How can a CEO decide if social media is worth their organization’s time? What makes social media such a powerful tool to help you grow you your business? What are successful midmarket organizations doing to stand out from their competitive markets?
The biggest challenge I find when talking with executives about social media is they almost always have a strongly held opinion on the subject. When we talk about increasing sales and profits they have ideas, but are open to a discussion. When we talk about their ability to recruit and retain great talent they want to know what other successful organizations are doing.
When I talk about how their business is changing and how their customers are changing the way they buy, they become very animated about the increasing rate of change in their key markets. So why is it when I talk about how social media is changing the way they do business, they are so unwilling to learn.
Last week when I heard about a program put on by Deloitte Consulting on how midmarket leaders can gain from using social media (called Virtual Perspectives on Social Media, moderated by Liz Claman) I had to attend. The good news is I took some great notes and you have access to the Virtual Perspectives on Social Media here. The program helps CEOs and midmarket entrepreneurs see the bigger picture on the possibilities for your organization. I chose to break it down into two key sections that I’ll share today and Tuesday next week. I’m not here to sell you on social media. I share this because I think we’ve reached a tipping point on whether you should be using it for your business.
The major shift we see in social media is that many of the people you are trying to influence are now online and are changing the way they choose who they buy from. Social media allows you to be found more easily and begin developing an ongoing conversation with key customers and clients in your growing markets. In past year, many of your best clients are becoming more active on social media. Deloitte’s surveys show that the fastest growing group of users is aged between 50 and 64. Thirty eight percent of college educated employees are on LinkedIn and the numbers keep increasing.
On the selling side, I’ve seen numbers as high as 65% of a sales process is being managed by your customer before they begin discussions with your sales professional. It is critical that you create systems to attract people to your company earlier in the sales process. Twitter is delivering almost twice as many leads as more traditional lead generation strategies at significantly lower cost. Forty five percent of B2B marketers have added at least one new customer using social media.
Overworked individuals see social media sourcing as one way of getting more done during their increasingly busy day. For your organization to continue to grow, you’re going to need to extend your brand into social networks. During the presentation the panel agreed that not only the traditional platforms are continuing to grow but special networks are emerging in a number of markets to allow you to target your value proposition to your best clients and customers.
There was significant discussion about how social marketing can provide you increased targeting capability while allowing you to determine which campaigns resonate with your customers. As a marketer, you now have the ability to test before investing your money in ineffective campaigns. Actually, you have the ability to target key influencers and stakeholders to help build momentum in your new product and service offerings using several product launch strategies designed to engage and empower your early adopters.
This aspect is particularly attractive to organizations that have a constant stream of evolving products coming to market. Social business can allow you to build engaged communities around your products and services. The video Virtual Perspectives on Social Media shares several examples to help you see how it works in the real world.
Social media is an incredible tool for midmarket marketing leaders. I’ve really just scratched the surface here today. Even my most challenging clients came away with a better understanding of what social business can do to help grow and optimize their marketing investments. Next Tuesday, I share how social media can help you with attracting, recruiting, and retaining the right people for your team. See you Tuesday.