Corporate Social Media: Are You Ready?

Your company may see the value in social media, but they may not have yet taken the first step. The real question is, are they ready for it? You don’t want a READY-FIRE-AIM strategy.

I recently read an article from Lee Odden in the Online Marketing Blog titled, 19 Questions to Determine Corporate Social Media Readiness that I thought was appropriate for this audience.

Identifying a company’s current state of social media readiness helps them establish a baseline on which to build. There are a number of either free or low cost tools out there that can help you identify your company or brand’s current social activity level. It’s important to get a handle on the difference between how social the company is and will need to become so you can put together a strategy and plan.

Lee outlines 19 questions you should be asking. I’ve highlighted the top 5 that got my attention:

  1. What goals do you want to achieve with social media as part of your marketing effort?
  2. How will you measure/evaluate social media?
  3. Are you conducting a formal effort at monitoring social media channels?
  4. What are your current social media channels and destination websites/pages?
  5. Is there a particular business unit or product that can serve as a test case?

I’d be curious what questions you’d come with to add to the list.

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B-to-B Marketers Have Opportunities to Build Better Customer Relations Using Social Media

Why should B-to-B companies use Social media? Oliver Young from Forrester Research sums it up, Marketers who embrace social media will outdistance competition, build community following and boost loyalty.” Is there a better time than now to start making that impression? People are still buying things, and with budgets being tight, decisions custrelationsare often made on relationships. I’m a firm believer that folks have to know, like and trust you before they start buying from you.

Laura Ramos, a marketing analyst for Forrester Research agrees in a recent interview with BtoB Online Marketing. She says today that most B-to-B buzz is around driving awareness, but it will ultimately have a bigger impact on things like customer loyalty and advocacy. With social media, you can give customers a way to engage with other customers and with like-minded individuals that can talk about the best products and services. Seeing a community like this is a much more compelling experience for prospective buyers than a case study or a pre-selected happy customer. Ramos went on to say that for B-to-B companies, social success will be about creating communities. The relationship is important, not the channel.

According to Lee Odden in a recent presentation at the Online Marketing Summit in Minneapolis, “Despite such optimism and benefits, social media is new territory for most companies. The notion of engaging customers in social is a new paradigm and will take a shift in thinking for most organizations to adopt. Companies that properly plan and implement social programs can reap a variety of benefits,” said Odden. These include:

  • Building thought leadership
  • Improving customer relationships
  • Improving recruiting
  • Reducing customer service costs
  • Improving search engine results
  • Increasing media coverage
  • Influencing sales

So what’s a company supposed to do to take advantage of these opportunities?

  • Identify a niche
  • Make a plan
  • Get senior management to buy in
  • Get started by listening first
  • When you do start communicating, make sure you always answer the question, what’s in it for them?

The opportunies are there for B-to-B marketers. Let’s make sure you take advantage of them.

Other posts that might interest you, Improving sales productivity and collaboration with social media – Laggards steps to success, by Nicky Jameson


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Reach Tradesmen Using a Social Media Map

I don’t know about you, but when one of the times my wife and I have a disagreement, it is usually when we’re going somewhere new in the car, and of course I think I know where I’m going. When getting lost, my thoughts are to keep driving and eventually we’ll run into where we wanted to go. Fortunately, GPS navigation and tools like MapQuest have made my life more easy.

The same hold true for social media. You can drive (A) around  aimlessly or (B) you can put a plan together.

Please opt for B. Social media and SEO work well together, but you have to have a plan to maximize your return. Lee Odden wrote a post recently for the blog Mashable, Social media & SEO: 5 essential steps to success, that gives a good summary of what you had to do to capitalize on it.

Here are some highlights of his 5 steps to success as I see it affecting the professional tradesmen market:

social media seo roadmap

  1. Define your audience. If you’re going after tradesmen, you had better know how they spend their time, understand their preferences and behavior profile. As you get more sophisticated, you can use social media monitoring software that identifies key words, conversations and influencers.
  2. Define your objective. Social media is not direct marketing. SEO in the social media is to influence discovery of social communities or content by way of research. Indirectly, social content can boost links to web site content improving traffic.
  3. Make a game plan. In a  SEO and social media effort, you need to focus on content and interaction since it’s content that people look for and want to share.
  4. Define yout tactics. The tactical mix for social media marketing should be focused on where the tradesmen spend their time. What kind of communities are they a part of? Remember, the goal is to start a long-term relationship, not a one nighter.
  5. Measure goals. Between web analytics and social media tools, you will have more than enough ways to track  and help you improve your results.

keyword focus image


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