Marketing on social media can drive b-to-b results

On a panel this week, comms pros discussed how effective social media is as a b-to-b marketing tool.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK: If you don’t expect magic, social media and content tactics used to target consumers can drive b-to-b results too, said comms pros on a panel at Bond Collective, a co-working space in New York, on Tuesday.

"I encourage people working in b-to-b to get some consumer experience and learn some tricks of the trade," said panelist Chaim Haas, head of innovation communications for Bloomberg. "It will make your work better."

Still, there’s no avoiding the differences, including internal stakeholders’ sometimes grudging acceptance of content and social media as marketing tools.

"Sometimes, one tends to think by broadcasting a message or putting out a mission statement, everyone’s going to read it and get it," said panelist Michael Hickins, director of media strategy at Oracle. "But, in fact, you have to evangelize."

Hickins founded CIO Journal, the Wall Street Journal’s internal section, and knows the enterprise software business well. Even so, he said he is challenged by something all content marketers face: proving content strategy can drive sales.

"Even when we have stories that are more close to the bone for products and you end up sending the person to a product page or a webinar sign up or a white paper, you still have a gap," Hickins said. "People have to be reasonable about what they are expecting."

The final speaker, Dataminr VP Neil Steinberg, said there’s no doubt consumer-focused social media skills have value in the b-to-b world. He noted, however, that the working environment is decidedly different. 

"We do a lot of work in the financial services industry where it’s harder to be real-time, especially in such a highly regulated industry," he said. "But the sooner they can get and assess the information the better. Real-time for them is different than it is for Amazon or Uber."

This story was updated on April 30 to correct Hass' title.

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