I sat through a great webinar today put on by Corporate Executive Board’s Marketing Leadership Council titled: Influencing B2B Buying Decisions Through Social Media.
MLC together with Toolbox.com talked about the power of social media in the buying process. That marketing has truly become relationship based, that the days of using the web to push content is over. This decade is all about how well companies/brands can leverage the web to build closer relationships with customers and leverage such customers to evangelize the brand, the message.
Today’s B2B buyer is
- always plugged in
Social media allows
- consumption of content to scale
- increase relevance of user generated content
Also in the webinar, Anne (didn’t catch the last name) from Cisco’s marketing team talked about using social media to engage with customers. She talked about steps to follow to create customer advocates…thereby leveraging the ability for social media to scale and increase relevance.
- Step1: Find the best watering holes (where your target audience hangs out – communities, forums, blogs, etc)
- Step2: Look at the threads and conversations and code them red, yellow, green
- Step3: Focus on the yellow and green threads – most likely to find and influence advocates
- Step4: Engage in the conversations. Add color and insight by incorporating blogs, content, etc.
- Step5: Extend the conversations….give them scale.
I like this thinking in that you can pick and choose what waterholes are the most influential, engage, and leverage the power of the user, the customer, to help spread your message. Anne had some great points and insights to those of us that want to incorporate social media more in our marketing mix.
- Company/Brand Voice: Use the executive team as a communication channel (e.g. blogs)
- Arm the Advocates: Empower your customer advocates socialize your content, message, etc.
- Marketing Mix: Don’t treat social media as separate from traditional marketing mix – should be integrated
- Metric = Cost Avoidance: Avoid spending money on whitepapers and research papers…use blogs to engage with communities, with the audience.
- Metric = Demonstrate % increase in audience influencers. How many advocates are now talking about your company, your solution vs. before social media engagement?
I’m a big believer in social media being an integrated part of your overall marketing strategy…especially leveraging blogs to make content more social/share-able, easily digestible, and personal.
More to come…