I wrote a blog post a week ago that obviously touched a nerve. “B2B Social Media’s Big Not So Secret” garnered the most traffic of any blog post I’ve ever written. David Meerman Scott tweeted the post – that certainly goosed my traffic. I also received a few comments and a flurry of phone calls and emails. 99% of the feedback was supportive of my premise, which was:
“Small to medium sized B2B companies are not realizing the benefits they should from social media marketing due to problems with execution.”
OK. Fine. I have agreement on the above premise. So what? How does that help the companies affected? Well, admitting to the problem is always the first step, isn’t it?
I’m going to devote the next several blogs to this topic. I think I have some helpful hints for the client companies, and the agencies and consultants working with them. I by no means have all the answers, though. So I invite all to comment with any insights you’ve garnered.
Here’s my editorial content list for this series of posts:
- Research – the good news is that social media enables ‘lurking and listening’. It’s easy to find and listen in on the relevant conversations that are occurring. The bad news is that this is time consuming. The conversations evolve and you need to keep up to date. Ideally all stakeholders will have their ears and eyes on the appropriate conversations. A (formal or informal) back channel needs to be established for information sharing.
- Involving client personnel in the process. This is a biggie. They’re busy people, and they’re crucial to the success of any content marketing or social media endeavor. They need to understand this (the best way is for the CEO to make it a priority). I specifically target sales people because they know what questions prospects need answered, what objections need to be overcome, and the competitive land mines that need to be defused.
- Development of target personas. You can’t create compelling content if you don’t have a clear idea of who you’re speaking to. What’s relevant and useful to one person is irrelevant and useless to the next. Target personas should include current customers, and targeted bloggers/media/PR types in addition to prospects.
- Determine your content strategy and who is responsible for executing each task. Include an editorial calendar, deadlines, information sources, etc.
- Messaging – what specifically do you want to communicate to each target type, and what do you want them to do (what constitutes a ‘conversion’)?
- Include distribution, outreach and socialization… the mechanics of how you’ll get your quality content in front of your target audience.
- Develop a feedback loop. We’re back to listening here. Track blog comments and reply to them when appropriate. See who retweets or mentions your content in discussions. Make it somebody’s job to document and enter into the CRM system (there are tools available to automate this process).
- Budget accordingly. Social media is an extremely cost effective marketing tool, but it isn’t free or even cheap. Understand that it requires a significant investment of time. Ensure that the people assigned are sharp and experienced enough to make this a successful endeavor.
Please let me know if I missed anything (I’m sure I have). We’ll take one topic at a time and within a couple of months, we should have a blueprint to follow to ensure our carefully developed social media strategies are executed successfully.
Tags: acSellerant, b2b, B2B marketing, Bob Leonard, business to business marketing, content strategy, digital relationships, execution, return on influence, social media, social networking sites, useful and relevant information