Professionals need to gather and share expertise related to their specific business interests. Create a profitable B2B community that serves your customers’ needs—and yours
Issue #1: Businesses seeking to build their social marketing game plan frequently struggle with a critical element for success: how to build a valuable social community. Solved: AccelSocial helps each client develop a high-ROI social marketing plan. We then help the company grow its community by identifying and attracting desirable members, and by retaining them after they join. We work with client executives to define the topics and promote content that engages their community and allows the company to harvest business intelligence and qualified leads. See Group Management and Group Growth service summaries.
Issue #2: Most companies have no experience managing online communities and lack the knowledge and time to do so effectively. Solved: AccelSocial has developed proven processes to energize the community, moderate postings and produce rich media content. We help select and train community managers and moderators, to fill these roles. And we provide your team with templates to accelerate the launch and growth of your community. If you prefer, we can help manage your B2B community directly by supplying Community Management Staff, Moderators, and Rich Media Content.
A community must quickly achieve critical mass to succeed. Grow your B2B community steadily and prosperously
Issue #1: Creating a community is relatively easy. Achieving a critical mass of participants to compete against larger, well-established groups requires more know-how, energy, and stimulating content than most companies are prepared to provide. Critical mass is required for communities to build the credibility that attracts prospective members and retains existing ones. Only communities with critical mass will produce sufficient leads and intelligence for a profitable harvest. Solved: AccelSocial has developed technologies and viral marketing solutions that leverage the power of LinkedIn to ensure new communities achieve critical mass quickly and grow faster than competitors. See Group Growth service summary.
Issue #2: Achieving critical mass is not enough. Countless social networks that began with fanfare have fallen along the way. Why? The element of sharing is forgotten or missing in such communities. Businesses simply put their marketing materials online and expect communities to grab them with interest, or they just lose focus. Solved: AccelSocial helps companies to identify interests and goals that are relevant to both the business and its social community. With AccelSocial, companies have a stronger framework of tools to generate quality interactions and content related to these interests. This framework also allows the company to identify community leaders in order to achieve the social and business objectives of the group.
Intelligence from the crowd is raw power for business development. Help your B2B community grow your business through innovation and lead generation
Issue #1: Rich, growing communities share an incredible wealth of information that, when tapped well, can provide immense intelligence for business. Social listening is becoming a key success factor in showing an ROI from social media marketing. After a company successfully creates and grows its community, the critical challenge is to “harvest” such intelligence. Solved: AccelSocial provides tools and intelligence frameworks to help clients harvest their wealth of information, transforming it into informed decisions for the next evolution in design, market offers, and solutions. AccelSocial helps the company apply this intelligence to create products, services and offers that prompt community members to become customers. See Group Management service summary.
Issue #2: Members share their needs openly in well-managed communities. They express them by viewing resources--from white papers to videos--that help them solve the problems they face. Many companies lack the capabilities to capture qualify leads in real time, if at all. Solved: AccelSocial has developed processes and tools that identify qualified leads within communities. AccelSocial help ensure that educational resources are available in media-rich formats to help members achieve their goals. Then AccelSocial delivers information to the company whenever qualified members view those resources.
When Amalto Technologies founder Jean-Pierre Foehn sent a message in 2009 to a CIO and business prospect via LinkedIn and received a response within hours, he knew the rapidly growing social network for business was a place where his start-up company needed to be visible. Amalto immediately set out to create a group where the focus of conversations would be its domain, “e-transactions in oil and gas.” Such electronic transactions are accomplished through electronic data exchange, traditionally known as EDI. Amalto’s business solution provides e-transaction capability for companies of all sizes and levels of technical capability.
- Develop a group comprising middle managers and higher in finance and information technology in the oil and gas industry.
- Become known within oil and gas as the go-to solution for e-transactions.
Amalto’s Foehn sought the help of AccelSocial to develop membership of the new group. AccelSocial used an approach that has evolved into AccelSocial’s Group Accelerator process to identify and contact prospective group members through LinkedIn. We crafted messages inviting prospects to join the Oil & Gas e-Transaction Forum (OnGeT), the group led by Foehn, a former executive of oil and gas producer Total, and including chief information officers and other senior industry executives. AccelSocial conducted membership campaigns over 18 months.
OnGeT membership grew to 10,000 within the first 6 months and exceeded 17,500 in July 2011. By comparison, the second largest LinkedIn Group for EDI -- an older group covering all industries -- had just 5,000 members. Amalto calls the campaigns “very successful,” in terms of membership and the quality of the people who joined. The company has since extended group capabilities through a companion website, http://onget.net. “We see the value” in building groups through LinkedIn, says Amalto. “This is like going to a big event and being able to identify the people in your space.” As a result, Amalto now has an opt-in list for communication that’s much larger than it would have been otherwise.
Creating a group focused on your business interests “is just the beginning,” says Amalto. “You have to plan ahead for what you will do with the group... to engage the audience, have them like the content enough to come back and check what’s going on, and to participate because there’s value.” Amalto has done that with training from AccelSocial. The company’s next objective is to develop more efficient ways to use OnGeT to generate leads and further build its opt-in list.
Executives for Xoriant Corp., a software product development, engineering and software product consulting services company, knew it had to maintain the right types of talent if it was to capitalize on emerging technology trends and grow significantly beyond its base of 500 employees. With just a handful of people in sales and business development, how could it best evaluate these critical issues and choose which technologies and trends to support?
Xoriant wanted to significantly increase the awareness of its services and its expertise among its target audience through a systematic approach, which would attend the following goals:
- Establish a system to routinely gather market intelligence to improve strategic decisions, including staffing and market positioning.
- Increase awareness and credibility among potential customers.
Xoriant tasked AccelSocial, to establish, grow and manage an online community that would prove attractive to individuals who could help meet the company’s requirements. AccelSocial and Xoriant spent considerable time up front assessing the titles, seniority levels, industries and other demographics of people who fit that description. Ultimately, they chose to include software engineering executives, project managers, product managers and product marketing managers, as well as IT executives in every industry. The Software Engineering Productivity (SEP) Forum was born as a LinkedIn group in April 2010.
AccelSocial and the client then worked to determine what types of conversations and other content were most likely to attract and retain the desired audience. They chose to include discussions about the broadest possible range of software engineering productivity topics, from cloud services to HTML5 and Agile methodologies. This approach was modeled after AccelSocial’s successful definition, launch and growth of Linked:HR, the largest B2B group on LinkedIn. Its 900,000-plus members engage in vibrant discussions on timely human resources issues.
Membership growth has been steady, averaging more than 2,000 monthly since the invitation campaigns began; total membership exceeded 30,000. Equally important, few members leave, and the forum has attracted a community that closely reflects the demographic desired by Xoriant.
With such targeted growth has come the opportunity for Xoriant to attain its goal of expanded awareness among prospects. During a single week, Xoriant announced and conducted a live webinar on the use of HTML5 and attracted 50 participants who had not previously heard of Xoriant or the speaker, a Xoriant customer. That represented 0.5% of SEP Forum membership at the time. Xoriant, which lacks the type of staff to produce such popular content routinely, is defining a content development strategy to facilitate more events and further increase awareness.
The SEP Forum only recently has put in place a website, or “Social Arena,” to extend the Forum’s capabilities beyond those of a LinkedIn group. These include more powerful lead-generation tools. Already, Xoriant is obtaining about 16 qualified leads per month, a number that Xoriant expects to grow.
Calling the SEP Forum a “growing asset,” Xoriant CEO Girish Gaitonde says, “We’re getting what we asked for, and more. We’re getting the intelligence, often by asking questions and getting validation of trends we’ve observed.”