BtoB: What are some initial considerations companies need to take in planning their social marketing strategies?
Marc Engelsman: I'm mindful of the latest Duke University CMO Survey (conducted online in February with 269 marketer responses). When marketers were asked how effectively social media is being integrated into their marketing strategy, on a scale of 1 to 7 from worst to best, the mean score was 1.9, down from 2.0 the year before. The conclusion is that marketers are nowhere near closing this integration gap.
So I always approach social marketing as an integrated solution, looking at it along with other marketing goals. It's not just about asking how many Facebook “likes” you have. It's about asking how social will be used to improve brand visibility, attendance at trade shows, establishing thought leadership and other marketing objectives.
BtoB: How can companies best decide which social channels to participate in?
Engelsman: Again, it goes back to marketing objectives. Not all vehicles are appropriate. Sometimes even Facebook is not the right place to be, although recent Facebook changes are making it a little more brand-valuable with its new Timeline feature. And it has SEO linking aspects.
There are a number of tools to manage multiple channels in an efficient manner, but not being on all the channels does no harm because everyone isn't necessarily following you everywhere.
BtoB: How about advertising on social channels?
Engelsman: Ads can be powerful, but remember that their purpose is to make money for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and not necessarily to fulfill your own marketing goals. If you're just trying to gain fans or “likes,” I wouldn't necessarily say that's a valuable use of advertising. But if you're setting up promotions or special events, where you're triggering engagement while enlarging your base, then ads may be fine. M