IBM Business Partner Uses Authentic Communication to Score Online

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Corus360, a Norcross, Georgia-based technology consulting and solutions firm and IBM Premier Business Partner might be onto something. The company has actually found a way to make business social media work.

Authenticity is the key to building trust at the group level and among individual subscribers. Some posts will seem slightly off-topic from a marketing perspective, but Scott Rowe, VP of Professional Services, advises peers to exercise patience.

Unique visits to http://www.corus360.com have grown by more than 25% percent over the last 12 months. Native search results for a number of key terms are much improved, and the company has been able to use its online activities and tools such as Google Analytics to improve the quality of its prospect pool dramatically.

“We see social media as an investment that supports our business objectives,” says Corus360 President, Steve Johnson. “Our Solution Architects are using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to communicate with clients and prospects. But they are doing more than just trying to sell technology—they are serving as trusted, engaging advisors to multiple professional communities.”

Authentic Communication is the Key
Too often, companies fall into the trap of treating social media like marketing, says Daniel Yoo, eMarketing and Media Coordinator. “We find that social media works best when it is a two-way conversation. We encourage our Solution Architects and DR Consultants to write about the business and technology issues that interest them and their audiences. We want authenticity.”

Authenticity is the key to building trust at the group level and among individual subscribers. Some posts will seem slightly off-topic from a marketing perspective, but Scott Rowe, VP of Professional Services, advises his technology peers to exercise patience.

Persistence Pays Off
“Gaining traction with social media audiences takes time,” Allison Rickards, Director of Marketing and Communications, says. “The key is persistence and consistency. To build a presence, you have to post and participate on a regular basis.”

Many organizations launch a social media strategy so they can become influential within targeted groups of users. Corus360 has been successful in this area by making social media an integral part of each Solution Architect’s job description.

“You have to make it part of everyone’s routine,” says Scott Rowe, VP of Professional Services. “You may hear some grumbling at first, but that will go away as soon as your people start to see the benefits of gaining access to prospects who would have otherwise been completely off the radar.”

Avoid Using Canned Content
There is a strong temptation for time-challenged employees to use content providers to meet their social media obligations. Allison Rickards, Corus360 Director of Marketing and Communications, advises against relying on this approach since it can quickly undermine your credibility within online communities.

“It is okay to commission professional bloggers to support your effort, but you cannot create authentic communication if your staff is not invested in the process,” she says. “Over 80 percent of our content is original material written by our Solution Architects. For success in social media, your organization has to be dedicated to the process. Your employees must contribute their own tips, opinions, ideas, and personalities. You want posts that initiate two-way communication. You have to be willing to make this commitment for social media to work.”

About Corus360

Corus360 is a technology consulting and solutions company with more than 10 years of success delivering infrastructure solutions, recovery, and consulting services that help organizations reduce costs, increase efficiency, and maximize productivity. We specialize in best of breed infrastructure solutions, IT management consulting, application development, Data Center technologies, disaster recovery, managed services, IT staffing, and enterprise applications.

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Allison Rickards
Corus360
770-300-4700
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