B2Bing Social

The word “consternation” could be illustrated by faces of B2B technology marketers trying to leverage social media.

Social media is plate tectonics under marketing terra firma. It is a fundamentally new way of reaching people that at least augments, and in many cases replaces, traditional marketing. Getting unpaid people to carry your message to potential buyers seems to be a gift from the Gods, or at least Mark Zuckerberg.

Well, for B2C marketing mavens. B2B has uneven results in social promotions.

Part of the reason is that motivations for sharing a YouTube video with Grandma are very different from sharing anything with your co-workers, boss or peers. And whereas Nanna might forward your email to cousin Don, your boss might never forward it to anyone. Motivations for sharing are the center of any social outreach, be it passing the collection plate at church or making off with the offerings.

Business buyers share when they must, when it builds better relationships, or when they are compelled for selfish reasons.

nearsoft-videoMy favorite example of a B2B social sharing comes from Nearsoft, a software outsourcing company in Mexico (yes, Mexico). They eliminate many of the aggravations of outsourcing to India, less chance of theft than outsourcing to Russia, and similar low costs to coding American. Long ago they created their 53 second video (which they admit is over 80 seconds long) and would have accumulated a longer list of views had they not moved it from place to place. The video is so low budget that it makes the montage a bit lovable, like a dog pound mutt, and yet has made the rounds so often that years later, people still regularly email it to me.

What makes their B2B social promo effective? Why would people pass this around? Sure, it has humor, but so do most promo videos and they don’t get the same traction. The Nearsoft video has the added benefit of plainly, clearly and quickly summarizing why the viewer should be interested. Within the first twenty second you know who they are, what they do and which types of companies they serve. By the 45 second mark, you know their differentiation and top value propositions. At the 60 second mark there is a clear call to action.

People decline to share what lacks value. Sending Uncle Phil a video of a politician’s pants falling down has all the value Phil needs, and you don’t hesitate to pass it along. B2B is about selling to businesses, and behind every promotion there is the risk of receiving an unwanted sales call. Knowing the full value and differentiation provided by a company lets the viewer know the promo will not waste the time of bosses, subordinates or peers. Making it humorous makes sharing a social activity as well as a business one.

The lesson is that social media works for B2B, but has to cleanly combine both business and social.


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