Getting B2B social media right

Johannesburg, 26 Jul 2012
Read time 4min 50sec

Deloitte SA's digital channels executive, David Graham, is well-known locally as someone who's getting business-to-business (B2B) social media right. He will speak about this topic at ITWeb's Social Media Summit next month, but we caught up with him yesterday for a preview.

The live interview was conducted on Twitter, where Graham was joined by his colleague, Jonathan Houston, digital marketing lead for Deloitte Consulting.

Below is a transcript, including comment from some other social media experts, who joined the conversation, and questions from the “audience”.

ITWeb: Thanks for joining us. Let's start with: what is the business case for doing business-to-business (B2B) social media?

David Graham: If the audience is there, you have opportunity to listen, engage and influence. This brings you closer to the target audience and helps you to better understand your audience's needs and wants.

Jonathan Houston: I agree with David. If there is an audience with an appetite for your content, there is value there.

ITWeb: Can you give us an example of how Deloitte engages on social media?

DG: A great example was the recent #TechTrends2012 event, which trended [on Twitter] in JHB, CT and SA. This was an offline event, which we moved online to increase the audience and further increase the reach of the report.

ITWeb: Question from @ arthur2point0: Has Deloitte adopted #Google+ yet, and what are you doing with it?

DG: Deloitte has an active presence on #Google+ and will grow with the platform as it reaches maturity.

JH: The Google+ platform has not reached a large mass of users (particularly in our target market) yet.

Michael Cowen: Do you believe it will?

JH: Absolutely! There is no doubt that G+ will reach a large mass. It is sewn into the Google algorithm for good now!

ITWeb: How long has Deloitte been engaging with clients on social media?

DG: Deloitte has been engaged in social media for the last +/- three years, starting initially with a blogs and Twitter.

ITWeb: What is the primary lesson you've learned during this time?

DG: There are many, chief of which are: 1. Focus on engaging and having quality conversations. 2. Get the balance right between broadcasting and conversations. 3. Keep content relevant to your audience. 4. Collaborate and add value. Lastly, we would also say be wary of the self-proclaimed social media mavericks!

ITWeb: Question from @ kprinsloo: How do you measure your success on social media?

JH: We look at engagement metrics and not just followers and mentions to measure social success.

DG: We measure in engagement and revenue generation and we meet our targets.

ITWeb: Do you believe that every business can benefit from social media or should some shy away from it?

DG: The answer lies in whether or not there is an audience for the business. Second to that the reasons for engagement need to be well understood throughout the business.

JH: Business needs to be in it for the right reasons. Not because their competitors are doing it and not because they are looking for quick, short-term successes. It takes planning and time to achieve success.

ITWeb: What do you see in the future for social?

DG: Further integration between platforms; maturity of the medium; and embracing the social enterprise by breaking down silos.

ITWeb: Question from @ kprinsloo: How do you manage to follow 32 000 people and still derive value from Twitter?

DG: We use HootSuite to categorise relevant Twitter accounts to streams and lists and manage conversations accordingly. Those 32 000 are not conversing all the time. We enter into dialogue with those who wish to communicate and are relevant.

ITWeb: Question from @ elisedebeer7: What is your most powerful SM platform, why, how do you use it?

DG: No platform is stronger than another. It is how you use them and engage with the different audiences on each platform that makes the difference. Having said that though, I've met more influential people through Twitter, and employed three people so far through Twitter engagements.

ITWeb: Question from @ berniebay: How does a B2B marketer create an "experience" through social media?

JH: It's about telling a story and sharing content that is relevant and resonates with your targets. It's a balance between listening to what they are asking for and then giving them exactly that.

Darren Smith: How do you create an “experience” when you engage with me personally? By meeting me at where I am at! Marketers often forget the social era is about “me”, the consumer, my conversations, my interests.

Bernie Borges: I agree, it's all about the "consumer". Even in B2B the "consumer" rules.

Darren Smith: Spot on. There is more expertise vested in the communities of users than vendors themselves! Reason being, customers use products, break 'em, tweak 'em, integrate 'em. Vendors just sell 'em!

ITWeb: Melissa Attree asked: What is it about your content that has effected such a prolific increase in your followers?

DG: Our content has been written by top industry subject matter experts that talks to a specific pain point in the relevant area. Our content helps solve complex business problems.

You can hear more from David Graham at ITWeb's inaugural Social Media Summit.

See also