Social Media Listening for B2B Marketing

Social Media Listening for B2B MarketingOne of the biggest challenges for organizations today is managing the flow of information about their brands, products, and services that occurs in social media channels, including microblogs (such as Twitter), social networking sites (such as Facebook), blogs, and online forums.

More than ever, customers are using social media to spread the word about the brands they like and perhaps more importantly, don’t like. With the introduction of each new media channel, the landscape changes, often dramatically, and organizations need to adjust quickly to stay ahead of the curve. To help achieve that goal, organizations now adopt formal processes that structure how the listen for mentions of their brands in Social Media and B2B Marketers are no different.

If you are to survive and thrive in this connected world, you must mine — not just monitor — these conversations to respond and glean insights that will inform your future strategy. And with the number of social media channels you need to monitor, you may find collecting the information to be a daunting task.

To help make things easy, Avaya uses a 3-tier monitoring system that includes the following:

TweetDeck – Monitors Twitter feeds for mentions of our brand name. We typically see 40 to 50 percent of social media mentions happening in Twitter so this is a good place for us to focus our energy.

Radian6 – Acts as a safety net to capture mentions of our brand name in Twitter and beyond such as on blogs, in comments, on forums, and in social networks such as Facebook.

Networked Insights – Acts as my “away game” and tracks mentions of specific product names when our organization’s name itself may not be included such as “Replace Octel” (an Avaya product near end of life) and it can also track mentions of specific competitive situations that might be handy to know about.

In the last post we discussed the Social Media Budget Ratio in B2B Marketing and a healthy portion of my budget is focused in this area of listening for mentions of our brand name that are an indication that a conversation that could lead to a sales opportunity or a support opportunity are at hand. To me this is the most fertile area on which to prove ROI. Giving excellent support to your customers is priceless, especially when you look at the cost for acquiring a new customer. If my team can turn a customer service issue into a delighted customer who is tweeting good things about us on the social web what’s the ROI of that? The trick is you just have to be able to listen and show up to the right conversations!

17 comments to Social Media Listening for B2B Marketing

  • Thanks Paul. These insights into what tools / approaches you are working with are quite helpful. It can be a full time job staying on top of the listening tools landscape- and I think yours is one of the few blogs that looks at them in an objective manner.

    Speaking of objectivity, I think one place where ALL listening tools currently fail the user is in providing the context of who the voices are (as such a high volume of social traffic in tech is being driven not by buyers but by marketing and PR folks- pointing back to whitepapers, webinars, other advertorial). A raw count of mentions across social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs) is a pretty misleading picture most of the time, when so many of the mentions are from those with axes to grind. What percentage of those mentions were employees of the company, vs. competitors, versus actual customers?- that’s a question that no listening tool that I have seen provides.

    Seems to me like listening is at a similar stage as early days of commercial internet (pre- Google) where the indexing was so poor that a search for any term would just barf back a poorly sorted mess. Clearly the most interesting social media buzz (for tech vendors) is that produced by their actual customers / prospects. It’s one thing to see just a volume bar of how much discussion is happening – quite another to actually break into actionable sales data.

    Not to say these tools aren’t valuable- just that there is quite a bit of massaging of their results that tends to have to take place before an in-house marketing person can actually share them with sales. If you know of any social listening tools that provide a better filter about the audiences (or are even heading in that direction) I would love to hear about them. Thanks for the insights!

  • @Travis – boy you hit the nail on the head Travis – yes there is a lot of human processing right now to know or at least get a picture to know if the person is an Influencer. But it still takes some digging to get there and you are right Tweet count or Twitter follower count isn’t always a good gauge. I am experimenting with another system hoping to see if that works better – will certainly let you know via this blog if it does.

  • Thank you for sharing. This is timely article as I’m putting together a seminar on Social Media tools.

  • @John – sound good – let me know if I can be of assitance

  • I found your post looking on bing for just this information. I’m going to add you to favorites, I got alot from some of your other posts as well. Thanks!

  • @Lawrence – cool thanks for commenting! Go BING!

  • […] Social Media Listening for B2B Marketing One of the biggest challenges for organizations today is managing… […]

  • You might look at Tweettronics, , as a Twitter listening tool… Far cheaper than Radian6 too… Includes assessment of mentions, sentiment, keyphrases and keywords, reach, and urls, along with identifying influential tweeters.

  • @Jeff – thanks for the suggestion – I hadnt heard about Tweettronics yet – will check them out!

  • […] Social Media Listening for B2B Marketing One of the biggest challenges for organizations today is managing… […]

  • Hats off to Travis for finding the soft underbelly of listening. The tool is of no more use than a “tell us what you think” web form that no one reads or responds to. Marketers are usually shocked by the obligation to actually read this stuff. I’m reminded of the guy back in my Cisco days who, when taken by the hand and dragged through blog post after blog post to look for relevant authors said after five minutes “I don’t have time for this!”. The reason we started the exercise is he approached our team for guidance, convinced he wanted to start a blogging program.
    Brian Ellefritz, SAP Social Media

  • @Brian – thanks for the comment!

  • microblogging is really useful when you want to broadcast short updates. i am still leaning towards traditional blogging.`;”

  • @Connor – but also its great for starting a conversation or asking a question – something more suited for 140 char!

  • marketing really takes some skill and talent if you want to succced in it “~~

  • […] used to listen to see what current and potential customers are saying about a brand and competitors – and then this data can be used to refine marketing strategies, […]

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