B-to-b marketers: Change or be changed!

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Today, b-to-b marketers are faced with two options: Change or be changed. Whether you like it or not, social media impacts every facet of your business and offers unprecedented opportunity for transformational change. Why not get in the game and become the change agent to drive greater business value? By choosing to do so rather than getting left behind, you can truly set your company apart from the competition.

So how does this happen? Certainly not overnight. It comes with something that my boss, Heather Loisel (@HeatherLoisel), preaches all the time—driving change management.

As she says, technology adoption and social media are about getting the people who put their hands on the keyboard to do something different every day … when no one is watching. Really, it’s that simple, but in practice it’s very hard to do. Without change management, social media cannot sustain or scale. Change management and social media go hand in hand—the transformational change and culture shift will happen only when you combine the two.

Change management is so important today because there is a fundamental shift occurring inside and outside of organizations. Today, businesses are moving at the speed of light, and what happens on Facebook doesn’t stay on Facebook. It can go viral at any given time. This means you need more people putting their hands on the keyboard and actively listening, participating and responding in real-time.

According to Jay Baer and Amber Naslund, authors of the renowned book “The Now Revolution,”  “The Web enables a perpetual cycle of interaction and feedback, and every Facebook status update or tweet that mentions your company or brand either helps or hurts your reputation in real time.” The key phrase being “real time.” A company that instills effective change management can reap the benefits by empowering its employees to use social tools to promote the company’s culture, listen and engage with their audience about products and services, and consistently share information. Change management allows you to amplify your voice, build brand awareness and add authenticity behind the brand because you have real people behind the engagement.

This year alone, four out of five businesses with 100 employees or more will use social media to market their brands, innovate and connect with their audiences. But what many have failed to do is to properly emphasize the foundation of their social media strategy to drive change management and help their employees effectively use these tools with proper guidance and policies.

Successful adoption of a social media participation strategy is rooted in business culture as much as it is business operations. Just like change management, introducing social media requires a culture shift that takes two things into consideration: your business’ underlying intent and the people you bring together to carry it out. With transparency comes great risk—and what many businesses don’t realize is that by diving in without a clear motive or strategy, you can put your brand and your culture at risk. Here are a few things to do before you drive effective change management:

  • Implement a social media strategy and vision.
  • Develop and communicate a strong social media policy that aligns with your strategy.
  • Identify your brand ambassadors.
  • Build a sustainable education program to provide your social media army with proper guidance and ongoing education around best practices.

Continually measure success and communicate your wins to sustain the excitement

In my next blog, I’ll outline key things to consider when implementing a powerful social media policy.

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