Whoever believes that social media is inexpensive is either doing it wrong or has a marketing staff that works for free.
Sure, anyone on a limited budget can create a basic company Facebook page and set-up a LinkedIn and Twitter account. But if all you are doing is sharing other people's content and making a few random tweets and comments - like you may do for your personal social media - you'll quickly realize that strategy won't work for your business.
When you participate in social media tactics for business (which must also include blogging) you have an obligation to fund those sites with content. And you need a process for not only providing on-going, up-to-date content but for providing compelling content that engages your audience and positions your company as a thought leader or valued resource for customers and prospects. You also need a process for distributing and managing that content throughout your social media properties.
And that, folks, takes resources - a lot of resources.
And if you are still on the sidelines and not sold on the value of social media, well, I don't know what to tell you.
Procter & Gamble is one of the most respected companies in B2C - and a company that is known for great marketing. P&G was an early adopter for using content based marketing and excels in social media as a strategy for attracting and engaging customers. Their sites which include HomeMadeSimple.com and ManoftheHouse.com, are text book case-studies on the effective use of content and social media. Check them out. And don't laugh - they are quite effective.
If it works for a consumer goods company like P&G - who trust me, measures everything and would not invest in marketing strategies that weren't effective - then it can work for your B2B human capital business.
This is what P&G says about their ManoftheHouse site:
"ManoftheHouse.com is an online property that provides help and advice to men. We're trying to help men adjust to this new role, because dads are now doing things that their dad's didn't do, and our research has indicated that they are looking for help online through content and information."
Interesting. Our own HRmarketer research discovered the same about human resource professionals (they are looking for content to help with their jobs).
The principles are the same in B2B. Your customers and prospects have business challenges that relate to the solutions you provide and they need help and advice (not advertorials).
But again, it isn't cheap - nor is it all you need to do.
Which brings me to the subject of content and integrating social media throughout your traditional marketing tactics.
In other words, if all you do is social media you are not doing enough and it's not going to work.
It all start with content. And once you have a system in place to produce ongoing, non-promotional, credible content on a regular basis that is valued by your business audience you must then have a system to distribute and communicate that content - which includes not only social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Podcasts) but more TRADITIONAL marketing and PR such as press releases, media relations, direct marketing, webcasts, advertising, tradeshow participation, etc., etc., etc.
To help you get started I recommend some content HRmarketer produced, starting with a webcast tomorrow (Tuesday, July 26th) titled HR B2B marketing is much more than social. Dude - register now.
Some other resources:
- eBook: The Right Mix: A B2B Marketing Allocation Guide
- Podcast: B2B Bite Size Marketing Tips (episode 1 on content)
- eBook: Conversation Starters: Social Media Marketing in the HR Marketplace
Post by HRmarketer CEO Mark Willaman. Join Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Labels: content marketing, social media, social media marketing, social networking