Social Media is often misconstrued as a medium for business-to-consumer or B2C engagement and discounted as a viable communications network for those companies focused on business-to-business transactions. However, B2B, as in any other field impacted by online activity, is faced with a prime opportunity to not only cultivate communities in social networks and other social channels, but also amplify awareness, increase lead generation, reduce sales cycles, and perhaps most importantly, learn and adapt to market dynamics in real-time.
Following is an abbreviated excerpt from Engage, a new book that helps businesses build, cultivate, and measure success in social media.
Last year, Forbes magazine assembled a visual list for its Top 21 Twitter Tips to showcase business examples on how to use Twitter for marketing, service, sales, and ideation. The original compilation served as inspiration for a new list, one that helps businesses of all shapes, sizes, and focus embrace not only Twitter, but all social networks of relevance.
While many of the examples and quotes remain the same, the list is modified based on my observations and personal experiences.
To celebrate the release of Engage!, I was recently asked to share my thoughts on how social media impacts the advertising landscape for the current issue of Winning the Web, a popular magazine related to Web marketing. While the discussion opens with a review of the state and future of online advertising, the discussion also looks at the overall tectonic shift in new media and the profound opportunities that are unfolding.
Dan Schwabel is not only a personal branding expert, he’s someone I’ve come to know and respect over the years…and definitely someone I consider a friend. We recently sat down to discuss Engage and the resulting interaction culminated in a wonderful discussion that explored the state of professional and personal branding in the era of new media.
How do you define “Engage” and do you believe that people and business that fail to engage will cease to exist in the next decade?
The declaration was empathetic in its direction to those marketers who have been on the receiving end of directives instructing them to create and unleash viral content. In parallel, the statement was aimed at those decision makers who assign such projects.
Nielsen recently released a new report that officially documents what many of us already know, just never substantiated through data. According to a study published at the end of January 2010, Nielsen observed the online social activity of consumers around the world and discovered an 82% increase in time spent on social networking sites in December 2009. On average, users spent more than five and a half hours on popular networks such as Facebook and Twitter in December 2009. In December 2008, users clocked just over three hours on social networking sites.
Over the years, Social Media experts attempted to redefine ROI for a new era of influence. While some introduced alternative philosophies for measuring the nuances tied to social media, others wondered aloud whether ROI simply wasn’t necessary as the tools and methodologies for analyzing yields didn’t yet exist. And furthermore, by focusing on justification and metrics, we were distracted from the primary objective of building relationships and cultivating dialogue.
Social Media marketing is rapidly earning a role in the integrated marketing mix of small and enterprise businesses and as such, it’s transforming every division from the inside out. What starts with one champion in any given division, be it customer service, marketing, public relations, advertising, interactive, et al, eventually inspires an entire organization to socialize. What starts with one, a domino effect usually ensues toppling each department, gaining momentum, and triggering a sense of urgency through its path. And, it also marks the beginning of our journey through the ten stages of social media integration.
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. Solis is also globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. His new book, What's the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. Prior to End of Business, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.