Integrated Marcom Minute First Step for B2B Marcom Managers to Dive into Social Media

September 2009

Social media is growing at such a rapid pace that B2B marketers who fail to engage within the next 12-18 months could be at a competitive disadvantage. So over the next several months, Integrated Marcom Minute will cover a series of “How To’s” to help you add social media to your integrated marketing communications program.

Listen up!… the first step in social media marketing

In case you missed it, “listen” is the first step in social media marketing. You’ll not only listen to what’s being said about your company, but also the general conversations of interest within your industry. You’re already doing this offline, but not with the scale and scope that social media tools enable. For example, listening using social media tools is the offline equivalent of: (1) simultaneously monitoring the conversations of your prospects and customers and (2) simultaneously monitoring formal and casual conversations taking place at industry association trade shows and conferences. Here’s how it works.

The first step in B2B social media: Set up your listening posts
First, you’ll need your list of keywords and phrases. Hint: these words and phrases should also appear on your website, blog, tweets and all other posts you make. Second, you’ll need your brand terms.

  1. Start by creating a Google Alert. You’ll have to sign up for a Gmail account first. You’ll track your keywords and brand terms here, and anytime they appear in a post on the internet, you’ll receive an email delivered to your gmail account.
  2. Create a Google Blog Searchusing each term.Note: to automate your blog searches, after you’ve received the search results, click on the orange “rss” button and set up a feed. This way you’ll only have to go to one place, Google Reader, to receive all your blog searches.
  3. Conduct a Twitter Search using the same keywords and brand terms. (You’ll need to set up a Twitter account.)
    Remember to check for hash tags (the “#” symbol) too. For example, if you exhibited at an event such as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) there’s likely to be a hash tag, #CES, which you would place in the Twitter search tool and see all the related tweets. 
  4. Conduct a YouTube search for comments on videos that you’ve produced or other industry-related videos
  5. Conduct a search of popular bookmarking sites such as Delicious and Digg.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are numerous other sites including Technorati, which aggregates blogs, for example. My point is this. You have to start somewhere, and the five steps above will get you in the listening game. Once you’re in the game, then experiment with other listening posts that may be more relevant. If you don’t have the time or resources, but you have a PR agency, ask them to track your social media mentions. PR Newswire offers Social Media Metrics, a product aimed at tracking social media mentions.

Now it’s up to you to get started. But don’t delay. The social web is going to get even more social. Google recently launched Sidewiki, and as Heather Whaling of PRTini suggests, “Whether your company has willingly embraced social media, or not, your website just became a social space.” Shouldn’t you at least be listening?

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.

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