I thought I’d start off the presentation with a few interesting social media facts:-96% of the world’s population now uses social media-86% of business companies have adopted social media strategies-But only 32% of these companies are active in social media sites on a daily basis-Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.-The majority of users of social media sites are actually 35-54.
Currently, NextGen is involved in 9 different social media sites-twitter, facebook, linkedin, ryze, partnerup, plaxo, Ning, Brightfuse, and a blog This is far too many sites for a company such as NextGen to stay actively involved in. NextGen is involved in more social media sites than the majority of companies participating in social media marketing. Most companies that are actively involved in social media only have 1-3 social media sites. The main take-away here is that it shouldn’t matter how many social media sites a company has, but how actively involved the company is within the sites they do have. The 4 social media sites that I think NextGen should be focusing on are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the company blog.
Some improvements that I think would be beneficial to NextGen’s current website and social media sites include:-Cutting the Flash Video Intro. In a recent survey, 80% of consumers said they preferred websites without flash intros. Most people, including myself, view flash intros as simply a postponement to the actual website and don’t pay much attention to it. -Secondly, NextGen needs to incorporate a corporate blog that is already integrated into the company website. A good blog is arguably more important for businesses than any social media sites. The majority of all company blogs are already incorporated into the actual company website giving the blog page the same look and feel as the website. The tool to consider here is WordPress. Wordpress is a blogging platform that you can download and install. Currently, it is the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, accounting for over 50% of all blog sites. - Lastly, as I mentioned before, NextGen’s new social media strategy should be focused solely on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the company blog. Once the social media strategy is implemented to these sites, I think NextGen should consider marketing through youtube as well. -Youtube has a huge audience, with about 100 million users visiting the site every month. This enormous audience gives businesses the opportunity to broadcast their brand. By providing a youtube video linked to the company website and social media sites it could provide value to the followers in a more entertaining way. An informative video about NextGen’s marketing solutions or even a humorous string of videos made by different members would be very entertaining. There is a good example of one of our competitors that uses youtube effectively in their marketing campaign which I will elaborate on a little later. -Youtube has a huge audience, having about 100 million users visit the site every month. This enormous audience gives businesses the opportunity to broadcast their brand. By providing a youtube video linked to the company website and social media sites it could provide value to the followers in a more entertaining way. An informative video about NextGen’s marketing solutions or even a humorous video made by different employeeswould be a good way to provide entertaining content. One of our main competitors, Cap Gemini, usesyoutube videos effectively on the company website. I will elaborate on this a little later on.
Like I said before, we should start our social media strategy with the area of focus on these 3 social media sites and the Wordpress blog.
A lot of people think that only B2C companies need to be involved in social media strategies, when in fact B2B social media marketing is equally, if not more important. This graph illustrates the level of involvement between B2B companies versus B2C companies. As you can see, more B2B companies are actively engaged in social media strategies than B2C companies- 86% vs. 82%. However, B2C companies are far more active on these social sites- 52% of B2C are engaged on a daily basis whereas only 32% of B2B are engaged on a daily basis. Social media can actually be more influential for B2B companies because they have a smaller potential customer base and a consumer decision process that is influenced more by word of mouth and reputation. Being on social media allows B2B companies to connect with B2B consumers on a more personal and interactive manner. Instead of waiting for buyers to go search for your website and information when they need you, social media allows you to reach out to them, so that you would be the first company they seek when the need arises. Having said that, the following steps are steps I believe to be imperative for an effective B2B social media marketing strategy:
Step 1: Set GoalsStep 2: Assess the MarketStep 3: Determine an appropriate content strategyStep 4: Develop an effective schedule for executionStep 5: Measure the ROIStep 6: Analyze your results
The first step to developing a successful social media marketing strategy is determining what your company wants to get out of it? Is the goal to increase awareness? Increase lead generations? Increase sales by 25%? This is a goal that needs to be set and understood by the entire management team. The management team should agree upon, and write out a goal statement. NextGen’s current goal statement should read something similar to the following:“The NextGen Marketing Group’s new social media marketing strategy is to increase awareness and generate new business leads.” This may seem like a trivial step, but it is necessary in order to keep the subsequent steps on task with the main objective. With a specific goal in mind, it will be easier to measure your ROI effectively later on too.
