IBM and Social Media: 7 Tips for Midmarket Businesses

by Loraine Kasprzak, CMC, MBA

I interviewed Leslie Reiser, Program Director of Worldwide Digital Marketing for IBM General Business. Leslie and her team built IBM’s infoboom online community to collaborate with mid-market B2B companies. The community has since merged with other IBM midsized business social media channels, including a Facebook page, LinkedIn group, etc.

Leslie shared 7 principles you can apply to your own social media/digital marketing efforts. Using even one or two of Leslie’s insights can make developing your company’s social marketing a whole lot easier.

Understand where people are already getting their information, where conversations are already happening. Get involved in these discussions first. Understand where the client base is going before you try to direct the discussion.

Realize that social marketing requires an investment. You’ll need to have some level of investment to grow your social presence. For example, you may want to have a community manager added to your staff who will drive online discussions.

Be creative! After you’ve been listening to discussions for awhile, you’ll have an idea of what’s needed, what’s missing in the marketplace. Make that your niche. Create a new concept for that niche and make it your own.

Have something insightful to say. You have a short window to engage your audience because there’s so much competition for their time. What value are you giving in exchange for their time?

Keep it simple. When you keep it simple, you’ll make the best use of your investment. You’ll want to focus on sharing your content on the social platforms where you find the discussions most relevant to your company. IBM, for example, simplified and consolidated its midmarket interactions into five relevant social spaces, and made content easier to find with tags and indexing.

Empower your employees to be social marketers, and do it in the context of your market. The Watson success on Jeopardy is a good example – IBM people were all over the place – on both social and traditional media. For example, on [the social bookmarking and sharing site], there is a small, enthusiastic Watson audience, and IBM employees contributed to that discussion.

Leverage free tools – there are many. You don’t need to spend millions of dollars, but be thoughtful and be prepared. [For a good list of free social media tools, check out 10 Free Social Media Tools Every PR Pro Should Master].

Loraine Kasprzak, Founder and Managing Director of Advantage Marketing Consulting Services, is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and MBA with over 17 years of hands-on experience in marketing communications and strategy. One of Loraine’s strengths is her ability to help her clients clarify their thinking so that they can focus and fine-tune their message for the marketplace. She blogs about marketing and social media at and is a frequent contributor to the Secrets of Success blog. She can be reached at


Zsa Zsa said...

Great tips! I totally agree with empowering employees to be social marketers. Discussions are happening everywhere so it's great to get as much word as you can out there about your business, and while one dedicated person can do this, more heads are always better than one!

Deborah A Bailey said...

Hi ZsaZsa!
I agree about empowering employees to be marketers. Wonder how many companies take advantage of that? Seems like it would be a win all around. Thanks for your comments!

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