I recently attended a program put on by IABC-St. Louis regarding social media.
A spokesperson from Siemens, an international technology company, discussed her trials and tribulations of creating a social media strategy for this large firm.
I have attended many programs on social media and social marketing, and it was most interesting and refreshing to hear a real company spokesperson speak about social media, as opposed to a social expert or consultant.
Her job is to put together the social media framework for the company and execute it.
This true business to business effort requires a large amount of time and her job has morphed from traditional public relations to about 70% on social media.
She explained that the company’s goal is to enhance their reputation, better understand their customers, develop a corporate personality, and start engaging their clients by using social vehicles.
She also wanted to increase the conversation online about the firm and energize customers to talk about Siemens.
The company with well over 1,000 employees is scanning the social horizon with Facebook,Twitter,Flickr, employee blogs,YouTube and even Second Life.
Since Siemens does business across the globe many blogs have to be executed in multiple languages.
Key takeaways from the program include…
Companies wishing to engage in social media should create a social media strategy.
They should identify where their customers are spending their time online-Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, or somewhere else.
They should appoint a person to take charge and spend the time and dollars necessary to make the campaign sustainable and successful.
They should train their employees to blog and work with them on key messaging themes. In fact no Siemens’ employee is allowed to blog without intense training.
The company should also invest in research. It’s important to monitor what is working and what is not.
A return on investment quotient should also be created to include such items as an increase in web site hits, an increase in online conversation, an increase in comments about the firm from outside bloggers and influencers, an increase in customer contacts, and online demonstrations leading to potential orders etc.
The Siemens’ campaign is working. While it is too early to tell what the long term impact will be on product sales, the company has established many benchmarks for success that can serve as a solid example for any firm wishing to create a B2B social media strategy.