A presentation on how an equipment finance and leasing company may use social media and social networking for marketing and communications purposes. Findings from original grant research conducted in summer 2010 are included.
It is a good time to establish your presence online. That way when the business world figures out how to truly use social media for business gain, you will already be known, trusted and have the networks. If you wait, our research shows you will have a much harder time getting any attention or traction.
We also actively monitored 14 industry companies over a six-week period, monitored the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association LinkedIn group discussions, and interviewed more than 15 individual members of the industry.“Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation Survey on Social Media” (Summer 2010)
While the industry lags behind others, we expect that to change in the next 12 months.Several of the social media experts the authors spoke with say the industry is well-timed to engage social media strategies, as several new developments have made it an ideal time for a B2B industry, such as the equipment finance business, to begin exploiting what is possible with Web 2.0.
You’ll see the most active uses of social media are within LinkedIn, a Facebook fan page or distributing press releases and corporate information. They also encourage employees – somewhat – to have a personal presence online. That may have more to do with encouraging LinkedIn profiles than anything else.Yet most believe they are only somewhat or not very effective. 35% says somewhat effective and 26% say not effective. A very small piece of the pie, 7%, say they are effective. And just 2% say every effective.
Yet, the companies that are engaged are doing so for the right reasons – raising visibility and increasing brand awareness and image. They also reported creating community, which harkens back to the Facebook Fan page perhaps being chosen as a vehicle by so many.We were surprised that just 40% reported “generating sales and marketing leads” was considered a goal. But, they do have the right idea. Social media is not like traditional marketing, which we’ll discuss.
Private Online Communities – members only such as Executive Forum; Raise Capital; Alumni Organizations. Some exist on LinkedIn.Blogs -- From the Wall Street Journal to niche blogs in your markets. Also, your own blog.Twitter
Everyone who monitors the social media realm or deeply involved will tell you that return on investment is only now able to be calculated. And, it’s not calculated in a simple formula.
These six steps may look familiar. But, note that listening happens before planning and investing. You have to listen to the social media channels before you’ll know what to do. This goes beyond market research. This means actively logging on and lurking, asking customers and prospects where they go online, and conducting some social media anthropology.
Social Media for the Equipment Finance Company
Real-World Social Media for the Equipment Leasing & Finance Company<br />Web Seminar December 1, 2010<br />
2<br />Today’s web seminar is based on<br />the Equipment Leasing and<br />Finance Foundation’s Study <br />“Social Networking for the Equipment Finance Industry”<br />and brought to you by the <br />ELFA Academy and the <br />Equipment Leasing and Finance <br />Foundation.<br />
3<br />Presenters<br />Suzanne Henry<br />Four Leaf Public Relations LLC<br />Steve Guido<br />Oracle Financing<br />David Wiener<br />The Alta Group<br />
4<br />Suzanne Henry<br />Four Leaf Public Relations LLC<br />
5<br />“Monologue has given way to dialogue.” <br />~Brian Solis*<br />*Brian Solis. “Social Media Manifesto,” (11 June 2006) <br />
6<br />What is Social Media?<br />Online social interaction that is relatively<br />Open & public<br />Where the users are in control<br />Where the purpose is connection, sharing and influence<br />Twitter<br />Facebook, MySpace<br />YouTube<br />Blogs<br />LinkedIn<br />Flickr<br />Digg<br />
7<br />The Social Media Realm<br />Attribution: <br />Brian Solis http://www.flickr.com/photos/briansolis/2735401175/sizes/l/<br />
Strong Growth<br />1.9 billion people worldwide are active Internet users. 77.4% use the Internet in North America<br />80% of U.S. Web users now regularly making use of social media tools <br />43% of the 2009 Inc. 500 reported social media was “very important” to their business/marketing strategy <br />91% of the Inc. 500 were using at least one social media tool in 2009 (up from 77 percent in 2008)<br />Facebook: 500 million users // LinkedIn: 75 million members // Twitter: 106 million accounts<br />51% of social media users are age 35 and older<br />8<br />
B2B Marching Toward Social Media<br />According to a study* of chief marketing officers:<br />Businesses currently allocate 6% of their marketing budgets to social media <br />Expected increases:10% during 2011 and 18% over the next five years<br />B2B services companies reported the largest planned increases in social media spending, from 7% to 11% of overall marketing budgets, over the next year<br />*Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business/American Marketing Association. CMO Study (February 2010) <br />9<br />
