Much has been said about the use of social media and I’ve heard several business to business technology companies either struggling with how to best harness social media or viewing social media as something that is too risky to adopt.
What I think lies at the center of this discussion is the need to really know the voice of the organization and the key attributes that factor into building the foundation that supports the voice.
That foundation should include a few key elements: a secure and confident understanding of the organization’s core values that ultimately define the brand; a compelling mix of core messages to support the company’s products or services; and a vision for where the company and industry are going.
From these elements – and quite possibly several other considerations – a social media strategy can be built that integrates the right tools, activities and campaigns that adequately represent the brand and help communicate with the company’s audiences.
I attended a Business Social Software Jeopardy Webcast hosted by Jive Software on May 28th. The Webcast three contestants - Bill Johnston - Chief Community Officer at Forum One Communications; Laura Ramos - Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research; and Jeremiah Owyang - Senior Analyst at Forrester Research and was hosted by Jive Software’s CMO, Sam Lawrence.
Overall the Webcast was informative, but what really stood out was the POST methodologythat Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang spoke about. POST stands for People (knowing your audience/ who you are trying to reach), Objectives (what are you trying to achieve?), Strategy (how your relationships will change from the activities) and Technologies (the tools you’ll use to achieve your goals for the effort). Following these four steps make a lot of sense to me, but they need to be built on a foundation that falls in-line with the company’s voice and overarching brand personality.
I do believe that there is a role for social media within any company or organization. How broad reaching the effort is, how “edgy” the tactics are and what tools and techniques are applied. The chief underlying rule to always keep in mind is that they must be built from a solid foundation and awareness of your voice.
Here are a few interesting current and past social media efforts from business to business companies that support their brands. The differences are obvious, but what is important is how they found their own voice and approach to meet their goals.
Some of these are well known examples, others may be new to you…
Cisco donthaveameltdown.com (I believe the official site has been taken down, but the viral video still lives on)
Know of any good B2B social media campaigns or activities? If so, please share them!
* full disclosure we currently represent Hitachi Data Systems, however we were not involved in the development of the Mr. T viral video series
David Carlson: Social Media and Traditional PR