How to Yield Higher Marketing ROI: Coupling Smart Systems With Smart B2B Social Media Strategies

Many B2B brand marketers I come across struggle with the complex issue of spend on digital marketing systems and how that relates to driving targeted audience engagement, and finally, qualified ongoing lead generation. Concerns I often hear relate to making decisions around the types of systems, the spend on these systems, how to integrate these systems with their current CRM or social media management tools, how they can truly calculate marketing return on investment (ROI), or all of the above.

In my quest to help B2B marketers understand how to plan for, build, and execute effective social media and content marketing strategies, I decided to ask cybersecurity company Symantec how they were doing it share my findings with my ClickZ audience.

Before I get into the meat of the interview with Mr. Charlie Treadwell, director of social marketing at Symantec, I would like to give you a preface of why this subject is of uber-importance to any large organization moving forward into 2015 digital marketing. Technologies will continue to change and new SAAS products will continue to emerge. Content sharing rests in the hands of the user and big companies cannot afford to not deploy social listening (and reacting). As we all know, the search marketplace, of which I write about quite a bit, is again changing. Small and mid-sized B2B businesses are more nimble and flexible (and younger) to adapt systems and programs quicker.

Symantec, as my interview subject, uses Salesforce’s Social Studio to get early warnings on any news of outbreaks of computer viruses, bugs, hacks, or breaches of any type. When news of the Shellshock bug broke, for example, Symantec first responded by tweeting that news to its followers – an example of social engagement. In the hours and days that followed, Symantec followed up with content marketing initiatives, posting blogs, videos, and white papers detailing what people needed to know about Shellshock. These assets were promoted with social marketing campaigns. As the story continued to unfold, Symantec kept listening to spot new and unanswered questions, which led to new content and campaigns.

To help you truly understand how Symantec set up their Social Studio system for total social media engagement success, and how you can apply that to your own strategies, I sat down with Charlie Treadwell, to share the scoop with you.

Jasmine Sandler (JS): Why did you and Symantec choose Social Studio to support your social media marketing efforts?

Charlie Treadwell (CT): We are in the business of cybersecurity and our clients need to be protected at all times from threats and attacks. Symantec required an end-end solution that can not only know about events when they happen but predict them in the future. We don’t want our customers to ever worry, “Could I be next?” The system also had to provide us with immediate customer social conversations regarding their concerns and a way to respond immediately to these situations. Social Studio gives us that plus much more.

JS: How are you using the tool to meet your social engagement goals?

CT: We have learned that the best way to communicate with our customers in social media is to listen and then craft our information and education to answer their questions and general security needs. With Social Studio, we can amass all of our customers’ questions when an attack or threat has been announced and quickly create custom content, coupled with social ad campaigns that address those exact concerns and publish, all in the same toolset.

JS: Many B2B marketers I have come across struggle with gaining organization-wide acceptance of social media strategy. How have you met this challenge at Symantec?

CT: We do not create or execute social strategy without key members from all related teams. We have made it an ongoing practice to bring together a key person from sales, marketing, and customer support as part of our social media committee to discuss and agree on strategy and tactics. At the end of the day, our joint strategy and unified system allow us to respond quicker and faster. This drives optimal customer engagement and satisfaction.

JS: Do you think other B2B marketers are doing a great job managing and succeeding across social media marketing, sales, marketing, customer service, and content marketing, etc.?

CT: There are some companies who do digital marketing very well, like IBM, Salesforce, and AMEX. But no one yet, is doing it great. The integration between content marketing and paid search, for example is one area that we have started to perfect and I am sure other companies are also starting to test these waters. It may be a long time before everyone is great, but by utilizing unified systems and tools, enterprise companies will be on their way to truly driving measured sales from social media marketing efforts.

If you are managing digital marketing or measuring social media marketing’s effectiveness at your mid-market or enterprise level organization, take stock in your current sales and market automation systems and social media monitoring/management tools. Review how your teams support each other in the social media communication funnel. Are you truly listening to your social customer? Are your key sales, marketing, and customer support team members engaged in a cohesive social media strategy? If not, this is the time to invest in proper B2B social media marketing. You will be happily surprised at the results in the new year.

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