360DigitalInfluence

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

A company cannot just start a twitter and/or facebook account without having any competences in this field. Well, (technically) it can. But acting in an unfamiliar but public arena generally bears risks and this is especially true for social media. But what if a company does not have the man power – or the know-how – to professionally run a social media campaign? Fortunately, there are PR agencies that offer professional advice.
But when social media is all about transparency and authenticity how can that be handled through an external PR agency? Ok, this seems to be a no-go and could mean the end of all social media activities in the above mentioned case.

But wait – taking a closer look at the issue, there is an approach to outsource major parts of an enterprise’s social media activity without interfering with the social web’s ethos. Most important thing here: major does not equal all. A successful outsourcing of social media marketing requires active partnering and contribution from both the enterprise and its chosen agency.
At the end, it is much more crucial that the created content sticks to the social web’s rules and expectations than the question of its originator. It is important that a consistent delivery of quality content is guaranteed. And that is a task a social media specialist who is familiar with the company’s business can fulfil even better – if he is not stuck in time-consuming approval processes.

If you’re doing business in Germany, chances are you’ve heard of XING and are probably wondering how to use it for marketing and online reputation management. In Germany alone there are approximately 3.5 million high-level personnel are using the business network XING – the European pendant to LinkedIn – to manage and expand their professional contacts.

This network has proven to be an effective social media channel for B2B communications and reputation management. Why? XING has more than 30,000 topic-related groups where members exchange ideas, thoughts and experiences concerning nearly every branch or every professional field of activity, like “Risk Management”, “Underwriting”, “Corporate Publishing”, “Construction Engineering” etc.

We include XING more and more into our clients’ communication plans. As far as planning and implementation are concerned we recommend following these best practices:

1) Basic identification of relevant groups:

  • Keyword search within the network
  • Analysis of which groups our target persons have subscribed

2) Rate the relevance of a group:

  • To what extent does a group talk about my client’s topics?  
  • How active and “alive/vital” is a group?
  • How many members does the group have?
  • What is the quota of target persons?
  • Who’s the initiator?

3) Develop a content strategy

  • How does the group work?
  • Which approach/topics/formats should be used to
    be noticed and included into conversations?
  • Which topics create the greatest response?

4) Identify and train client employees to represent the company on XING.

5) Work with these employees to develop different and relevant content to be posted within the groups’ discussion forums. Depending on the group that could contain:

  • Short expert articles by
  • Leading and initiating discussions
  • Content syndication to special topics, e.g. linking back on corporate homepage
  • Answering questions of other group members

6) As a last step we recommend founding a branded group on XING. This offers new opportunities like organizing real life group meetings or issuing newsletters. As this requires greater involvement of client employees, we recommend commencing in only after conducting 6 months of XING-relations.

Summing up, one can say that XING has been proven to be a good tool for social media B2B communications. For foreign enterprises coming to Germany it is furthermore a good way to demonstrate market knowledge and integration into German business communities.


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Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide