Bringing social to B2B!

When we talk social, social media, social business, …. everybody tends to stick to the B2C world…nevertheless “social” should be a part of B2B as well. At the “B2B goes Social” – symposium (at Nyenrode Business University – Breukelen/Utrecht) 5 inspirational speakers offered a frame-work to bring the social into B2B.

Everybody is doing social (media) today, social media is bringing people together, sharing thoughts ideas and is starting the conversation. Social media are building a community around your brand, company or organisation.  B2C is doing is this for 3 (-5) years already, but since B2B always tends to lack behind B2C a couple of years it time to act as a B2B company and start building a community around your organisation.

Personal service is the true value of a B2B organisation. You don’t create value in the back office of your company! It’s the person, with the network and community who builds your business.  But in a 3.0 environment these persons are in need of specific tools which gives them the power to adapt, react and work in a volatile business environment. The classical business models were fine back in the days but now we need to adapt and react to the new volatile society. This new society is happening outside your company (most of the time)….so take a look around to see what’s happening and try to incorporate this inside your company (step-by-step)!
Try to build an environment in which interact is the key, where transparency is standard and where you can build reputational currency!
(This dynamic & adaptive organisation only needs a simple framework with a simple set of rules – especially for social media, so you can tap into the true power of your employees.)

Every network has a few important hubs who lead the way and build the conversation for your community…Let your employees be those hubs! This way you value your employees…If you can tap into this value, you are using unused conversation potential, which is already in your company (but you don’t use yet…). Making your employees proud really works (and they have a nice story to tell as well!)

The second challenge for each B2B company is value the true data from “social”….it’s not only about fans, and likes (the aggregated data) but try to work with the lower levels of your data; Who’s new, what’s he doing, who’s returning, who’s bringing new customers/leads, …. This big data (overload?) is a true problem for 71% of our CMO’s (IBM CMO Study 2011), together with the fact that most CMO’s don’t know how to start a (genuine) conversation with their customers…you know the problem is (company/industry) culture to bring social into B2B! Company culture should focus on customers to drive the conversation.
Most CMO are still “shouting” at their customers. Something like this:

Instead of listening to our customers we are making decisions on generic research, benchmarking and general analysis. CMO’s in this society 3.0 shoudl really rethink their role. Think like Cisco where your value is measured on your time spend with your customer. Listening and handling their problems, ideas, …. bring on and off-line together, as they are part of the same experience. Share your content AND collaborate with your customer (who knows best: your customer or someone else?).

Don’t search for a best practice, but look for a next practice!
Keep walking…always! Step by step building your conversation company!

This is the story brought to by Henry Robben, Katherine Kucherenko, Rick Mans, Ronald Velten & Steven Van Belleghem at B2B goes social; “Bringing social to B2B!”

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Posted in Flat Business, Flat Statement
5 comments on “Bringing social to B2B!
  1. Wow. Nice summary, well done

  2. The idea is great and I love the video, but the video is actually about B2C again? (coupons) The general idea about listening to your customer is what counts, but what is the real difference between B2C and B2B? Should B2B interaction even have “fans or likes” or are channels like Faebook that use those channels not the right ones for B2B conversations?

    Looking forward to your reaction.

    • Being social is more then fans and likes, being social means building a community. Building this community is equaly important in B2B as in B2C, but still most B2B companies don’t think so… They use the dialogue (only) to sell instead of to conversate (short term versus long term objectives! – and I know I’m using a B2C movie, but it represents what B2B people are doing as well). But this dialogue can generate a huge datamine and collaboration pool with your key users, why don’t B2B companies use this opportunity to do even better as they are doing now?
      Facebook is just a platform, not a goal, of you can build your community somewhere else, please do, BUT my key message is build your community with your key players.

  3. I completely aggree with this. But many companies dont realize it yet that B2C is as important as B2B. I think it is very important that they start a dialogue with their employees. But it will not be easy for the companies to listen to all the employees.

    They should interact more with their emplyees so they could work even better.
    Plus when I read something positive about a company even though it is from an employee It is great advertising!

    I hope that in the future everything changes so B2B will be equally to B2C.

  4. Christian Graf says:

    I agree totaly to all your B2B vs. B2C statements.

    I`m a engineer guy and i`m very suprised about the amzing open-source-blogs in the web. They communicate about smart ideas for the future. If companies would use more of these web 2.0 tools, then they will get faster and cheaper new innovations for their own company!

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