Posted on | June 10, 2009 | 9 Comments
We didn’t solve major problems or part the seas, but we took a stab at starting a conversation about social media strategies, particularly in the B:B space Tuesday night.
You can check out the archived version of our Webinar here. It involved my old EE Times colleague Steve Paul, longtime editor and Red Sox fan John Dodge and yours truly.
Based on the audience questions, here’s where I think we need to converse a lot more:
Q: Can semiconductor companies leverage social media as an effective PR technique?
A: (My answer) On a scale of 1-10 in the near term, I’d give it a three. First off the audience is traditionally trailing adopters of the very technology they enable. Many very experienced marketers in this space are loathe to jump into social media knowing their audience isn’t there in large numbers. Engineers are just now commenting on blogs and creating their own, but this is just the first wave. Contrast that to software development. These guys and gals wrote the code for Google, Blogger, etc. and they blazed the social media trail. (Aside: I interviewed fellow social media geek Jeff Hardison from Portland PR firm McBru last week on this topic and he made this point; the fruits of that interview will be used for an EDN story I’m writing later this month).
Add to this the fact that traditional publishing in the space is withering as a source for company and product news, and you have to take things into your own hands. For years, EE Times research told us that company Web sites are a close No. 2 or 3 behind publications and publication sites as sources of information. So why not?
That said, semiconductor industry sites for the most part have all the savvy of pages designed in 1996. Time to step up.
Q: Where does Twitter fit in to a company communications strategy? We’ve seen some successes.
A: (My answer) For consumer audiences, Twitter can be a fantastic customer-service channel (e.g. Southwest Airlines, Comcast Cares. If you’re using Twitter to rebroadcast your press releases, zzzzzz….. pass the port. It’s bedtime. Give your feed some meaning, some urgency and don’t talk about yourself all the time. And by the way, don’t do this until you’ve fixed your site content first.
What I didn’t have time to get to:
- If you think your organization needs to step up, you need to be the evangelist. Don’t boil the ocean, but someone has to lead the band.
- If your enthusiasm isn’t resonating with the boss (or the boss’s boss), move on. Other companies needs your inspiration and will be willing to listen.
- Social media is like dancing. If you got to the dance hall a half hour late, it doesn’t matter. Just dance. Don’t worry about style points.
- What about ROI? Screw ROI. For now. If you’re a technology company run by an engineer who prays at the alter of ROI, you’re probably still advertising in some form. There’s no strict ROI in advertising; 100 years after Joe Wanamaker’s famous quotation, we still don’t know which 50 percent works. In social media’s case today, it’s not “follow the money;” it’s “follow the people.”
Lastly, does anyone see a value in holding these types of Webinars monthly or quarterly but having them more focused as a forum than as a presentation? None of us has all the answers, but collectively we can move faster.
- Salivating over Social Media
- The social media culture challenge (second in a series)
- Where’s the media?
- The Changing Media Landscape at DAC
- Check out our upcoming Webinar