Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Digital Direction – Taking Business to the Next Level

Love it or hate it, social media cannot be ignored in the B2B world. But it must be strategic, or you’re wasting your time and resources. So don’t follow the social media herd, creating Twitter and Facebook pages because “everyone else is.” Take the time to identify and utilize the one or two strategies that can truly help make your business more competitive and you more prominent.  C. Pharr is helping clients define tailored “social media roadmaps” to determine which digital platforms are best, from blogging, community building and e-newsletters to Facebook and YouTube. There is no magic bullet in B2B social media, but there’s always room for some form of digital direction in every PR program. 

While social media engagement is obvious for the B2C world, B2B is still struggling to find its voice and best medium online. This is just one of the myriad of reasons why so many B2B company blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages now look like a ghost town. You’ve heard it before – the key is strategy and outlining your goals. To start, many credible, well-known business publications have joined the social chatter. Business and trade journalists are flocking to social media sites to dig for story ideas and trends, mass-distribute their latest article, or simply to find expert sources. They are using social media as a competitive tool to remain in front of their audience 24/7 while making valuable connections online. B2B should take this same approach and determine which digital strategy works best for them.

For instance, some C. Pharr clients have learned the value of increasing their LinkedIn presence to stand out among competitors. Beyond using it as a recruitment tool, some are using it to stay in touch with a distributed workforce and make valuable connections online, yielding increased business referrals. For others, we are using different digital channels to amplify a client’s message or their most recent deal. Clients are no longer at the mercy of the media to broadcast their news. Social media has changed the game, enabling businesses to self-promote their news and serve as their own digital news channel.  This ability to remain top-of-mind as clients and prospective clients encounter your message in different outlets and multiple mediums, helps propel your business in front of the competition.

Our clients have leveraged social media, taking a traditional media relations approach and integrating a social media component for each news item. The key to standing out from the competition isn’t about pumping out “x” number of Tweets per day so you can say you’re “social.” It’s about generating relevant information your clients are passionate about so they actually pay attention and are actively engaged with your news and share it with their own networks.  During the social media bootcamps we lead for business and consumer brands, C. Pharr teaches clients to use social media as just one more tool in their marketing arsenal to stay at the forefront of competition. We always pair it with a traditional media relations campaign while utilizing digital connections as a tool to attract new clients (and media attention – of course!) while reinforcing client retention. 

As another year approaches, so does the onslaught of social media tools and apps that will be touted as the next “big thing.”  We are busy strategizing about what social media approach makes sense for our clients while staying in front of the social media herd.  The question remains, what’s next for social media, especially for B2B, and how do we compete? If I had a crystal ball I would tell you video is next and will soon be commonplace in robust communication and marketing strategies. C. Pharr is steadily guiding clients to identify video opportunities to build upon their thought leadership platforms and social media networking. Staying at the forefront of this trend will help our clients remain competitive in 2013.

This blog post was contributed by Leah Ekmark Williams @leahcpc


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