How B2B Marketers can Achieve Audacious Goals by Going Social

  • Ishan Bhattacharya

There is a common perception in the B2B marketing space that social media campaigns does not resonate well with enterprise customers. Some ten years back it would have been true, but now, especially with the rising number of internet savvy decision makers in Asia, it’s absolutely untrue.

Having said that, selling products and solutions to businesses is no cake walk. There are tons of events that needs to occur before an actual sales happen. And one of the most significant event here is engaging with customers. And social media platforms can help businesses boost customer engagement to a great extent.

But this is not something groundbreaking to do at this point of time. A lot of organizations are adopting social media platforms to reach out to new customers. But, the challenge is, Asian B2B businesses are still struggling to reap the full benefits of social media.

For instance, a PwC survey, named Getting social: Social media in business, revealed that even though Malaysian companies are fairly active on social media but they are failing to recognize how it impacts their organization.

The survey showed that 69 percent of the respondents agreed on goals for their social media campaigns but 57 percent said they don’t track the impact of their social media activity on their business, such as through sales, sales leads and email subscriptions. And only a meager 29 percent use it to engage with external customers.

How SAP Latin America Planned and Ran Social Media Campaigns

So, for business who are struggling to put in place a proper social media strategy, learning from other organizations is not a bad idea and especially if it’s SAP.  SAP Latin America planned and executed their social media strategy and ended up with great results.

Even before investing time and money, SAP fist decided to understand why they should have an active social media presence in Latin America.

At that point of time, SAP learnt that in Latin America there were 176 million social media users, people spent 7.5 hours on social networks per month and 68.9 percent of Latin Americans engage thoroughly with social media. One can just imagine the numbers in Asia!

Answering the Decisive Questions

So, SAP realized that there is a lot of opportunity for the company to accomplish its objectives and grasp that audience. After understanding the viability of using social media platforms they arrived at three important questions. First, what should SAP’s objective be with regards to social media? Second, what are the tools they will use and third, how will they govern the entire campaign?

The answer to the first question was designing a social media campaigns for achieving a critical mass of social media followers. For the second one, they decided to go with four Facebook accounts, four Twitter accounts and two Linkedin accounts. And to ensure proper governance SAP decided to consolidate the existing and new social media accounts.

SAP had some very specialized communities on Twitter and Facebook for SAP Slovakia Banking. And it was not easy to manage them. So, SAP decided to consolidate these groups into finance channels to facilitate conversations and at the same time educate followers on topics and technologies related to the finance world.

Walking that Extra Mile with Patience

To ensure campaign success, SAP motivated all their employees to build a voice on social media. Share great stories and religiously respond to Tweets.

When it came to managing social media accounts, the Latin America region took on board an external agency to look after all the communities. This agency had absolute visibility of the content that was being promoted and also had the prerogative to promote specific content and add third party thought leadership content to enhance engagement with the solutions they provide.

Having said all these, it is worth mentioning that the campaign was a longterm one. SAP dedicated one year for building critical mass of users, the next year was allotted for targeting specific audience through different ways of messaging and the year after that was meant for transforming the accumulated critical audience into proper sales and business results.

Impact of taking Social Media Seriously

Now comes the best part, results! Just in a span of 11 months SAP Latin America’s followers on external social sites grew from 10,000 to close to 95,000. The number now is more than 100, 000. Latin American subscribers to SAP’s internal social media groups increased by 25 percent.

Also across SAP’s 112 global Facebook accounts, SAP Latin America ranks number four and their content interaction rate stood at 17 percent.

The sales team now turns to SAP’s social media communities to look for new customers and quickly close sales processes. A major driver behind this was sales experts regularly contributing to topics that got raised on the social media communities.

So, are we going to find more such wonderful use cases of leveraging social media to enhance customer engagement and boost business? Well, the answer lies with all B2B marketers.

To dive into the nuances of this fascinating case you can visit here.


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