Aug 112009
Can you hear me?

Managing social media campaigns at Strategic, I’m struck by how many times clients don’t prioritize conversations that come up as a result of their social media outreach. After all, it is called “social” media for a reason. If you’re producing quality content and presenting it in the appropriate online communities, conversation will ensue.

Yet account teams often have to chase clients to respond to interesting comments or suggestions online. Part of that may be finding the right internal subject matter expert (SME) to respond to the comment. But another part of it I think is the inability to quantify where the conversation will go.

There is an element of serendipity in social media that bothers some clients. Blog traffic, downloads, sales leads — these can be precisely monitored. You can’t guarantee where a conversation may lead, exactly what it will result in. But they often do result in very quantifiable benefits for the business – I see this happen all the time.

My client Neustar made a major announcement in June related to Internet security — read all about it here on CircleID. We posted the news to the DNS and DHCP Group on LinkedIn, and got into a conversation with a System Engineering Manager at Colt Telecom, out of the UK. This conversation grew into a qualified lead and may result in a major new customer win.

For BroadSoft, the conversation started in the Telecom Executive Business Network on LinkedIn, where a IEEE committee member became well acquainted with the types of VoIP powered applications BroadSoft provides to over 450 carriers around the world. For BroadSoft, this conversation is leading to a very thorough understanding of IEEE standards, making it easier to integrate their VoIP application server into carrier networks.

BT’s CSR Perspective blog was designed specifically to deepen the understanding of the CSR goals of BT’s largest clients, as well as share information with a broader audience. The audience and influence of the blog has grown to the point that Xerox asked to contribute a guest post. When you’re working this closely with clients, guess how strong the relationship remains?

When Mike Zaramba took over as president two years ago at Altron, he turned to Strategic to help launch an executive blog designed for external influencers. But he found as he traveled to various company locations that  employees were also actively following his blog posts. His knowledge of the industry, and comfort with new communication channels were putting people at ease about the new president. So quite by accident, the blog became an effective internal communications channel.

For those reasons and more, my client counsel is always to get involved in the online conversations you initiate. It’s only good manners, and good business.

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