There seems to be much debate on this particular question with no absolute answer. From the blogs and articles I’ve read, there is an ongoing ‘tug-of-war’ on the topic. Social media managers and/or firms are trying to pull more customers in (obviously) and businesses small and large are pushing back; unsure if social media is right for them. If in fact it is, are they comfortable letting a third party business control their image and online relationships?
Education is the most vital aspect of this endeavor and that cannot be stressed enough. A company venturing into social media must educate themselves appropriately so not to become overwhelmed and give up too hastily. There are no magic tricks to allow overnight success; it is a process.
On the other side of the coin, a business taking control of social media or majority thereof must have a comprehensive understanding of your company, your personality and your industry. Concise communication is essential to stay up to date and on course with your goals, while keeping your followers informed.
A plan must be put in place with a champion to manage it. There are many ways to go about achieving this. Whether you simply want to hop on the bandwagon, gain more traffic and insight with analytics, or really get in touch with your existing and prospective clients, as long as it is done professionally, ethically and consistently… there is no downside.
5 Tips to Help You Get Started
1) Get Informed – Do some research and make sure you have a fair understanding of social media and what it takes to be successful with it. Look at other businesses in your industry to see what they are doing.
2) Create Achievable Goals – Talk amongst yourselves in the business to see why you are interested and what you expect to get out of it.
3) Devote Enough Time – After your research, you will come to the realization that this can be a full time job in itself. Make sure that either through your staff or through outsourcing, you have enough time to keep at it.
4) Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew – When starting, there is no need to dive in to all aspects of social media. Take it one step at a time if that is all the time you can spare. Start by creating a blog, facebook or Twitter account, then, once you are comfortable, select an additional platform and so on and so forth.
5) Don’t Give Up! – Once more, there are no tricks to ensure overnight success. Have faith; if you are posting interesting information regularly, there is no reason why your traffic shouldn’t continue to grow.
A helpful link on this topic follows, http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/26947.asp
It’s time to redesign our website. Our company has changed significantly over the last couple of years and our web presence should reflect that.
I gave our team the following objectives, stepped back and let them loose. You can be the judge of how well these have been achieved. A taste of our new marketing is featured in the February 2011 issue of CT&L and we needed to coordinate our new web with that release date. The directives were as follows and can act as a helpful guideline for anyone in the process of updating their site.
Message first - It’s great to be clever but it’s critical to communicate…if you can combine the two it becomes memorable and creates impact
Front door message- Lead with your strength which in our case is 22 years of experience marketing the transportation industry. It’s important not to cast too wide a net and weight your product offerings so that people get a real sense of who you are and what you do…in short order
Side door message - Leave the door open to other opportunities which for us is the fact that our process works for any industry. You need to back that side door message up with hard facts to make it believable.
Easy to navigate - With the help of Google Analytics you can track how customers are reacting to your site through a number of metrics. Most come to your site to get contact info and get an overall impression if this is a company they want to deal with. Ease of navigation is a key element.
Warm and personal – Our clients are becoming directly involved with a higher proportion of our staff. It’s a function of running lean and streamlining communications. In general terms, we believe it is important that your web has a personality that reflects your company. A few real shots mixed in with a stock library can help accomplish this. Yes people leave but the web can be updated very easily. It’s a more dynamic and flexible media that you can measure a return on.
Assess the brand – Take a look at your brand elements. Do they need a tweak. Is your tag line unique and does it help establish a persona for the company. In B2B you can change elements of your brand without so much as a ripple in the stream. Be open to subtle change. It can breathe new life into your marketing.
Incorporate social media – We continue to experiment in this area. Our blog efforts have shown the most return. You need a champion to lead this charge. Anything that brings fresh content to your site helps promote your company and raise your ranking on search engines
Engage SEO (search engine optimization) – There is an expense to this and it varies on the size of the site and how deep you want to go with. We plan on taking it all the way. Why? It works and you can clearly measure the results (With Google Analytics) and fine tune it for even greater benefit in the future
Meet the Deadline - It’s important to set a date and work towards it with diligence. You get a certain flow that takes the project to a higher level. When too much time goes by where the project is parked on a shelf, it’s increasingly hard to get it off the bottom of the pile and successfully launched.
Lee’s quote for the day
“Change is good and engaging proper SEO powers your site like fuel powers your vehicle. Doing one without the other doesn’t make much sense or get you any further down the road”
As we were trying to put together some interesting facts about social media for B2B marketers, we discovered this interesting video. Then, we decided why would we tell you something, when we can show you instead. So, enjoy it.
B2B companies are ahead of their B2C rivals when it comes to social media adoption
Source: Business.com – 2009 B2B Social Media Benchmarking Study (http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007404)
And the FTSE 100 are just plain running scared of Twitter
Source: Virgin Media Business (http://ow.ly/1gDTf)
But CIOs could well be the biggest blocker to social media adoption
Source: Robert Half Technology (http://rht.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=131&item=790)
Use of social media by B2B companies is validated by B2B buyer perspectives
Source: Cone Inc – Social Media in business (http://ow.ly/1dLqJ)
And that’s because the B2B buying process is fundamentally changing
Source: DemandGen Report
Source: Buyersphere ebook, Enquiro (http://ow.ly/YbQm)
Source: Forrester Research, How to take B2B relationships from Indifferent to Engaged: Jan 2009
Yet there are differing opinions as to where search comes into play in the buy cycle
Source: DemandGen Report (http://ow.ly/1d82N)
Source: Marketo (http://bit.ly/9O6pix)
If you think C-level executives aren’t active online, you’re sorely mistaken
Source: Forbes Insight – The Rise of the Digital C-Suite (http://www.forbes.com/forbesinsights/digital_csuite/index.html)
Client marketers are warming to the idea of social media, but many are still to act
Source: The B2B Barometer (http://www.b2bbarometer.co.uk)
The relationship between Marketing and Sales in B2B organisations still remains fractious
Source: 2009 CSO Report (http://bit.ly/7EbaHS)
Source: The New Rules of Sales Enablement (http://tiny.cc/jXRxX)
Source: The B2B Barometer (http://www.b2bbarometer.co.uk)
And if you still don’t get the whole social media thing, it’s worth bearing in mind…
* Note: We have used and abused the above information, as the author insisted. A special thanks for the folks at Earnest Agency.