It’s a small social media world
I was interested to see the social media world from a different perspective – across the ocean at Social Media World Forum Europe (SMWF). The surprising thing is, it doesn’t appear to be much different than the social media world in North America and I can probably surmise that it won’t be much different in Australia or Asia either. This global phenomenon, connecting individuals across continents, presents the same challenges and opportunities to companies regardless of geography or language. Packed with panels and presentations, the conference was a source of thought-provoking discussions, many of which strived to answer that one elusive question:
How do I make social media work for me?
From global brands to aspiring corporations, B2B or B2C, companies can use social media in numerous ways. However, to be successful, they need to be open-minded, forward-thinking, risk-taking and even a bit humble so that social media works for them – now and in the future. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you think about how to incorporate social media into your marketing mix:
- The titles say it all….
No longer a passing trend, social media is increasingly being recognized and used by the business world. Companies are now embracing the opportunities social media affords and building teams to focus on them by hiring individuals whose titles — Head of Digital Strategy, Head of Social Media Innovation or Managing Director of Social Media Strategy — probably did not exist five years ago. After all, a new sector, like social media, requires new positions. But, because social media is proving to be a major game-changer, competitive discourse is shifting as well. For instance, at SMWF, the most compelling thing I noticed is how companies are willing to share information with their direct competitors in the room, the same ones they might be monitoring back at the office. Whether you’re engaging online or off, transparency is a given.
- Wherever you might be, it’s never too late to start.
Companies, regardless of size or industry, are at varying stages of their social media involvement. Many B2B companies root their social media efforts around the creation of communities, while B2C companies integrate social media components into their traditional campaign-planning efforts. There is no silver bullet or a-ha moment, but social media can and does work for both B2B and B2C companies. Those who experience the most success do so with diligent and iterative planning.
- Use tools to manage the explosion of social media.
Within the business world, there is a growing appetite for technology to help companies manage the explosion of social media, especially in Europe. There, brands need to maintain a different presence across countries due to differences in culture and language. Social media monitoring software enables companies to overcome the challenges of listening to the billions of conversations in multiple languages by eliminating the “noise.” It structures and consolidates the data to make it accessible and digestible. Listening also brings forth opportunities for real-time response and engagement by identifying influencers, benchmarking the competition, gaining customer insights and much more. With a monitoring tool, companies are able to meet the goals and objectives of their social media strategies, not to mention their overall marketing plan.
If you are not onboard with social media, it may be time to start listening to those conversations that take place on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks. Developing a plan, listening to the conversations about your brand and engaging with your audiences are great ways to establish a social media presence. The more you familiarize yourself with it and understand how to benefit from it, social media may take you farther than you expect.
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