I work with solopreneurs as well as multi-national Fortune 500 firms. Small business owners tend to have this impression (it’s actually almost a complex!) that larger companies have secret social media knowledge and that they’re killing it online.
Here’s a little secret.
It is a myth. Four lessons I’ve learned about the use of social media to build brand awareness are:
Lesson 1: Successful Social Media is Driven by Focused Strategy & Commitment
Yes, best-in-class companies (especially Business-to-Consumer brands) have strong, well-aimed, well-directed programs. But most companies don’t. In fact, many larger businesses still don’t have a budget line for social media initiatives. I’ve worked with multi-million dollar firms that squeezed tweets and an occasional blog post out of their PR budget.
Many businesses haphazardly employ social media, with no clear objectives or strategy. That’s the lowdown. The one advantage larger companies have over everyone else? A larger marketing budget. But (and this is a big BUT) that budget is being spent only grudgingly (at best), and many times not at all on the right social activities.
Lesson 2: Social Media is a Viable Option for Increasing Brand Awareness & Leads
While social media is a well-established, primary marketing channel for B2C companies, adoption has been slower in the B2B space as companies struggle with measuring the effectiveness of “touching” prospects through social. The slower adoption of social media in the B2B space has allowed brands the time to establish and differentiate themselves. So there is plenty of room for you out there!
Lesson 3: It’s Still Newfangled & Savvy Social Media Users Can ‘Rise Above’
Social media’s relative newness is a leveler in the marketing playing field. Big companies tend to be slow when it comes to adapting new technologies or avenues, and this has held true of B2B social media. Companies large and small have struggled to harness social media’s potential, but savvy companies have learned the #1 lesson of social media: the whole “social” part. Engagement.
Smart social media operators know that constantly tweeting about a service you offer – with no other information sharing – isn’t useful at all. It’s about as effective as walking into a networking event and throwing a handful of business cards straight up in the air before walking out. The point is to entice your audience to engage with you. That means you need to engage with them, give them something they want or need regularly. You can’t just sell yourself once a week.
Lesson 4: The Speed of Social Media – The Advantage Goes to Savvy Companies
One thing I’ve found that differentiates savvy companies from other large companies is response time. As you would expect, response times at some companies can be slow.
Remember, social media is all about engagement. When someone engages with you online, they are engaging right now. Social media travels worldwide at gigabit speeds. Most attempts to start an online conversation will have ended before the Marketing Manager passes the question along to the Product Manager – who just happens to be traveling and out of touch. Remember, ….you’re just having a conversation.
What are your questions about implementing social media in your company?