In the online world, the term ‘optimization’ is most commonly used in the context of search engines and the results are measured by your online properties’ search ranking. When it comes to social media, however, optimization and results need to be viewed in a broader perspective. Social media is first and foremost about relationships. Optimization then, is the process of refining and strengthening relationships in order to get better business results overall. How does this process work? What steps can you take to optimize social media channels for your B2B company? What kind of results can you expect and how you will measure the value?
Talking about process, allow me to digress briefly (you’ll agree it is a relevant digression). The Aberdeen Group’s Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Summit in Boston last week was an insightful learning experience—learning that I will enjoy sharing with you over the next few pieces on my blog. What struck me as the strongest common thread running through almost every presentation was the emphasis on process culture. Listening to speakers from a wide range of industries, it was very encouraging to see that even this congregation of typically hard-nosed, number-crunching bean counters, regarded the focus on a disciplined process culture as imperative to an organization’s success.
Tony Abate, VP and CPO of Cigna, a global health services and health insurance company spoke about the Japanese concept of “Gemba”—the place where value is created and where an organization interacts directly with the customer. The concept itself is not new—one has heard about Gemba Walks by executives aiming for lean manufacturing, total quality management, etc. In today’s context of social media, B2B organizations can benefit from applying the concept of Gemba with the realization that social channels are where you interact directly with your customers. And so it is a place where you must create the greatest value.
Get Your Gemba—Create Value For Your Customer On Social Media Channels.
Create Value On Social Media Channels and Drive Better Results
There are new social media channels emerging every day. I have picked the top 5 channels proven to be most effective for B2B marketing—let’s look at some ways to optimize these for better results:
1. LinkedIn: Whether or not you make time for social media activities in your day, know that LinkedIn is the one social channel that has stood the test of time in the B2B world. Create value for your LinkedIn connections by (a) Creating a meaningful and relevant About page—don’t copy and paste from your website! (b) Share links that you know your target audience will find interesting—don’t share useless information. (c) Create a group where you can host topical discussions, ask and answer questions, engage in actual conversations with the audience that matters to your organization, so they in turn can also add value. Click here to see more ways to optimize LinkedIn.
2. Facebook: Although it is still a beta version and only available in the US so far, it’s only a matter of time before Facebook’s Graph Search gets rolled out to other users. This, in my opinion, will be a big plus for business users who have either not seen quantifiable results from Facebook yet or are still sitting on the fence about whether or not to use this channel at all. Optimizing your company’s Facebook page to be found in relevant categories and encouraging “check-in” will help you find users you actually want to connect with and who see value in connecting with you.
3. Twitter: While I am still not convinced about the effectiveness of Twitter for B2B companies and their executives, I am not blind to the fact that this channel is growing very rapidly. And now the world’s eyes are peeled to its IPO that’s round the corner. (If you are looking at Twitter’s IPO, here is a good article on Forbes.com.) Coming back to the point, I found these useful tips from Search Engine Watch about how to optimize your Twitter profile.
4. Google+: Content marketing goes yet another step forward as B2B executives can now link their content using Google+ authorship. What’s the benefit of doing that? As your content gets found by searchers, your profile gets more visibility. In addition, individuals and organizations that interact with you and recognize you as a thought leader and credible author will give you those valuable clicks that you need. Great way to make your content shareable too.
5. SlideShare: On a daily, weekly, basis, most of us create slide decks for so many different topics. Some of these are purely for internal consumption but when we create something that can add incredible value for our customers, we need to share it. SlideShare is a great medium for doing that. You can also use SlideShare to create teasers that entice your audience to dive in and ask for that golden, gated content you guard carefully. The important thing to remember is that your slide decks should have compelling content, both text based and graphics/images/charts. Go ahead and embed a few high value SlideShare presentations into your LinkedIn profile too—it works!
By making a consistent effort to optimize your social media marketing efforts, you can get closer to accomplishing conversion through social. In fact, that may be a great topic for a future post! I would love to hear your thoughts on what the ideal B2B social conversion engine should look like. Please leave me a comment.
Can’t get complete buy in from the C-Suite for your social strategy? Download a free copy of this useful eBooklet: 10-Point Checklist to Get C-Suite Buy In for Social Media.
Statistics say that 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week and 65% visit the marketer’s website after viewing a video. So why not to use Animated Videos in your SMM?