There've been a number of posts recently about strategy for social media. Beth Harte wrote a great one about companies who say they can't begin "socializing" until they can figure out how to prove ROI. Jason Baer wrote about the 7 must-haves in your social media strategy. Chris Brogan is prolific about the subject.
For B2B companies, it can be difficult to figure out how to give your brand some personality. To make it more human. That's because B2B tends to be more product focused, which is a tough mindset to shift.
But, shift you must -- if you want to add social to your emarketing strategy.
Something most B2B companies are familiar with is call guides and scripts for inside sales qualifying calls or marketing outreach. Every time I receive a call like that or read a client's call guide, I'm a bit taken aback.
Go get yours. Read it out loud. Can you do this without stumbling, stopping mid-sentence to gasp for breath or, ahem, laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of it?
Now that you've read it out loud, think about what you just said. Does it matter to the person you just said it to? Does it invite a response better than, "not interested" or "I'm not sure this is important to me" or "we've got this handled, thanks."
Most B2B call guides are pulled right out of product value propositions or, even worse, brochures and corporate mission statements. Basically, it doesn't work. It doesn't work because formal, stiff and jargon-filled corporate text about products doesn't exist on the same planet as conversational fodder.
This is why listening has got to be the first thing B2B companies do when they want to go social. It's not about your product's value proposition, it's about your customer's value perspective. If you don't listen first, you won't know what that is.
I read an article a while back (can't remember the source) but it said that by exposing what happens behind the scenes of your company, you humanize it. I suppose this means that instead of a building, people will see people and feel more inclined to engage.
But, that's not enough.
People are basically self-interested. They want to engage about stuff interesting and important to them. Not just with people for the sake of human interaction. So push yourself farther to figure out what their needs are, how you can be responsive and helpful within the context of the ongoing conversation. And then contribute in a conversational voice without all the corporate rhetoric.
Go get Jason's social media strategy worksheet and think about how you can expand it. For example, I'd add that across from Business Description you put Customer Description. And, across from Value Proposition for your business you add Value Perspective for your customers. Refine them until you develop strong correlations that add value for both your company AND the people you want to reach out to.
Go read Beth's post about getting a plan for social media so you can figure out your ROI. Lots of great stuff to think about that will also help you complete Jason's social media strategy worksheet.
As emarketing strategy options expand, your success will depend on your abilty to weave together all your online efforts to tell an ongoing, consistent story about the value you provide to customers. Social media deserves a role in your emarketing strategy design.
By thinking it through, you'll be able to create a sustainable conversation that builds your company's personality and pulls customer engagement.