10 case studies: Is management on board?

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2011/09/07 · 11 comments 10,112 views

in b why benchmark failures,d business Fortune 500,d business SME

Definitions, examples and cases of success are everywhere in business. Like your social media guidelines and accounting standards, they are the first line of defense for managing risk.

If you fail to define which operating metrics and objectives you want to influence with social media marketing, you might be left with US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous, but ultimately vague application: “I know it when I see it.”

Social media must be defined succinctly and simply for the uninitiated, such as:

Social Media encompasses any tool or service that uses telecommunication technology, including digital media, to facilitate production and exchange of information and action.

But how do we illustrate the above with cases so skeptics can see that it could work for your company?

Article source - 10 case studies: Is management on board?

I came across a great post from Mashable, 15 Case Studies to Get Your Client On Board With Social Media, that tries to illustrate what social media is if you do it right. Unfortunately, the cases are all very large organizations with plenty of social media officers on staff and large budgets, such as Booz Allen HamiltonDellUS ArmyJohnson & JohnsonThe New York TimesGoogle, and Comcast.

What can a small organization or non-profit learn from these cases? We know that:

- 99 percent of all companies in the EU have 250 or fewer employees, and
- 96 percent of all companies in the US have 100 employees or less.

Before you copy another Fortune 500 success story, ensure you cover all the bases:

1. Context matters. A small company will not have the budget to copy a large organization’s strategy, will it?
2. Culture makes a difference. Are US examples transferable to France or Spain?
3. Learn from past mistakes. Can I learn more from other people’s mistakes than from repeatedly-used successful examples?

So I found a few more disasters that might just be useful to smaller companies.

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The largest company below employs less than 400 people, while many have fewer than ten on staff and some have just one employee, the owner.

Social media is about interaction, so regardless of which tool you intend to use, emphasize the importance of generating leads and reaching new clients with your chosen platform. The issue is not about trying to convince your boss that blogging is a great strategy, but showing top management how it generates leads.

Image - Twitpic - example of how you can brag about successfully using online and off-line marketing as a consultant - Slideshare downloads.

  • Combine offline with online marketing: If you present at a conference, try tweeting about it a couple of hours before you go on stage and give people a link to download the slides from SlideShare (see Marie-Christine Schindler on Twitter). This increases your audience and allows you to showcase your skills more widely.
  • Great content must also be available on your weblog/webpage: Ensure that you publish your Slideshare slides, YouTube videos and Scribd white papers on your own site.
  • Live your corporate image and manage a reputation crisis smartlyMammut works hard on its green image, but used bad reputation management when supporting econonisuisse‘s (association of Swiss enterprises) efforts against Switzerland’s CO2 initiative. Unfortunately, a poorly formulated press release on Facebook did not help matters.
  • Maintain a vibrant, engaging, high-quality blog: These days, every organization or production with a large customer or fan base directs existing and potential customers to connect via third-party applications like Facebook, Twitter or Xing. So you might think it insane to suggest connecting via your blog, but that is the critical place to maintain a long-term and vibrant conversation (e.g., client comments you reply to thoughtfully). Here you have control over focus, content, etc.
  • Respect user rights and privacy: For security reasons, many companies and private users turn off script and/or flash execution on their browser. If your page fails to work for them, they will most likely move on to another destination. Don’t let your agency dictate the use of scripts or flash just to enable showing off their wares. Instead, focus on your target audience – KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid.
  • Never neglect your webpage/weblog in favor of social media platforms: Neutrik has an interesting and active Facebook page, but its webpage is less so. This means losing search traffic for the company’s webpage, instead of attracting Facebook users to the corporate website. Make sure you spend as much time, effort and money on your weblog or webpage as you do on social media platforms like Facebook.
  • Reach out and recruit talent: There is no reason why your jobs should not be listed in full detail on your weblog and/or webpage, with links to these from Xing groups, LinkedIn and other platforms.
  • Hold contests: One way to encourage engagement is to get group members to promote you through contests, like Moving Adventures Medien GmbH got Xing group Outdoor to promote its event by giving them a chance to win free tickets.

Tip: To find out more about the tips and tricks we have on this blog about social media and more effective marketing include the words CyTRAP and ComMetrics in your search.

Instead of spewing buzzwords, the above examples show B2B and service companies, as well as small consumer brands’ successes and flops that illustrate what can be done with social media. Finally, ensure you use the tools properly, and don’t confuse weblogs with static webpages.

Do you know of a great example that I missed? Leave a comment!
Just one question I hope you will answer: What is your best example of great social media use by a small businessI look forward to your comments below.

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  • http://twitter.com/birdbathbuzz/status/111236590902329344 Chris Isaac

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  • http://twitter.com/describe4x/status/111325836401065984 Sharon

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  • http://twitter.com/devseo/status/114701622218731520 Alex Hall

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