The next step to developing a successful social media strategy is assessing your market. After creating your goal statement for the social media strategy, you should start thinking about who you are trying to reach. The key word of social media is “social.” Social media basically enables people to connect, network, share information, build business relationships, and maintain business relationships. So who is it NextGen wants to connect with and build business relationships with? -We want to build relationships with potential clients and maintain strong relationships with clients we’ve previously worked with. There are several applications and tools that can help us narrow in on our target market for each social media site (covered more specifically later on). But on a broader spectrum, some key strategies to keep in mind when building your network are: 1. Follow the gurus- you should follow the experts or leaders within your industry. So if you add the CEO or CMO of an organization within the marketing industry you should add a personal message with your friend request saying something like, “I’m a big fan of yours and have followed your blog for several years. I’d love to have you in my facebook network.” They will be more likely to accept you this way. Be sure to make comments on their status and updates so you stay on their radar once they’ve accepted you.2. Follow the competition- you shouldfollow the competition to see what they are doing and who they are following as well. It would be wise for us to look who our main competitors are following on twitter and then follow them as well (If Bozell and Mercer are following companies they see as potential clients, then those companies are potential clients for NextGen as well).3. Follow potential clients- you should obviously friend and follow potential clients so that you are on their radar when they need any marketing solutions.4. Follow Friends of Friends- once you are following the experts, the competition, and the potential clients, you should look to see who they are following as well. Most likely the people in their network are people that could be beneficial to have in your own network as well. For example, Cap Gemini has a very large twitter following so it would be a good ideato see who they are following and follow them as well. (picture-Pierre Hessler of Cap Gemini)
One of the most important factors of an effective social media strategy is the content. You need to create compelling content that will actually interest NextGen’s client base/target market. There has to be a good balance between including content about your own company Versus other interesting or valuable content.The content can’t be all about NextGen. A common mistake a lot of marketers make is going straight for the sell and only talking about their company. A quote that I thought put this into perspective was from NextGen’s very own- Stephen Monaco: “Everything can not be about NGMG. This is a huge 'party foul' companies routinely commit when they get involved in social. Doing so, is literally like going to a party and talking about nothing but yourself. ”- Stephen Monaco. Some examples of content we can blog or tweet about that doesn’t involve NextGen would be anything related to our industry, any newsworthy stories, current events, industry trends, etc. Making your information entertaining will encourage others to share it with their social network.However, the whole point of social media marketing is to actually market your own brand, so you are obviously going to want to write about your company or product to some extent. After all, the people who are following NextGen on our social sites are obviously interested in NextGen. Some examples of company-focused content would be writing about any upcoming company events, newsworthy stories about NextGen, interesting news about the Braintrust members or any employees, information on our service offerings, stories about how our services have helped other clients, or any special offers or promotions. The main thing to keep in mind is that content, although very important, is also a means to an end. The content strategy is how you engage people and build relationships. And in order to continue to build relationships and grow your network you have to actively listen to your followers, engage in conversations with them, and have meaningful responses. So basically, the “content” is the first stepping stone in this circular path: The content is how we drive conversations, the conversations are how we engage with people, and engaging with people is how we build the NextGen brand and drive business leads.
Determining a schedule to execute your social media marketing strategy is by far one of the most critical elements. If NextGen has a team dedicated to social media, then it should be easy enough to update these social sites on a daily basis. A common pitfall of many companies make is thinking that by simply creating a facebook page or twitter account, they are making an impact in the company’s social media marketing. In order to successfully make a difference in your social media strategy you need to actively update and maintain the sites. Many of the links on NextGen have been sitting idly for months with no recent activity. Another issue you need to assess is who will be responsible for maintaining the social media sites? I think it would be a good idea to form a dedicated team of people (probably 3-7 in size) from the Management Directors. It would also be a good idea to have Stephen Monaco head up the team given his expertise in this area. So hypothetically for right now, assuming Stephen is willing to head up the team- he would be the sole “voice” of our social media strategy at first. It is important to keep our writing style and tone of voice consistent in our blogs and tweets. Therefore, I feel it is important to start out with one person writing and posting. He or she needs to make it known who they are (this doesn’t mean stating your name necessarily). As for the rest of the social media team, they should be actively searching for valuable content and information for Stephen to write about. Searching for the right content is very time consuming in itself. After a while, the other members can write some blogs and posts as well- just so long as each person makes it clear who he or she is. A simple difference between a ‘hey’ and a ‘hi’ is noticeable to a dedicated follower. Dedicated followers like knowing who they are communicating with and feel as if they know the man behind the “voice.” So it is important not to try and trick these followers into thinking the same consistent person is blogging or tweeting when in fact someone else is. If a different person wishes to write a blog, he or she shouldn’t try and write it as if they are the usual blogger, but simply make it clear who they are.
