3 Reasons Social Media is a Question of How, not If for B2B Marketers


The enormous penetration of social networking sites makes it a no brainer for business-to-consumer companies to establish a presence one or more social nets. Marketing efforts require that we meet audiences where they are, and increasingly they are on social media. Unlike their B2C counterparts, many business-to-business marketers question the efficacy of investing resources in developing a social media presence. An assumption held among too many B2B marketers is that buyers would have little or no interest in connecting with them in the same way they connect with brands in their “off time” as consumers.  If you operate in the B2B space and hold this sentiment, 2014 is the year to adopt a new perspective on social media.

B2B Gets Social

In a post on the MediaPost Marketing Daily blog, Elizabeth Chambers of Metis Communications identified eight trends to watch in B2B social media usage in 2014. Among her observations for B2B social media were:

  • Businesses will invest more in social media marketing in terms of personnel and content creation
  • Visually-based networks like Pinterest and SlideShare will gain importance as channels of choice as images continue to trump text-only posts for clicks and sharing
  • LinkedIn and Google+ are poised to be key destinations for B2B marketers and audiences
  • Knowledge and expertise will be communicated more via interactive channels such as a webinar as opposed to one-way communication in the form of white papers and case studies.

The points made by Chambers in her article present a compelling case for B2B firms to not dismiss social media as a fad and embrace it as an element of marketing strategy.

Why Social Matters for B2B

If you are a B2B marketer, here are three reasons why social media should be included in your brand building toolkit:

  1. The distinction between buyer as individual and buyer as organization has been blurred– When contrasting consumer and business buying behavior, it is often brought out that business buyers are not acting in their own interests but those of their employers. While this is true, business buyers are accessible through the same channels as consumers. And unlike consumption of traditional media like TV or magazines that may be motivated by desire for entertainment, social media serves a dual purpose of entertaining and informing.
  2. B2B buyers are people, not robots– One reason that the distinction between B2C and B2B buying behavior has been blurred is that decisions are made by people. Yes, they are hired to make choices that are in the best interests of their company, but they are not programmed to do so like a computer. B2B buyers think independently and experience emotions, which ultimately influence their behavior. Social media can reach them to influence thoughts and attitudes toward your products and company.
  3. Mobile access removes the physical distinction between work and play– For better or worse, smartphones and tablets keep us connected constantly to our work. In pre-social media times, advertising in an industry magazine or directory delivered to a buyer’s office may have been one of the best ways to reach him or her. Today, they are tethered to the web and apps to connect to their social networking sites of choice.

Social media has significantly changed how marketers can connect with audiences. Traditional communication channels will not disappear anytime soon; social media channels offer complementary means of interacting with customers and prospects. Social B2B is not a replacement for the sales force, but it brings a new dimension of communication that can be beneficial throughout the organization. Instead of waiting for the social media craze to flame out, resolve to figure out what role social networking sites can play in creating impact at each stage of the sales funnel.

Ask Three Questions to Determine Scope of Social Media Presence

social net logos

 If you are involved with marketing a brand, whether it is your company or personal brand, you have likely wrestled with the question of the scope of your involvement with social media. A recent article asked the question that may have crossed your mind: “Are there too many social networks?” At the very least, the number of social networking sites can leave your head spinning. Which networks should I use? How will I use the social nets we join? How the heck am I going to keep up with posting and reading on our accounts? These are three valid questions for any marketer to ask. Let’s answer them by asking three additional questions.

1. Who Do You Want to Engage?

The first question to ask when evaluating a social network is who are the people you desire to connect with online. They are most likely customers and leads that comprise your target market. Strive to identify social networks whose user demographic characteristics match up well with your target market. Below is an overview of user characteristics of five of the largest social networking sites:


% of All

Internet Users

Distinguishing User Characteristics



High usage across subgroups, but higher proportions of women, young people (18-29), income of less than $50K, and some college or less



Balance men and women users; higher proportions of African Americans, young people, college educated, and incomes over $75K



Higher proportions of women, African Americans, Hispanics, young people, some college, and income of less than $50K



Predominantly women, broader age range (18-49), college graduate, suburban dweller, and higher incomes (over $50K)



Higher proportions of men, African Americans, early-mid career (ages 30-49), high education and income levels

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

Your time and resources are limited; focus on the social networks that will deliver the right audience to you. That is, have a presence on sites that are used most by your target market.

