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Microsoft announces Gov2Social at ‘BtoB' breakfast

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Chicago—Microsoft Corp. this morning unveiled Gov2Social, a Web site where visitors can find state and local government officials using social media. Microsoft, one of four presenters at this morning's BtoB NetMarketing Breakfast, said the new site is the latest part of its the Bright Side of Government initiative, which already has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“The goal is to keep strategy under one brand, one umbrella, so you don't confuse customers … and dilute the brand,” said Kristin Bockius, government relationship and social media marketing manager at Microsoft. She said the hope is that Gov2Social will become a one-stop shop for citizens, who can add information to the database if a sector or official is not listed.

The other three NetMarketing Breakfast speakers also spoke about how they are starting to integrate social media with existing channels and about their use of analytics.

Motorola Inc. considers social media just another part of its tool kit, said Belinda Hudmon, director-interactive and relationship marketing at Motorola. She added that 66% of business decision-makers start their purchase research at a search engine; even more, 69%, use social media.

“What we've seen in 16 to 18 months are people more and more from a business perspective going to community and Twitter to make purchase decisions,” Hudmon said. “It wasn't that way two years ago.” Inside Motorola, a new effort is under way to deliver only those Web metrics that are relevant to the business owner, she said.

But social media may not work in all cases. For instance, PricewaterhouseCoopers uses more traditional online tactics—such as display ads on American Banker's Web site, search engine optimization, webcasts and landing pages on PwC.com—because social media is not very popular with decisions-makers at financial institutions, who operate under strict compliance and privacy rules. “Big bank executives don't Twitter,” said Steve Norman, marketing leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Industrial goods distributor Lawson Products launched its social media initiative three months ago.

“We don't call it ‘social media'; we call it ‘new media' because quite frankly ‘social' scares some folks,” said Jody Yeganeh, senior director of marketing and e-business at Lawson. “You've got to get the right information to the right people, so we care about Web and search metrics, sales and traffic.”

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