Don’t think that just because you’re a B2B company that you can get out of social media marketing. With 87 percent of B2B marketers on social media, you’re options are quite similar to the B2C world: get on social media or look as if you’re seriously lagging behind.
Fine, you say, you’ve won me over. Or even better: I’m already there. Now what? So many blog posts and tidbits of advice about social media marketing practices are perfectly applicable to the B2C world, but B2B is different, right? We can’t go around flaunting colorful promotions and tagging our Instagram photos with corny hashtags. How are we supposed to provide enough information about our product in that tiny Twitter bio? Pinterest … you’re joking, right?
These are relevant questions, but they’re a little misguided. It’s first important to realize the why of social media marketing, and then you can move on to the how.
Why should B2B companies be on social media?
As I’m sure you’re aware, B2B marketing is almost entirely about information. Facts and figures back up why you’re the best company. Product recommendations from reputable sources can be used to show potential customers how great of a business you are. You’re marketing to the C-suite, not the average middle-class American. Emotional buying is not as common in your world.
With the explosion of social media in professional networks, reaching top level executives is becoming increasingly attainable for B2B. LinkedIn has established itself as a key tool for professional networking with some strong statistics to prove it.
On an individual level, top executives overwhelmingly indicate that LinkedIn is their primary social networking tool. In the “Social Media Report” which surveyed 237 upper-level executives, 71 percent indicated LinkedIn was their top choice for social networking. 63 percent of executives also use social media in their daily work and a striking 89 percent claim their use of social media would increase if it proved to be more helpful in business.
Companies are also increasingly developing their own LinkedIn pages as they could be a useful tool for B2B marketing and sharing strong content between other businesses and top executives. The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth recently released a study that found 81 percent of Inc. 500 companies use LinkedIn. (more…)
It’s Not Just About Being Funny
In 2012, B2B Marketing (Business to Business) saw a surge in social media use. Many predictions, such as this one from Social Media B2B blog, say that trend is only going to increase in 2013. With big changes in social media last year, such as Facebook’s promoted posts, Twitter’s acquisition of Vine and LinkedIn’s passing the 200 million customer mark, it’s now completely impossible for businesses to avoid using social media. You’d be hard pressed to find any organization without at least a Facebook page.
But how do you adapt your social media strategy to a B2B organization? After all, if social media is about posting YouTube videos and tweeting funny headlines, how does a company maintain a professional image? It’s not as if every B2B company is in the comedy business. (more…)
The @ASPE_ROI stream was busy this week thanks to the great students in Philadelphia at our Social Media Boot Camp (thanks for the shout outs @jamesjpepe, @alilowrey, @jessicalowens and @dbangel71). Not only did they get an iPad, @jeremysaid taught them all the latest skills in how to integrate it with their businesses’ social media campaigns.
Whether B2B or B2C, marketers need to know which medium gets the best attention, traction and conversion. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, Tumblr, FourSquare, Reddit – it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which ones are the best for your business, not to mention the challenge of remembering all the usernames and passwords. And how do you manage it? TweetDeck, HootSuite, Threadsby, Brizzly? What are these?
It’s time to join the conversation and improve your presence. See if this amazing social medial marketing course is coming to you. And did I mention you get an iPad to keep when you take the course? Oh yeah, that’s how we roll.
QR code to ASPE-ROI's Google Online Marketing Boot Camp
A few months ago I wrote a post about why direct mail should still be used in marketing, and that an integrated mix is the best way to approach a marketing campaign. I guess the United State Postal Service is catching on. In their recent proposal for a 3% discount for mail containing a two-dimensional barcode (i.e. QR code), they state one of the conditions as: “The objective of the two-dimensional mobile barcode on eligible mail pieces must be to initiate interaction with consumers via mobile smart phones to market, promote, or educate.”
[UPDATE: the Postal Regulatory Committee approved the discount on May 17, 2011. The discount is valid from July 1-August 31, 2011.]
So what does this mean? First it means even though 3% isn’t a huge discount, it’s recognition by the USPS that they need to attach themselves to the growth and future of marketing. But the USPS, even if they aren’t aware of it, is also doing a service for companies that may not be ahead of the marketing curve. Direct mail marketing needs to embrace interactive marketing to involve the customers more. Troy Forget, senior marketing manager, Staples Advantage, stated in a recent Direct Mail Marketing article that, “…the interactive print sector is helping companies engage prospects with technology that print alone cannot accomplish.” I wholeheartedly agree.
ASPE started putting QR codes on mailed brochures at the beginning of this year. Right now, the majority of our QR codes take you to the course page for that specific brochure. While we haven’t had overwhelming results with traffic coming to our website from QR codes, we’ve had a 50% increase in usage of the codes from February to April. That’s enough for us to develop more, and better, ways to integrate them.
What’s the caveat? You need to use QR codes correctly. Don’t slap a code on your mail piece just to save you some money on postage, use it to your advantage. Here are some simple things things to start with to make QR codes useful:
- Make sure your QR code goes to a relevant web page. What do I mean by that? If your direct mail piece focuses on a promotion you’re running, don’t link the QR code to your homepage where the customer will have to dig through three layers of your site just to find what they were looking for. Link the QR code to the valuable content they want: the promotion page. Better yet, create a specific page just for mobile device use and link to that.
- Create a specific link or landing page so you can measure the traffic coming to your site directly from the QR code. It can tell you a lot about your customers – what devices they are using, how long someone using a smart phone stays on your site, in what cities people are actively using this technology.
- TEST, TEST, TEST. Does it work for multiple smart phones with multiple apps? Is it linking to the correct page? When the link pops up, does it shorten it to something it shouldn’t? (Recently when I tested a few, the link title kept coming up as “Katie.” I didn’t realize the site I used to create the code titled the link with the name on your account unless you change it. Oops. The sites I use now are Kaywa and QR.net)
So if you’re not currently using QR-Codes, catch up with the times. Even the USPS is doing it.