2. What Do You Want to Accomplish?

Once you have established which social networking sites can best connect you to the people you seek to engage, consider what you want to get out of your social media efforts. Different sites possess distinct benefits for users. A few examples include:

  • Build brand awareness or shape brand image– Facebook is by far the largest social network. Posting photos or stories about your company, employees, or customers that people want to share with their friends is one way that social media involvement can influence how people think about your brand.
  • Inform about product features and benefits – If your product is more complex and would benefit from more extensive explanation or demonstration, channels conducive to long-form content like YouTube or a blog would enable you to tell your story in more detail.
  • Strengthen customer relationships- While all social media channels are useful for gathering feedback from customers and others, the real-time flow of communication on a site like Twitter can be used to monitor customer sentiment, deliver timely responses to questions, or resolve customer problems. Retail businesses in particular should utilize social media to empower customers to reach out. Let them talk to you, not about you! Check out this example from Best Buy:

2014-01-15 17_06_52-Best Buy Support (BestBuySupport) on Twitter

 This customer’s tweet received a reply in less than an hour with a recommended next action step.

3. What Are Your Communication Needs?

The third question to guide your social media marketing channel strategy his highly correlated with the first two questions: Given the target audience and marketing objectives, what are your communication needs in terms of content and messaging? Returning to the objectives discussed in Question #2, if you desire to make your company more personable by featuring employees, video interviews posted to your YouTube channel and Facebook page or adding employees to your “Twitter Team” are ways to bring employees to the forefront. If you want to capture unique or interesting uses or users of your products, posting photos to Instagram or Pinterest (depending on audience characteristics, of course) are two ways to use social content to reinforce the brand image you aspire for the brand.

Not a Yes or No Question

The question you should be asking is not whether you should use social media- your customers and future customers are on social networks- so why would you not be there? This issue reminds me of what marketers faced circa 2000 with the World Wide Web. “We need a website” became a common position among businesses. But, many of the same people uttering this statement would have to honestly add to it by saying “but we have no idea what it should contain or what it should accomplish for our business.”

Many brands have struggled with this same issue in establishing a social media presence. Ask the three questions about audience, objectives, and communication needs. And, a quality over quantity mindset is needed. Setting up accounts on four different social nets can be detrimental to the brand if they are not kept up with fresh content and monitored to respond to visitors’ comments or questions. It is better to become proficient at using one social network then adding to your social media mix than starting with multiple sites on which your brand presence is mediocre.

Google+ is Worthless… or Invaluable


If you are like most people, perhaps the last thing you need to do in your professional life is join another social networking website. I can clearly recall having plenty of work to do that consumed my work days before the Internet and social networks became commonplace in our lives. Just as marketers began to grasp how popular channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter might be incorporated into marketing strategy, along comes Google+. The network launched in 2011 and today has more than 500 million users, second only to Facebook.

Striving for Acceptance

Despite its impressive audience reach, Google+ has struggled to gain traction as a relevant social network in terms of audience engagement. If you do not hold Google+ in the same regard as more popular social nets, you are not alone. Here are two takes on Google+ found via a quick Twitter search:

“I’m looking at Google+ today. I know nothing about it though.” – @thejc3

“If social networks were high school students:
Twitter: Jock
Instagram: Snob
Google+: Geek
Facebook: Obnoxious freshman” – @kasondrare_

My use of Google+ has not been consistent to this point. For me, Google+ is like that new shirt you buy, hang in your closet, then proceed to forget that you own it. Occasionally, you will come across it and realize just how long it has been since you used it. But, as I learn more about Google+ I am striving to not let it get buried in my social media closet.

Put Google+ in Your Toolkit

Certain social nets become the “in” place to be- think Instagram, Vine, or Snapchat. Google+ lacks the cache of cooler social sites, but do you want your social media existence to be cool or effective? Google+ holds promise as a marketing channel, particularly in the B2B space. Why should you consider adding Google+ to your social media marketing toolkit?

