Richard Bliss presented a very thoughtful approach to social media use in B to B. His view of using social media to influence already influential people in the industry is very different from “doing social because X number of people are there.” He suggests considering social media as unique communication device, that can help reach individuals who would not take phone call, and would more likely get attention than other channels.
Getting executives to devote time to social media personally was always a challenge. The speaker had a very interesting incentive for busy organizational leaders:
“If you are unable to use 21st century communication tools, how can you lead 21st century organization?”
Executives definitely can get help from marketing. As social accounts loose credibility when they are not active, marketing can post third party materials on the account, while an executive periodically ads personal entries.
Why influencing via social media is possible? The general rule of engagement (90-9-1, what describes 90 lurkers on every 9 people with little activity and 1 contributing to the most of the activity), suggests that if the person has 10,000 followers on Twitter, not that many of them are actively engaged. People who are engaged, become noticed.
Share content created by somebody you want to influence, they will share your content. They will notice. They will be open for a conversation. Done right, this basic approach will get desired attention.