Social Media Marketing for B2B

Learnings from the Silicon Valley Enterprise Social Media Council Summit

March 28th, 2011 2 Comments

The Silicon Valley Enterprise Social Media Council (SVESMC) is a group of Bay Area social media practitioners (no vendors) from CA Technologies, eBay, Ariba, Cisco, Taleo, Xerox, PayPal, EMC, Symantec, Wellsfargo and SAP.  The objective of the group is to network, discuss challenges and share social media know how with enterprise peers who live and breathe social media.

On March 25th, SAP hosted the first quarterly social media summit for the group that was started in late 2010. Fittingly, the first group members were “recruited” via Twitter. Our currently close to 30 members regularly meet for a monthly dinner and share expertise in conference calls, via a LinkedIn group and Twitter (follow the public list @SocialB2P/SVESMC).

The summit was a full success with non-stop passionate discussions, sometimes taking a panel into an unexpected direction but only because there was so much enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and share. Overall, I was very pleased to see that SAP holds up well in social media compared to its peers; and I got a lot of great new ideas, and made new friends.

Here a copy of the summit agenda to show the range of topics we covered:

Perrine Crampton of PayPal will take over the chairwomanship of the group from me (for the next three months) in April, and PayPal will also host the next summit.  Not surprisingly, we found an LI expert amongst our group who volunteered to manage the LinkedIn group for SVESMC going forward (which will hopefully help all of us learn about using LI more effectively), plus we are about to start a workgroup to define requirements and standardize around metrics.

Ironically, we asked everybody to turn off their Twitter and other social media tools for the day to keep our discussions open and confidential. Without violating this agreement (“what happens in Palo Alto stays in Palo Alto”), I can share some key findings from the summit:

  • Everybody has challenges with listening. Radian 6 is being re-evaluated by some but used by many. There is no tool out there yet that is easy and perfect.  There are lots of free and pay tools out there but the market has not “shaken out” yet to any kind of standard; rather new vendors are emerging daily. As an output of our new work group for metrics, I hope to also get consensus on what are some of the best tools to listen and measure.
  • There is scepticism about the accuracy of sentiment analysis. How much can you trust the results?
  • Scaling the social media function is difficult. There are many different models out there, including hub and spoke, dandelion, or a champions network (of internal evangelists) or a combination of all of them. The jury is still out and there probably is no “one size fits all” approach for everybody.  At this point, everybody mainly shared their experiences, i.e. what worked and what didn’t. It is a challenge for social media professionals that there are very few dedicated social media resources and that social media is not an accepted part of “main stream” marketing yet.
  • Social media is not free. This myth seems to still prevail in corporations and “social media happy” executives don’t ask many questions but want to see FB pages and Twitter handles crop up. In the SVESMC group of professionals, there was violent agreement that social media without a strategy is dangerous and expensive. Resource planning and committment are at the core of social media success. A clear content strategy and editorial calendar are needed to effectively “feed” your channels.
  • Metrics are a challenge all around. The big B2P interactions aren’t happening yet. Most “wins” are traditional “reach” and “click-throughs” to web sites etc.  Some companies do TweetChats and others have done Facebook live discussions (which I’d really like to try). At this point, everybody is still working on figuring out where the greatest value of social media lies and how to measure it in the most meaningful way.

Here a URL to more pictures from the summit on Flickr.

If you are a social media professional in Silicon Valley (not a vendor) and would like to participate in SVESMC, you can contact me to discuss membership ().

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2 Responses

  1. Trish F. says:

    Natascha, it sounds like the meeting covered what is pretty much on everyone’s minds these days – How to scale, how and what to measure and which tools/platforms are best. I can only imagine the genius at work there! There’s no doubt there are many challenges but getting together with others, as you’ve done, seems to be one of the best ways to figure what works best and how to put it into practice.

    Thanks for mentioning Radian6, too!

    Best Wishes,
    Trish (@Dayngr)
    Community Manager | Radian6


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