  1. It’s Google– We can stop right here and you have all the reason needed to work on building a presence in Google+. It is described as an added social layer on top of existing Google products, namely the Google search engine and YouTube.
  2. Google+ Content Influences Google Search Rankings– Related to point #1, your Google+ profile and content influence rankings in search results for your company, brand, or name. For more about this benefit, read this article from Search Engine Land.
  3. Longer form content– Unlike content limitations such as 140-character max of Twitter, Google+ posts can be used to provide more in-depth information or knowledge sharing.
  4. Community building opportunities– Google+ makes it easy for people with shared interests to gather using the Circles feature. Another Google+ feature that holds great promise for marketers is Google Hangouts, which allow you and up to nine others engage in conversation via video, much like Skype. Client meetings, internal discussions, and small audience presentations are three possibilities for Hangouts. For more insight into Google Hangouts, read this article that gives 10 tips on how to use.

 Is Google+ for You?

It is safe to state that Google+ will not become the next Facebook. Despite the fact that it is a Google product, it does not have the attraction of a Facebook for use as a connector with friends and family. But, because it is a Google product, Google+ holds great promise for finding and being found, two valuable benefits in business.

Are you a Google+ user, in particular for business purposes? If yes, what has been your experience been with Google+? Do you plan to use Google+ more in 2014? Less? Are you still asking “What is Google+?” Share your thoughts.


Focus on Telling, not Selling in 2014


The new year is a time when many people and organizations establish goals. What accomplishments or improvements do you want to realize in the next twelve months? Some goals are very specific, often accompanied by a quantitatively measurable target and time period (e.g., lose 10 pounds by May 1). Other goals are less refined but provide needed direction. It is the latter type of goal that comes into play when considering how to frame your marketing efforts. I read a very timely article by Daniel Newman, author of The Millennial CEO, titled “2014: The Year of the Brand Influencer.” Newman’s article offers two useful takeaways as we venture in 2014:

1. Influence the Influencers

2. Tell, don’t sell

Market for Influence

Newman laments that traditional mass media communication is largely ineffective for creating desired results (i.e., sales and increased brand equity), yet many firms continue to throw their money at these channels. The attraction of mass media historically has been extensive reach. However, Newman points out that a majority of consumers believe that a smaller, more engaged community is better for creating influence than a larger, less engaged one. In other words, think quality of interactions rather than quantity of exposure when it comes to marketing. An example of a tool that can be used to foster quality interaction is a blog. It is designed for two-way communication, and it is largely free of the restrictions of time and space imposed on paid media placement. Yet, too often we complain that “I don’t have time to blog.” When we say that we are in effect saying “I don’t have time to reach out to customers and leads.” That mindset does not bode well for the long-term health of a business. View interactive channels like blogging and social media as an opportunity to allow others to spread influence on your behalf, not another task on your To Do list.

It’s not about You…

Or at least it is not about your product or company. If your marketing is still focused on features and benefits of your products or how great your company is, resolve that 2014 will be a time to shift focus outward. Use your content marketing and social media tactics to tell customers’ stories. Who are they? What are their problems? Celebrate their victories. Tell their stories. Oh, and if your products play a part in all of these pieces, that will come out. But, we are deflecting attention from us to those we serve. Similarly, tell the stories of your employees, the people who make your organization what it is. Employees that blog, tweet, or otherwise communicate on your behalf put a face on your organization with which customers can identify.

Commit to Influence

Resolve that 2014 be the year your brand becomes more influential. The secret is simple: Be useful. Being influential will come as people recognize the utility and value you offer. In turn, they will advocate on your behalf. But, you will need to commit to investing time and resources to building trust via your communications (esp. using content and social media channels).

May 2014 be your most prosperous year yet.

Personal versus Perfect: How Brands Walk the Social Media Line

Social media has dramatically changed how businesses communicate with their target markets. A reliance on one-way communication through mass media channels is now complemented by a more flexible, interactive channel. In addition to the interactivity characteristic of social media, companies that take to social networking sites have the opportunity to “humanize” their brands. Employees that are the voice of a firm’s social media accounts can create personal interactions between buyers and seller. Twitter users who interact with a business to share a complaint, for example, may interact with Jeff or Janie rather than a nameless representative of the brand. Bringing a more personal touch to customer relationship management can lead to more satisfactory experiences and greater customer loyalty.

