I have a chapter in Twitterville called "B2Bs are People Too. If I were to rewrite the book, I would have to expand the chapter on B2B, [business-to-business] because it has grown so massively since June, when the book was finished.
IBM, for example, was the tweetingest company I found last June with over 1000 employee tweeters. Now that number has grown to about 7500 and that's just the IBM employees. The number would be far greater if you included the partners, consultants, customers, analysts, editors and other members of the IBM infrastructure. If you included them, you'd have tens of thousands of IBM community members communicating tens of thousand of times daily. IBM, the third largest technology company in fact is trusting a growing portion to its business to Twitter, where they are realizing significant, measurable and growing favorable results.
Another company, mentioned in my book is Sodexo, North America's largest food service company. Last year they adopted Twitter as an executive recruiting tool, integrating it with their other online tools. Traffic to their job site traffic has tripled and they have saved, I'm told about $350,000 in recruiting ad costs.
My favorite B2B story in the book is about tiny United Linen. Located in Bartlesville, Okla., this company was founded by a family during the Great Depression. They took in laundry from neighbors to make ends meet. Now United Linen is the largest restaurant linen and uniform laundry service in a four-state region. They use Twitter in all sorts of ways and it's activities have made happier customers, established the company as a community leader, has given them an emergency customer communications tool, which they used last winter in an ice storm. It has also generated significant coverage in BusinessWeek, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and other publications.
While companies who use Twitter to reach public markets get more attention, simply because they are trying for public recognition, B2Bs are extremely active and at this time, may be growing faster that consumer-focused companies. You may not know much about what IBM is doing, but IBM doesn't really care. They are using Twitter and other social media tools to talk with their communities online.
I learned about United Linen from Joe Zuccaro, who is better known as the Marketing Consigliere . Joe is passionate and highly knowledgeable about B2Bs and social media. Last year, he started awarding a "B2B Tweeter of the Year Award" and it went to United Linen. When I asked through Twitter for suggestion for my book, Joe suggested the Bartlesville laundry service.
This year, Joe just asked for suggestion for the new B2B Tweeter of the Year and received a note from someone he knew that was crammed with ridicule and scorn;; someone who thinks tweeting is about broadcasting a single message, rather than having ongoing conversations, someone who in my opinion is completely ignorant to the mounting facts and stats, of Twitter''s value in B2B. Facts that decision makers I've talked with at Wells Fargo, Microsoft, SAP, HP and others have noted and embraced.
Joe's a classy guy and doesn't want to name his ignorant colleague. I would have named him and still would. Anyone who goes on the record, using disinformation or a lack of knowledge to defame those who are better informed, should be spotlighted in my opinion.
Anyway, my best to Joe. My repeated thanks for a great story in my book and I look forward to spotlighting whoever Joe selects this year in a future blog post.