There are many social media companies out there that tells you how good they are at using the various social networks available out there.

One veteran PR person I knew commented that social media is all about posting links on Facebook and LinkedIn and that agency charges  more than SGD6k a month to do so.

It is no surprise that particular agency don’t seem to being able to offer social media or don’t seem to get the clients to see the full benefits of using social media. 

No wonder brands would rather hire interns.

A recent article on Social Media Today about “Why Companies That Say They Want Social Media Really Want Content Marketing” struck a chord with what I am currently doing for a Singapore IT company, NetGain Systems.

Wrote Will Davis for Social Media Today,

“…when companies learn more about what content marketing is – and that you can leverage your own content in the social media space – they almost always realize that’s what they really wanted to do, and that social media is just one piece of their content marketing puzzle.”

Many companies I spoke to are rather, and still, amazed that users of social media can create so much content that know too much information on the web is now considered a barrier to take advantage of social media.

I read somewhere that such an excuse is like giving reasons not to go to the library because there are too many books to choose.

These companies also highlight that if they go online they have no control over the Internet.

Technically that is true, companies can’t control what goes up on the Internet, but they can set the direction of where the content, even the sentiment, is heading.

And when you break up content and marketing as two services, they are exactly what B2B companies are looking for and are willing to pay good money for.

a. Content  - Why the big boys can’t write for social media even they think they can

I had a PR agency outsourced some social media work from a big MNC software company that wanted to go onto the social media bandwagon. From day one, my advice to them is to focus on the content, design on the blog second.

Unfortunately, instructions from the MNC focused more on the design of the blog, wanting it to be hip and trendy.

So this job turn out to be focused on design.

The top brass said they are experts in writing and will contribute posts on a regular basis. Content can be secondary.

I completed the project after the blog got that hip and trendy look but a year later, the blog was empty. Zilch, zero posts. So much for being the content experts.

I predicted that nothingness will come from the page. The top brass probable excuses became he didn’t have time, or had nothing to write about, etc… You know the excuses.

Content is, therefore valuable to any social media campaign for B2B. But the content also needs to be easy and fast to read, and even related to recent trends.

However, in this social media space, everybody expects user generated content.

If you are a top consumer brand, there are tons of bloggers in Singapore who will be willing to write about you.

If you are a B2B IT brand, it would be like looking at a needle in a haystack. Singapore bloggers are mostly online diarists and it is hard, or almost impossible, to find the that blogger interested in your technology.

I don’t recommend ghost writing on behalf of your top brass. But you could take an the role of being the company’s staff writer and write as a story teller telling a story or many stories about the company. Don’t tell lies, just make up stories, if you catch the pun, good!

Writing for online also requires some technical skill. I learnt that reading black text behind a white screen is best when you keep your sentences and paragraphs short.

Best to keep to one sentence paragraph.

Try reading an online article with a paragraph of six sentences. Within the first two paragraphs, your eyes strain and might even be turned off to read further.

Also look at local trends and how it can be related to your company story telling.

For example, iPad 2 is coming and might even be an headache for enterprises if there is a sudden surge of users within the network. This is particularly true for tertiary institutions. 

Is there a story you can tell about your company products and the iPad 2?

Don’t tell lies, make up stories.

b. Content marketing – Why SEO is dead!

Now that you have content and expect Google to feature your site as number 1, I would think you need to wait three years.

Of course you can SEO your site, but with changes made to Google algorithms frequently, SEO tricks are like gaming the market.

So how can you market your content? This is where social networks come in.

Email is still the oldest form of social networking. Send you content to your database, of course, with opt out options.

Do not cut and paste the whole article. Put in the first few paragraphs and ask the recipient to click on a link to the site for more on the story.

eDMs can come in a simple text email, or with a sophisticated design. Or you could use services from MyNewsDesk which automatically creates an eDM for you with stats installed.

You could also link the content to your selected social networks. Though this requires awhile to build up the fan base, but social network should be looked at a channel to distribute the content as opposed to a channel to generate fans.

So if you are a B2B company looking at social media, ask the agency to show how they market the content.

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