Newsmakers in social marketing tend to be large companies, with big ad spends. Small and midsize companies can sometimes feel as though they're at a relative disadvantage, but the technologies that power big organizations' social efforts are becoming more affordable for smaller businesses.

Ed Abrams, vice-president of marketing for IBM's small and midsize business unit, explains the changing landscape, and offers tips for SMBs on social strategy, content marketing, and running a social business.

The First Step: Decide What You're Trying to Do With Social

"Sit down and think about what it is that you're trying to accomplish with social media and social business," says Abrams. "Are you trying to build a brand image? Drive sales and revenue?

"Many businesses, SMBs and large businesses alike, simply say 'we need to be there because everyone is there.' You need to set an objective."

The Chicken and the Egg: Content and Social Strategy

Many SMBs have various social platforms in use before they try to plan their larger content strategy, but social and content strategy should be hatched at the same time.

"Businesses need to do two things simultaneously," says Abrams: "create a purpose-built social infrastructure, and establish content and voice. What do you stand for? What value do you add?"

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image of Kerry O'Shea Gorgone

Kerry O'Shea Gorgone is a lawyer, podcaster, speaker, and writer. As a learning designer, she helps develop MarketingProfs' premium training products. She co-hosts Punch Out With Katie and Kerry about people's hobbies, interests, and weird collections! Kerry also hosts MarketingProfs' weekly interview show Marketing Smarts. To contact her regarding podcasts, email

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