Baseball is without a doubt the most talked-about sport in both my house and my office this time of year.  There’s just something about summer and baseball.  Indeed, baseball will definitely be a hot topic this week as the “Midsummer Classic,” better known as the All-Star Game, goes into full swing on July 10th, 2012.  As I have sat down to write this post, there are exactly 2 days, 2 hours, and 57 minutes left until the game begins — yes, the official website for the MLB 2012 All-Star Game has a countdown clock!   In honor of the “Midsummer Classic,” I will use 3 baseball lessons to illustrate ways that companies can use social media to hit their own home runs in their B2B inbound marketing mix.

Lesson #1:  Baseball is a team sport

It’s true that some of the players are more highly skilled than others…but it takes the efforts of the entire team to win (or lose) a game.  Each individual has to work together to make their team successful.

So it goes within your B2B inbound marketing team.  Your inbound marketing team could be a team composed of one or more people.  As a team, coordination and cooperation are essential to determine your social media strategy, your target market, and your message.  It is also important to realize that your team also now includes your audience – especially since this will be the source of potential visitors, leads, and clients.  Social media has opened the gates to an even larger potential audience – and thus a larger team.

Lesson #2:  Singles vs. homers

Home runs aren’t as common as ordinary base hits.  Because of this, a good, solid home run definitely seems to be more impressive to the crowds (and the hitter(s), I’m sure).  The reality is that the team who hits the most singles and doubles within a game are usually going to win.

Within your B2B inbound marketing mix, social media home runs can occur on a fairly regular basis.  You may publish a blog post that becomes popular when it appeals to a large number of your followers on Twitter or Facebook, for example.  Maybe your post identifies a “pain point” or some other topic of interest for a potential client.  The result is a home run – easily measured in the number or shares and/or comments.  Most often, your social media efforts will be visible in the forms of singles and/or doubles.  Definitely good points have been made to some of your audience, but the numbers are reflected on a smaller scale.  The good news is that the more of these “singles” you have, the greater the exposure of your business over time – consistency is certainly important within B2B inbound marketing.  Your presence online is certainly going to gain momentum this way.  Although it may seem to be on a smaller scale at first, the “win” is ultimately within reach.

Lesson #3: Remember to be flexible 

Things often happen when you least expect it, even among the baseball pros.  Your top pitcher could pull a muscle, or your best runner could develop a stomach virus right before the All-Star Game.  What to do?  Well, the game must go on.

Businesses have been in situations where their social media campaigns have taken complete nose-dives…maybe someone or some group has been offended by your message and starts a counter-campaign in an attempt to derail your business efforts.  However, just like with the “Midsummer Classic,” you cannot let a (hopefully) minor situation set your team or business back.  As part of your strategy, your team will most likely have contingency plans for events such as negative press, losing a team member, etc.  In many cases, your B2B inbound marketing may not even be affected by a social media challenge.  In fact, social media often provides one of the best ways to turn a negative into a positive – and may possibly produce an even more impressive home run for your company!

You may have other good baseball analogies as well – and I would be glad to hear them!  In the meantime, enjoy the All-Star Game and all the social media home runs you can hit!  Be All Pro!