MAD Perspectives Blog

 Social Media as Your New Years Resolution

Peggy Dau - Monday, January 03, 2011

It’s a new year and you’re making your resolutions.  How about a resolution to jump on the social media high speed train?  You’ve read the buzz but you’re a bit skeptical about time, effort and results.  These are fair concerns.  There is not a company who has engaged in social media that has not posed questions about how they are going to leverage this dynamic medium.  I have just a few bits of advice about getting started:

  1. Think about why you want to use social media.  In most cases it starts as an effort to increase market awareness.  This is a great way to get started!  My advice then would be to think about the image you want to present to the market.  Do you want to be an expert?  What does that mean?  Does it mean you need to be the smartest person in the room or that you can bring the necessary resources to the table?  Bottom line, social media is going to help you share your perspective in a new way
  1. Get organized.  Figure out who in your organization will be your social advocates.  It will be beneficial if you think about how representatives, from different business groups, reflect your business.  These individuals can provide your customers with unique perspectives that can help them understand your business and its products, strategy and culture.  Align your social communication with your overall marketing plan and strategy.  Commit to a plan!
  2. Define your social content strategy.  Think about who your customers are and what content will fulfill their needs.  Social media is about personalizing your business and its content.  This means that simply pointing customers to your website is not going to win a lot of new customers.  However, sharing your insights about industry trends, emerging products or markets, business benefits of your solutions or seeking input from your audience, will drive awareness.
  3. Select the relevant social platforms.  You need to be where your customers are.  Here is a quick summary of some of the most popular platforms:
    •  - LinkedIn – for a business person or business this is the default platform to use.  It’s more than a virtual rolodex; it is a platform for sharing content about your capabilities, engaging in conversations with like minded individuals via LinkedIn Groups, and increasingly a tool for employee recruitment.
    •  - Blogs – I’m a BIG fan of blogging as a means of communicating with customers is a casual way.  Blogs provide the ability to flesh out your thoughts in a less formal manner than traditional briefs or whitepapers.  They also enable feedback from your customers which can educate readers about your company, impact product roadmaps, or simply influence further blog discussions.  A small firm can share insights abut what drives their day to day business while a large company can encourage individual bloggers, from different business disciplines, to discuss the topics that influence their activities and decisions.  In all cases, the blog should reflect a unique point of view.
    •  - Twitter – In many cases, twitter for business can be just keeping up with the Jones’.  However, many companies use twitter to actively listen to their customers.  By searching on keywords a company can capture a trend, discover customer satisfaction issues, and invite debate on a trending topic.  Twitter is immediate and democratic, meaning it is wide open like the Wild West.  However, the Wild West is now very heavily populated and the direct benefit for B2B companies is unproven.
    •  -  Facebook – this is the ultimate social platform for individuals.  And, let’s remember this platform was created by a college student to find, connect and communicated with other students.  Its role is consumer centric.  Its focus remains the individual despite a company’s ability to create a Fan Page.  Companies that have found success on Facebook are those with a consumer audience and who create a unique proposition on Facebook.  There have been debates about Facebook displacing the need for a traditional website.
    • For B2B, I completely disagree.  Facebook does not easily enable a B2B business discussion.  It does not allow you to share documents.  However, it is a great platform for personalizing your business.  Post pictures or videos from industry conferences, community events, internal celebrations.  Emphasize the company culture and the unique individuals employed at your company.  Now prospective employees have a much better understanding about the culture of your company.
    •  - YouTube – Video is pervasive and memorable.  YouTube has changed the face of video forever, making user generated video and its lesser quality – acceptable.  Video puts a face on your business.  I’ve seen whiteboard sessions, mockumentaries, product demos, and corporate advertising posted on YouTube.  It is possible to create your own channel which could be beneficial for companies who want to post a series of videos.  Like all marketing & communication efforts, video efforts must be planned and organized.  See my previous blogs on this topic

Don’t be afraid to just try one platform.  Be persistent.  Don't let social media be the resolution that fades away!  It’s ok to experiment and figure out what content and which platform works best for your business.  Despite all that you read, no single company was an instant success at using social media!

What’s your perspective?