B2B Web Communities: where does your business stand? Part 1

Claude Malaison – August 11, 2016

Have you noticed that collaboration and engagement in communities on the web have significantly decreased lately? Particularly in those on LinkedIn, including the ones that cater to B 2 B marketers? Is there any way to remedy this, or is it irreversible due to the increasingly “passive” nature of our professional relationships on the Web, especially on social networks?

At ExoB2B, we wanted to get to the bottom of this and try an experiment that some may have already attempted. Our aim: create or revitalize a community (on LinkedIn in this case) and see if sharing and commitment are still possible. We took an existing community that had about 300 members and very little activity, save the the publication links and self-promoting blog posts.

Not an easy task. Here’s how we made the change. Note that there will be other steps or milestones established based on the results we achieve. It’s a work in progress.

  • First step: change the name to “Le Marketing B2B au Québec” (B to B marketing in Quebec)
  • Second step: clean up the membership and keep only those directly involved
  • Third step: establish solid rules of use
  • Fourth step: identify a manager for this community
  • Fifth step: define a clear purpose for the community
  • Sixth step: create a targeted recruitment campaign for new members
  • Seventh step: set an example by leading the conversation
  • Eighth step: create a survey of members

The objective of this group is now to “present, develop and promote expertise in B to B marketing and mesh companies facing the challenges of creativity and marketing innovation”. The community is open to all marketing professionals in businesses large or small, who have to manage these challenges, specifically in business marketing (B2B) and need peer support, need to share ideas and tips as well as experiences both good and bad.

You can make a request by clicking here.

Questions that kill!

I won’t go into the genesis of the group here, but rather focus on the sharing and commitment, in light of the results of the member survey. We asked seven questions and received 15 answers from 314 members; a meager 5%. The results are therefore unscientific but still reveal some very interesting points. They are indicative of a Quebec reality in communities on social networks.

Here is the translation of the question: In your opinion, are the groups or communities on LinkedIn, Facebook or other social networks still pertinent?

Notice on the above table that no one mentioned that they were not relevant. But only 25% said they are very relevant.

Which brings us to this next question…

If you answered fairly pertinent or very pertinent, do you believe they should encourage conversation between members or be used only to publish pertinent content? You can choose more than one answer.

A slight majority of respondents (12-11) estimates that groups or communities should be used to publish relevant content and not to spark conversation. Is this a manifestation of our digital “passivity” demonstrated by one-way information consumption, which only generates a “Like” or “RT”? Or, am I too critical of our “engagement rate”, which, in my opinion, is far too often just clicks, likes and shared links?

I’ll be back in a future post with the survey results and other issues. For now, I leave you some space to answer and / or comment on these issues.

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