Quick: should social media be of interest to the old school world of automotive B2B public relations?
For about a year, I’ve struggled with this question, but now I think the answer is yes. My earlier doubts were only one-layer deep: were the powertrain purchasing folks at OEMs, for instance, really hanging out on Facebook? No, I concluded. But I may have been wrong in two ways I’d not thought of before.
1. The powertrain purchasing exec, in this case, may very well not be on Facebook, but maybe his direct reports are. Maybe the engineers who are technology consumers are. Maybe his boss is because his kids urged her to get on Facebook to stay in touch, which leads to . . .
2. Maybe in the last year, or just the last three months, he did finally get on Facebook in order to keep up with family, his kids, or just because he has other friends that he actually can keep track of (I think of my retired dad who went to Rose Hulman . . . he asked how I could find these people, and my brother and I over Christmas said, “Find them through Facebook’s Rose Hulman alumni groups.”)
But others who’ve thought more about this have five interesting reasons why this works for B2B. Read them here. This is by far the final word on this topic, and I suspect I’ll spend a good deal of 2009 refining how we use social media to help companies talk to other companies—and consumers—through these channels. Should be interesting.