Businesses are confused by social media, always have been. Many businesses feel compelled to start a Facebook page or a Twitter page the same way they used to feel the need for a blog, but they’re not sure why? They amass thousands of followers on Twitter. Now, what?
Always start with the goal and find the means
Feels like Groundhog day to me? It wasn’t that long ago when businesses were jumping on the blogging bandwagon with no goal in sight. This often leads to frustration and discarded corporate blogs. I’m tracking over 200 corporate blogs and find that many of them either fall off the radar or the Top 10 business blog rankings because they stop blogging.
And oddly enough the answers always remain the same. Start with business goals, track metrics and the rest will follow. Starting a Facebook page without a social media strategy doesn’t achieve much and not having social media goals besides # of followers (for e.g.) doesn’t get you far either.
eConsultancy recently had a post on first identifying your target audiences and goals; identifying social platforms later:
Social media can, and should, involve identifying your target audiences and the platforms they already use. If you are a B2B company, LinkedIn and Twitter are likely to be much more useful than Facebook. Demographic information is available for most of the major social networks, so there really is no reason not to target your social media activities.
Also, different social media sites are fine-tuned for different business goals. If you’d like to use social media for lead generation, then identify the appropriate social platforms that’d help you achieve that. Once you’re done with that, define a comprehensive social strategy across those platforms. Hoovers Biz blog (another great blog you should subscribe to) said it best:
Because social media is so easily accessible and fairly straightforward, many businesses are hopping on the Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn bandwagon in an effort to stay current. The problem is these businesses have no idea what they are doing; without a proper strategy, social media is essentially a waste of time. In order to make social media work for your business it must be part of the winning Internet marketing formula to dominate local searches:
Social Media Website structure SEO = Local Search Domination
Bonus tip: And, check out another great post on how to use both LinkedIn and Twitter in concert for prospecting, here.
Integrate with existing strategies
This leads to the more interesting question, how does a new social media site fit into your existing strategy (whether it is marketing or PR or customer service). You probably have an existing email marketing strategy. Use social marketing in combination with what’s been working for you. Looks like marketers are listening:
As reported by eMarketer today, in an April 2010 survey by email marketing agency, eROI, two-thirds of US marketers are now integrating social media into their email marketing campaigns. In addition, email marketing and social media marketing solution provider, StrongMail indicated that the percentage of marketers who had integrated social and email (or planned to this year) is 71% worldwide, based on June 2010 research. (via Hubspot blog)
Companies that are doing it right
Here are five examples of companies that are experimenting with social media right in different areas within the organization – from PR to Enterprise marketing. Will keep this blog updated with future adventures of companies that are early adopters of social media but doing it right. Read on…
1. Pepsi’s Bonin Bough explains the rationale behind Pepsi’s social media strategy – from the master plan to the small wins
3. Intel’s Bryan Rhoads goes over social media training for employees and all the cool stuff Intel’s been doing in that regard. A must-read for anyone at a large Fortune 500 organization.
4. Dell’s Manish Mehta shares how Dell scales social media across the enterprise and their numerous internal teams, yet maintaining the intimacy with their consumers.
5. Sorry it’s them again! How Coke and Pepsi are building their “Trust Banks” with their customers. It’s all about trust, yo!