Social Skills

Webcasts, conferences, publications, blogs, and online discussions: you can’t escape the constant reminders that you and your organization should be actively using social media - and that you are in dire straits indeed if you aren’t at the top of your social media game. But what is your game, exactly, and what are the rules? Everywhere you turn you find tips on using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, brand communities, blogs and other channels effectively; at the same time, everywhere you turn you hear business people asking if they really must have a presence everywhere and, if so, how to manage the time and resources necessary to do “social media”, that omnibus concept, well. And even while predicting increased social media spending, CMOs acknowledge that the use of social media isn’t always integrated with business strategy, according to the results of a recently released CMO Survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association.

Socialrati, a blog offering guidance on tackling the social media challenge, provides some thoughtful views on developing a strategy to make sense of tactics. Socialrati author Jill Richards notes “It is important to remember that social media marketing is still marketing, and therefore, follows the same principles as any other marketing effort. Here are my top three suggestions for success and sanity when engaging with social media. 1) Define your goals. Why is your firm engaging with social media? “Because everyone else is doing it” is not a sound social media strategy. Before you start, determine who you are trying to reach and why as well as the results you hope to achieve. Make sure to staff for the effort and assume it will be long term. Unlike an ad campaign, social media is about building relationships incrementally via quick-response interactions. 2) Market where your audience is. Focus your efforts on building a presence on social sites where your target audience will see and can interact with your messages (think LinkedIn vs. MySpace). Consider starting small by connecting with your existing client base on a single theme to keep your initial social media marketing efforts from becoming overwhelming. Don’t forget to tell your clients where to find you by making sure all of your communications list additional ways to connect, learn and interact with the firm and its professionals. 3) Add value to conversations by sharing expertise and taking the conversation deeper. Particularly in a B2B context, audiences are looking for information, advice and experts that will help them be successful in their work. Make your firm a trusted resource by providing information on relevant news and events. What’s happening this week that may affect your client’s business? How can your firm help clients be in the know?

With these tips in mind, your firm can successfully showcase its people, thinking and capabilities while effectively engaging with clients and prospects.”

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