The Marketing Strategist:

Social Media So Far—and What's Next

April 6, 2010

ITSMA members shared some valuable lessons in their experiences with social media so far at our last Inner Circle meeting in London:
  • Focus on relationships. B2B marketing is about relationships and relevancy. Social media is another way to achieve that.
  • Pay attention to context. The benefits of various tools are context-specific. For example, one company had great success encouraging attendees to use Twitter at its analyst meetings. Others had less success using Twitter in other contexts.
  • Start with research. Getting sales teams and senior executives to buy in to the value of social media is still a challenge. Some suggested using a stepping-stone approach. You can start with social media as a research tool (e.g., use LinkedIn to discover target audiences) to show benefits. Then when the value is established, start introducing your subject matter experts (SMEs) to more labor-intensive social media, such as blogging.
  • Start inside. Some said that they succeeded in gaining support for social media by starting inside the organization (e.g., for employee collaboration, technical assistance, etc.).
  • Discover their passions. It’s much easier to get SMEs blogging if you focus them on things that really interest them —and have relevance to your business goals.
  • Put down the megaphone. We mustn’t think of social media as vehicles for conveying a message. Rather it is about having a conversation or debate.
  • Prepare for different work styles. Gen Yers are famous (infamous?) multitaskers. They can tweet with one hand while doing their work with the other. The older generations, meanwhile, still prefer to focus on single tasks, which go against the grain of the interruptive world of social media. Organizations are going to have to accommodate both work styles.
  • Create guidelines. Social media practitioners must be self-policing; there’s no way organizations can vet everything being said. Companies must create clear social media policies and support employees with questions and concerns.
At the end of the meeting, we summed up the key obstacles in social media: creating the business case for resources, getting buy-in, and measuring. These are the issues we will track in May at our social media workshop. Register for our workshop in London on May 5.

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