Is Perfection the Ideal?
We think of brands as being “always on.” Product or service failure is a negative reflection on the brand; we always have our guard up to protect brand reputation and should act quickly to resolve any situation that could put a brand in a negative light. But, is this quest for perfection attainable? More importantly, do customers even expect it? Research by Disruptive Communications of UK consumers into what people dislike about brand activity in social media suggests that brands must walk a line between giving off a personal feel and maintaining consistency that is a hallmark of branding. A survey of 1,003 UK consumers found the number one misstep brands can make on social media is using poor spelling or grammar in their posts (see infographic below). The other big no-no is making too many posts aimed at selling products. Other social media faux pas that turn off consumers are posting updates too often, trying too hard to be funny, and not posting updates often enough (further evidence that you cannot please all of the people all of the time).

Source: Disruptive Communications, 2013
Common Sense and Common Courtesy
Findings from the Disruptive Communications study are insightful as they validate what was widely assumed: Using common sense and common courtesy will go a long way toward using social media to nurture customer relationships. Common sense says to pay attention to detail when posting to social media accounts, making sure not only that information is grammatically correct but that offers and claims are accurate, too. Common courtesy should be exercised not to encroach on your community’s social space by bombarding them with sales messages. In fact, selling should be far down the list of social media objectives for most firms. 
Use the privilege of connecting with customers and others to listen, share, and discuss. I do not know many people who joined Facebook or LinkedIn in order to be hit up with marketing messages. Also, common courtesy suggests to not damage customer relationships by posting insensitive or controversial content on social media. Sounds like common sense would prevent that, but we can point to many examples of a failure to exercise common sense. Remember this clueless tweet from Kenneth Cole during the uprising in Egypt in 2011?
Social media should be embraced as a unique opportunity to build a community in ways that marketers of previous eras could only have imagined. But, with great power comes great responsibility; in the case of social media this means respecting your community’s space by being a participant with them rather than a seller with a digital megaphone.

A Social Media Marketing English Lesson

I am a marketing professor, not an English professor (as one can determine from reading my posts). But, I feel compelled to weigh in on a practice that makes me cringe when I see it occur. Some marketers and individuals misunderstand their role in communities. Social media has empowered the voice of the people, transforming us from “targets” to participants. Unfortunately, some people are stuck in the old mass media model of broadcasting messages. In a world in which social networking sites have elevated second and third-person pronouns to star-of-the-show status, too many brands are still communicating in “I” and “me” terms. If you want to increase the likelihood that your “target market” will tune you out, just keep doing what your are doing.

Align Pronouns with Objectives
If you are not an English professor either, no worries. Let’s demystify how to avoid falling in the narcissistic trap of a first-person voice in social media. The voice that you use should be consistent with the objectives for using social media in the first place (you do have objectives, right?). For example, if you have an objective of growing a community around your brand, you do it by focusing on the community instead of you. Think about the person you talk to at a party (or maybe better described as listen to) that only talks about himself. He complains, he brags, he jokes, but he is in control of the conversation. And, you are pretty sure he does not really care about you at all or he may have actually tried to engage you in an actual conversation.

Don’t be that guy! The tone of your content should align with your community. Talk about the problems or challenges your community members face. Celebrate their joys and accomplishments. Ask questions to learn more about what is on their minds. Lift up employee success stories. It is not about you, it is about the community. One of my favorite quotes is from John Maxwell, who says “people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.” Too many social media marketing messages try to show us how much the sender knows rather than conveying care and concern for the community. Social networking is a participation sport. As a marketer you can play, but you are far from the only player in the game.

Don’t Ditch First Person 
You do not have to eliminate “I” and “me” from your vocabulary. The point to remember is that when participating in communities we step back from the center of attention to be part of the circle of community members. There are times that you want to assert yourself as a resource (i.e., how much you know); just be careful to avoid that practice being the primary use of social media. Some people might disagree, but social media can be used in pursuit of sales objectives. For example, Panda Express used Facebook to distribute coupons for a free serving of orange chicken, part of a promotion touting the chain’s extended summer hours.  

This pronoun dilemma is particularly challenging for individuals looking to build a personal brand. Of course, you need to persuade your audience of your knowledge, capabilities, and value. However, there is a need to stake a balance between asserting brand credibility and fitting in among the community that interacts with your brand.

