For us, the highlight of this week’s Business Travel & Meetings Show (other than Business Traveller magazine’s ‘Cellars in the Sky’ wine tasting, obviously) was a workshop on social media. An expert panel of speakers gave interesting insights into the importance of understanding what customers are saying online. However, given that we were all attending an essentially business-to-business event, it was really interesting when one audience member asked the killer question: “Have you ever seen social media work well in a B2B setting?” Cue slight embarrassment from the speakers and a general consensus that, no, they had not yet really seen a compelling argument for, or best practice case study of, social media in this context.
That was satisfying to hear, inasmuch as it largely bears out our own view on this matter. In B2C communications, there are a dozen good reasons why you should be engaging in social media. But for B2B, the applications and relevance seem more limited. One should obviously monitor online conversations for mentions of your business. Twitter can make a useful contribution as part of a customer relations programme, but in PR uses typically ends up being too much ‘transmit’ and not enough ‘receive’. LinkedIn is B2B-friendly, but can it ever deliver audiences of any size?
What do you think? Do you know businesses that have found really effective ways of employing social media in B2B communications?