A Schooling on Social Media and Digital PR
Recently, I was invited to speak on the topic of digital PR and social media at the Babson College MBA Entrepreneur Program, taught by adjunct professor and faculty advisory, Angelo Santinelli. I always look forward to these opportunities, as you can learn so much when you are in a room with 40 individuals who have dreams of creating and leading breakthrough companies.
One of the toughest things in preparing for this session was determining the level of information to present to the audience. After all, not only are they incredibly smart, but I had to assume that they already use social media, daily. Maybe they would be teaching this old dog some new tricks.
So I did some research, looking for the latest stats and trends on social media adoption and its application in B2B environments, in particular. As I pulled these elements together, it became clear how far and fast social media and digital PR have progressed in the B2B world. Rarely are we still trying to convince organizations that they should be doing it. Halleluiah! Rather than discussing the benefits of social media, the conversation has turned to how do you do it right and demonstrate measurable value.
Here are some of the points that garnered the most conversation:
- Assessing your communications DNA - First and foremost, understand your company's communications DNA. Is it conservative, risk taking or somewhere inbetween? Is the style casual or is it formal? Will the process be hierarchical and controlled or more open and social?
- Revving up the content engine - Still a big fear. How do you keep that content funnel filled? People need to be reminded that content comes in many different forms and should come from many sources. In fact, much of it should be based on reacting to external developments.
- Pushing the buttons at the right time - The kind of company you are, your target customer and their social profile should dictate how to divide your focus across Paid, Earned, Owned and Shared (PESO) media.
- Focus on who matters - This is especially true of B2B companies. Most likely they don't need a million followers on Twitter. What they do need is the right audience connecting with them across all their channels.
- Spend more time engaging and less broadcasting - Most B2B companies still default to using their social channels for broadcasting the latest company developments and achievements. But is anybody listening? Spend more time commenting on content created by your most important followers and influencers.
- Choose your channels wisely - Hand in glove with the content concerns, the question of which channels are most effective and provide the greatest payback was an area that elicited the most questions and conversation. It's virtually impossible to go from zero to 60 across a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ all at once. Your plan should take all channels into account and be synergistic, but understand that your audience, content and measuring the value of each will be different to some extent.
Of course there were many other questions and areas covered, but if I attempted to write about all of them I would violate one of my personal principles about social media -- KISS -- Keep It Simple S_____!