It is well known that monitoring ROI is essential to a social media strategy. However, in a recent study, it was revealed that only 16% of respondents measure ROI. So basically, “84% of the professionals are using social media ignorant to its effectiveness.”There is no perfect way to monitor ROI with social media. Depending on NextGen’s budget, the best way to monitor our social media efforts would be using monitoring/listening software tools and specific social media analytics to measure KPIs. However, a lot of these tools can be expensive and not necessarily imperative. There are several tools that I found could be easily implemented for NextGen’s social media marketing strategy. The first tool is Google Web Analytics. This tool is beneficial when it comes to measuring traffic and sales. This tool tells you how many visits to the company website each social media site is responsible for. It also tells you the geographic location of your website traffic, the average time spent on the site, the percentage of new visitors, and the bounce rate. (see pic on slide)Next, Google Alerts is another monitoring tool from Google that automatically notifies users when any new content from the web, blogs, or videos matches the set of search terms you selected to be monitored. You can choose to receive email updates either daily, once a week, or as it happens (multiple times a day). This is a simple tool that monitors brand mentions for companies and can be leveraged to monitor competitor mentions as well. Next, Social Mention is a social media monitoring tool that tracks and measures what people are saying about your company, product, or any topic specified. It provides a social ranking score based on popularity for every search- so how often the search term is mentioned and even whether the sentiment is positive, neutral, or negative…
A few other social media ROI tools that aren’t free, but aren’t extremely expensive that we might want to look into are Trackur and PostRank Analytics. Trackur is another social media monitoring tool that tracks and scans millions of web pages of nearly every aspect- blogs, RSS feeds, tweets, and even images and videos. This tool notifies users of any keywords or related interest items that are being mentioned in these sites. Trackur basically allows users to receive custom alerts, track sentiment and trends, and gain customer insights. There is a 14 day trial and the price is $18 per month for individuals or up to $290 for a company.Postrank Analytics is a little bit of a different monitoring tool because it provides scores to gauge how well certain content items work- so it basically tells you if a blog post or a tweet was responsible for a client actually taking action. This tool also shows messages from other websites that are contributing to the engagement score and maps out the number of page views for a social media site or blog per day. This is a little more affordable at $9 per month to track 5 sites. Above are pictures from Postrand and Trackur that show some statistics and charts that help assess the ROI of social media efforts.
Overall, this is one of the most crucial parts of the social media marketing strategy. It is important to gauge how well our efforts are actually doing in order to see what is working and what is not. This way, we can determine if we should allocate our time differently or change up the strategy. A lot of companies overlook this step, but NextGen will be ahead of the curve by using the previous monitoring tools I just explained.
Next, I’m going to cover some strategies for each social media site, individually, and a little bit more in depth. Facebook has over 175 million active users. The first thing we need to do with NextGen is create an actual facebook page. These pages are getting increasingly popular among businesses- over 20 million people become fans of facebook pages every day. After we make the actual facebook page, we need to find ways to get that page into the eyes of our target audience. As I mentioned in Step 2’s Assessing the Market, we need to be actively ‘friending’ the experts, the competition, potential clients, and the friends of friends. However, there are several tools specific to facebook that can help us narrow in on our target audience : First, there is a facebook advertising application. This allows companies to advertise to a specific target market by selecting the segments for who sees your ad: you can segment by age, sex, location, keywords, workplace, political views, etc. This is an option to consider investing in that isn’t too expensive, but it is on a CPC or CPM basis. This application even offers placement on the newsfeeds of your target audience and to friends of facebook users who have engaged in the ad or facebook page recently. Another tool is downloading facebook’s advanced search. This is a free application that can help us find our target audience by specifying different categories and keywords for facebook groups, business pages, and people. For example, you can type “Financial Services” in the advanced search engine and a list of financial service companies comes up that we might want to consider adding to our facebook network. Another tool that really makes sure businesses marketing efforts are reaching the right audiences is the new facebook insights tool- launched June 7th. This tool gives you access to the number of interactions on your facebook page, number of page views, wall posts, fans, likes, discussion posts, video plays, photos viewed, and much more. It also breaks down the age and gender of the viewers. Not only does facebook insight measure the traffic, but it goes even further to analyze the quality of your page content. It tells you who is posting related links, the interactions per post, and overall post quality. This is supposed to tell you how engaging your content is to users.(Check out Ben and Jerrysfacebook page- great example. Over 1,284,000 people like this page. They have tons of photo albums of customers enjoying their ice cream from around the world, they update their status constantly and have comments filled from fans. And they get creative with their page- to promote their Flipped Out ice cream they used a facebook application that flips your text upside down so it looks odd and catches your attention. People became intrigued and started asking questions)
