How to Participate Effectively in Social Media

Integrated Marcom Minute

January 2010

Here’s the third in a series of "How To’s" to help you add social media to your integrated marketing communications program. It covers participation in social media.

This is the next in a series of How To’s on B2B social media. Now that you’ve set up your listening posts (Listen Up!… the First Step in Social Media Marketing) and developed your B2B social media strategy (B2B Marcom Managers: Quick Start Social Media Strategy), it’s time to actually participate. For many, participate means having your own blog, fan page, etc. But participation also includes outreach to other relevant and complementary social sites that you should have listed in your strategy.

If you’re like most busy marcom managers, your resources are limited. So determine how much participation you can do based on your resources. I found that having a conversation calendar helps better understand your content and resource needs upfront. Learn more about the conversation calendar and download a simple starter calendar.

The key to successfully participating in B2B social media is to remember that it’s not about you, it’s about the community. Your actions should be helpful and add value to the conversation. So if you’ve crafted a bunch of hard hitting marketing messages, don’t even think about posting them-they’ll do more harm than good. And if you’re focused on your products, forget it.

As a new participant to social media who’s done his or her listening, your posts should reflect what you heard. For example, let’s say you’re part of an HVAC engineering community. Many of the posts concern reducing energy use. You may suggest reducing air change rates as an effective, way to reduce energy use and then point members to additional information on the topic. The information can be yours or someone else’s but it should be helpful and add value.

Participation is all about relevant content. This is where your content strategy will pay off. Remember… before participating, you should have developed a content library that consists of 30 or 40 items, which can include brief blog posts, white papers, case studies, related links, videos, etc. It doesn’t all have to be brand new content. Repurpose existing content by breaking up a lengthy white paper into four or five smaller, more focused blog posts; or develop a three- part series that engages readers and encourages them to subscribe.

Content is the backbone of social media, and good content goes a long way toward building trust and a vibrant community.

That’s integrated marcom!

More next time…

PS Comments or suggestions on how B2B marcom managers can dive into social media? Join the conversation on the Integrated Marcom Minute Blog.

PPS Become fan of J. Damico Marketing Communications on Facebook.