Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Steal This Blog Post

Abbie Hoffman's dissident treatise on how to survive in "Amerika" inspired a fairly tortuous train of thought for me this morning as I foraged through my various social networks in search of professionals who might be interested in hearing about the solutions and services that my company offers. Perhaps more the title than a deep analysis of Hoffman's metaphor, got me thinking about the way we are currently measuring our impact in the social media and networking world as a count of followers, ReTweets, connections, etc. rather than applying a value metric to those who read our posts, thoughts, or just subscribe. Many B2B's have jumped on the proverbial Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook bandwagons with corporate profiles and individual contributors, but are we ready and able to efficaciously measure the resources we are expending in these efforts in any other fashion that a self-congratulatory column in TweetDeck that captures mentions? A 2009 CMO study still indicates that we as business marketers and relationship specialists are still failing to leverage the voice of our customers and business intelligence in any comprehensive and effective fashion ( What a shame. In previous posts, I have suggested that we develop a comprehensive strategy for our social media and networking engagement that aligns with our overall marketing and business strategy; that we perform a social media risk assessment; or at the bare minimum, we listen to what our customer, competitors and others are saying about us. The tools to support these efforts are evolving, slowly, but they are becoming available at all levels of investment. And now, we have another caution in the form of the FTC guidelines for branding and advocating on-line. My strong suggestion, is that those of you who are ready to throw up your hands; leave the SMN world (as Verizon seems to be doing on Twitter); or continue to adopt a wait and see attitude, decide instead to return to the basics….

Some simple steps:

  1. Update your Business Marketing, Sales, Customer Satisfaction, and Lead Generation Strategies to potentially incorporate the use of social media and networking. Some very simple tools are available that you may already have in your kit. For example, Hoover's subscribers can see any connections in Linkedin that they have for the company they are researching. This provides an alternative outreach method that is slightly warmer than an email campaign using a paid-list. If I am a member of the same group as a prospect, we naturally have some shared areas of interest.
  2. Retool your messaging to be appropriate for the social media or networking applications that you decide is appropriate for your organization. Clearly, a full case study cannot be Tweeted and just Tweeting a link doesn't compel the reader to click. Try and provide the right information within the application itself and then provide a link for more.
  3. Assess the power and cost-effectiveness of including audio/video/photos in your social media and networking campaigns. Numerous studies indicate that website conversion rates and clicks increase when multi-media is introduced in our messaging. I have tested this anecdotally in my own accounts and the Tweets and profile updates that include multi-media have a 5x number of hits versus a plain message.
  4. Reassess your strategy and the application marketplace at minimum every six months, preferably more often. Add-on apps to all of the SMN tools are proliferating daily and are worth some attention.
  5. Continue to refine your definition of meaningful social engagement and your processes for turning listeners or those who comment into clients and promoters.
  6. Don't just count the numbers! Although it gives me a secret sense of pride to have a connection request granted or find someone who I consider a guru following me, I can't honestly say that I effectively mine these numbers to determine the value to my messaging efforts.

Just some humble thoughts…..Please STEAL THIS POST! J


Lisa Hoesel

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