Truth Or Dare–Will Social Media Leave You Naked?

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Will Social Media Leave You NakedWe have heard many different sentiments about it—”social media is so freaking hard“, “social media is making you sick“, more than 1700 CEOs are “fumbling in the dark with social media“; and so on and so forth. It gets scarier. I was attending a leadership excellence forum recently where the focus was on customer loyalty programs. For 2 days, a select group of a dozen or so heads of marketing and sales and corporate event organizers from big brand software, hardware and sales automation companies were engaged in some serious brainstorming. One of the speakers was a social media expert who chose to “educate” this esteemed group of individuals about some valuable lessons their B2B organizations could learn from Lady Gaga.

As you can imagine, for a post-lunch session, everyone’s body language immediately indicated “this should be interesting”. Pardon me and my ignorance of the reigning pop stars, but I’m still enjoying the likes of Gypsy Kings. Did I tell you I had a lucky chance encounter with Chico, the founder of this band in Paris? He was dining at the same restaurant, L’Atelier Robuchon and all of a sudden, he and his group took out their guitars and started playing their unmistakable music.

Anyhow, sorry for the digression, coming back to our social media presenter; I listened as intently as I could, all the while trying to find some golden nuggets that could really be useful for B2B. 45 minutes into the presentation, I had found nothing and was looking around the room to see if anyone else was luckier than I had been in my search for insights from this session. Okay, I was also looking around to see if anyone else was as bored as I was! And then, as the presenter was giving his concluding remarks, one CMO stunned everyone into silence—this gentleman had earlier raised some interesting points about why the grey power of traditional marketing was still valuable at his company. “I am just so perplexed with all this social media stuff. It seems like a game of Truth or Dare and my worry is, will social media leave us naked—like Lady Gaga?”

That’s it! I had to know more about this Lady Gaga character and my faithful Android was my source of instant information of course. So apparently, among the pop diva’s latest claim to fame, is the launch of her new perfume line, Fame. The commercial features Lady Gaga in the nude and zillions of men wearing only black underwear crawling all over her. I only saw the image of the print ad, and the commercial is supposed to be more than 5 minutes long. So much money in the world of stars! So, Lady Gaga, as we were told by our social media expert, is a hugely successful social media marketer who regularly Tweets as well as updates her fans on Facebook…big time. It’s great to see that social media is so powerful—for Lady Gaga—and perhaps for the retail B2C segment. As for us in the B2B world, my heart went out to the outspoken, but downright honest CMO who was genuinely concerned about the usefulness of social media. He could not see the point of bringing Lady Gaga into the room unless, like he said, it was supposed to give us all the crazy idea that putting on a nude show could help us garner quality leads and boost customer loyalty.

Steven Klein


7 Fundamentals of B2B Lead Nurturing—Applied to Social Nurturing

In the after-hours cocktails, I chatted with that CMO and a few others about lessons we had learned in the day’s presentations. As we shared our experiences and talked about ways to apply some of the new learning, we all agreed on some tried and true fundamentals of B2B lead nurturing which apply even if you want to drill deep into nurturing via social. Below is a quick summary of these basics that one should never forget, whether offline, online or on the social networks.

  1. Define your objectives. Just like traditional B2B demand generation, you need a set of defined objectives that are in complete alignment with your overall business vision and marketing goals.
  2. Identify your niche OR create it. Maybe you have an existing social community that you can lend your share of voice to, but maybe you don’t. If you have the capability to demonstrate thought leadership, nothing should stop you from creating your own social forum or community online and drawing the right audience to engage with your brand via this niche platform.
  3. Be respectful of customer sentiment. A large pharmacy chain here in Canada jumped the gun and started playing Christmas music in their stores last week (first week of November for crying out loud!). Customers complained they had not even enjoyed their Halloween candy yet and were already being forced to think about Christmas shopping. The store apologized and stopped playing the festive music—they valued customer sentiment. Read the news article on CNN. This is the retail world yes, but customer is King, Queen and all-powerful no matter what space you are in. If you disregard buyers and their emotions, they WILL shut you down. Don’t add to the noise on social media channels; offer value instead.
  4. Brand “ambassadors” and “influencers” don’t always have to mean the same thing. As marketers, we rely on an external group of satisfied stakeholders who will willingly and often, voluntarily boost our brand. Not all of these brand loyalists are powerful enough to drive more qualified leads your way. What you need to do is to find individuals, who may or may not even talk about your brand on social conversations. You may be able to piggy-back your brand’s capabilities onto some best practices, trends and winning value propositions that these channel influencers talk about.
  5. Target segmentation. I can’t get over how easily this very basic of lead nurturing techniques seems to fall by the wayside! Perhaps the pressure is just too much. B2B marketers are being told all the time about the power of the Internet and content marketing via social. So in their mad scramble to keep generating content, companies neglect to customize content to different segments of their target market. But this is critical if you want to be relevant.
  6. Think through your funnel optimization strategy and monitor lead progression. Don’t get so caught up in the various social platforms and finding ways to build an equal presence on each. When you undertake an activity or a piece of content marketing that is customized to one channel, align your other marketing activities, offline and online to work together and push qualified leads further along through your sales funnel.
  7. Along with sales targets, also prepare your social calendar. Traditionally, we have always had and hugely benefitted from having a marketing calendar that aligns with the organization’s seasonal targets and business activities through the year. Why should social media marketing be any different then? Yes, it is real-time and it requires 24/7 monitoring, listening and being proactive. But that does not mean you can’t have a social calendar that will help you plan so much better and be more effective at measuring your social effectiveness as well.

Because social is a complex medium and structural in nature, it will be a while before you can get all of the stakeholders in your B2B organization to agree about its effectiveness. We all know it is something we need or have to do but there is no right or wrong way at this point. The problem with social today is that most of us are looking at it with the expectation of immediate returns. The challenge in the B2B world is that of attention span. Are companies going to have the patience to see this through and understand the mid to longer term impact of social versus the short term one?

My advice is: no matter what, use your common sense and don’t take advice blindly from social media gurus who do not know and understand your organization and your buyers the way you do. Remember that social media is still new and evolving. What an “expert” knows today will soon change tomorrow. The experience of these “experts” only spans a few short years. So to summarize, don’t go gaga over Lady Gaga unless you are prepared to face the consequences of being naked in public. And by that, I don’t mean transparency; I mean embarrassment, I mean reputation management, I mean upholding your brand promise so that customers don’t feel let down. Pay attention to these factors first. Remind yourselves of proven lead nurturing techniques and apply them to social. If you need a quick refresher, I recommend Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing. I thought it was quite comprehensive.

Have you experienced this feeling of being in a Truth or Dare game with your organization’s B2B social media marketing campaigns? Do you have any interesting anecdotes or insights to share on my blog? You can also email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827.

Image credit for first photo: Photodune

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.

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