Nissan is using flaming guitars and other rock-video tropes to sell commercial vans with a lighter tone. The digital and print campaign has a social media element and features Poison singer Bret Michaels singing "Endless Love."
Marketing, sales and some customer-facing employees should all be involved in business-to-business social media efforts, Bob Apollo writes. Sales, in particular, should realize the value of Nimble and other programs that integrate customer-relationship management with social data. Broad involvement in social media requires unifying the participants' presence as positive and professional for sharing and teaching, not selling. Use clear guidelines to encourage employee creativity without stifling them with a top-down approach, Apollo advises.
Business-to-business companies should conduct their social media outreach without the expectation of immediate, short-term rewards, experts say. By retweeting Twitter comments, leaving thoughtful comments on blog posts and other social gestures, you build credibility with potential customers that can later be used to build a sales relationship. "The key in my mind is to find a way to help them. ... Win their trust and you'll win long-term sales engagement," says Jeff Ogden, president of Find New Customers.
Still have a boss not convinced you can reach your business customers by using social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube? Send him or her a link to this video by marketing master Sage Lewis featuring some surprising figures from Groundswell's recent report on B2B social media marketing.
A study released by Forrester Interactive reports the people making purchasing decisions into the business-to-business sector are some of the most active groups of people researchers have documented interacting with social media.