Social Media Marketing - Tips, Strategy and Tools

b2b-lead-generation

8 Ways to Promote Your B2B Lead Generation Content

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lead-generation-contentLead generation content is quality, targeted content, such as blog posts, emails, whitepapers, eBooks, videos, case studies, and infographics, used to do what else? Generate leads! According to the B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmark Report, 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing and 74% of marketers cited lead generation as their goal for content marketing. But in order to generate leads, your content needs to be seen. So how are organizations promoting their B2B lead generation content effectively? Check out the different ways below.

8 Ways to Promote Your B2B Lead Generation Content:

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Want social media to draw customers? Think like a publisher

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Face it – if you are tweeting, blogging and using other social media on your company’s behalf, you are a “publisher” for your company. Yet, if you’re not thinking like a traditional publisher, your social media marketing efforts might fail to deliver.

Publishing companies are experts at creating content that their readers will like. Reader engagement is just what you want from your social media initiatives. When you define your editorial mission, other aspects of your social media project become easier. We’ve published an article on ZoomInsights that will help you get started on an effective editorial mission. Check it out!

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Why and how to market with online video

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These days, people would rather watch a video than get information by reading. Why? The answer is simple: Video is the closest thing to “being there,” to interacting with a product, or experiencing a service.

Video is the new preferred medium to show off what’s cool and different about your business, educate potential customers, promote your brand in increasingly competitive markets, and even (as sometimes necessary) correct new or lingering misconceptions about your business, product, or service.

Any type of business in any industry can benefit from using video content. Read more in our ZoomInsights article, Why and how to market with online video.

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How To Get Started with Twitter

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Twitter can be as powerful a tool for marketers as any advertising campaign in years past. Time and perseverance will to get you on the right track and here are a few tips for the Twitter-interested.

1. Install TweetDeck. This free application will make all the difference in organizing and gaining insights into your market and what competitors are doing. The broad layout allows you to easily schedule tweets, see what your friends are saying and easily see comments made about you and your brand. The real genius, however, lies in searching for specific terms that are published in the twitter universe.

2. In TweetDeck, create searches pertaining to industry keywords and your competitors. If you think there won’t be anyone out there pontificating, complaining or questioning certain facets of what you do, you’re wrong. Twitter has 190 million users and certain keywords and issues that your industry faces are certain to be bandied about.

3. Hashtags are your best friend. Written with a “#” followed by a term, think of them as an anchor. No matter what is in the tweet, when a hashtag is present it will be forever linked to those who also use the hashtag, and certain industries will rally around specific terms. In the data services industry, for instance, a good one to start with is #dataquality. You can search for hashtags here: http://hashtags.org/.

4. Be social and keep your content fresh. As you build your community of followers, be generous and polite. Thank people for re-tweeting you and do the same, as building a rapport with your followers and friends is paramount. The more and more you help them, they more they will re-tweet your content, which will be seen by all their followers and on the cycle goes. However, beware of what you tweet. Overusing ideas or content will have a negative effect and eventually your tweets will just be seen as spam.

5. Finally, leverage the information you find on your competition into intelligence and hopefully, leads. Search for your competition by name, find out what people are saying about them and potentially their weaknesses. If you’re lucky you may stumble across someone directly critiquing their products and viola, you have a captive audience for your message.

Of course, this is still a relatively new medium and time is the teller of all evil (or revenue). But there are gains to me made if you leverage these tools correctly. Happy tweeting!

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Little known nugget about measuring the value of Facebook

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Tell them you like it.

The Social Network,” about the founding of Facebook, picked up the Oscar for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and also won for Film Editing and Best Original Score. The movie will probably get a surge in sales at the box office, but it will be temporary, whereas people continue to flock to Facebook unabated.

The social site now has more than 500 million users and more than 200 million active users accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. Such phenomenal growth has the obvious implications for companies that need to find new customers and, perhaps more important, keep them, regardless of what they are selling.

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Making the link between CRM and success less elusive

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Despite becoming the norm in the last few years, marketing automation still hasn’t provided the returns b2b companies thought they had bargained for.

“The promise of automation still seems to elude us,” said Denis Pombriant founder and principal analyst at Beagle Research.

The problem may be velocity. Many of the sales and marketing tools that have emerged this decade were created for conditions that are vanishing, according to Pombriant.

“The tools were built for new markets, where it’s easy to sell undifferentiated products because the category is new,” he said. “But as markets mature, there’s a movement from selling ‘net-new’ to selling enhancements.”

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Twitter for b2b sales reps

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Twitterholic.

It sounds like an apt term to describe someone who is addicted to posting his or her thoughts on the microblogging service, which allows people to post comments in 140 characters or less.

However, Twitterholic actually calculates individual statistics for each twittering twit in Twitter’s database and is one of a slew of analytics associated with the social network.

Twitter, which launched in 2006 and now has roughly 175 million users, has become de rigueur for companies looking for new customers and fresh revenue streams. But is there a legitimate benefit to b2b sales and marketing executives who use the service or is it  just a bunch of babble?

