Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Social Media for B2B Companies

BWS-Social Media

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Technology- and science-focused B2B firms typically have an interesting reaction to social media marketing. It usually goes something like this:

“Social media?
Oh yeah…like live-tweeting a Kardashian wedding or friending my high school daughter?
Neat stuff. But our company’s a B2B, so we don’t need to be on social media.”

Wrong.
Totally, flat-out, stifle-your-business-growth wrong.

Do Business-to-Business Companies Need Social Media?

Some clients believe that operating in the B2B world means they don’t need to use social media, that it’s only for the B2C world. Not true. Remember – every ‘B’ has a ‘C.’ Your business may market to other businesses, but there’s still a consumer (a human) making the buying decisions. And humans, if you haven’t heard, are active on social media – whether only on business channels or business and personal channels.

Social Media: The Future of Marketing or Fleeting Annoyance?
Social Media
– like other marketing techniques before it – can be frustrating for businesses and corporate marketing departments. We can just imagine what it felt like at the start of television advertising: “I’ve got radio, newspaper, trade journal and billboard ads. Now I have to make it move on a little screen, too? When will this madness end?”

Yes – social media can be annoying. Yes, social media is a starving beast that must constantly be fed fresh, original material. And yes – it requires time and resources.

The question isn’t whether or not your science or technology B2B should use social media. It has already proven itself to be a powerful tool for boosting lead generation, increasing brand awareness, exposure & reach, and developing thought leadership. Social media is here to stay, and yourcompany should be using it as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.

B2B Social Media Overview

The real challenge is knowing how and where to use social media to engage with clients and prospects. So what do you need to do to use social media in the B2B space?

Obviously there is far more involved in analyzing and implementing a marketing tool such as social media, but for the purpose of this short article you must:

  • Research and decide what channels to use
  • Create a content calendar
  • Develop & post content, and Engage, Engage, Engage!
  • Track your results & adjust strategy
http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/B2B_Research_2014_CMI.pdf

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What Social Media Channels Are Right For You?

When it comes to implementing a brand new social media strategy you can’t just post information haphazardly. You also don’t have to be on every channel. Many Brandwidth Solutions clients get excited and think they have to be on every channel available.

But just like everything else in your marketing toolkit, you need a strategy. There are too many social media channels to count so you need to research your target audience. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most used social

media channels for B2B marketing were (in order): LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook .

Social media research, analysis and planning involves more than just picking which social media channels to use. A comprehensive social media plan should be developed based on where, what and how your clients, competitors and prospects are using social media.

Content Is King

Once you’ve chosen where to engage with your clients, it’s time for the “how” and “when.” You need to develop and implement a content strategy which includes the type of information to post, and when to post it.

It is important to create a content calendar for the year so you’re not writing last-minute posts. A content calendar not only helps your marketing department organize thoughts and marketing initiatives, but also lets you create a library of content to maintain consistency throughout the year. Events such as tradeshows, conferences, publications, special press conferences and breaking news should be used to add “live, breaking” content to your social media stream.

If your business already has a blog, an easy way to get started with content on social media is to share your blog across your corporate social media channels.

Don’t forget this key point: SEO matters! (Read our earlier post about writing for SEO). Your blog post should be written to comply with the latest search algorithms. And don’t just copy and paste a line from your blog into each one of your social channels. The goal is to get people to want to read your post, and engage with you.

Analyze Your Efforts

Social media – like any digital marketing technique – can be tracked. Basic data can include:

  • Growth in Company followers/fans
  • Click-throughs
  • Growth in visitors to Company website from social channels
  • Shares and likes of Company content

Measuring the true impact of social media marketing on a B2B’s business operations, however, requires close monitoring of the sales process as well as how and where sales or leads arrive.

Social media is here to stay and it’s time to get onboard – or should I say online. For more, check out this article over at Inc. on social media for B2Bs.

Are you ready to get social?

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Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Does Print Advertising Have A Place In This Digital World?

Print-vs-digital

Yes!  Print advertising is still very much alive and well, especially in B2B markets.  In our last blog, Advertising is Much More than What Meets the Eye!, we discussed the differences between B2B and B2C markets, and also the process of creating a print ad.  At this point you are probably wondering why advertising still exists in print and why e-marketing hasn’t wiped it out.

Yes, online marketing is important and you need to use it; however you need to be everywhere your clients go.  And the reasons why print marketing is still a viable source of advertising:

  • Trade journals are read by your clients
  • Oversaturated digital market
  • Print can be used to integrate and enhance your electronic and social marketing programs

Traditional Advertising in Trade Publications

According to The Association of Business Information & Media Companies, in the B2B world 96% of your clients read print magazines.  Do we really have to go further than that?  That is a very large customer base to miss out on by substituting your print media with just using internet marketing.  Cutting out print advertising isn’t an option.

Stand Out with Print

Yes, there can be too much of a good thing.  We have now entered an “e-world” and are experiencing an e-marketing overload.  We are now inundated with banner ads, pop-up ads, and even ads on social media.  So there is no reason to try to come up with new ways to electronically reach your clients.  Your customers are constantly using technology – laptops, smartphones and tablets so when they get to “un-plug” and read a magazine or trade journal it is a welcome change of pace.

Marketing Integration

There’s that term again. We’ve discussed the importance of integrated marketing in Marketing Integration: Several Channels—One Wheel.  It’s important to integrate your print advertising campaign with your e-marketing and social media efforts. And there are new ways to connect your “old and new” marketing media.  One great thing about digital marketing is that it can be tracked.

You can now track engagements with print by using QR codes and landing pages.  If you think QR codes are dead you might want to read this.  Ad specific landing pages are a wonderful way to continue the conversation with your clients or prospects that started with the ad you placed in a trade journal .  Instead of using your general website URL in the ad, create a landing page and use a unique URL.  By doing this you now have a way to track the performance of the ad. You have also engaged your client to go to a website where you can:

  • Provide your client with more information about your product/service
  • Give links for your client to download white papers, application notes, and/or technical notes.
  • Create a lead capture tool for your client since they need to sign up with their email.  (What?! You mean I can get leads from a print ad?)

You can also use a print ad to start engaging with your client on social media.  Just like using a landing page for lead capture, you can drive them to your social media outlets by asking them to “follow” you for more information on a given topic, share ideas, give them a reason to engage with you.

No advertising campaign is a guarantee to bring in leads/sales, but if you put a solid integrated advertising strategy together you have a much better chance to increase your return on investment (ROI).  After all, isn’t the point of advertising and marketing to:

increased awareness + lead generation + solid sales team = ROI.

If you still think print is dead, check out more reasons why it will thrive in 2014 and beyond.  It’s time to stop ignoring print and add it back into your marketing mix.

What does your print media plan look like this year?

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