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Delfino Marketing Communications, Inc.

B2B Social Media or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Twitter

by PD   |   Posted May 27, 2016   |  b2b

I was invited to join Facebook years ago as a way to participate in a reunion party with college friends. My feelings about it then, and since, have been mixed. For the most part, the experience has made me ask myself a lot of questions: What does this transformative medium mean for our clients and our agency? Where does the social part of social media end, and the business part begin? Could these applications just be an outlet for narcissism at its finest? Am I not getting it, or am I just, heaven forbid, getting old?

So with apologies to Stanley Kubrick for adapting his title, this month I feel the need to embrace this conundrum.

How did social media become the media behemoth it is today*?  There have probably been a million words written in answer to that and we don’t need to dive into them too deeply here, but there are some basics we cannot ignore. It’s fun. It’s easy. It lets the introvert be an extrovert and the extrovert be the town crier. It’s always there and it’s always on.

But by definition, it’s social.
And because of that, the issue is cultural. Millennials have been the drivers of social media and they have some pretty unique habits. Like the medium itself, they too are always on. They devour content, any way they can get it. Do they even have a defining line between what’s social and what’s professional? I’m not too sure about that. From anecdotal observation (yeah I know, that’s the worst kind of market research there is) I would say no; the overlap is seamless. I watch them bounce between those two worlds with envy. But I also have the luxury of age and experience and what I wonder is, when will they burn out? Because they have to, eventually. Even us boomers and Gen X’ers who answer emails nights and weekends and get on international calls at all hours need to shut it down at some point.

Get out of my game!
Here’s my example of where the lines cross and where shut down begins. I like to think I have a life beyond business. I don’t mean family; that comes first. I mean interests and hobbies – the fun stuff. We all know that quality time doing these things is difficult; maybe it’s because we fear the consequences of turning our business minds off or maybe we just don’t even consider it an option. But I try, and my outlets are not all that special: a good movie and a good book. A round of golf on a beautiful day. One of the excellent series we are experiencing in this second golden age of television. And like most red-blooded Americans, my teams, mostly the New York Giants, Yankees and Rangers (LGR!).

As I began to embrace social media, I realized how it complemented my interests. Watching Game of Thrones? So are a million other people, and they just noticed something I totally missed. Wondering where to golf in Atlanta? Just check out the course photos on Flickr. Taking in the Ranger game at MSG? There’s a hockey writer tweeting about the game I’m at – and I’m tweeting back – and we are conversing (digitally) in real time.

But then it happened. In the middle of my 140-character rant over inappropriate line combinations, in comes a tweet from a trade show organizer that is important to my business, my customers and me. I need to read it and consider what it means. But I’m in game mode and I don’t want to come out of it! I’m in social mode…and for me, that tweet was a big old buzz kill. And big buzz kills are the antithesis of marketing.

OK, maybe some of you are saying “grow up,” “tough it out,” “just get separate Twitter accounts for your personal and professional lives like everyone else.” I get that, but it’s not the point – the point is, we need to focus on the big picture: what we say, how we say it and how we deliver it. So as we embrace social media in our businesses, let’s consider a few key concepts…

  • Think content. If you don’t have something interesting to say, don’t bother. Because you might be bothering someone when they are being social, and if you do that too often, you’ll be out.
  • Be visual. Social media is visual media. Personally, I like words but let’s face it, most people prefer pictures. Be sure to use infographics, videos, still images, animated gifs, etc.
  • Entertain. If you’re going to pull users away from their fun, give them something interesting and fun in return.
  • Consider the channels. There are many ways to disseminate your content and some of these channels have strong numbers of users, but your industry and your offerings might play better via some than others.
  • Remember your goals. Why are you doing this in the first place? Lead generation or lead nurturing? Content marketing? Subject matter expertise? Make sure you can answer this soundly – if all you come up with is “because my competitors are,” it’s time to reevaluate the plan.

By the way, you may have noticed I haven’t touched on LinkedIn within this discussion at all. That’s because LinkedIn is unique as the business arm of social media. More on that another day…

Happy marketing!

* There’s some great data on this here.