Using social media does not necessarily mean your company is a “social business” as Bernie Borges defines it. In this week’s episode of Content Marketing NEXT, I sit down with the founder and CEO of Find and Convert to discuss why every company should operate as a social business and what needs to happen in order for an organization to become one.
What’s new, what’s now, what’s next
Bernie has seen his agency, Find and Convert, evolve with clients over the past 12 years. Today, its B2B clients are expanding beyond lead generation to go deeper into strategic brand messaging as more leaders shift their mindset to a content culture. Find and Convert helps them to brand their content, which involves a more in-depth understanding of their buyer personas to create consistent messaging across all areas.
In this new culture, clients are moving from a campaign model to a total integration of content. Inside the organization, they are sharing the content shift with all employees to show them how they can contribute to a fuller brand story through individual thought leadership, personal branding, and – regardless of their department – collaboration with marketing.
Bernie defines a social business as an organization that embraces both the culture and technology of social media. As he explains it, a social business not only uses social media for marketing purposes but as a way to connect with people – employees, customers, partners, etc. A social business is about producing outcomes that matter to the business and that’s done through people.
Too often, companies use social media to focus on marketing outcomes and often get caught up in tracking vanity metrics versus the organization’s business metrics. A social business uses social media to focus on innovation, customer service, and sales, identifying subject-matter experts as well as direct-sales opportunities. In a social business, the C-suite is more aware of the strategic importance of using social media to drive the company’s culture, which in turn empowers and enables people to use social media, furthering the company’s content brand.
Social Business Engine podcast
A little over a year ago, Bernie launched “Social Business Engine”™ video and audio podcasts. From a professionally built studio, he interviews someone from a brand that is a great example of a social business, as well as other marketing experts and thought leaders. The “Social Business Engine” show serves as an example of how brands can create their own media channels to stand apart from their competition and possibly add a revenue opportunity by selling sponsorships.
More B2B companies will connect the dots to understand that lead-generation marketing is only the first step and will commit to a long-term process of developing content. They should craft a strategy that builds thought leadership parallel to lead generation over a 12-month horizon. The results will be higher quality, more effective content.
One of the reasons Bernie launched the “Social Business Engine” podcasts was to educate and inspire brands to launch a media channel to connect and engage with their audience. He sees a future where more brands produce their own media channels (i.e., a quarterly publication, podcast, or web series). He recommends starting with one channel, building an editorial calendar, and implementing it. Track results to business objectives. Discover talented people inside the company who can help grow what you are doing with your media channel.
Blast the buzzword
Bernie’s buzzword: Social media marketing
It’s a term that is five years out of date. Why is there an entire industry around social media marketing when we as consumers do not like to receive or respond to marketing on social media? Perhaps the word “marketing” needs to be changed to “engagement.” We live in the connected age, which is all about people connecting with people.
In the hot seat
Here’s a recap of Bernie’s hot-seat Q&A:
Q1: What innovation in the last five years has made your life as a content marketer better?
Podcasting technology. It is so much easier to record easily and inexpensively, and be more mobile by using tools from smartphone apps to auxiliary inputs in our car dashboards.
Q2: What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given, either personal or professionally? And who gave this advice to you?
One of Bernie’s first managers, Barbara Jean, taught him not to be afraid to make mistakes. But when you do, own up to it and don’t make the same mistake twice.
Q3: What book have you read that still stays with you today?
1. The Bible is his life’s user manual.
2. Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships resonates on the power of intentionally building relationships with other brands and creating joint business opportunities.
3. The Goal focuses on enterprise resource planning (ERP). The way the author writes about creating and achieving a goal can be applied to all organizations. It reads like a novel, which allows the reader to learn through the power of storytelling.
Listen to Pamela’s full interview with Bernie Borges here:
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Cover image courtesy of Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute