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Technology & InternetThe Next Big Thing in B2B
Viral marketing is already a thing from the past, proven and tested by many both in B2C and B2B marketing. However, some of us have begun to think about the future – and take action. Let’s have a look what a newly hyped buzzword – Social Discovery – is going to bring to the B2B professional space. Let me introduce you to ‘social discovery’ and how it can dramatically enhance social media for professionals and B2B.
The term social discovery describes platforms that use rating and matching systems, plus similar mechanics and algorithms, to suggest personally tailored results to the user performing the search. Key to its successful functionality is the combination of social rating systems and data aggregation about the person looking to discover new (and relevant) information. Such technique can bring much more personalized results to the person on the information hunt.
Erin Nelson wrote an excellent post about the Psychology of Social Discovery, that I recommend you to read if you want to know more about how social discovery works.
The technique itself is nothing new, as it has been used on the web for years. The catch is that it is new in the professional B2B space. While many social platforms make use of these technical mechanics, dedicated professional platforms have not yet coined or promoted the term: B2B social discovery.
I do so now.
Early examples of social discovery mechanics include well-known sites like Amazon (using it for the various ways they recommend products), IMDB (the movie database recommends titles that seem to fit personal taste) and many of the online dating sites, such as Badoo, which claim to locate matching partners via certain categories like geography, psychologic tests and even photos.
Now let’s think.
Why would this method of social discovery be beneficial for B2B social business within a professional space?
Social discovery has the power to dramatically reduce the research and comparison processes that are all too common to people active in B2B. The key decision-making factors in B2B space are (usually) quality, trust and cost. While cost is often easy to research or negotiate, quality and trust are hard to come by with the simple click of a search button.
However, social discovery toolsets allow B2B professionals to receive recommendations on the basis of what other users have recommended. With the right toolset, the B2B user can constantly discover new information as it appears – based on interest and without the need to repeat and refresh the search.
A key element of social discovery is limiting the amount of information the user sees from the initial search – showing only the content relevant to the individual researcher (or at least showing the relevant content first). Current players like LinkedIn focus on exposing a vast amount of content to give the impression to the researcher that they have access to all the information they could ever need, and show the user posting that his or her content is sure to be seen. This is an ill-fated approach, as it makes the discovery of relevant content almost impossible for the casual user (and provides little or no advantage to the user doing the posting).
Currently, new players are beginning to emerge – namely, exploreB2B. exploreB2B is a content-based social platform where users can publish, read and rate articles - subscribing to categories, authors, keywords or topics that will bring them directly to the content they are interested in via automatic notifications.
Social discovery exists for software sites (such as, Alternitivto), however the opportunity for social discovery to influence the B2B online space is lush and waiting to be tapped. With various social discovery niches ripe and for the taking, all we need is awareness that social discovery tools can be utilized for professionals and to advance B2B business.
Let’s see what the tech industry can come up with in the future.