Had a great time working with Phil Crowther and colleagues at the Sheffield Business School Event Management Hub today. Practioners and academics with an interest in event management and social media came together to consider the role of business to business social media in the context of event management.
The audience was a mix of communications experts very familiar with the role and tools of Social Media to less experienced, interested to find out more people. The event was sponsored by Eventbrite and as well as me doing a short intro talk giving a 10 min view of the world of B2B social media from my perspective there were interesting talks from Paul Webster of Learning Pool.com who you can follow @watfordgap and Sally founder of Social Bean a brilliant event based community network.
As for me I noticed in my research prep for my 10 minute stint that there was actually very little if anything published by academics on the role and effectiveness of Social Media in B2B context in terms of buyer usage and perspectives.
What I tried to convey was the significance of the growth of Mobile search and the changing character of people who were now controlling budgets. The Facebook Generation are now emerging as a powerful force in B2B management and they are changing the way solutions are sought and chosen.
I was lucky to stumble across a top line report from Base One which outlined their survey of social media and b2b buying.
I also mentioned a couple of cases where social media novices had seen an impact on their activities. The first was beekeeper Ken Ward in Shropshire who noticed a tweet from a local farm shop which meant he could approach them to supply honey. The other was his son Simon who owns an office refurbishment company.
Ten weeks ago Simon had no on-line presence. Today he has an NJRcoolspace website, Twitter account @NJRcoolspace which he uses to tweet images of jobs he is working on and sharing useful articles he finds, he has a Pinterest account, a Google+ page etc.
For Simon this activity has to be so much more than just getting the message out. It is an integral part of his sales strategy. Does it work? It certainly does already online inquiries have resulted in two projects and interestingly 40% of searches have come through mobile!