I admit it; I haven’t been paying much attention lately to what’s happening in B2B social media land for the simple reason that I haven’t seen anything interesting and practical that can help our clients. Instead, I see the same people trotting out the same ideas and case studies, mainly around gaining more leads, increasing customer satisfaction and, everybody’s favorite, “driving engagement.” Do I sound jaded and cynical yet?

Actually, I’m not at all. These days, I find that most innovation is happening at large tech-company clients — even some with three-letter-acronym brand names — companies that most people view as somewhat conservative.

So, instead of looking for social media success in your usual sources – blogs and conferences – seek out what your peers and colleagues are doing. As with most things, it’s the folks who have their heads down and aren’t trying to drum up business or blog traffic who have the most interesting social media stories to tell.

Social media is proving effective for our clients in two new areas: influencer engagement and product innovation. Identifying and interacting with influencers can provide a wealth of insight into what factors contribute to your buyers’ decisions, as well as helping to navigate around all the players involved in such a decision. And influencers, customers and other social connections can provide feedback on your current and future offering plans, both explicitly (by asking direct questions) and implicitly (through proactive social monitoring). Both approaches require a robust social media intelligence strategy, but that’s a post for another day.

Do you have an innovative way to use social media in B2B? Please share it in the comments section.