Social Media Management — My Point of View

Trying to manage content, technology and time today is a never-ending battle (and one that we always end up losing). So what can you do to manage all that you have to do? I was asked to contribute my thoughts for CorpComms magazine last month and share my ten tips for how I try to stay on top of content, news and information.

Managing social media shouldn't always be a battle; here are some ideas to help
Managing social media shouldn’t always be a battle; here are some ideas to help

You can read the full story here: Managing Social Media

We’d love to know your good ideas and tips as well so add them in the comments below. You can also follow CorpComms on Twitter and their staff.

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Blogging isn’t supposed to be easy



Further Momentum with Financial Services and Social Media

There continues to be momentum in the use of social media in the financial services industry. Last week, I wrote about what is happening in the futures industry and the impact of social media, but a host of other changes have shown that the industry is becoming an industry that understands the transition. While the industry has often been branded as a laggard in social media, there is growing evidence that firms have the people and processes in place to integrate the right tools. Here are a few noteworthy items:

Two weeks ago we saw Goldman Sachs join Twitter, a long awaited launch;

StockTwits and PRN Newswire recently joined forces to integrate news into the social media stream;

Econsultancy last month wrote about the use of LinkedIn among financial services firms;

Artwork in the London office of the WSJ.
Artwork in the London office of the WSJ.

The Financial Times reported in April how more financial services firms are embracing social media; and,

I recently spoke on a panel discussion at Cognito PR on trends in B2B social media in financial services (you can download the PDF summary);

So what’s changed? First, social media has received broad acceptance among many retail and consumer brands already. We are seeing the financial industry study these habits and follow what has worked and what has not. Second, having the internal processes in place and compliance matters put into order have become more clear. It was only a matter of time that this would happen, and as more firms use social media we are seeing the result of common ground in this area. Third, as journalists use social media more they are effectively helping to pull communicators into the mix (if only to listen at first). Finally, communicators are becoming more comfortable with the social tools and understanding how they are used.

I believe we will continue to see growth in social media use among the financial services industry. In particular, I think the the area of evaluation will be of key importance as firms try to make sense of the qualitative and quantitative information online. I also believe there will be more emphasis put into CRM and social enterprise tools by financial firms as they try to build revenue streams from the social streams. No matter what direction financial firms head, the adoption of these tools will clearly benefit many industries as more investments in people and resources will be made.

If you enjoyed this you may also want to read:

Do most online communities fail?

Financial journalists on the state of financial journalism

Other voices: Julie Meredith, Radian6

Can accounting firms really be social?

Are you ready for these five trends?

What drives your b2b strategy?

Using social media in the banking and financial sectors



StockTwits and PR Newswire Partnership Further Validates Financial Social Media

Last week’s news that StockTwits and PR Newswire are joining forces represents a huge opportunity for B2B social media and financial communications (Disclaimer: We are a customer of both companies). As Howard Lindzon, founder of StockTwits wrote in his blog they are looking for ways to “layer on top of the publishing world for financial people to push, share and pull content” that meet the compliance needs of public companies. This partnership is another step in that direction.

The Social Network for Finance

Two years ago I wrote in this blog that financial communicators need to seriously look at StockTwits as a broadcast and engagement platform. The company has continued to extend its reach by striking content deals with major financial news outlets such as CNN Money Yahoo! Finance and MarketWatch. What I have always enjoyed about our relationship with StockTwits is its relentless passion and focus on community; they have never lost site of the value and importance of their members who contribute 24/7 to the network.

With this latest partnership with PR Newswire, known as Capital Markets Visibility 365, StockTwits continues to tap into the news flow of organizations. At the same time, PR Newswire brings further credibility to the social media landscape for investor relations and helps add value to the trading community that StockTwits values so highly. We have long been doing social media and have achieved some incredible results, and I like this agreement between two companies who understand the value of corporate news and bringing increased transparency to the investor community. This really is a win-win-win-win for both companies involved, communicators and investors.

If you still haven’t looked at StockTwits as part of your company’s or your client’s social media planning or monitoring you should register and learn more about the community. And if you have questions about using StockTwits or PR Newswire you can ask me on Twitter or reach out to Howard Lindzon or Brad Smith (PR Newswire). In addition, post your comments and questions below and I will provide my thoughts.

