At Cisco Partner Velocity this week in Paris, France, using social media for marketing will be a hot topic. Many Cisco partners are in the process of developing their strategy for social media and some are still struggling to justify to their management team why social media is an important component of any marketing strategy. If you fall into the latter category, you may find the following information useful.
As marketers, we should know where individuals that meet our target customer profile are spending their time online, how they get the information they need in order to make purchasing decisions, and we should make sure we’re providing relevant information about our solutions in a way that matches to this. Basically, a “fish where the fish are” approach.
Are your target customers leveraging social media? Two recent research reports may shed some light on this.
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Lately I’ve been spending some time talking to partners and my Cisco Channel Marketing counterparts about how and where we can integrate social media into our overall marketing efforts. Frankly, I am a huge proponent of starting with objectives and strategy versus tactics – see my earlier blogs posts that touch on this subject relative to social media – Internet Marketing, Social Media, eMarketing… It’s Still Marketing and Social Media ROI: What Do You Measure?
However, I recognize that there are situations where you just need to try some things and see where they can take you. As most of you know Cisco has a fairly large presence on Twitter with Twitter feeds for marketing, product launches, Cisco executives etc. We frequently encourage both our partners and customers to follow us. With this in mind, I thought I would share some easy ways that you can integrate your Twitter presence into your overall marketing efforts. So, if you find yourself in a situation where the proverbial train is leaving the station with social media, this may give you some immediate things you can do to unify your marketing efforts.
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On a recent trip to Las Vegas – my first ever non-work related trip to Vegas – I was able to catch a few shows – Yes, the first shows I’ve ever seen in Vegas. One of those shows was Blue Man Group . It was fantastic!
In case you’re not familiar with Blue Man Group, they are a performance art troupe and marketing machine. Their shows combine vaudeville-style physical comedy with art, social commentary, and lots of odd and entertaining audience participation moments, all without the Blue Men actually speaking a single word.
Something struck me about the Blue Man Group show and got me thinking about how some of the characteristics of social media are evident in how the Blue Man Group show is structured. (OK… I know… You can take the girl out of the work environment, but you just can’t take the work out of the girl).
So here’s my take on how social media is like Blue Man Group:
Participation & Interactivity – Social media tools inherently encourage participation and feedback from anyone who is interested, effectively blurring the lines between media and audience.
Audience participation is required to make the Blue Man Group show successful. Right from the start, the audience is part of the show, from reading “Happy Birthday” out loud as a group (you had to be there), to individual and group participation in specific skits, the show would not be as effective without audience input.
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According to the US Department of Labor, there are more than 1 million new businesses each year. Small businesses constitute more than 99% of all employers, employ more than 50% of the private workforce and account for 51% of the nation’s sales.
The SMB is important. Your business may be one. You may market and sell to SMBs. Or perhaps, it’s both.
Regardless, there are some interesting statistics on the usefulness of social media for SMBs.
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I am frequently asked by Cisco partners about the value of social media, how they should get started, what other partners are doing, if those efforts have been successful, and many other questions too numerous to list here. Many of these questions have been the inspiration for previous posts on this blog. Because I know you, Cisco partners, have a strong interest in social media as part of your marketing efforts, I am always on the look out for relevant information that I can share with you. Imagine my elation when I received the July issue of CRN and found an article entitled “Are You A Social Climber?” by Brian Kraemer. The subtitle is the clincher — “Vendors, VARs find engaging with customers via today’s social networks is paying dividends in ways they never expected”.And yes… I’m so happy to see an article about social media in a solution provider focused publication that I’ve been carrying this issue of CRN around with me ever since. Here are the points that I think are most salient and interesting. If you have time you may want to read the entire article. Read More »