The Side Benefits of Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing has become a popular business practice. The ease of connecting with people via social media enables an organization to turn to its tribe of followers for solutions or inspiration. New product ideas, customer service issues, and marketing input are three examples of how marketers use crowdsourcing to tap the wisdom of the crowds. One of the most effective crowdsourcing campaigns in recent years has been Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest. For the past seven years, Frito-Lay has challenged the public to submit Doritos commercials to air during the Super Bowl. Five finalists are picked, giving the winners (often upstart ad agencies) tremendous exposure and modest financial rewards. The payoff for Doritos has been successful commercials, in part because they are vetted by the public via a fan vote for the contest prior to the Super Bowl.
A Maverick Idea for Crowdsourcing
The latest example of using crowdsourcing to meet a marketing need comes from the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Owner Mark Cuban, known for being innovative and a maverick in his own right, recently took to his blog to call on fans to help design the team’s next uniform. Specifically, Cuban wants to debut new uniforms for the 2015-2016 season. Between now and May 31, he wants people to post their ideas for the next uniforms on his blog. Here are some details of Cuban’s call for action:
  • All submissions immediately become property of the team
  • A winner may be picked from the submissions
  • Winner will receive $1000 and possibly some free Mavs tickets
  • Of course, the winner receives bragging rights for having his/her design chosen

Is Mark Cuban being a cheapskate for offering a measly $1000 to the winner… and there might not even be a winner? Some people think so, contending that if a professional designer was hired the fee would likely be six figures. But, judging by most comments posted on Cuban’s blog (nearly 900 so far including many contest submissions) many Mavs fans have no problem with the conditions of the contest.

Promotion and Engagement are Side Benefits
The obvious benefit of crowdsourcing is innovation. Ideas for new value are generated, often by the very people who use or are served by the company or product. Generating multiple ideas is good; generating those ideas from users and customers is great. Another benefit can be realized from crowdsourcing as evidenced by the Dallas Mavericks example: Promotion. In this case, there is not much going on with the Dallas Mavericks these days- the team missed the NBA playoffs this season. The uniform design challenge is a way to stir interest in the team during an otherwise quiet time.
More importantly, crowdsourcing provides a platform for engaging customers and other members of a brand community. Asking people for their input gives them a voice, making them feel valued. I read several of the comments to Cuban’s post that contained contest submissions. Many people apologetically began by saying “I am not a good artist but…” yet uploaded their ideas for new uniforms. Many people included the acronym “MFFL” in their posts (“Mavericks Fan for Life”), providing a clear indication of their relationship status with the brand. For this segment of a brand’s community, crowdsourcing is powerful because it makes these people feel like they are part of the organization. Their involvement is sought to innovate on the brand’s behalf.
Cuban concludes his blog post about the contest by saying “let’s see what you got.” I’m with him- I cannot wait to see the quantity and quality of ideas submitted in the coming days. Regardless of whether the eventual next uniform design comes directly from the community submissions or indirectly influence a hired designer’s work, Mark Cuban’s crowdsouring call will likely be deemed a success.


Think Small for Social Media Marketing Wins

I often tell my students “marketing is easy; marketers screw it up.” The marketing concept itself is based on a rather simple notion that an organization should have dual pursuits of satisfying customers’ needs and wants while meeting profitability and other internal goals. Another example of the simplicity of marketing is that there are really only two ways to add value to products or services:

  1. Increase benefits 
  2. Reduce sacrifices

I could discuss several other instances in which marketing decisions can be boiled down to straightforward considerations, but that is not the point of this post. The focus is how to not screw up one of the newest, shiniest tools in our marketing toolkit: Social media.

Ditch the Big Thinking
Strategic planning is often about thinking big- more market share, percentage increase target for profits, specific dollar or unit volume for sales. We hear about BHAG- big, hairy, audacious goals. Apparently, there is no room for small thinkers in marketing. When it comes to social media, that is simply untrue. Digital marketing expert Mitch Joel recently posted in his Six Pixels of Separation blog about “The Small Wins from Social Media.” Joel points out that the “big thinking” mentality that governs most marketing organizations found its way into social media marketing strategy. How many “likes” can we get on Facebook? How many followers can we add on Twitter? Restaurants, retailers, and others have run promotions giving away product and offering price discounts in a quest to amass a large social media following. Never mind that little thought may be given to what to do with the audience once collected, let’s just up those audiencenumbers!