For Twitter, the ‘find people’ feature on the top of the page allows you to search for keywords that would help find people within your target market. For example, NextGen may want to do a search for ‘marketing solutions.’ This search will bring up people or businesses whose information or recent tweets involve marketing solutions. You can simply follow them and hopefully they follow you back in return. Another idea would be to find our main competitors on twitter. As I mentioned before, Cap Gemini has an excellent twitter page with a large following. We can follow Cap Gemini and see who they are following and then follow them as well. It is also important for us to tweet key words when we are tweeting. We want to tweet keywords such as ‘marketing solutions’ so that we become searchable when our target market is doing the searching. This way, NextGen will come up when someone types in ‘marketing solutions’ in the search engine. Another feature twitter recently implemented is Promoted Tweets. Promoted Tweets allows companies to sponsor their tweets so that they come up on the top of users’ searches. So far, it was only available to a few major companies as a test group- Starbucks and Best Buy being 2 of them. Promoted Tweets also appear in users feeds who fit the target audience even if they aren’t following the company. However, people with twitter accounts don’t want updates about Best Buy or Starbucks if it has no relevance to them, so the Promoted Tweet option takes into account 9 factors of “resonance” to determine whether the specific promoted tweet is relevant to users or not. This might be something for NextGen to consider trying. (picture is of a Starbucks promoted tweet)
Some other twitter applications that NextGen might want to consider include: Tweetlater, Tweetdeck, Twellow, Tweettube, Tweetpic, Twixtr, Qwitter, Twitoria, Twittergrader, Tweetstats, Cotweet, Tweetbeep, and BubbleTweet. These are all aps that I found useful for businesses. TweetLater- this ap allows you to schedule your tweets for a later date or time so they will automatically send out at that time. It also has an auto response function so when new followers start to follow you, you can send an automatic direct response to them.Tweettube- this ap allows you to share videos, files, pictures, and more. Twitoria- this ap will tell you which of your friends or which businesses haven’t tweeted in a while, so you can unfollow the people who aren’t staying active. Tweetbeep- this ap tracks twitter conversations that mention you, your business, or your products and alerts you via email.
LinkedIn is another great social media tool that is more powerfully utilized as a way to maintain previous business relationships. Because you can’t ‘connect’ with someone on linkedin if you don’t already know them, it gives linkedin a slight disadvantage when it comes to forming new business relationships compared to facebook. However, this is still a great social media site for businesses to engage in because it is specifically for businesses professionals. Some new features on LinkedIn that I think will help NextGen include: LinkedIn recently introduced the ability to ‘follow’ companies. This feature is similar to facebook’s “like” button or twitter’s “follow” button. It allows people to track all changes at that company including any profile changes, openings for positions, promotions, etc. NextGen should consider following the main companies within our industry to track what they are doing and monitor any changes or updates to their company profiles. LinkedIn also recently added a ‘custom company profiles’ feature that allows you to add more features like videos, interactive polls, and other customized options for company profiles. This would be a good way to distinguish NextGen’s company profile from the other, more basic company profiles. (picture is of a custom company profile page with a video on it) It is also important to make sure every Nextgen member has a linkedin personal profile page with the NextGen company profile page and the Nextgen company website linked to their personal page. This may seem like a minor detail, but if all 50+ members have the NextGen site linked to their profile it will help generate visits to the company website, and in turn help generate business leads.
Hootsuite is a good tool that I would recommend for people or companies who have more than one social media site to maintain. This tool is a way for companies to manage multiple social media sites at the same time. You can save time by posting the same message to all your social media networks without having to log in to each site. Basically, you can post a message on hootsuite and it will send it out to your facebook, twitter, and linkedin profiles simultaneously. There is also a hootsuite application for the Android and iPhone so you can send out a message or post directly from your phone.
