Tuesday, June 22, 2010

6 Ways For Marketing to Help with Social Media

I can almost hear the comments already - shouldn't Marketing be "doing" social media, not "helping" with social media?


Sort of.

But there's more to it than that.

The problem is that in many marketing teams, there's "marketing" and then there's "social media". The "marketing" group believes strongly in social media, and agree that it's crucial, but what they "do" is run events, launch promotions, spend ad budgets, and optimize keywords. The "social media" person manages the Twitter handle, the Facebook page, and the blog.

I might be oversimplifying, but this problem is one I've seen often enough to generalize.

The reason is that most B2B marketing teams are not set up to truly invest in social media. Most are organized more around "lightning strike" rather than "flywheel" investment patterns, and often marketing teams do not contain the real subject matter experts needed as content creators for great social media efforts.

This means that the "marketing" folks generally work with two major levers:

- A Budget for campaign spend (ads, search keywords, event promotions, show attendance)
- A Marketing Database of interested or potentially interested prospects

Because they don't fit into these two major levers, the "social media" person's efforts often feel a bit disconnected from the major promotions being run.

So what can be done?

6 Ways Marketing Can Invest in Social Media

Smart marketing teams are applying these two major levers to turbocharge their social media efforts in 6 ways:

1) Content as Advertisement: Instead of spending ad budgets to promote high level branding ad spots, smart marketers are spending ad budgets to share the rich content their team is creating with a much broader audience of potential viewers.

2) Social Content as Nurturing: Rather than creating separate content for each nurture campaign or newsletter, leveraging the best content that the team has created (measured by the number of tweets, for example) gives you a sure win in terms of audience engagement, and lets your content be discoverable by the broader audience in your marketing database.

3) Hiring for Content Creators: If the subject matter experts in your organization are not creating a steady stream of rich content, hire a journalist to facilitate the process (credit for this idea goes to David Meerman Scott). A daily stream of interesting and inspiring content should be no problem for a professional.

4) Sourcing Data for Insight: If the ideas for what to write about are running dry among your content creation team, fund a survey to provide data and insights on topic areas that they suggest. Most organizations surprise themselves with how much mileage they can get out of unique and interesting survey data.

5) Fanning the Flames of Engagement: When your subject matter experts do write content, the marketing team can fan the flames of engagement. Sharing and promoting each new piece of content in the networks it's relevant to (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Delicious, etc) helps build awareness, and motivates your subject matter experts to continue creating more great content.

6) Leveraging Search to Showcase Content: Rather than use your search marketing budget to drive traffic from the same set of terms to the same set of landing pages, leverage your search budget to help each blog post, video, or eBook "get found". The content on each post is very likely long-tail or niche oriented, so the traffic volumes for each one will not be large, but the relevance will be very high.

Done well, the marketing team facilitates the growth of a healthy and vibrant community that is aware of and engaged with the rich, relevant content your subject matter experts and social media team are creating.

While the flywheel vs lightning strike dynamic is a real challenge, these investment options allow marketing teams to work in a coordinated fashion towards true social media success.

What have you done to get the "marketing" and "social media" people on your marketing team to operate in a more coordinated way?
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar


Veronica Brown said...

Your post is inspiring--I think the "flywheel" and the "lightning strike" approaches can benefit a lot from coming together, as you suggest in your 6 recommendations.

There is a such a difference in the personalities required to do Marketing and Social Media well that I'm starting to wonder why--and how--we expect them to live so closely together.

I added some thoughts of my own on the Content Factor blog, and linked to this post. http://bit.ly/deZYsL Thanks for the inspiration.