There seems to be a perception that social media is better suited for business-to-consumer brands than business-to-business marketing. This view is supported by a lack of easily accessible social media success stories in the B2B space — on the Internet and at conferences. But it is a misconception.

Without a doubt, there are countless impressive B2C success stories, including the funny Bodyform video created in response to a disgruntled Facebook post and the successful Old Spice video campaign. But social media is also extensively and successfully in use for B2B marketing. We simply might not hear about it as much because the examples are not as entertaining.

B2B social media is best suited to generating awareness. To just pick a few examples, social media can help build thought leadership, increase the reach of events or strengthen your brand. Social media can also foster action and engagement. Used properly, social tools can help you leverage advocates and influencers to spread your message, generate content for you and even generate leads. (read more…)

“I didn’t know what to do, so I just Googled it.”

The lead corporate social strategist at one of the top hospitality brands in the world pulled us aside and in a hushed tone confided, “Honestly, I didn’t know what to do or how to write one, so I just Googled the term ‘enterprise social RFP.’ ”

It might be shocking, but it’s more common than you think.

Large brands are starting to think about doing social at scale — the way that large, global brands can have a personal relationship with hundreds of thousands or millions of customers.

“Playtime is over”

As Esteban Contreras, social media manager at Samsung USA, said, when it comes to social, “Playtime is over.”

He’s not the only one who has figured this out.

At Sprinklr, we conducted nearly 200 interviews — see them on SprinklrTV — with heads of social at companies such as AT&T, Boeing, Abbott Laboratories and General Motors, as well as industry thought leaders such as Joe Jaffe, David Armano and Matt Dickman. (read more…)

Andy DeBrunner is social media manager at Godfrey and has worked with Fortune 100 companies to tackle their social media needs. He was also a contributor to Godfrey’s e-book “Jumpstart Your B2B Marketing.” Follow him @adebrunner or follow Godfrey @GodfreyB2B.

Your customers are using social media. That’s no surprise. So is it appropriate for you to join in on the fun and get your business on board? I know what some of you are thinking. “Sure, I know everyone’s using social media, but my company sells products that cost a ton of money and sales can take years to close. I can’t generate a sale, or even a lead, for any of my products using Facebook or Twitter.” If you just said some version of that to yourself, let me reframe the way you might want to think about social media for your business.

All too often, Facebook and Twitter dominate marketing meetings and boardroom conversations about social media, both in B2B and B2C. (read more…)

Deluxe is in the middle of a big brand and strategy shift. It is the world’s largest printer of checks, but it is working to become a brand known for products and services that help small businesses expand.

To demonstrate this shift, Deluxe launched Project REV, a yearlong marketing lab in which nine small-business owners were given $5,000 in Deluxe marketing products and services as well as expert consulting. In his BlogWell presentation, Deluxe’s Nathan Eide walked us through the program and explained how social media played a critical role in its success.

A few of Eide’s big ideas: (read more…)

This post is by TJ McCue of TechBizTalk.

One of the challenges of business-to-business sales is that it has such a long funnel — compared with consumer goods one might buy on a whim. You’re looking at several connections, possibly with multiple people before you get to “yes.” How do you keep that connection alive long enough to make the sale?

Most B2B customers and prospects don’t want a call from you. They might want a relationship, but they probably want it on their terms, not yours. At the core of any deep B2B relationship is one essential skill or trait: The ability to listen and empathize (with a customer’s experience, in this case). The top brands are able to use that skill to establish authentic communication — authentic in that it creates trust and a willingness to keep the relationship alive.

I asked a few of the top minds in the B2B marketing field for their best advice on how to create and maintain lead relationships — and how to convert those leads into customers over time. (read more…)