Out goes the blog post or tweet. Immediately, the fingers start drumming on the table. The eyes shift anxiously to the clock or watch. A whole day goes by. Then, two whole days. Response is lukewarm. Obviously, the effort was a failure, right?

The digital age has brought all kinds of efficiency to marketing. Campaigns and initiatives that were months in the making in the offline world can now be planned, launched, and ended within a matter of weeks—leading to a phenomenon I call The Impatient Marketer. Especially in social media, if there isn't an immediate and significant response then it's deemed a waste of time.

Before you rush to judgment, however, give your effort an honest assessment against the following three basic criteria of effective social media.

1. How useful was your content?

In case you haven't noticed, there is a content storm swirling all around us. Unless your blog or tweet or LinkedIn discussion is really useful, it gets lost amid the flood of blogs, emails, videos, articles, tweets, and commentary, and it won't get read—much less shared.

So what exactly is useful content? Any content from which viewers extract some sort of value. It can tell me something I don't know that is relevant to what I do. For example, in a recent ThomasNet Industrial Purchasing Barometer, more than 63% of survey respondents indicated that they use social media at least once a week, and nearly half use these tools multiple times per week. All the B2B marketers reading this can cut and paste that stat into their next Marcomm presentations as legitimate evidence that social media works.

Of course, there are other kinds of content usefulness. Tweeting to clients that you've got some free tickets to a VIP event is always a winner. First come, first served. If you've got a good job opening at your company (or heard about one somewhere else), reach out to your social communities and let them know.

Then there are the occasional announcements that clients will find interesting. Where they can find you at a tradeshow or a new service or product you're launching. Keep it short and sweet and benefit-driven.

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image of Philip Paranicas

Philip (Phil) Paranicas is director of new product development at ThomasNet.com. He is responsible for creating new products and services that support ThomasNet's mission of helping bring buyers together with sellers. Reach him via pparanicas@thomasnet.com.

Twitter: @Flip2Market

LinkedIn: Phil Paranicas