The Top Social Media Skills Marketing Executives Need in 2013

Social Success is a Matter of Choosing the Right Ingredients

Dan is a marketing executive for an IT network management company. I am a B2B lead generation specialist. We both love food so our business meetings frequently happen over lunch. While Dan is satisfied with a nice meal, I am always curious about what went into my plate. Food, like travel, is my passion and needless to say, the two go hand in hand. I travel around the world exploring different cultures, ethnicities, lands, people and their cuisine. While I cannot say I have traveled extensively in the Indian sub-continent, I certainly have had the opportunity to savour Indian cuisine for many years. Right here in Toronto too, there are Indian restaurants, actually, many of them are small take-out food places that serve up the most delicious Indian snacks, full meals and desserts.

What I find most intriguing about Indian cuisine is the sheer variety—in fact, if you ask an Indian in the western world if they cook Indian at home, she or he will probably ask you what you mean by “Indian”! Literally, every region of the sub-continent dishes up its own unique taste of food. You have North Indian food (or Moghlai) which is so different from South Indian; East Indian which is not anything like Indian coastal cuisine, and so on. And, each of these cuisines has its own set of ingredients—spices, herbs, chilli peppers, seasoning, etc.

So while our simple Chicken Parmesan will primarily have two main ingredients, chicken and parmesan, Butter Chicken (or Murg Makhani which is the correct term for this popular Indian dish) has a lot more going into it besides butter and chicken! Yes, you can try to make it with a ready-to-heat bottled sauce but when it’s made from scratch, the chef has a carefully (masterfully) selected list of aromatic and flavourful spices that go into it, in a precise step-by-step manner. You have to know the right ingredients to choose from a kitchen stocked with a hundred different options.

Chef de Cuisine for Your Company’s Social Media Platter?

What Skills Do You Need? How Do You Pick the Right Ingredients?

Dan was talking to me about his continuing challenge with social media. What he said to me probably echoes the sentiments of many other marketing heads of B2B organizations:

  • I’m under pressure to deliver results from social media marketing.
  • My boss wants to see results fast but I also have to stay within budget.
  • Some of the other VPs at my company think we should really go all out and use this shiny new toy called social media, but the bean counters, will of course pin me to the wall about ROI.
  • I do want to make social media work for us but I don’t know how. Where do I start?
  • The social media expert we hired says I must start Tweeting. I feel stupid even just saying the word ‘Tweet’!
  • Tell me the truth – what do I have to do? What’s the minimum I need to know and do to be successful in 2013?

While I may have been lost without a guide in Peru, I fortunately have not been abandoned when it comes to social media, and the journey continues. So here is the advice I offered to Dan from a lead generation and social media effectiveness standpoint.

The Essential Social Media Skills You Need As A Marketing Executive In 2013:

  1. Have the ability to determine what counts, what doesn’t. A blog post being picked up by other sites, blogs and industry forums counts. That will add to your position and credibility as a thought leader. The rub-off on your brand will be valuable, meaningful and contribute towards lead generation. On the other hand, a photograph being pinned on Pinterest, a Tweet being Re-Tweeted or a thumbs-up on Facebook will usually not count towards lead generation or lead nurturing even.
  2. Whether you use the various platforms or not, you should know the terminology. Keep handy this list of commonly used social media lingo so you can keep up with the social media mavens when they start throwing the jargon around.
  3. Know the difference between making a noise and making an impact. Don’t add to the noise on social media channels; offer value instead.
  4. Differentiate between brand “ambassadors” and “influencers”; they are not always the same. Try to find individuals who may or may not even talk about your brand on social conversations. You may be able to piggy-back your brand’s capabilities onto some best practices, trends and winning value propositions that these channel influencers talk about.
  5. Learn to customize content for different segments of your target market. If you want to stay relevant, you cannot neglect this aspect and get carried away with producing high volumes of content.
  6. Think ahead and plan your social calendar. But realize also that social is real-time and it requires 24/7 monitoring, listening and being proactive. You have to be flexible, nimble and be able to think on your feet.
  7. Be patient. Social is a complex medium and structural in nature. There is no rule book, secret sauce or silver bullet. You can’t work at it with the expectation of immediate returns. You need patience to see this through. If you are able to understand the mid to longer term impact of social versus the short term one, you may be on to something good…and profitable.

And How Do You Select the Right Ingredients?

The only way to do this is to think very carefully through your funnel optimization strategy and monitor lead progression. It’s very easy to find yourself overwhelmed with the various social platforms and build an equal presence on each. Remember, you are the Chef de Cuisine—you only pick the best ingredients for your dish. You don’t take everything that is on the spice rack and pour it into a melting pot of goulash. When you undertake an activity or a piece of content marketing that is customized to one channel, align your other marketing activities, offline and online to work together and push qualified leads further along through your sales funnel.

I can’t remember where I read it, but I consider it is a very wise and pertinent comment—“think about the social, not about the media”. And when you think about how to be social and how to make an impact on the audience that matters, you craft a strategy. For the different media that you plan to use, you just need the right tactics and the right tools. So—there is no such thing as a Facebook Strategy. There can be a set of tactics that may work for Facebook marketing. Although, in my honest opinion, Facebook is still a long way off from being in any way useful and effective for B2B lead generation.

Does your organization have a hand in every social media pie? Are you monitoring effectiveness and impact? Please comment below. If you want to learn more about B2B lead generation, please join our email list and download the free ALEA Lead Generation Playbook here.

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