Don’t forget Social Media Roots: Inbound

Guest post by Kimberly McCabe, Manager – Marketing Engagement, Sitecore Content Management Systems

While companies in B2B industries are increasingly realising that social media is valuable, there are many that stumble into it and quickly retract declaring it a waste of time. With good intentions, they attempt to embrace social media, and if they do create a social strategy for using it, it often revolves around a plan for solely distributing their own content.

Many see social media in a silo and attempt to utilise it solely as a distribution vehicle instead of an opportunity for engagement.  These companies start talking a lot about themselves and blasting out links, offers and so forth…but they are terrible listeners.  Likewise there are also many who understand the engagement aspect but stumble in getting beyond, “Hey great! Glad you liked our product!”

Companies need to remember that social media became popular in part because people embraced their ability to have greater control over the media they were exposed to. There’s been a perfect storm of improved network speeds, wifi connections available, powerful mobile devices and more engaging content and apps which have led us to use the internet most anywhere. (For example, at various points from brainstorming, writing, to editing I’ve worked on this piece from a desktop, laptop and iPad2.)

We live in a noisy world and communications channels have been getting louder as the pedlars try to push their messages. Push. Push. Push. We didn’t invite these pushers into our homes – but there they were and we had little means to tune them out. Recovering alcoholic? Don’t watch sports programmes – someone’s bound to push alcohol. Grieving a lost child? Don’t watch daytime television – someone’s pushing diapers. We started to take offence to this bombardment but we didn’t do anything to effect change until the masses intertwined online into the social media revolution.

We found our way out of the media bombardment to media connecting of our free will. This is what social media is all about – our collective desire to choose what and who we are exposed to. So now as a company engaging in this communication channel – you need to operate on a more fluid level.

What worked five months ago might not work here any more. You need to keep your finger on the pulse of your growing company network. Your network’s likes and dislikes are not static. What works in social today is only really what worked today. People are more fickle now – they know if they dislike something or are offended they can quickly escape to bluer waters. Fortunately the social media channel well accommodates testing. 

So find out what your network likes consuming, what they share, what gets retweeted and figure out how to join in. Start by engaging and perpetuating others, sharing the well-crafted and insightful content produced by others – then share yours. When you do share your content makes sure it leads to your website and a call-to-action (CTA) to keep people engaged instead of bouncing off a Twitter-shared link. Watch the digital body language – learn how to interpret it and you’ll see your engagement in social media pay off. If companies remember the distinction between outbound and inbound marketing when building their plans and executing, they’re bound to stay on the right track.

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