The voice of the social community will guide the direction for a portal and business consortium that Hoover's and contributors Outsell, Selling Power, and Shore Communications plan to launch Tuesday. For the first six months the group will focus on building and sharing its collective expertise on marketing and sales, along with a variety of business topics for entrepreneurs.
The aim is to launch the site with seeds of information and have the community run with the topics from there. This content delivered through training sessions, events, videos, blogs and other social media will support the site.
Similar to American Express OPEN Forum, Hoover's and partners will design processes and best practices to maximize the effectiveness and value of execution for small businesses. The focus to create community and a place where ideas are shared will allow people to learn from each other rather than "try and reinvent the wheel," according to James Rogers, Hoover's EVP of marketing. "The community will become a place where people can benefit from the experience of others."
Initially, the consortium will focus on the creation of a Business Information Adoption Path. The site, www.B2Bbuzz.org, will provide a platform to foster dialog, where people can exchange ideas. Rogers says Hoover's has been in talks with American Express to "potentially consider becoming a partner." Allbusiness.com, a Hoover site geared toward small businesses, could lend content to the new site.
The details have not been worked out, but the site will tap Twitter and YouTube to contribute content, including video. "We intend to invest in video product, so some of the pieces are done in the YouTube style," he says. "It's not about promoting Hoover's product, but rather bring content."
Rogers will measure success with page views, unique visitors and adoption, meaning participation and contributions from members and those visiting the site. We know the business information people need and the life cycles," he says. "If you're a salesperson, you get a contact list and identify customers for the product. Then you run an industry and segment analysis. Who are the decision makers in the company you want to sell to, and what is the company's financial situation? These are things you might need to know for a prep call."
A community moderator will attempt to foster conversation among site members to identify best practices not listed or previously talked about. It's about finding an in through social media, Rogers says.
Marketers and sales reps have found social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter manage to get the attention or test ideas of prospective clients. It is one idea contributors have yet to work out.