Social media is an ecosystem – no, really, it is…

If you’re going to launch a successful B2B social media strategy then you better understand why the world of social media truly is an ecosystem. I know some of you hate that kind of term being used in business but really, it’s the best way to describe the phenomenon. INSEAD, the global business school, has laid out in compelling terms why a realisation that you are dealing with an ecosystem with make your B2B marketing efforts improve dramatically.  Here’s the INSEAD boffins explaining it in their own words:

Social media is not “just” another media channel, an n+1 communication tool in a marketer’s toolbox. Its nature and scope make it a unique instrument to leverage interactions between not just two parties (such as a company and its customers) but between multiple actors (e.g. a company, its customers, employees, collaborators, public and non-governmental agencies, external talents, etc.).  This perspective is particularly relevant in the B2B context, where it helps to think about the environment as an ecosystem where companies can get a competitive advantage as the go-to party that has the tools and platforms to bringing all the actors together. In other words, think about your business as a node (a simple point in your network) and social media as the force that helps you create, maintain and leverage links that strengthen your position in the network by continuously fostering the central position you should occupy in your network. Leveraging social media, thus, helps you be seen as an essential, central actor within your area of expertise.

I couldn’t put it better myself! INSEAD gives the example of Amex, which has cleverly positioned itself within the ecosystem as an information centre for small businesses.  Ten years ago we’d have been talking about Amex having established itself as a “thought leader” but that sounds far too top-down. It’s now about Amex and its ilk behaving more collaboratively, engaging, discussing, sharing and listening. Makes you feel warm inside, eh?

With a pull approach, Amex provides a constant diet of content for their target users including useful facts, posing questions and setting up debate points. Experts on particular topics are invited on to comment and the resultant buzz creates a knowledge halo around the brand. The social media channels can vary but obviously in B2B, you want to find users who are thinking like business people and not consumers. This explains why many companies are focusing an increasing amount of attention on the locked in potential of Linkedin. Suddenly it’s no longer a job seeking site but an opportunity to network with senior executives as part of a B2B marketing strategy.

Linkedin has become aware of this and is tweaking the service to make it easier for users to follow conversations that are relevant to them. Philips, with 220,000 company page followers on Linkedin, has embraced the ecosystem approach incorporating targeted content including video, Twitter and RSS feeds. This way it spreads the conversations and dialogue it initiates across the social media ecosystem trawling for leads it may otherwise have missed. Such is the joy of social media – you get to find the customers who might otherwise have eluded you.

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One thought on “Social media is an ecosystem – no, really, it is…

  1. Pingback: Social Selling, Sell “Less” In Order To Sell More In 2013 « "KnoGimmicks.com" Social Media & Web Design™

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