Social Media Marketing

Social Media with Amy Hawthorne: A Thought Leader Interview

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Our most recent B2B Marketing Thought Leader Interview was with Amy Hawthorne, Director of Marketing at Workstreamer, a company working to transform the way business professionals participate in and benefit from the new information and social economy.

How did you get started with B2B Marketing and what do you like best about it?

I kicked off my B2B Marketing career in the go-go days.  Money was being thrown around like crazy and no one seemed to be held accountable for delivering any real results.  It was definitely fun while it lasted but obviously not sustainable.  Fast forward to 2003.  The bubble busted and the B2B Marketer’s role would never be the same.  The spotlight turned to us and we were now being asked for real results for every dollar we spend.  That worked for me.  I liked being able to trace my efforts to real, measureable revenue.

What do I like best?  Solving the puzzles.  Figuring out what marketing vehicles/channels work with my target audience and what kind of impact each one can make on our business goals.  Then, I can turn the dials on each and amp up those that are working best.

How do you see the B2B Marketing world changing?

SOCIAL MEDIA. While it feels so yesterday to some of us I don’t think we’ve really seen the power boost yet.  It has changed the way we do everything.  We are now able to see and listen to our customers, competitors, prospects and partners through many different lenses. We are building relationships in different ways.  With so much information online, companies can gain a real competitive advantage if they are able to seek out the right nuggets of information and act on them.  It’s not just about pushing our message and hoping someone responds anymore.

How do Marketers adapt to these changes?

Get on board or get left behind.  Putting your head in the sand is the quickest way to become irrelevant.  Participating in social media doesn’t require a big budget, so the risk is minimal. Get out there. Figure out where the relevant conversations are happening and jump in.  If your audience is on Twitter, you need a Twitter strategy.  If you know your audience uses LinkedIn, join a few groups or create one of your own.  There’s a blog for everything.  Check out alltop.com and subscribe to those relevant to your business or your role.

What is the best way for business professionals to leverage social media?

  • Start listening first.
  • Have something to say other than your company one liners.
  • Throw in your two cents – offer opinions on relevant topics.
  • Ask questions.
  • Share good content and ideas.
  • Do not shout your message from the mountaintop and then go back in your hole.
  • Remember you are building relationships with real people, not businesses.
  • Be yourself.
  • Let your hair down and have fun.

What are your top “listening” techniques?

I start and end each day by scanning my Google Reader and catching up on our competitors and partners in workstreamer.  I also have TweetDeck running the background alerting me of bite-size news flashes from a broad variety of Tweeters.  There’s lots of information out there. Finding ways to filtering it down to only relevant content is key.

How can B2B Marketers set the stage for everyone in a company to embrace social media?

No doubt about it, if you’re not out there, you’re missing opportunities.  The more people out helping you spread the word, the better.  Once you’ve discovered where your customers, competitors, prospects and partners are, encourage others to jump in the conversations. Open the doors and windows, let the world meet the smart diverse group of people that make up your company.  Each perspective is a little different but ultimately driving more overall awareness.  It takes time but pays off in a big way.