BtoB

At the BMA: Buyer preferences inform social strategy

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Chicago—Like many companies, Caterpillar Inc. jumped into social media four years ago with the creation of multiple sites on all the usual channels, but with no plan. Since then things have changed considerably, said Kevin Espinosa, social media manager at the heavy machinery and engine manufacturer. Espinosa created a social strategy based on four “pillars”: listening, promotion, thought leadership and customer support. He also developed specific plans for each of the company's operating units, established an employee training program, and developed a content strategy based on “story themes.” “We listen on social to what's being said about us but also to what competitors are doing, and to identify key social influencers,” said Espinosa, who presented at the BMA "Blaze" session, “The Foundation to a Successful B-to-B Social Media Strategy.” Technology products company CDW Corp. has focused on where customers consume various types of social information and on what devices. “The social site Spiceworks is where IT work gets done, and IT buyers access it via their desktop computers,” said Lauren McCadney, senior manager-social media at CDW, who also presented during the session. “LinkedIn, however, is where our cus-tomers consume IT information, and that's primarily on laptops. On Twitter, our cus-tomers share IT information, and Facebook is where they share their personal love of IT.” Social media also has enabled the company to extend its use of Net Promoter Scores, asking customers to write social reviews. “If someone does write a negative review he or she will get a thank you and a phone number to call to fix the issue,” McCadney said. —Christopher Hosford
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