Today I am going to talk about social hubs, a concept that has been gaining a lot of B2B traction during 2012, following early adopters successfully using the approach for the last few years.
If your company is struggling to get full benefit out of its social media activities in a b2b environment developing a social hub to glue your strategy together is well worth considering for social success.
What is a social hub?
A Social media hub is actually incredibly simple. It is a section of your company website that aggregates all of your social media feeds and channels in an easy to reach place, often underpinned by your company blog which should be playing host to interesting, relevant and engaging content aimed at your target audience.
If you think of your various social media channels as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle of your brand, the hub is the completed jigsaw or full picture of what is happening across all aspects of your company.
I would hazard a guess that your organisation has at least dabbled with Facebook, Twitter and Youtube by now and most probably a blogging platform like WordPress or Tumblr too. A social hub brings all these together so they can support each other, bringing some order to the chaos and importantly having a positive impact on social media objectives such as lead generation and brand awareness.
Why are social hubs important to b2b organisations?
Compared to b2c counterparts, b2b organisations can often struggle to get many people to engage with its social networks, especially from within its targeted audiences. You may even start to think that spending time trying to build up your social networks is a waste of time, with your company receiving very little interest, even on the likes of well-established channels, like Facebook and Twitter.
One of the main reasons behind this lack of activity is because unlike consumer facing organisations, it is very unlikely that many people will be searching for your business through the actual social networks themselves. When people are searching for b2b products or services, a company website is still the first port of call for gathering information on potential companies to engage with, not a social network.
This doesn’t mean you need to consign social media to the dustbin just yet however; you just need to make sure that you are using it in a way that supports the way people seek and find your business, products and services and importantly in a way that enhances your company’s web presence. For me this is where the social media comes into its own for a b2b organisation, especially when constructed as an engaging and intuitive social hub.
First of all, creating a social hub on your company website can instantly bring it to life through the use of rich media content like videos, photos, slideshows and blog posts, alongside regularly updated social network feeds. Not only does this show that your company is up to date and on the ball it makes it so much more memorable and engaging than the average b2b site comprising static text and stock images.
On top of this the social hub also acts as a window into your organisation. Through social networks such as Facebook, Google + and Twitter, people can get a real feel for what it would be like to work with your company. If someone searching for b2b product or service is getting a good vibe from your website you have a much greater chance of getting onto that shortlist and winning business.
Finally, when it comes to b2b marketing, lead generation is often the key metric. By having your social media channels easily accessible from your website and social hub you are able to capture new followers to your social networks directly from your website. Followers captured in this manner are, on the whole, going to be genuinely interested in your business and have decided to follow you in order to keep up to date with the latest information from your company. Now you have the chance to turn this interest into sales by feeding new content directly to their social feeds, coupled with the all-important calls to action.
To be honest we’re only just scratching the surface here, the list of benefits goes on and on. For example, if your company is keen on hiring the best young talent, a vibrant social hub is a fantastic way to position your business as an exciting place to work.
Social hub examples
I truly believe that social hubs will become the norm for all organisations over the next few years as social media becomes further embedded as an essential communication method for business. I have decided to leave you with a number of good examples of b2b organisations who are already using social hubs to good effect, and if you think it’s about time your organisation upped its game socially we’d love to chat to you.
Cisco – Social@ Cisco: http://socialmedia.cisco.com/
Dell – Social Media: http://content.dell.com/us/en/corp/about-dell-social-media
Hubspot – Hubspot blog: http://blog.hubspot.com/