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Best Practices: Social Media

Social Media elements have become more important to many tech B2B marketers. However, looking at many of the abortive efforts using consumer focused approaches, there is a need to take a new look at how Social Media can play an important part, deliver metrics/ROI, and help drive sales and competitive position.  This document will help you understand some of the key Best Practices that should be implemented to drive maximum results.
Key Process & Elements of High Quality Social Media Program
 
  1. Objective Content is essential to driving attention, this is not the place to try to “sell” the community
  2. Frequency is essential to having repeat traffic
  3. Response to news, industry events, and things that are creating buzz is essential
  4. Outbound activities to help new visitors find the site can often result in boosted traffic
  5. Specificity is very important – Most individuals are dealing with specific issues or tasks or needs, not general information
  6. Need engaging and interesting blogger to drive repeat visits
Personality Truly Matters
 
  • Being interesting, controversial, opinionated are all elements of a very good social media site and trying to manage this personality out of the site will only make it less attractive.
  • Having a known blogger or site leader is always a positive decision and will help the site get off the ground more quickly
  • Internal vendor staff can fulfill this role, but it can create conflicts for them
  • It is important that the driver of the Social Media program be focused on it, not doing a side job
Facebook and Twitter Have Yet to Show Social Media Power in B2B Tech
 
  • There is still no strong instance where either platform has shown the ability to deliver real metrics and actually quantifiable results
  • Tracking a B2B social media site is not essential as traffic or comment measures cannot be used to show ROI
  • IT Professionals, particularly, show a strong segmentation between personal and professional lives
  • It may become necessary to have a platform where incendiary or inaccurate comments can be managed
Hit the Key Issues for Customers
 
  • Operational Issues – Tips, fixes, experience on what works or doesn’t
  • News/Events/Opinions are also essential to makes sure that prospects and customers aren’t “surprised” by their manager or staff
  • Features and Functions are also key topics, especially new ones or underutilized ones
  • Extensions and Enhancements – Looking at moving to the next version, how to get more value or ROI from the solution
Showcase Your Understanding of Their Situation
 
  • Repeat many of their “war stories” with Customers
  • Merely becoming a shill or a live spec sheet has little value and is not going to be a successful approach
  • Being the “Alpha Geek” isn’t essential, but some position of superior knowledge is key
Make It Efficient for Prospects/Customers
 
  • Research shows that having a “one stop shop” is considered critical to more than three fourths of visitors, so make sure you have links and call outs
  • Not necessary to have all the content on one site, but make sure that valued and appropriate locations are just one click away, and use other content/links to other blogs/commentary
  • It is possible to put links to whitepapers/videos/eSems on the page, but make it subtle
Honesty is the Best Policy
 
  • Making a social media site an advocacy site will only doom it to failure, being up front about issues as they arise is essential
  • If you are blowing smoke, that will be detected and will kill traffic
  • A Social Media site/location can be an excellent place to have an honest and balanced discussion of the issues that you have and can often work well to remediate them
  • It is also a good idea to solicit some of your satisfied customers to comment on the social media site.

These Best Practices are of course general in nature and how to use and implement them may vary depending on the actual product/solution, competitive position, goals of the program, and needs of the vendor.

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