Sunday, April 24, 2011

Expectations Setting in Social Engagement

There is an often-asked and absolutely fair question that arises in a fair number of my new business presentations about social media marketing.

The prospect asks, "If we stand up a separate blog or social media Web portal, won't that pull traffic from and interest in our corporate site?".

The answer is "yes" and while the slicing of Web traffic is a consideration (especially for mid-size companies or small businesses), we've found a distinct social media presence is typically complementary to a corporate site.  That's because of visitor expectations.

Let me clarify.  If you were to visit Strategic Communications Group's (Strategic) corporate site, I assume you understand and accept the fact this is a marketing vehicle.  The positioning and its related messaging on the site is promotional.

Now, stroll over to the "Strategic Guy" site or my partner Chris Parente's blog and your expectations should be different.  The content published through these vehicles is thought leadership oriented.  It's trends...best practices...lessons learned...and informed opinion.

At Strategic, we've developed a methodology that helps our clients appropriately align social media engagement with measurable sales benchmarks.  Yet, the key word is "appropriately." 

We recognize that in using social as a channel for content distribution you have an absolute responsibility to serve the information needs of your audience, much in the way an editor or reporter adheres to the standards of professional journalism.


We've also come to learn that expectation-setting in social media is also a critical component of client relations and project management.  The Email exchange below illustrates this point.

Upon reviewing an editorial outline and initial set of blog posts, a client writes:


I read this but I so not see the relevance of it to any of the discussions that I had this week with CTOs and senior decision makers who are the gatekeepers to our sales efforts.

Their focus was on the new feature sets, technical workflow, pricing/returns and the technical performance aspects of our product.

How do we measure the ROI on this?

To this, my colleague Ryan Schradin responds:

Hi,

We appreciate the feedback.

We understand that many times during tradeshows and expos the focus of conversation lies almost exclusively on the product and its specifications.

However, in many of the social networks, on corporate blogs and in social bookmarking sites, it’s considered poor form to only discuss the product and company. Self promotional content such as direct discussions about product features, pricing and benefits is often unwelcome in many of these forums. It comes across as spam.

To reach out to the decision makers online in these social media properties, we need to discuss overarching trends and issues impacting the industry and provide your take and opinion on them.

Topics such as the impact new technologies are having on the space, new challenges that are arising due to the shifting ways people are accessing content, etc.  We use these blog posts as a way of engaging these individuals and creating conversations.

When done properly, we can portray your company’s executives as thought leaders, engage decision makers in online conversations, begin to identify new ways to interact with them online and enter them into the sales pipeline.

We can also tailor editorial content based on some of the challenges that the sales team is seeing impact potential customers. These posts could then be used as a conversation starter with potential customers and to illustrate that your company not only understands their challenges, but can help to overcome them.

If there are some topics in particular that you’d like to recommend, or any opinions or views that you’d like to see included on the blog, please feel free to reach out to me at the number below. I’d love to discuss some of the trends impacting the industry and work with you on the editorial direction of the blog.

All best,

RS

3 comments:

Eliasshams said...

It’s no brainer to see that social media is here to stay for good. Given vast variety of the existing channels to choose and stick with, it’s time for such a hot space to enter into a new category. There is a need for a portal to provide a quick and intelligent decision for both the consumer and the enterprise about their online connections.

A Platform to Help us to Distinguish Our Quality vs. Quantity Friends, Fans, Followers, and Companies

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr and others have been doing a decent job of providing additional marketing exposure and even in some cases, additional revenue. However, as more and more social networking sites pop up, how do you manage your brand across all these channels? Maybe more importantly, which one of these sites should you select as the one that will help you best reach your target audience? The proliferation of the social media avenues is becoming overwhelming.

This glut of information reminds me of the early 90’s when WWW was adopted broadly by the general public. Every company rushed to have a presence, to the point it became literally impossible to find the right information on the Web. That’s when a better generation of search engines – at first the Yahoo! and then Google – entered the market and helped us find the most relevant information by just typing simple keywords in their search box. If you had asked before Google launched, if there was a need for another search engine – most would have said no, we already have those….

Then came Web 1.0 & 2.0 – Youtube, Flickr, myspace, Facebook, Twitter and countless others have turned everyday people into content producers, influencers and experts. We basically tripled down on the information overload How do you know which channels to select for deploying your social media strategy? How do you know which one is the right channel to let your fans and followers to find you, your products, and services? Most importantly, who is Joe Smith that is recommending that person, that company, that product?

I hope my awesomize.me can accomplish such a mission. The site is not another social networking platform. Yet the portal to all your existing social media channels. The platform helps you, your fans, your potential clients to make an intelligent decision as to which company to connect to or follow via which social media channels and why? It’s free!

Elias
CEO & Founder
http://awesomize.me

sitepacker said...

I've realized that social media like linkedin is going to bring people to my site that are not targeted to some of my services. But, I run a social media management site so it's all good!

For many businesses social media will bring a totally different type of prospect to their site. I think that overall the social media will help people see the company in a different (but very useful) way.

Marc Hausman said...

Hey Elias -- thanks for the comment and the overview of awesomize.me.

You are a true entrepreneur and I know us service providers appreciate your contributions to DC's technology community.