How Businesses Can Get Started With Social Media

Alan BelniakSocial Media6 Comments

"First one to the Facebook Fanpage wins...:"

"First one to the Facebook Fanpage wins...:"

[note: this blog post has been co-written by the authors Alan Belniak and Laura Vecchio, and posted on each of their blogs – and]

We recently had the pleasure of co-authoring and co-presenting a topic for a New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA) event about social media marketing.  We titled it, ‘Social Media: What’s in It for You?’.  The title was a bit of a double-entendre, but it wasn’t really a question from us to the audience, but rather a question the audience members, as marketers, should be asking their customers and prospects.

The goal of this presentation was to teach you that you need to listen before you can engage; and to engage and sustain a community in social media, you must have a purpose or a theme. In this presentation we present you with a variety of valuable tools that give you the ability to begin listening to the conversations happening about your brand. To find what your purpose is however, you must answer the question to Step 1: “Why would anyone want to be your friend”?.

We’ve embedded the slide deck below.  You can watch it in place, and then head on over to SlideShare to download it if you like.  There are lots of extra click-able tidbits in the notes section of the PowerPoint slides that will also make this a nice handy bit of reference material.  You won’t get the full story of the presentation because you’re missing the talk track, but feel free to ping either of us if you have any questions about some of the content.  Speaking of questions, we selected a few from the session that came up and provided answers below (scroll past the embedded SlideShare viewer for the questions and answers).

Q: This is great and all, but doesn’t it end up being a huge time-sink?

A: It can, but so can anything else you do.  Sure, not the answer you wanted to hear but it’s true.  You need to put a fence around this, just like anything else.  Limit your interactions per day to something that works well for you.  Use some of the tools here to help streamline some of that listening process.  But one item that’s overlook here is that you can harness the power of your customers.  User-generated content and ‘customers as marketers’ is huge in the social space.  If you create content that is like-able and share-able, and you make that barrier to share so low, so many eyeballs will see it without you doing the work.

Q: Are you suggesting that you need to have different forms of content for different audience members?  Different targets?

A: Precisely yes, because not everyone with whom you want to interact consumes media the same way.  But you should be pulling the message from the same core content, and re-purposing it. This is especially important in B2B marketing (as it differs from B2C marketing link) because the purchaser and the consumer are often not the same.  You might take the features/benefits piece from the core content and turn it into a talking slide show for the end user.  You then might take the total cost of ownership piece from the core content and turn it into a 20-minute podcast for the EVP of marketing to listen to during her morning workout.  So, yes, two different assets, but from the same source.  And since they’ll live digitally, they can be re-purposed again and again, re-pointed to and re-leveraged.

What about you?  Do you have any questions after reading this or viewing the slides?  Do you have any comments?  Do you disagree with anything we stated here?  Let us know – drop us a note in the comments.

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