WHO NEEDS FACEBOOK? I’VE GOT TWITTER!
Wherever you go, it is close to impossible to escape the dominance of Facebook. Recently news channels were interviewing social media experts to explain the changes to our Facebook profile pages and debating whether the new timeline was actually a good thing.
For those who don’t know, Facebook is changing the way others will view our profile page. Friends (or the public at large depending on your security settings) can now see what we posted when our Facebook profiles were in their mere infancy through a timeline function that has all your posts available at the click of a button – which can prove to be quite amusing as you look back and ask yourself “Why, oh why, did I post THAT picture in the summer of 2004?!” and quickly remove it from public view.
Then the news broke that Zuckerberg filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announcing Facebook’s intention to go public. The initial target is to raise $5 billion (£3.15 billion) of funds and estimates have valued a company less than 10 years old at $75 billion upwards – this really drove home just how valuable social media really is.
As communicators, our job is becoming increasingly more complex as we constantly immerse ourselves in the latest social media tool to discover its uses – I am still getting to grips with Pinterest – and once we have evaluated it and decided it is a useful tool, we then have to prove its worth to the client.
B2B communications strategies in 2012 cannot afford to ignore social media platforms any longer. Effective strategies have to include social media activity in one form or another. In my opinion, risen to the top of the pile of B2B social media tools and (finally!) achieving wider business recognition is Twitter. As a business, I don’t want to know what another business was doing on a gap year in 2006 or scroll through images of their latest holiday. I want to know what it is doing now, what its thoughts on its industry are and where it is heading in the future. Twitter is a great platform for keeping followers up-to-date with current news, quickly referencing any good business news and directing traffic back to the organisation’s website or commenting on the latest industry trends.
Integration of social media tools into the everyday function of B2B PR strategies will be crucial in 2012 and thankfully there are tools available to make our job that little bit easier. Sure we still have to generate interesting content, pitch hard to journalists and foster relationships, but bringing those tactics into line, using the new tools at our disposal and getting the most out of the material we produce across multiple platforms will ensure a successful year and prove to any remaining doubters that social media in B2B is no longer the future, it’s the present.
To quote famed professor of public policy and political scientist Robert Putnam, “communication cannot exist in a vacuum” – and neither can a successful business. If they haven’t already, businesses have to embrace a form of social media or run the risk of being unable to communicate with partners and customers, discover opportunities and effectively manage their 21st Century corporate image. Perhaps more importantly, by not having a social media profile businesses run the greater risk of not allowing all of the above stakeholders to effectively communicate with them – and in the B2B world, Twitter is a great place to start those conversations.
If you’re still in doubt about the power of social media then visit www.socialmediaweek.org to see what experiments are happening throughout the world, all using the power of social media. Then ask yourself whether social media is here to stay?