Our analyst team spent a great deal of time reviewing and discussing each of the excellent Groundswell entries. Some of the key highlights from this year's B2B awards are:
The majority of our B2B submissions are in the Talking and Supporting categories. This year, we received eleven submissions for Talking and eleven submissions for Supporting. This is not surprising considering that Talking and Supporting are common social objectives that B2B companies continue to fine-tune in order to efficiently market to and engage with their prospects and customers. B2B companies are becoming quite proficient at using social applications for their Talking objective. It was difficult to choose one winner in this category, so we chose 3 finalists to acknowledge their exceptional Talking submissions!
This year's submissions reflect a shift from listening to engagement. We received only three submissions for the Listening category which was the 2nd year in a row we noticed a significant decrease in this category (last year we did not have a winner in Listening). Yet, we received twelve total submissions for engagement objectives (Energizing and Embracing). Listening has become mainstream for many B2B companies and there is now increased focus on engaging with brand advocates and customers.
Great content still drives great campaigns. Many of our submitters understand that it is not enough to choose the right social network or technology for a campaign. One must also create relevant, thought-provoking and interesting content in order to stand out from the crowd. In addition, the content must be suitable for the social media tactic, whether blog, video or community.
Gamification does apply to B2B!– Ten of our submissions and a couple of our winners included gamefication as a key aspect of their social marketing strategies. This reflects a growing trend: that B2B companies are successfully incorporating gamification into their online communities to drive and incent participation and engagement.
Video and blogs are still highly effective for Talking – Six of our submissions included blogs and 5 of our submissions included video. B2B companies still find these tactics to be effective at driving awareness and in some cases, as complementary tactics to multifaceted and integrated social marketing campaigns.
Online communities continue to be a preferred B2B social strategy. Nineteen of our submissions included online communities. Although most of these are support communities, we noticed that a few companies with well-established communities are focusing on energizing existing community members and key influencers.
Do you want to learn more about our winners and finalists? Join a webinar with me and my colleagues Peter O'Neill and Zachary Reiss-Davis on Thursday November 8, 2012 to explore the 2012 Groundswell Awards and how you, the B2B marketer can capitalize on their best practices.