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Some of the individuals posting to this site, including the moderators, work for Cisco Systems. On stepping out of life in large corporations a few years back to launch my first business, I firmly believed that business marketing and social networks should be kept well apart. Now we unpack the three tips to help you harness social networks – another key component of the digital marketing revolution. So the first question, what’s the big fuss about social media networks and marketing? In 2012 Facebook passed the 1 billion user milestone – yep, one in seven human beings on the planet Earth is a Facebook user.  At its  initial public offer (IPO) in May 2012 Facebook was valued at $90 billion. Between 2006 and 2013 Twitter, the short text sharing network, has grown to over 500 million users.
The new boy on the block, Pinterest, the picture sharing network launched in 2011, reached 48.7 million users in early 2013 out-pacing the growth rate of both Facebook and Twitter. In many cases the end result of attracting and engaging people via social media is that they will buy products or services. She shows the following comparison of average ‘sales value’ for products bought via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. After realising I had to reconsider my views of marketing via social media, my first big challenge was knowing where to start – running a social media marketing campaign can demand a lot of your time and energy? Our business is about helping clients understand and apply the most appropriate internet techniques to address their key challenges. So our next challenge was overcoming my natural ‘product engineering and marketing’ tendencies!
Using fun and intriguing pictures or video is key, and the great thing is it let’s you put the fun back into your professional life. At the end of the day you need to give people a real, visual reason to hook your message out of their newsfeed and blocks of text are not the way. On a much grander scale, Oreo won the advertising war at the 2013 Superbowl by tweeting the following image within 2 minutes of disaster striking when half the stadium lights went out. The aim with all of this is to get the multiplying effect of friends sharing your newsfeed item with their friends, and their friends’ friends and so on. In some ways this can be the hardest step as it needs daily attention, difficult when you are busy, busy, busy with the business challenges. One thing that really helps is to tune into the expert groups who are focusing on areas close to your business, but do make sure that this will be of use to your fans or followers, and flag it up.
For us, we’re interested in the movers and shakers in internet or digital marketing and helping our customers understand  areas such as social media.

In our next Internet Marketing Unpacked Blog, we explain two key lessons on measuring how effective your attraction and engagement efforts have been, and how this can be done easily .
If you found this article useful or know of someone it would help, go ahead and hit those social buttons below and forward to your friends! Just drop your e-mail in the box below or use Facebook to get our future blogs and recommended  resources. If we think in terms of developing a business marketing strategy, we’re going to be far more effective in building our business rather than thinking of building a social media strategy. Only after you have answered each of these questions can you then begin to determine what internet platforms you should be using.
Despite the fact that ‘social selling’ is a pretty popular concept right now, there still seems to be a good chunk of salespeople out there that remain reluctant to embrace business to business social media as a sales tool.
In a business world where the average buyer is now 70% of the way through the decision-making process before they even engage with a sales rep, it’s just crazy to ignore the potential of social media on the buying process. At its core, marketing is about education and influence, and marketers should view the task of onboarding their sales teams no differently than any other campaign they run.
Getting started with social media can seem daunting at first, especially for salespeople in traditional industries. Marketers must develop easy-to-follow business to business social media processes that can be easily integrated into a salespersons average day. Ultimately, integrating social media into the business to business sales process should be a key objective of forward-thinking startups and growing B2B organizations.
Sam Brennand: Sam has a wealth of experience in B2B marketing and sales working on the Windows Client team at Microsoft Canada and the SMB Retail team at TELUS.
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Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of Cisco. Below I give three big lessons I’ve learnt in doing my about turn on social media marketing.
Linked In, the professionals network, passed the 200 million user milestone in early January 2013. As you’ll see Pinterest has edged significantly ahead of Twitter and Facebook on this metric as well as growth rate. My career trained me to write thorough, logical text where being brief was not the priority. Sources such as the Social Media Examiner, Amy Porterfield, Melanie Duncan are therefore good places to find valuable insights.

When MacDonalds launched a 2011 Twitter campaign, they unleashed a tirade of complaints from frustrated customers, not the flood of happy experience under the Golden Arches they hoped to get.
What are the areas in my business that may complement the execution of a business marketing plan? Does my business marketing strategy have a return on investment?  What is it and how will it be measured? According to HubSpot, 56% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their social media spend in 2013. Marketers need to provide both initial training sessions and ongoing support to salespeople as required.
Set weekly, monthly, or quarterly activity goals for sales reps that escalate over time.  Measuring shares, posts, likes, RTs, and followers is a great place to start for a new user. For example, a daily LinkedIn company page update or tweets from the corporate account followed with an email reminder can help keep social selling top of mind for busy salespeople. By creating a strong feedback loop with front-line salespeople, marketers can gain insight into what prospects really care about, what works and what doesn’t. If you’re a marketer looking for help getting your sales team onboard with business to business social media, I’d love to talk about your challenges. Learn how to deliver a good user experience, how to set up an effective site and what features you need to capture lead information. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Cisco or any other party. For social media though, brevity is key and is enshrined in Twitter’s ‘140 character limit’. Over time, you can shift these activity-based objectives into goal-based objectives, such as inbound leads and booked meetings.
Involving sales in this process can not only increase the accuracy of the information, but also help to establish a sustainable content program in the long-run. By posting you agree to be solely responsible for the content of all information you contribute, link to, or otherwise upload to the Website and release Cisco from any liability related to your use of the Website.
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