How have IBM, Adobe, and Dell become a Social Business? And what can a smaller company learn from them?
What can small and medium business (SMB) learn from giants such as IBM, Adobe and Dell about becoming a social business?
At first sight learning from these giants seems a crazy idea. SMB’s are different by every means. They have less budget, less employees, and certainly have different problems.
But surprisingly, when looking at how these large companies have become social businesses, there is a lot smaller companies can learn…
For this blog post I have:
- studied the social business strategies of IBM, Adobe and Dell in detail,
- mapped out a the best practices from these companies
- formulated some best practices feasible for SMBs.
What would happen if your marketing department stopped being active on Social Media? Or what should happen?
When companies develop their presence on social media, it is usually the marketing department taking the lead by creating accounts on social media networks, a social media policy, a digital marketing strategy…
Then they become active on these networks by answering their questions, inspiring them with great content, and listening to their needs.
Smaller companies have only 1 or 2 people developing these social relations, larger companies have whole teams of “conversation managers”.
Although I understand the approach, and support the approach, these teams can only be present at a limited amount of networks, or “circles” as I call them.
- They just cannot be present in all the social places where your customers, partners, suppliers, investors, or competitors are present.
- They just cannot be aware of all the different domains of expertise that are required to have a holistic approach to social networking.
- They just cannot be authentic about every topic they are involved with on these networks.
I probably can think of a number of others reasons, but you probably get what I mean.
Now think of a small company, let’s say 10 people. What’s the impact of one, usually part-time, marketing person, on all of this? You guessed it. Not a lot. He/she just doesn’t have the time to do a descent job with social media.
And now imagine a bigger company, 1000 people. Here you’ll have a team of, I don’t know, 20-50 people working in marketing and being part-time or some full-time occupied with social media. Again, the impact is minimal.
Taking away the marketing department
My point is, I don’t think social media is the sole responsibility of the marketing department. Oh yes, they play a guiding role in aligning the efforts with the company strategy, and making sure all the mechanics like a policy, processes, training, tooling, etc… are available.
But in essence, everyone in the marketing department should be aligned with a number of objectives which could look like this : Read more
It provides insight into communication and PR professionals (survey from 2200 communication professionals from 42 countries in Europe), and has titled it:
Challenges and Competencies for Strategic Communication
Why am I covering this report?
The reason I am covering this report is because
- It show the biggest challenges for marketers and communicators today.
- Because it comes from a descent source
- Because it has data from previous years that allows to spot trends.
Key take-away’s from the European Communication Monitor 2012
- Most important strategic issues: Need to address more audiences with limited resources
- Ethical challenges: Six out of ten PR professionals faced moral problems within the last 12 months
- Barriers to professionalization: 84% state that top management lacks understanding of communications
- Integrating and coordinating communications: Shaping multiple identities is more relevant today
- Practice of strategic communication: Operational work takes 37% of a typical week
- Social media: Large gap between perceived importance and real implementation in most organisations
- Development and qualifications: Management and business knowledge needed, but training is missing
Yes, that’s the big question in the mind of many B2B marketing executives. Until recently, that included myself.
I did not really understand what to do with this “social media” thing. To put it black and white, I thought
- Facebook was for children and not for B2B,
- LinkedIn is for business only and serves to connect with people that I know or do not know,
- and I had no clue on why a company should use Twitter?
I think that about sums up all the prejudices I had on social media.
The moment I realized what to do with social media
Last year I started reading some great books on social media. I admit, I am a late believer, but around that timeframe it started to become clear to me what I had to do with social media in a B2B context.
As I wrote before in another post on social media, you should be where our buyers are. If your buyers, although they might be there for another reason than doing business (connecting with their friends or relatives), we should be where they are. Your buyers are there joining groups related to your business, and discussing trends, features and products!