10<br />Equipment Finance Industry<br />Survey results from the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation Survey on Social media, summer 2010<br />1,000 equipment finance professionals surveyed, 14% response rate<br />
11<br />Equipment Finance Industry<br />Late adopter/ Lag best practices<br />35% of respondents just got started in social media usage in the last 6-12 months<br />51% block at least some of the social media channels<br />Yet, in the next 12 months<br />41% of recent survey respondents report their organization will be more active and expand into new social media <br />40% believe they will maintain about the same level of social media activity<br />No one said they will reduce their social media activity <br />
14<br />Four Horsemen of the Social Media Realm<br />Twitter<br />Blogs<br />Private, online communities<br />LinkedIn<br />Facebook and Plaxo have a place <br />on a case-by-case basis<br />
More Important to Note<br />Tools, channels and venues will change<br />Understanding social media culture will ensure a nimble and effective effort<br />The new culture:<br />Is transparent & personal<br />Operates on “lethal generosity”<br />Has redistributed influence among “the people”<br />Individuals have power for both developing content and as a consumer<br />Includes various “payment forms,” including connections, referrals, praise, promotion, knowledge, competitor intelligence<br />15<br />
Power to the People<br />Individuals valued over corporate entity<br />Employees considered most credible<br />Social media users want “thinking” individuals talking, posting, tweeting<br />Social media has unleashed a level of individual empowerment that many believe will be impossible to retract<br />16<br />
Return on Investment Still Elusive. Yet…<br />“69% of survey respondents reported that their companies gained measurable business benefits, including more innovative products and services, more effective marketing, better access to knowledge, lower cost of doing business, and higher revenues.” <br />~2009 McKinsey Global Survey report on Web 2.0 usage<br />Deploying social media technologies “to foster collaboration among employees, customers and business partners is highly correlated with market share gains.” <br />~A September 2010 McKinsey Quarterly report on a survey of global executives on the impact of “participatory Web 2.0 technologies (such as social networks, wikis and microblogs)<br />17<br />
18<br />Engaging the Four Horsemen<br />Twitter, blogs, <br />Private communities, LinkedIn<br />
Six Phases of Involvement<br />Prepare<br />Listen<br />Plan<br />Invest<br />Engage<br />Learn<br />No template exists<br />Organizational goals, objectives and company characteristics mean a custom social media program<br />19<br />
Prepare<br />Understand the new culture<br />Form a cross-functional social media team<br />Identify goals and objectives<br />Know thyself<br />20<br />
21<br />Questions to Ask<br />Do you have individuals on staff already involved in social media/networking? (SMN)<br />Who are your current SMN evangelists?<br />Do you understand the culture around SMN?<br />What are you willing to talk about (or not talk about) in a public forum?<br />Why do you want to get involved in SMN? Brand development? Sales and marketing? Employee recruitment?<br />Is there anything related to SMN that you already know senior and middle management cannot get behind?<br />How much time are you willing to allocate to SMN activities?<br />Do you trust your employees to be spokespeople?<br />Do you have policies and procedures in place that will affect SMN activities?<br />
Listen<br />Gather intelligence<br />Engage in social network anthropology<br />What is valued?<br />Who are influencers?<br />Get your “data house” in order<br />Devise way to get employee’s observations and experiences in the mix<br />Incorporate CRM<br />Use Web analytics and other tools <br />22<br />
23<br />Questions to Ask<br />Where are the customers? What do they want to talk about online?<br />What is being shared online? What is the overall tone of the conversations?<br />Who is influencing others? What triggers meaningful reactions or responses?<br />What are you trying to find? Sales leads? Brand mentions? Competitor intelligence? <br />Who and what discussions are gaining traction and interest, and why?<br />Who is going to do the intelligence gathering?<br />What is transpiring online that would impact or inform business objectives?<br />How will it be shared with others within the company? <br />Where would your presence be most advantageous (to both you and the online community)?<br />How should the data be synthesized? How and where will the data be housed? How will you synthesize what individual employees are finding online?<br />
