How AMA San Diego Creates Authentic Content For Niche B2B Audiences

February 10, 2015
Creating authentic B2B content and social media. Expert interview with Shelley Callahan.

This month we’re interviewing a dynamic marketer who inspires many other marketers through her leadership as President of the San Diego chapter of American Marketing Association. Shelley Callahan is the VP of Marketing for Advanced Particle Therapy (APT), a proton therapy center development company. A top player in San Diego’s sizzling biotech industry, APT develops and manages leading-edge proton therapy centers that deliver exceptional cancer treatment to patients across the United States. How does she use social media to market to marketers? And, create useful online content for B2B audiences? It can be a tough crowd! Let’s find out.

BWF: Who is your customer?

Callahan: For APT, our direct customers are investors and academic medical intuitions; indirectly we also are champions for the proton therapy and work with our clinical partners as they connect with patients looking for cancer treatments.

For San Diego AMA, we serve marketers in San Diego.

BWF: What social networks do you focus on?

Callahan: For the San Diego AMA, it is part of our brand DNA to not only be active in social media and but also make sure that the content (events and online) be a source for best practices in the channel. We are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and have our Podcast.

“People don’t really want you or your brand to be as manufactured as a Kim Kardashian selfie.”

BWF: What has been the biggest challenge?

Callahan: One of the most interesting challenges over the past several years has been the change in Facebook’s algorithm. It has really pushed marketers to produce content that is engaging and relevant. Sometimes that is counterintuitive – what you think will be great may go nowhere. For example, on my personal Facebook page, it’s not the beautiful, heartwarming shots that get the most likes. Rather, it’s the post I did about my late night dinner at the office of Goldfish that garnered more engagement. Why? Because people don’t really want you or your brand to be as manufactured as a Kim Kardashian selfie. They respond to authenticity. Nothing is more authentic than some Goldfish.

BWF: How do you measure success?

Callahan: Success is measured on both a brand engagement level and in some arenas direct lead generation that connects to a CRM.

BWF: What tools do you use?

Callahan: There are so many, but something to consider is your phone. People expect brands to interact with them. Therefore someone on your team should be monitoring your social media in real time. Just don’t sleep with your phone. I hear that might be bad.

BWF: What does your social media team look like?

Callahan: For the San Diego AMA, Karisa Macias is our VP of Communications and she also has two outstanding volunteers who have really taken our social media to the next level over the past year. One of the things that have been really successful is pushing more at event engagement with contests and hashtags. Whether it is with videos, images or chatting back and forth at events, we get people engaged. There is also the FOMO (fear of missing out) issue that others see how fun the last event was and sign-up for the next one.

 “I like a mix of content types and sources for a well-rounded plan.”

BWF: Where do you get content? Do you incorporate user-generated content?

Callahan: Personally, I like a mix of content types and sources for a well-rounded plan. Having expert generated content like podcast interviews mixed with promos for upcoming events and live images create interest in the overall brand without being too stale.

For B2B marketing, content that helps customers be more successful and educated seems to resonate very well. In those cases, tone and level of expertise is critical. It is a huge turn off to open a white paper you’ve downloaded only to have it be so basic that you trash it immediately.

BWF: What one big lesson have you learned that you wish you could teach others?

Callahan: Two lessons:

  1. Create a social media plan that includes personas so you can accurately target your customers – especially now that you’ll need ad dollars to get to them.
  1. Create a content calendar and pre-load your content. It’s a life saver.

BWF:How do you stay current on social media trends?

Callahan: Ask Melonie! Also blogs and Twitter are a great way to connect with other marketers doing cutting-edge social media.

Meet the Expert: Shelley Callahan

Expert Interview with Shelley CallahanShelley Callahan is the VP of Marketing for Advanced Particle Therapy (APT), a proton therapy center development company in San Diego. For more than ten years, Callahan has been helping companies and clients achieve their goals in branding, digital and traditional marketing. Her expertise extends to a variety of verticals including biotech, financial services and sports. Callahan is the President of the San Diego American Marketing Association, on the Leadership Council for the American Cancer Society and was a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award. Callahan has her MBA from the University of San Diego where she has taught as an adjunct professor.


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