Mark Cameron Columnist

Mark is CEO and head strategist at Working Three, a strategic digital consultancy that specialises in commercialising social media activity. He works with some of Australia's, and the world's, largest and most innovative companies to create a clear picture of the new market forces, and business model disruption, being driven by social media.

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Two great examples of B2Bs using social media

Published 24 January 2013 01:28, Updated 05 February 2013 22:10

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It is not always obvious how B2B businesses can derive value from social media. Some businesses may have a few particularly prolific writers in their staff that are able to generate content, which can create the momentum necessary to drive industry specific thought leadership. However, far more companies do not have this luxury. They have to approach their social media marketing efforts in a far more systemised and focused way, which ends up being far more effective. So let’s kick off 2013 by looking at a couple of stand-out examples.

Glass packaging is not a category that would immediately capture the imagination of most people. We all know the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle but for many of us that’s where our knowledge of glass containers may run dry.

Owens-Illinois, the world’s largest manufacturer of glass containers with clients such as Coca-Cola, Heinz, and PepsiCo, have made what they do engaging in an inventive way. Towards the end of 2012 they launched a site, glassislife.com, which has social media integration at its core.

Supported by a media plan being executed in 12 countries and seven languages, the site uses a tool called Postano to aggregate and display the most engaging content from its Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo channels.

The real brilliance with its campaign is that even though it is targeting business leaders, the campaign has a distinctly consumer-focused feel to it. It is creating influence and “market pull” by appealing to its customers’ customers.

A completely different approach has been used by PayPal, owned by eBay. For PayPal the power of social media is in the feedback that it generates. There are many thousands of small businesses and developers that use the PayPal platform, which in turn generates many millions of individual users.

Gathering feedback from its market using traditional market research techniques at this kind of scale would be costly and far too slow to be beneficial. Instead PayPal treats these small businesses and developers like partners and invites them to provide feedback through social media. This low cost and nearly real-time option has the added benefit of presenting the brand as open and confident, a contributing factor to the scale and success that PayPal now enjoys.

Social media has now matured as not only a viable market option for most businesses but as a mission critical imperative. Success in social media marketing is determined around a well developed and executed strategy. The leading brands understand this and have started to move their marketing spend to this early and important stage.

A chasm will emerge this year between the companies that use social media effectively and those that do not. No matter what your personal experience with social media may be, now is the time to get your business up to speed. Talk to an expert and find out why so many brands have already done so.

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