Does social media help B2B companies?

You have probably seen the Cadbury Stride chewing gum guy who dances all over the world on YouTube…
Or the Coca Cola ‘happiness machine’…
Coke presently has a team of bloggers travelling the world because ‘happiness goes around’. Whether you agree with the marketing spin or not, it’s clear that the people working in consumer goods have found social networks a useful way of creating a closer bond with their consumers. But what about businesses who only sell to other businesses – the so called B2B sector?
There is an interesting story here that describes five B2B companies using social networks, however equine dentists, steel building manufacturers, paint, paper, and aviation maintenance are off the beaten track for most of us in the IT industry.
But this diverse range of companies face the same issues as the IT firms selling products and services to other companies. How do you interest a small audience? How do you actually engage with the audience without just appearing to be offering a ‘hard sell’? How do you calculate the value of all these interactions if it is not just about selling?
Well, you can’t demonstrate your credibility and capability without putting your head above the parapet and explaining what it is you can really do. You can’t manage your reputation if you don’t take part in industry debates, and you can’t interact with industry influencers unless you are out there challenging what they are saying online. Influence in industry is now spread far and wide and global. It’s no longer realistic to wine and dine the major influencers in any industry in person, because they are so diverse.
Business lunches still count for a lot, but connecting to influencers and making them comfortable enough to commit to spending a couple of hours with you is a tough slog that can be accelerated by interacting online first.

Curry for lunch