The Forward Observer > Marketing For The Front Line of Sales

What B2B Marketers Can Learn About Social Media From The US Air Force

Written by Douglas Burdett | Dec 5, 2012 4:50:00 PM

B2B marketers who adopt top-flight social media policies and best practices can lift their profile, generate better quality leads and grow their business.

Because of limited understanding and skill sets, many B2B companies have not fully embraced social media. However, in numerous recent studies, B2B marketers plan to increase their social media efforts.

Further, many of these businesses have justifiable hesitation and concern about confidentiality.

But perhaps the biggest problem with social media is that, for many B2B companies, especially small ones, they don't know how to get started.

Fortunately, B2B marketers need look no further for social media guidance than from the U.S. Air Force.  In a 41-page eBook, “Navigating the Social Network: The Air Force Guide to Effective Social Media Use,” step-by-step guidance is offered to help all Airmen safely and wisely use social media to help share the Air Force story.

In the guide, the benefits of social media, as well as how to handle issues such as confidentiality are outlined. The guide includes detailed explanations on setting up a social media program, as well as FAQs such as these two which are directly applicable to B2B companies:

Why should my organization use social media?

Social media is a very influential communication tool that many people use to find and share news and information. Your organization should use social media because people who are interested in you are already using it. Social media allows you instant feedback from your audience and gives you a direct communication line to it. Don’t underestimate the ability of your audience to share your news with an even larger audience by sharing it with their friends and family online.

I’m afraid to use social media. What if people make negative comments?

Negative comments are acceptable. Allow your audience to openly communicate with you, so you can address concerns. This fosters an environment of open communication, which is essential to earning and maintaining public support of your people and mission. You have the ability to moderate comments by putting a comment policy in place and consistently enforcing it.

The guide includes a detailed overview of the most popular social media tools and how best to use them:

The guide also contains a glossary of social media terms, including this gem:

Troll – A hurtful, but possibly valuable, person who, for whatever reason, is both obsessed by and constantly annoyed with, and deeply offended by everything you write on your site. One may not be able to stop the commenting of trolls on your site. You can’t ban them from commenting on other sites and pointing back to the page, and they can’t be banned from posting things on their own page that point back to your site.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on B2B social media adoption? Please leave your comments below.

Click here to download a copy of “Navigating the Social Network: The Air Force Guide to Effective Social Media Use” or see the SlideShare presentation below.

photo credit: trevphotos via photopin cc