“Tell me what we should be doing on Facebook. How do we get on Twitter? Should we be on Myspace? What's going on with YouTube?”
Alison Munn says these are the kinds of questions she started getting nine years ago as a marketing and public relations consultant for a variety of companies.
“Like most people, I fell into social media through the requests of my clients and quickly grew to love it because it's such an exciting medium. It's opened up the world for a lot of people,” she says.
Now, as BMC Software's Senior Social Media Marketing Manager and a member of SocialMedia.org, Alison's made the transition to managing social for a large enterprise.
But, she says, at its core, social media marketing has been the same from her previous work as a consultant, a social manager for a smaller career website, and her role now at BMC Software.
“You're still trying to make connections with people, provide them with information, and eventually turn them into customers or turn customers into brand advocates,” she explains.
What's changed? Social media's sheer size, complexity, and user savviness.
There's a perception out there that BtoB is boring, but it doesn't have to be.
“It used to be a lot easier. When social media marketing was new, people were much more open to connecting with companies on Facebook, or liking their page, or following them on Twitter. Now, people are very seasoned on brand advocacy, what brands they'll follow, and what they're going to share.”
At BMC Software, Alison's a part of a social team of three. They manage social media marketing, training, enablement, social event marketing, and paid media campaigns with the help of an agency.
“The challenge for BtoBs is to not hide behind that corporate identity and to get their employees involved in social.”
“People want to connect with other people on social media,” Alison says.
While BMC's executives have embraced social, there are still some challenges to getting employees on board. Among programmers and developers, there can still be a culture of privacy that keeps them away from social media. Alison says she looks forward to BMC employees taking inspiration from their customers in social.
“At BMC, we have a very vibrant user community. Our customers are constantly posting questions and answers and helping each other out. I'd like to see that evolve through the entire company where we have created a community in social media that does the same thing,” Alison explains.
That means Alison's job is to help integrate social into the fabric of the company — not just the marketing programs.
The challenge for BtoBs is to not hide behind that corporate identity and to get their employees involved in social.
“Social media should not stand alone. It doesn't act in a silo. It needs to be a part of the conversation throughout the business, because there are so many different facets of social media.”
She says to make that change happen within an organization, social media managers need to have a strong understanding of marketing and business — to be able to explain how social can integrate and what business objectives it can meet. Another trait she says is vital to the job: endless curiosity.
“You constantly want to know what's going on in the world, who's talking about what, and what's the latest trend.”
“There's a perception out there that BtoB is boring, but it doesn't have to be.”
She explains that one of the most exciting parts of her job is finding ways to help BtoBs get out of their comfort zone in social.
Alison says, “Our customers are people too, and they could be interested in the same things that Papa John's customers are interested in. We can reach them in some of the same ways BtoCs do, and we don't have to be technical and boring with our marketing.”
Follow Alison on Twitter and ask her about her favorite thing about Colorado. Alison's been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2013.