Plan<br />Have a plan and a strategy<br />Identify what to measure <br />Identify risk areas<br />24<br />
25<br />Questions to Ask<br />How deeply are you going to get engaged?<br />Where are the high risk areas?<br />Which channels will you commit to?<br />What is going to be shared online? What will be contributed?<br />Who is going to be involved in the effort, from strategic decision-makers to main, corporate spokespeople?<br />Who will do what, when? And, who is responsible for content making its way to social channels?<br />Will departments and support individuals have their own online presence?<br />What needs to be in place, technology-wise?<br />How will success be determined and measured? By profits and revenue, risk management gains, brand improvements or increases in digital IP?<br />25<br />
Invest<br />Become discoverable, searchable, shareable<br />Determine the need for new communities<br />Select the right channels and tools<br />Dedicate resources<br />Identify “real” content<br />26<br />
27<br />Questions to Ask<br />Are you engaged in SEO and optimizing the corporate web site currently, and to what extent?<br />Is there a need for a new, private community of customers?<br />What are the right SMN channels to invest in?<br />What kind of resources can you dedicate?<br />How much time are you reasonably willing to commit to, and is it enough?<br />Are you willing to educate yourself and your employees to SMN and the desired outcomes of the company being involved?<br />Are you “open” enough? Do you allow SMN during work hours?<br />What is your story? What parts of your story are applicable to SMN activities? What do you have to contribute?<br />Are you willing and able to produce in the way of multi-media content, and over time?<br />27<br />
Engage<br />Let the brand personality shine<br />Determine level of participation<br />Understand the four B2B social media horsemen<br />Promote the effort <br />Reward success<br />28<br />28<br />
29<br />Questions to Ask<br />What will be your level of participation?<br />If we choose LinkedIn: Who is most important in the company to have a presence?<br />Do we want individual or corporate Twitter streams?<br />If blogging: Who will do it? What will we say?<br />How are we going to reach influential bloggers?<br />How will we contribute to private online communities?<br />Does Facebook make sense for us?<br />What is your brand’s personality?<br />Who are you talking to online and what voice should be adopted to reach them? <br />How will you recognize and reward success?<br />What will you do to ensure sustainability?<br />How will conversations online be handled?<br />How will you handle missteps, failures and negativity that may arise?<br />
31<br />Questions to Ask<br />Did you reach your goals and objectives?<br />What occurred? What were the results?<br />Feedback that led to positive change?<br />New ideas and markets?<br />Cost savings?<br />Process improvements?<br />Increased brand awareness?<br />Connections, especially those that led to sales and marketing gains?<br />What activity and content have influence online?<br />Did you meet anyone new that led to a positive outcome?<br />Are your customers talking to you differently now?<br />Are you reaching prospects?<br />What needs to be changed immediately?<br />What processes are helping/hindering?<br />
When Social Media Does Not Make Sense<br />Companies that have<br />Small number of customers<br />Unhappy employees <br />Significant upper management cynicism or disdain over social media<br />Unclear strategic imperative for social media<br />Companies in highly regulated industries where communication is dangerous under any form<br />32<br />32<br />
33<br />Social Networking for the Equipment Finance Industry<br />A report commissioned by the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, produced by Four Leaf Public Relations LLC<br />What is today’s B2B social media landscape?<br />What are the equipment finance industry’s social media attitudes, behaviors and activities?<br />What are current strategies, tools and channels being used today by B2B industries?<br />What are the best practices and what results are being produced?<br />Who is successfully using social media for marketing purposes?<br />What do I need to do to incorporate social media and networking into my marketing and communications efforts?<br />33<br />
34<br />Thank you for your participation today!<br />If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to email Alexa Carnibella at email@example.com,or to the presenters listed below:<br />Suzanne E. Henry<br />Four Leaf Public Relations LLC<br />firstname.lastname@example.org<br />Twitter: @SuzanneHenry<br />LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/suzannehenry<br />Steve Guido<br />Oracle Financing<br />email@example.com<br />LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/sguido/<br />David Wiener<br />The Alta Group<br />firstname.lastname@example.org<br />Twitter: @dwAdvisory<br />LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/wienerdavid<br />