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We're helping our b2b clients assemble cross-functional social media teams that are comprised of communications, marketing, legal, HR and sales professionals to ascertain the strategic direction of the company when it comes to social media. The first step is finding out where conversations are occuring about their brand, product and/or industry and who's participating. Based on a social media audit, we can make recommendations about how social media should be integrated into the company's overall communications strategy.

FYI, for b2b companies in particular, we're finding that engineers use forums to share info and opinions.

Excellent post. I also believe one reason why there aren't many B2B social media case studies is B2B's hyper-competitive nature. With high dollar considered purchases, most B2B companies are not eager to share their social media "secret sauce" with competitors at conferences, or via blog posts.

At events, I've spoken with tons of B2B marketers doing amazing social media initiatives, but the story never gets told.

The big takeaway above is that social media impacts the whole company. It's not about social marketing, it's about BEING social. That has corporate culture ramifications. Staffing ramifications. Operations ramifications. Customer service ramifications. And a lot more.

The sooner we realize that social media is led by marketing, but is by no means limited to marketing, the better off we'll be. That's why it doesn't bother me when some companies (B2B more often) are slow to take up the social media reins. I see that as good news.

I agree that we should "learn by doing" but doing before you really believe in the social media big picture leads to one-way Twitter accounts and blogs and Facebook pages and other shiny objects used ineffectively.

@Brad - more than internal communications I see the marketer as strategist and curator, with the opportunity to connect the dots on how the organization comes across in the marketplace. Today, this is a very dynamic and adaptive role with intelligence and situational awareness as the GPS.

@Nathan - glad you asked that. Next week at BlogWell Atlanta, I will be presenting a case study of how a B2B company is building social media content capabilities from executive buy in to building a team of contributors from a framework constructed through public relations and internal communications.

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