We asked Joshua Waldman (@JoshuaWaldman), founder and CEO of social media consulting firm Cinta Media, for his take. “It’s not for [sales execs] to look at Twitter and have an opinion either way,” said Waldman, whose blog is titled Career Enlightenment. “What matters is where your customers are, and making sure you’re there.” He provided a few priorities for b2b execs who want to tap into Twitter et al.  in order to grow sales:

  • Scale the hierarchy: With Twitter sellers can create messages that home in on the right buyer(s) without having to navigate the layers of buyers within the four walls, as is the case with traditional prospecting.
  • Know whom you’re targeting: “Our prospects are bombarded with information on Twitter. If you know what the person really cares about, you’ll be able to get through to them,” Waldman said. “Do research up front and really think about that tweet (message). Always add a ‘request’ application to move the conversation to another channel e.g. ‘DM me w the best way 2 reach u.’”
  • Build on the momentum: If you get a response, more than likely it’ll be an email address in your ‘DM’ inbox, which gives sellers an opportunity to elaborate on the initial message, Waldman said. Here’s an opportunity to move up the ladder of influence, from Twitter to email to telephone call to face-to-face meeting.

In this video former Apple Fellow and co-founder of Alltop.com Guy Kawasaki expands on how to use Twitter for business.

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Ignore social media at your peril: ten reasons why

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Still on the fence about the value of social media when it comes to lead generation and b2b  sales? Or is your attitude more in the vein of: Why the hell should I even care? Here’s a brief video with ten reasons on why b2b sales and marketing reps   should care. The video puts the power of social media in perspective and makes a strong case that in sales, “conversation” may soon eclipse “campaigns” as a way to drive business and increase the visibility of your products and services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLd9q88ohUs&w=500&h=306]

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Keeping Social Media Under Control

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In what might raise a few eyebrows, top managers check their personal e-mail (90%) slightly more often than their corporate e-mail (89%), according to a recent study. That’s on top of regularly checking Facebook (55%), Twitter (40%) and blogs (23%) .

The study, which was conducted by People-OnTheGo, took the pulse of 1000 business professionals to get a sense of how the use of social media is affecting the workplace. Employees estimate that they spend about four hours a day managing multiple “inboxes,” the study said. Constantly checking all of your “inboxes,” of course, can be counterproductive: 42% of respondents in the study said they interrupt their work to check their inboxes more often than they would prefer.

While there are a bevy of online tools designed to automate social channels b2b sales and marketing executives also need to ask themselves a few key questions – and perhaps set some personal parameters – so using social networks doesn’t slide into a perennial time suck:

  • Write a social media playbook so sales reps have a few goals in mind when navigating the social media terrain. The playbook shouldn’t be too constricting, which may stifle any potential value that can be tapped from social platforms.
  • Lock in some metrics (however unscientific) about the value of using social media in terms of generating new leads, enhancing the visibility of the company’s products and services and growing word-of-mouth marketing. As the use of social media grows, so, too, will the ability to measure its value.
  • How much time per day (or week) should you spend using social networks? For time poor sales execs, a half hour (or an hour) a day seem suffice. The amount of time spent accumulating intelligence from social networks is separate from the time needed to put that intelligence to work.
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Do you need to hire a social media director?

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As the use social media grows within b-to-b sales precincts, the need among companies to hire a “social media director” has started to creep into the conversation. A recent search on indeed.com for “social media director,” or similar types of services, garnered more than 7,100 results from companies, ranging from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to Constant Connect to Fairmont Hotels & Resorts to a boatload of technology and media firms.

How long before companies start to employ a Chief Social Media Officer, who, because buyers are increasingly congregating on social networks, has just as much influence at the table as the CFO? It’s not beyond the stratosphere. In order to stay viable, b-to-b companies will need to hire a social media director/general manager or at least elevate the role of their senior marketing executives to the social media sphere. For many b-to-b organizations, this will mean creating an entirely new position. Here are a few tips on getting the ball rolling:

  • B-to-b managers should initially define the role of the social media director and what his or her responsibilities/objectives should be. What specifically is the relationship between the social media director and the VPs of sales and marketing? Are their jobs measured similarly to ensure better alignment and to nip in the bud any potential turf battles? Ideally, the job candidates will have spent adequate time in both sales and marketing arenas and can present management with a package on how he or she will boost the bottom line via social channels. Either way, the folks on the short list should be well acquainted with demonstrating ROI. Only after companies have figured out these variables, should they begin their job search.
  • With apologies to ex-NFL head coach Herman Edwards, you have to play to “win the game!” Companies will need to create a budget item for “social media director” and offer competitive salaries. Jim Durbin, the creator of socialmediaheadhunter.com, said experienced social media directors can command $120,000 a year and up while community managers, who oversee a company’s day-to-day social media operation, can earn $60,000 to $80,000, Durbin said. He added that Twitter managers, essentially copywriters with little business experience, typically earn $30,000 to $50,000. Depending on the size of the company, the sector and, most important, the use of social media channels among the audience being targeted, companies will have to employ “tiers” of social media jobs/programmers akin to other discipline.
  • The social media director cannot sit in an isolated office, but must be woven into all of your sales systems. Akin to sales reps, he or she has to be close to the customer and develop the social-media strategy as a function of where the customer is in the sales cycle. For companies who are still getting used to the notion of “Chief Marketing Officer,” the idea of a social media director may be jarring.  In the early days, there may be more misses than hits. But over time, employing a social media director, as part and parcel of the sales-and-marketing arsenal will show the customers that you mean business.

(An alternative version of  this column initially ran on FreshNetworks.com.)

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