is being held about your brand in the marketplace.  All brands should want (and need) to participate in and influence the conversation taking place about products and services.
  • Online communities are plentiful, large and efficient.  Representation ranges from Business Partners to enterprise-focused technology buyers and influencers to media to analysts to other bloggers
  • Social media tools allow us to hear, first-hand, from our clients and prospective clients.  The opportunity to listen and collect intelligence is immense. Potential to influence product requirements and functions, GTM strategy, sales, support, etc.
  • The potential for community among loyalists is profound. Customers talk to one another.  Empower them to be your best advocates. They are your living case studies.

Key Steps in any Social Media Strategy

  • Monitor. Listen to the market conversation to better understand your current position in the marketplace. Understand what the marketplace is (or isn’t) saying about your brand, product, service, etc. Start to understand the tone and impact of that conversation. Begin identifying areas of opportunity for helping shape that conversation and to gather valuable market intelligence
  • Identify and Engage. Identify and engage key influencers who are influencing the market conversation around your brand, product, or service. Establish some prioritization as to who is impacting the market conversation the most. Develop strategies for engaging those influencers through social media capabilities. Establish enduring and mutual productive relationships with the influencers. Empower their advocacy of your product or capability
  • Maximize Distribution. Maximize distribution and impact of key digital marketing assets. Ensure maximum portability and utilization of those assets. Ensure optimal exposure and forward mobility of key marketing messages into the marketplace. Share location of assets with all stakeholders to ensure the widest distribution of the central page and its associated assets.
  • Empower Advocacy. Build and foster brand loyalists and empower them to advocate on behalf of your brand. Build a sense of community among your brand loyalists. Empower those loyalists to better advocate to other key constituents on behalf of your brand, products, and services.
  • Measure to Understand the Impact. Have some way of identifying measurable progress. Quantify the return on your social media investment. Understanding the impact of social programs enables you to benchmark against future efforts.