by Duane Schulz, vice president, Brand and Social Marketing, Xerox Corporation

Image Courtesy of Text100

B2B decision makers are the most socially active consumers for all markets and demographics (according to GlobalWebIndex).  If Xerox prospects and customers are on social platforms, we need to be there too.  I just returned from SXSW, where I joined peers from Cisco, IBM and NVIDIA on a panel about social media in the enterprise. Our goal was to show people how large B2B companies can and do take advantage of social media to engage with the market in a personal way.

Here are five points I shared about Xerox as a social marketing enterprise:

Find your “digital social natives.” People who are already active in social media will enthusiastically activate your social strategy and show you the way.   By the way, they’ll take you global, too.

Don’t ask for incremental funding. If part-time social media natives show how social media is helping to meet your marketing goals, your leaders will take them full-time and the investment will follow.

Start by listening.  People are talking about your company and your markets right now, and there are great tools to hear and engage them.  Use them.  Listen and respond.

Your business objective is not to determine social ROI.  Apply your normal business and marketing objectives to social media tactics.  Tie your social content to digital next-steps.  Forget about social ROI.

Content curation and gamification are important.  I launched my first product via a magic kit to rise above the noise.  The value of your content and the reward in your social experience are your magic kit.

More importantly, I heard five great ideas from my panel partners:

Social TV. NVIDIA and Cisco use TV monitors in high-traffic employee and executive settings to stream tweets and social conversations about their brands.

Facebook and .com. Cisco is integrating Facebook with their website, allowing registration using Facebook ID, which is increasing form conversions and content consumption.

You are the brand, and so are they.  IBM stresses the importance of their people understanding that they represent the brand, and if they do it well, customers will become brand ambassadors too.

Put social on the executive dashboard.  Cisco works to include social metrics on executive dashboards, and works with teams to develop stable, growing levels of conversation, beyond the Launch Spike.

B2B social can be local.  NVIDIA shared how social conversations with local fans combined with invitation to a live event was a big success – making the social faces real-world.

I believe we opened eyes at SXSWi to the idea that social media is thriving and changing how marketing gets done in B2B, and the audience was fantastic, as you’ll see @ twitter #SMB2B.  In short, if you’re doing interactive, SXSWi is the place for the right conversations.  Bring batteries, an umbrella, and a love of music and there’s great learning to be had.  As well as great BBQ.