I’ve read each one of Paul Gillin‘s books and you should, too, including his latest (with Eric Schwartzman), Social Marketing to the Business Customer, a fast-paced ride through the specialty of using social media for B2B companies. I was surprised to find that many B2B companies not only are not using social media to market to their customers, but actually forbid their employees from using social media at all, worrying that it is a time-waster. I deal with B2B companies every day, but this book shows that I am dealing with a self-selecting group and that many B2B marketers are still missing the boat.
Image by ShashiBellamkonda via Flickr
But the best part of this book is not statistics or advice. It’s chock-full of compelling examples of real B2B companies using social media. Each one might contain a lesson for you. Even though I follow this space closely, I heard a number of stories that I had not before:
- How a WiFi hotspot vendor used Twitter to learn about a mistake it made and then went straight into damage control, hours before it might have heard the same story through regular channels.
- How a solar panel manufacturer mined all the discussion in its local area on the subject so they could reach out to prospective buyers.
- How household name companies use social media to collect innovative ideas from the community.
- How companies can create a private social media community for their customers.
There are gems like these on almost every page. I especially like books that give real examples rather than just explaining what to do, and if you do, too, this is the book for you. I am not aware of another book that is devotes specifically to B2B social media, and it is different in some ways, so if you are looking for that special slant on social media to try to convince your execs that the time is now, this is the book for you.
One special area of emphasis is lead generation, which few consumer companies need to worry about. Applying venerable direct marketing principles to digital marketing is one of my favorite approaches (which you see in my books), but Paul and Eric take the time to work through the specialty of lead generation in B2B.
The bigger that digital marketing gets, the more there is a need for books that specialize. Social marketing to the Business Customer fills a void in the book market for advice that B2B marketers need to get. If you’ve read it, please leave your comments on the book below. If you haven’t read it, why not?