Recently I spoke to a company who thought that they needed hundreds of folks participating in their social media marketing effort, like a grassroots political campaign.
And then there was a company who thought they should just start pushing demo campaigns via social media channels.
And lastly there was another company recently who took a completely clinical viewpoint of social media helping to drive website traffic and SEO.
These are smart people who have well-established companies in the HR marketplace, but it begs the question how mainstream is social media marketing in our space?
Or in any space?
It doesn't matter that there are 500 million people on Facebook. It doesn't matter that there are millions using LinkedIn and Twitter.
As far as I'm concerned, social media B2B marketing is still far from mass adoption, although yes, spending is on the rise. Don't forget, it's only one tool in the marketing tool belt.
Let me address the three issues above:
No, you don't need hundreds of social media staffers. You need at least one who is an effective listener and communicator and who can invest at least 30-60 minutes per day monitoring channels and sharing content. By the way, at a minimum your company should have a business blog -- fresh perspective content leads to more readership and search engines eat it up for your benefit.
No, you shouldn't just jump in and start selling stuff. Social media channels are networking channels first and foremost and should be treated as such. You don't go to a face-to-face networking event and immediately start your sales schtick, do you?
No, you shouldn't only focus on SEO value with social media. Yes, you get incremental traffic via sharing content links (downloads, blog posts, etc.), but don't forget point 2 above and leave the human out of the networking.
Keep it real. Don’t try too hard — think about the personality of your brand and stick to it. Authenticity is paramount — Stephanie Miller, Return Path
Make it easy. Encourage sharing of your content but don’t overwhelm your audience with choices. The less choices people have, the better — Guy Kawasaki, Alltop
Encourage customer participation. Get your constituents involved to make them feel smart and “in the know” — it will make them feel more connected to your brand and get people talking — Stacy Kane, California Tortilla
Ask for help. People want to help you and share your stuff, so allow them to do so using the tool, medium or technique of their choice. It makes people feel good that they can help your organization — Andy Sernovitz, Gaspedal
Don't overthink your social media efforts. Keep it simple, real and human.