Small Ball” Wins
To borrow a baseball analogy, think of social media marketing as having the same impact that a singles hitter has in baseball. The performance may lack the drama of a home run, but consistency in getting hits improves batting average and helps the team. According to Mitch Joel, small wins in social media include getting customers to talk about themselves (rather than a focus on talking about the product or company), using blogs to develop a repository of critical thinking (as opposed to product promotion), and using podcasts to network with thought leaders and other influentials. Reach-oriented goals (i.e., the home runs) that are the norm in mass media-driven marketing are not necessarily a good fit for social media campaigns. Instead, Joel advocates looking for the small wins, advances in customer relationships and brand equity that are not as quantifiable and may lack the “wow factor” compared to size of audience.

Figuring out how to use social media as part of the marketing mix can be a daunting challenge. Simplify it by thinking small- use social media to achieve small gains in customer relationships and competitive position.

Be Driven by Passion, not Perfection

On Friday, I was fortunate to attend Social Slam, a digital and social media conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. The morning keynote presentation was delivered by Jeff Bullas, named  one of the top 50 social media power influencers by Forbes. Bullas shared with the audience how to build a presence on social media by creating and delivering interesting content. One point he made resonated with me: Be driven by passion, not perfection. Bullas confided that articles written for his blog contain errors, but he does not allow himself to become a victim of inertia because of fears of what people might say when they find mistakes. He reminded us that only one perfect person has walked the earth, and He has not been around for two thousand years!

Passion + Purpose = Awesomeness
It is not uncommon to hear people exhort us to “follow your passion.” Such proclamations can make us feel good about our dreams, but passion without purpose is little more than a dream. Jeff Bullas represents how a purpose-inspired passion can lead to building a remarkable personal brand. Bullas is a former high school teacher and real estate salesman who had an interest in how technology was changing communication. He parlayed his interest in the Internet and his servant-like approach to helping people to become a thought leader in social media.

“It’s not about You”
Having a passion can be very fulfilling, but it does not pay the bills! But, passion coupled with purpose gives one direction toward creating an impact. Another theme echoed by Bullas and others at Social Slam that is important to note is that “it’s not about you.” Passion and purpose will have the greatest impact when they are applied in serving other people. A related point was shared by Gabriell Laine-Peters, principal of social media consultancy X-Digital, who said that “community is at the heart of everything we do.”

The true power of social media is not that it gives everyone a voice (although that is a defining characteristic); the true power is that the voice enables us to connect with each other for good. Sharing information, exchanging ideas, answering questions, giving encouragement, advocating a cause… all of these occur within a community. And, these traits are all inspired by passion and purpose. You don’t have to be perfect when using social media; just be willing to let your passion and purpose shape your personal brand.

Social Media: If You Start Talking, Be Prepared to Listen

One characteristic that I truly appreciate about social media is that it can open a direct line of communication between customers and a business. Questions, complaints, praises – whatever the reason for interaction – can be accomplished easily and quickly via social media channels (sure beats the mind-numbing process of going through a phone tree). Yet, there is one important caveat that too many brands with a social media presence fail to understand: If you start talking, you must be prepared to listen.

Social media expert Steve Olenski goes so far as to say that failure to listen and respond to customer-initiated communications on social networking sites is the number one mistake that retail brands make. Olenski cites statistics revealing that although 90% of the top 50 retailers have a presence on Twitter, only 29% use the platform to actually engage in communications with customers and others. The problem according to Olenski is a mindset of “set it and forget it.” In other words, more thought goes into establishing a social media presence than developing objectives and strategies for social media. He points out that setting up a Twitter account for a business then failing to respond to people who interact with your brand would be like opening a call center but not answering the telephone. It would be a waste of resources and harmful to brand image to ignore ringing telephones; failure to acknowledge or respond to posts on social networking sites potentially has the same effect.

For most businesses, the question to ask is not whether to have a social media presence – the answer is usually “yes.” The more pressing issue is once you decide to establish a presence for your brand on Twitter, Pinterest, Google + or any other social network, you must be ready to listen. It is like throwing open the doors to your business, inviting people inside to interact with you. You would not leave your business unstaffed when customers are coming in, so why would you invite interaction on social networks without a plan for sustaining the interactions?

When it comes to social media as a marketing channel, listening trumps talking. Be willing to listen, assign sufficient human resources to make listening happen, and empower your listeners to resolve problems or concerns.

Forbes – “The Number One Mistake Retail Brands Make When it Comes to Twitter”