If you enjoyed this post you may also want to read the following:

Your Game Plan: Focus on Fans

Social influence matters! No, it doesn’t!

How are you measuring influence?

Are you ready for a real-time B2B world?

What drives your b2b strategy?

For the Future of B2B Social Media Look East

Whenever I speak on a panel or talk among peers about social media and its effect on B2B communications there seems to be one question on everyone’s mind: “What’s next?” While it’s always difficult to make predictions — and I try to avoid them — my strong belief and experience tells me that for now it can be summed up in one word: Weibo. In short, Weibo is China’s hybrid combination of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook with more than 300 million users and growing. With activity on the site now surpassing 100 million messages each day it is a resource that B2B companies cannot ignore.

If your business is not planning any growth initiatives in China in the near term or long term then you can stop reading now — this post won’t pertain to you. However, if you or your clients are serious about China as a growth market you should continue reading.

Do you Weibo?
Do you Weibo?

I have long been an advocate that social media needs to reflect the business strategy and integrate with all of your communication efforts. Social media is not a silver bullet and won’t solve or fix any of your business needs, but it can enhance and greatly assist you in your efforts to communicate and engage with your stakeholders. A great resource to help give you a better idea as to what is happening with social media in China is this McKinsey report.

So what’s stopping you from using Weibo? The biggest obstacle seems to be language and translation (I don’t speak Chinese). This should be a low barrier to entry if China represents a key part of your business strategy; more than likely your team already employs some translation service and you should figure out how to use them. Another challenge may be content, but if your goal is to educate the Chinese market on your products and services than you should have all the material you need at your disposal.

If you’re not on Weibo where should you start? First, have a discussion with your employees who do business with Chinese customers. If you can understand their needs, how they are trying to reach customers and the tools they use to communicate with customers you will build a good foundation. You may also discover who at your company already is using Weibo. Second, do your research on Weibo and social networking in Asia. I have a list of resources below and the McKinsey report also is a good start. Finally, join Weibo. You can follow me on Weibo and CME Group as we are excited about the growth opportunities in the region and how social media gives us a business advantage. If you are not yet on Weibo now is a good time to start planning to budget for and integrate it next year, that is, if China is part of your company’s growth plans. You can also follow @ChineseWeibo and @WeiboMarketing on Twitter, as well as @WeiboToday


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Around the world in social media

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B2B Social Media: A View from Asia

Still pitching to use social media?


Blogging isn’t Supposed to be Easy

Just over three years ago Arik Hanson had this crazy idea to start a B2B communications blog and asked me to contribute (this is now my 82nd post). I agreed, but didn’t realize at the time how much hard work it takes to blog, but that’s the point; it’s supposed to be challenging. My first post wasn’t exactly rocket science about the profession (So you want to be a B2B communicator?), but I’ve gotten better at it over the years. Since Arik’s proposal to me I have also started a personal blog and now contribute content and ideas to our company blog.

What motivates you to blog?
What motivates you to blog?

If you are still thinking about blogging professionally one of the best posts I’ve ever read about the topic is from Josh Brown, who answered the questioned, “How do you have so much time to blog?” The answer is easy — we don’t. Like Josh, it’s become an important habit that I enjoy. In addition, this post from Boing Boing this week on how to blog is a must read for both the novice and expert. In addition, many thanks to Francine McKenna who was a great mentor at getting me started on this blog and offered many valuable tips. From my experience with B2B Voices, I’ve become a better writer and more importantly a better thinker.

From all of us who contribute to this blog, thank you for reading, thank you for commenting and if you have been thinking about blogging for your B2B company, your clients or yourself, I hope this post was helpful.

Our most popular posts since we launched in April 2009 include:

Don’t Overlook the Power of LinkedIn Groups

What’s your “I” in Social Media?

Case study: Can accounting firms really be social?

Has Social Media in Financial Services Arrived?

Getting Your Degree in “Business Acumen”

What is social media success in B2B… and some examples

Why LinkedIn’s Company Pages Now Matter More

B2B Case Study: ShipServ

Integrating Social Media With Corporate Website: How Far Can We Take This?