It is important to gauge what NextGen’s main competitors are involved in (in terms of social sites) and find out what they are doing well.The main consulting firm competitors are Accenture, Mercer, Cap Gemini, AT Kearney, TMNG, and FTI. Accenture and Cap Gemini were the two sites I found most captivating: Accenture has a twitter, a RSS feed, and a Podcast. You can click on different topics such as Health and Public Service, Management Consulting, Internal IT, Media and Entertainment, etc. all of which have a subscribe button (to RSS feed), a watch button, a listen button, or an itunes button for customers to watch or listen to a short segment from Accenture executives on that topic. Their twitter following is really large as well- they are following 619 and have 12,202 followers, and they usually send out a tweet once a day. The Cap Gemini site was another website that immediately caught my attention. There is a youtube video that plays on their home page when you first enter the site. If you click on the video you can see the youtube site where the sidebar shows all the other youtube videos- 5 elevator campaign videos, and 98 informational videos. There was also a social media feel to the actual website. When you click on the topic ‘business information management’- there is a contact button with a profile picture of the expert on this topic. Cap Gemini is involved in facebook, twitter, blogging, and youtube.Their twitter page is very eye catching and they are following 1600 and have 4261 followers, and they usually send out tweets 1-2 times a day. The main marketing firm competitors are Bozell, WPP, Oglivey, and J Walter Thompson. Bozell was the most interesting site out of the marketing firms: The Bozell website had a great feature where you can see the management team and all the employees. When you click on a specific employee, there is a short video of that person talking about their job. Along with that, they have each person’s social media sites linked below. I thought this was a great idea that NextGen should definitely consider doing. On the side bar they also have all the other social media sites and pages that Bozell is involved in- twitter, flickr, youtube, linkedin, and facebook.
To sum up, I wanted to formulate a way for you to take all this information and make it into an actionable plan:Step 1: email this out to the NextGen management team to make sure everyone is informed and on board. Step 2: form the social media teamStep 3: decide on a social media schedule that works best for everyoneStep 4: delete all the NextGen social media sites except for LinkedIn and Twitter and actually create a facebook pageStep 5: create a new corporate blog using Wordpress.
Step 6: make sure all the social media sites and blog have the same format, the same logo, and are consistent.Step 7: search and seek out the major players and companies within our industry to friend and follow. (follow the experts, the competition, the potential clients, and friends of friends)Step 8: make a HootSuite account to control all the status and tweets for our social media sites simultaneously.Step 9: start searching for interesting industry trends or newsworthy stories to incorporate into our content strategy.Step 10: tweet away! Start actively participating in all the social media sites
The NextGen Marketing Group:Social Media Strategy 2010By Kristen Moe
Basic Facts: 96% of the world’s population uses social media 86% of B2B companies are using social media Only 32% of the companies involved in social media are active on a daily basis Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S. Majority of social media usersare between 35-54
Social Media Strategy: B2B Step 1: Set Goals Step 2: Assess Market Step 3: Determine Content Strategy Step 4: Develop Schedule for Execution Step 5: Measure Step 6: Analyze
Step 1: Set Goals Increase awareness? Increase lead generations? Increase sales? “The NextGen Marketing Group’s new social media marketing strategy is to increase awareness and generate new business leads.”
Step 2: Assess Market Who are we trying to reach? Previous clients vs. potential leads Who should we be following? Follow the gurus Follow the competition Follow potential clients Follow friends of friends
Step 3: Determine Content Strategy “Everything can not be about NextGen.This is a huge 'party foul' companies routinely commit when they get involved in social.Doing so, is literally like going to a party and talking about nothing but yourself. B-O-R-I-N-G! ”- Stephen Monaco
Step 4: Develop Schedule for Execution Determine timetable Stay active Who is responsible? Consistent “Voice”
Step 5: Measure 84% of the professionals are using social media ignorant to its effectiveness.
Over 4 million people become fans of Pages daily.
“With facebook, you build community by sharing meaningful content and by empowering your customers to spread the word for you. You can reach hundreds of millions of people on a global scale… or precisely the ones that matter to you most.”
What’s Next: Step 1: email social media strategy out to NextGen Management team Step 2: Form a social media team Step 3: Decide specific social media schedule Step 4: Delete all social media sites except facebook, twitter, and linkedin Step 5: Create new corporate blog through Wordpress
What’s Next: Step 6: Make sure all social sites and blog are consistent Step 7: Search and seek out professionals and companies Step 8: Make Hootsuite account Step 9: Start searching for interesting content Step 10: Tweet away!
Conclusion: Social Media is a growing part of the business world and it isn’t going anywhere. Like everything else at work, you should implement it and constantly look for ways to improve it. “Technology is moving fast and so should you.”