When a $2 billion B2B corporation with almost 7,000 employees spanning five continents wants to begin using social media, one can be sure that the planning process will be complex and thorough. Multiple markets, different languages and a wish to be appropriately professional online were all challenges Belden was facing. They called on Falk Harrison to help launch their social media efforts.
Belden and Falk Harrison are both strategic, thoughtful organizations. We wanted to work together in a methodical, structured way and get this right the first time. We decided to bring Belden marketing representatives together for a four-day meeting. The first two days would be focused on social media, and the last two days on ways to enhance their website (it was new and had just debuted, but they were ready to further improve it). From this meeting, we expected to:
1. Define our goals for the use of social media
2. Identify Belden’s strengths, weaknesses, fears and concerns regarding the medium
3. Decide which social media platforms to use, and
4. Hand out assignments to Falk Harrison and Belden associates in order to get the effort off the ground
Our multi-layered plan started with a “social media summit.” Chris Reimer, Vice President of Social Media, co-chaired a two-day “Social Media Kaizen” meeting, along with Belden’s Kaizen specialist. Belden marketing representatives were flown in from all over the world, and we convened in Chicago. For two intense days, we discussed the hopes for Belden’s social media efforts, the dangers and concerns, and plotted a course forward. As undertaking an effort this extensive involves many key stakeholders and tasks, we handed out a great deal of assignments at the conclusion of the meeting.
Several initiatives then simultaneously began.
1. We identified several alterations to be made to Belden’s existing social media policy. We made the changes and submitted them to Belden’s legal team for approval.
2. Falk Harrison wrote a 21-page “Social Media Guidelines” document. These guidelines were designed to be much more helpful and extensive than their social media policy. In order to introduce social media to all Belden associates, we started the document off with a tone setter – a letter from Belden’s SVP of Marketing. We also included some language on why social media for B2B works, an FAQ page, helpful tips and hints on how to use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and on how to conduct oneself online.
3. Belden needed to identify certain associates that could produce social media content on behalf of the company, and they wanted them to be not only trained, but empowered. Belden senior management also wanted to know that these employees would appropriately represent the company online, so we created online training modules for these employees to take. The modules included slides with voiceover, and quizzes that tested the proficiency and understanding of the associate. Only those associates passing the quizzes would be allowed to post social media content on Belden’s behalf.
4. During the Kaizen, we introduced the idea that a blog would be a great central repository for all things Belden – new products, helpful hints, new hires and more. Belden’s marketing associates agreed, so we brainstormed the structure of and desired content for Belden’s new blog. The blog was divided into four categories – three product categories, and a Belden corporate blog containing news and other types of posts. We also decided that, at a minimum, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube were the three social media platforms we had to use.
5. We provided consultation on the blog, Twitter and LinkedIn as the platforms were built and as Belden began to use them. Falk Harrison wrote some blog posts for the Belden corporate blog.
6. Steve Hartman, Creative Director, designed social media avatars and skins for the channels. Beyond social media, Falk Harrison also designed trade show banners, email templates and website graphics, and we now produce Belden’s annual report to stockholders.
From scratch, Falk Harrison helped Belden get their social media messaging off the ground. They now have over 100 blog posts up on Belden.com and have seen significant incoming traffic to their website. Their social media followings continue to grow, and Twitter has been big a success story. Besides generating leads and increasing awareness of the brand, they’re using it to interact with trade show attendees, support their customers and find new employees.
We’re proud of our work with Belden, but obviously it took a real commitment from their management and staff to make this work. They realize that marketing via social media is not a campaign in the traditional sense – it doesn’t end. The effort goes on as we speak, and they are continuing to build upon the digital assets we created together.
Our B2B social media work for Belden won a Best In Class social media award at the BMA’s TAM Awards. In the social media category, Falk Harrison has now won Best In Class two years in a row (our Save Pratzel’s work won last year). We were then thrilled to find out that our Best in Class award had turned into a Best in Show award. Out of hundreds of entries across 37 different marketing disciplines, our social media work for Belden was judged to be the best work of the year. We are extremely proud of both Belden and this achievement, and we very much like the trophy we received – a steam-powered ossotronic blaster/disruptor called The Annihilator Mk II. We can’t say we’ve ever been handed a cooler prize.