Corporate Social Media Initiatives: 4 Lessons Learned in the B2B Trenches
I work with single-employee businesses as well as multinational Fortune 500 firms. Small business owners tend to have this impression (it’s almost a complex) that large companies are in possession of secret social media knowledge and they’re killing it online.
Here’s a little secret: it’s a myth.
Lesson 1: Successful Social Media is Driven by Focused Strategy & Commitment
Yes, best-in-class companies have strong, well-aimed, well-directed programs. But most companies don’t. In fact, many larger businesses still don’t have a budget line for social media initiatives. I’ve worked with multi-million dollar firms that squeezed tweets and an occasional blog post out of their PR budget.
Many businesses haphazardly employ social media, with no clear objectives or strategy. That’s the lowdown: the one advantage huge companies have over everyone else – a larger marketing budget – is being spent only grudgingly (at best), and many times not at all.
Lesson 2: Social Media is a Viable Option for Increasing Brand Awareness & Leads
While social media is a well-established, primary marketing channel for B2C companies, adoption has been slower in the B2B space as companies struggle with measuring the effectiveness of “touching” prospects through social. The slower adoption of social media in the B2B space has allowed brands the time to establish and differentiate themselves. So there is room for you!
Lesson 3: It’s Still Newfangled & Savvy Social Media Users Can ‘Rise Above’
Social media’s relative newness is itself a leveler in the marketing playing field. Big companies tend to be slow when it comes to adapting new technologies or avenues, and this has held true of B2B social media. Companies large and small have struggled to harness social media’s potential, but savvy companies have learned the #1 lesson of social media: the whole “social” part. Engagement.
Smart social media operators know that constantly tweeting about a service you offer – with no other information sharing – isn’t useful at all. It’s about as effective as walking into a networking event and throwing a handful of business cards straight up in the air before walking out. The point is to entice your audience to engage with you. That means you need to engage with them, and not just tout your latest, greatest gizmo once a week.
Lesson 4: The Speed of Social Media – The Advantage Goes to Savvy Companies
One thing I’ve found that differentiates savvy companies from other corporations is response time. As you would expect, response times at some companies can be slow.
Remember, social media is all about engagement. When someone engages with you online, they are engaging right now. Social media travels worldwide at gigabit speeds. Most attempts to start an online conversation will have ended before the Marketing Manager passes the question along to the Product Manager – who just happens to be traveling and out of touch. Remember, you’re not explaining Einstein’s theories…you’re just having a conversation.
What are your questions about implementing social media in your company?
Jen Mizak heads up Brandwidth Solution’s New Media area. She has worked with both startups and Fortune 500 firms helping businesses increase their visibility and boost sales by tapping into their customers’ needs and engaging them with persuasive social media content. Jen specializes in integrating content marketing with companies’ yearly marketing calendars.