Most companies know the importance of social media, but still aren’t taking advantage of new strategies to really create great social businesses. The expanding social toolbox is more powerful than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. These are merely tiny pieces in a larger picture that promises to empower those willing to learn and experiment.
The cost of putting these tools to work is quite low, so leaders of organizations small and large have a fair shot at stardom, but many disregard the information as not yet relevant. However, the reality is that new ideas are already making a big difference for early adopters.
The Organizational Voice and Reputation
The first foundational social tool to apply in creating a company’s social presence is to create and master the delivery of an “organizational voice.” There are many channels to speak through, such as Facebook, Twitter, print and video blogs. A combination should be used to reach diverse audiences.
An authentic voice on social media shows the real activity and humanity of an organization. This real value for clients gives you “earned” trust, as opposed to the “interruption marketing” methods used in older forms of advertising. Having a voice moves outreach to more conversation and less shouting at clients and prospects. It also boosts online reputation, providing digital proof of expertise. This is a key attribute for clients who want to deal with industry experts.
Delivering a useful organizational voice channel tightens the relationship between a company and its clients. This is, of course, only if the company’s blogs, Twitter streams and podcasts, among other outlets, are interesting, insightful and informative. Provide valuable content and clients will feel that the company is “talking” to them regularly and building a value-based relationship.
Creating Campaigns and Content
Once the conversation has started, it should be augmented with a large inventory of online assets. Thankfully, there are very inexpensive ways to do so. Start by creating custom channels on YouTube, Slideshare.net, Flickr, and Scribd. Once the accounts are established, create unique and interesting content for each one that would appeal to the client base.
Think in terms of 100 or more assets spread across all channels. Be clever with what you craft—creativity and innovation are critical to standing out and attracting lots viral uplift when these assets are sent out.
For example, if you’re a financial services company:
- Make fun but informative videos showing best practices for various financial plans
- Share PowerPoint presentations highlighting steps to teach young people financial literacy
- Create pictures and infographics that provide helpful or fun facts about the successful management of money
- Craft whitepapers outlining advice about investment strategies in different economic climates
There are millions of clever ideas for creating assets that will help with clients and customers. The most interesting can go viral, generating free publicity! Instead of feeling like expertise is being given away for free, think of it as proving industry expertise to prospects.
Once assets are uploaded and ready to distribute, there are many ways of reaping the benefits:
- You can send assets to individual prospects and clients to build value
- You can include them in sales proposals, online magazines and newspapers
- You can share them on your own site or have a business partner do the same
All of these efforts can go a long way toward building a superior brand.
eWord of Mouth and Recommendations
In addition, consider eWord of Mouth marketing. Identify the top bloggers and Twitter users in your market and enlist them in distributing digital assets. Bloggers and Tweeters are always looking for exceptional content to send to their readers.
Once traffic increases, maximizing reputation is the next step in closing deals. A company could do everything else right, and still lose it all by failing to build a positive online reputation.
The social networking world is a recommendation economy, where people make decisions based on what their friends—or the Internet herd—says about a product or service. That might seem unfair, but you can learn to manage online reputation to reap long-term benefits.
Ratings systems and comments on products, services and skills form the basis of a company’s online reputation. Managing reputation should include having a plan for responding to any online comments–negative or positive. Thanking people for compliments, for example, is a positive reputational step.
Just Scratching the Surface
The reality is that today’s capabilities are just scratching the surface. The social toolbox is vast and growing rapidly. Smart businesses can’t just opt out of learning to use the tools. Competitors will be using them and the advantage will only be greater going forward. Social technology tools are multi-faceted, and they offer the ability to change an economy that is in chaos to one that is manageable and predictable.
Interested in learning more strategies for B2B and social media? Check out peak performance coach Tony Robbins and technology author and consultant Scott Klososky’s free webinar, The Gold Mine: Finding New Customers with the Newest in Social Innovation on Friday, Nov. 16 at 10 am PST/1 pm EST.