Using video as a B2B marketing tool

Avoiding the One Cup Approach to B2B Content

One of the main issues being discussed this year among B2B communicators is the concept around content. From curation our own content to fighting social spam, we are trying to figure not only how do we provide the best resources for our stakeholders, but also how to sift through the growing amount of data coming our way. One trend that worries me when it comes to content is the growing amount of brands who use social media as a one cup approach; meaning, they are simply filling their own cup with their own content. There’s no conversation. There’s no sharing of other data. There’s nothing separating it from a a newswire service. While that may fulfil the needs of legal and compliance, that’s really not a very exciting, fulfilling or strategic way of communicating.

As I thought more about this, I kept coming back to three reasons why brands take this singular cup approach and waste the opportunity at hand.

  1. Resources: Managing social media channels takes time and effort, and as the amount of channels continue to grow this becomes more daunting. If this is the case, brands should either cut their losses from the channels they don’t use and focus on doing one or two really well. In addition, there should be some discussion as to how to add more people internal to help manage content and listen to what’s being discussed online. Four years ago it may have been easy for one person to manage all things social, but those days are
    Is your content only serving yourself?


  2. Compliance: Legal has likely put a lid on what can and cannot be done in social media, making the job all that more difficult. I’ve written a few times here that it’s imperative to earn and have the trust of legal, compliance and InfoSec in order to be successful. If you’ve spoken with them in the past don’t let those meetings deter you. Meet with them again and bring case study examples of your competition and other brands you emulate.
  3. Lack of Content: I hear often from B2B communicators that their brand is too niche and finding new content on their site is difficult. This can be compared to the digital challenge of a blank sheet of paper. If you only look at your own content then yes, this will be a challenge. The reward of doing social media is expanding beyond what you see on your own site and finding content from other trusted sources that relate to your products and services.

Instead of one cup, how do you get to fulfilling multiple stakeholders and with multiple opportunities to engage with you? Here are some guidelines to consider as you look to have your content shared in a network effect.

  1. Have a strategy. What are you trying to accomplish using social media? Is it to educate? Persuade? Change opinions? B2B brands that succeed using social media think about how they use the resources to their advantage and have a strategy in place. There is no way to win against your competition using these tools if you simply think about them as a way to publish news releases. The bottom line is you can’t do anything well — social or non-social media — without a strategy.
  2. Expand your content: If you are only wanting to talk about your brand and share “legal approved” content you are missing the point and the chance to learn from a vast audience. There are numerous places to share and repurpose content that matters to your efforts and you should take the time to find them. In fact, you probably already share this information internally, so why not repurpose it for a broader audience.
  3. Expand your resources: Everyone has internal champions for content and ideas. If you’re serious about using these channels than find the right people to help you. I think you’ll be surprised at how easy this can be. You don’t necessarily need to find people passionate about social media, but you should know the people who are excited about content
    How can you serve your many stakeholders?

    and specialized topics who can help.

  4. Share your wins…even the small ones. Letting people know throughout the company what you are doing successfully goes a long way to educate them about the advantages of using social resources.

There are now three rules we practice when it comes to content: Work hard to have a supply of good content; have a constant presence on the sites that matter; and, share content from other trusted sources.

If you enjoyed this post you may also want to read:

Navigating the Legal Road Map of Social Media

What’s your “I” in social media?

Why LinkedIn’s Company Pages Now Matter More

Do we need a social index for businesses?

Do most online communities fail?

A Look at 2012: Financial Journalists on the State of Financial Journalism

The 2012 Gorkana survey of finanical journalists in the US is now available and I wouuld encourage you to browse the results. Here are a three excerpts I found interesting:

  • Almost four out of five journalists (78%) have a neutral or positive outlook on the health of financial journalism over the next year. And of the 79% only 34% have a positive view on the future. I found that number to be low, especially given all of the financial news being generate in the past few years.

    Financial caffeine
  • The top ten most influential financial news outlets as rated by journalists are: WSJ (72%); Bloomberg News (60%); NY Times (33%); Reuters (26%); FT (20%); CNBC (16%); Dow Jones (6%); The Economist (4%).
  • How do they develop stories: reading newspapers or other publications (59.5%); personal interest or that of someone on staff (45.1%); readers/viewers/listeners emails or phone calls (32.4%); U.S. government news releases (31.9%); corporate news releases (29.4%). Corporate social media ranks last (5%) in this category, and based on the results this emphasizes that relationships do matter. I was hoping the survey would have looked more closely at social media as I think there are a number of ways journalists digest news and information — it’s not just all from a corporate account.

What did you think? Post your thoughts on the report in our comments section below.