IBM and Social Media: 7 Tips for Midmarket Businesses

By Loraine Kasprzak, MBA

IBM and Social Media: 7 Tips for Midmarket Businesses
7 tips midsize businesses can apply to their social marketing

This is the third in a series of posts based on my conversations about social marketing with Leslie Reiser, Program Director of Worldwide Digital Marketing for IBM General Business. Leslie and her team built IBM’s infoboom online community to collaborate with mid-market B2B companies. The community has since merged with other IBM midsized business social media channels, including a Facebook page, LinkedIn group, etc.

Read the first post, Big Blue Blogs?, to get the scoop on how IBM incorporates social media in its midsize business marketing. Don’t miss the second post, which reveals some of IBM’s lessons learned in building successful social collaboration with leaders of midsize businesses.

In this post, Leslie shares 7 principles you can apply to your own social media/digital marketing efforts. Using even one or two of Leslie’s insights can make developing your company’s social marketing a whole lot easier.

Understand where people are already getting their information, where conversations are already happening. Get involved in these discussions first. Understand where the client base is going before you try to direct the discussion.

Realize that social marketing requires an investment. You’ll need to have some level of investment to grow your social presence. For example, you may want to have a community manager added to your staff who will drive online discussions.

Be creative! After you’ve been listening to discussions for awhile, you’ll have an idea of what’s needed, what’s missing in the marketplace. Make that your niche. Create a new concept for that niche and make it your own.

Have something insightful to say. You have a short window to engage your audience because there’s so much competition for their time. What value are you giving in exchange for their time?

Keep it simple. When you keep it simple, you’ll make the best use of your investment. You’ll want to focus on sharing your content on the social platforms where you find the discussions most relevant to your company. IBM, for example, simplified and consolidated its mid-market interactions into five relevant social spaces, and made content easier to find with tags and indexing.

Empower your employees to be social marketers, and do it in the context of your market. The Watson success on Jeopardy is a good example – IBM people were all over the place – on both social and traditional media. For example, on [the social bookmarking and sharing site], there is a small, enthusiastic Watson audience, and IBM employees contributed to that discussion.

Leverage free tools – there are many. You don’t need to spend millions of dollars, but be thoughtful and be prepared. [For a good list of free social media tools, check out 10 Free Social Media Tools Every PR Pro Should Master].

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