What should happen if you remove Marketing from Social?
What would happen if your marketing department stopped being active on Social Media? Or what should happen?
When companies develop their presence on social media, it is usually the marketing department taking the lead by creating accounts on social media networks, a social media policy, a digital marketing strategy…
Then they become active on these networks by answering their questions, inspiring them with great content, and listening to their needs.
Smaller companies have only 1 or 2 people developing these social relations, larger companies have whole teams of “conversation managers”.
Although I understand the approach, and support the approach, these teams can only be present at a limited amount of networks, or “circles” as I call them.
- They just cannot be present in all the social places where your customers, partners, suppliers, investors, or competitors are present.
- They just cannot be aware of all the different domains of expertise that are required to have a holistic approach to social networking.
- They just cannot be authentic about every topic they are involved with on these networks.
I probably can think of a number of others reasons, but you probably get what I mean.
Now think of a small company, let’s say 10 people. What’s the impact of one, usually part-time, marketing person, on all of this? You guessed it. Not a lot. He/she just doesn’t have the time to do a descent job with social media.
And now imagine a bigger company, 1000 people. Here you’ll have a team of, I don’t know, 20-50 people working in marketing and being part-time or some full-time occupied with social media. Again, the impact is minimal.
Taking away the marketing department
My point is, I don’t think social media is the sole responsibility of the marketing department. Oh yes, they play a guiding role in aligning the efforts with the company strategy, and making sure all the mechanics like a policy, processes, training, tooling, etc… are available.
But in essence, everyone in the marketing department should be aligned with a number of objectives which could look like this : Read more
Which social media network brings most success in B2B ?
2013 is almost there. What will 2013 bring? most probably another social media network.
Who knows, they come and go as Marcus Sheridan from @saleslion wrote about it on his blog. (by the way, I am a big fan of his work, check him out if you don’t know him).
Looking at the big ones, which ones will bring you the most success in B2B? I have seen many blog post about this subject: Facebook is better for this, LinkedIn is better for that. Twitter is only useful for this and that…
When developing a social media strategy, many companies start thinking which social media networks they should start developing. Developing means to create a presence, invest in time and maybe money to fuel that network with relevant content, and then organize actions to grow your follower base. Companies start hiring “conversation managers” that monitor the conversations, trigger the discussions, answer questions, be helpful where they can, and get the conversations going.
Should we do Facebook ? LinkedIn ? Whatever network ?
It’s definitely an important question. And on the other hand it’s not an important question. It’s even a simple question.
I’ll tell you : it doesn’t matter. It’s not up to you or me to choose which network you will develop. If your customers are there, you better be there. It’s as simple as that.
But how do you know if your customers are on that particular network? Mmmm, difficult question, that much I agree.
Then maybe we should jump on every network that sticks its head above the ground?
Should we be on LinkedIn?
In the case of LinkdedIn, there should be no doubt : if you are in B2B, you need to be on LinkedIn.
Almost all B2B professionals are on LinkedIn, using it for personal branding reasons, personal networking but also increasingly to find information.
Linkedin is changing from a pure B2B networking site, towards a site that is positioning itself as an information portal: updates from your contacts, the companies you are following, and more recently thought leaders like Richard Branson or Pete Cashmore.
Content Marketing is not the task of Marketing
Advertisement overload and content overload are causing buyers to be blind for outbound marketing. Marketers these days are turning to content marketing as a way to break through the blindness and information clutter.
Because of the abundance of information out there, buyer behavior is changing. As Michael Brenner, @B2BMKTGInsider, one of my favorite marketers likes to put it :
“Buyers wait until they have completed 60-80% of their research before reaching out to vendors”.
Buyers turn to their “circles of trust”, on and off-line. Vendor information, social Media and word of mouth remain the major sources of influence to buyers according to the Buyersphere 2012 report.
The millennial effect, which describes the way the generation born after 1980 who never knew a time without internet and mobile phones, turn to social media networks for information and advice. People from this generation are slowly becoming the decision-makers of the future.
The shift of power to buyers
All these changes are causing a major shift of power:
- from site centric to user centric: buyers where informed where they go, today buyers have access to information on-line and through their networks, where-ever they are.
- from brand image to transparency: companies can no longer hide imperfections or bad behavior. They need to be open, authentic and transparent. If not they get heavily punished by the public opinion (see this Toyota case).
- from the sales guy to the buyer: buyers these days often know more then the sales guy, because they have lots of sources of information before they buy. Buyers have very detailed and specific questions, which sales people or organizations will need to able to answer.
The Orchestrated “Like” : The Social Power of Your Organisation
It struck me. One of our best sales guys didn’t understand social networking. Yes he was on LinkedIn. Yes he was part of groups. And most probably also on Facebook.
But he didn’t understand the power of social networking.
He just didn’t get it what happens when he would “like” an update of the company he was working for.
But there is much more to understand how this sales guy, and the rest of the reach of your organisation, can have a massive resonating impact.
In this blog post I’ll show what a simple, orchestrated “like”, can do for your company.
How social marketing works
Fan or Follower Reach : For brands to resonate on social networks, the first step is literally to be seen. While brands have the opportunity to communicate directly with their Fans through the News Feed, not every brand message delivered results in an exposure to a follower or a fan.
Facebook uses an algorithm to help optimize the messages users see in their News Feed, and while the exact algorithm is not public information, it is clear that relevance plays a role in message visibility.
LinkedIn is probably using a similar algorithm, you can see this yourself when checking the updates on your companies LinkedIn page. You’ll notice that the number of “impressions” vary.
So brands in which consumers engage more regularly, whether through a comment, share, like, or check-in, have a greater likelihood of being seen on the News Feed, otherwise known as Fan Reach (or “cut-through”).
Where do B2B buyers get the information that make them buy?
One of the key concerns of B2B marketers today is breaking through the “marketing blindness” of buyers:
– Buyers don’t click on web-banners (they don’t even see them anymore)
– They don’t see advertisement anymore
– They skip TV commercials when they can
– They don’t open your e-mails or direct mailings.
That’s why I am so happy to get my hands on reports like these, the 2012 Buyersphere report, giving me an answer to this key question:
How do you reach your B2B buyers?
We marketers live in an amazing time: we have the ability to contact our buyers directly through social media or e-mail marketing, there’s “super intelligent” marketing automation software that targets buyers with laser precision, etc…
But does that mean you reach your buyers? I am not talking about communicating with your buyers.
I mean REACHING them, so they really feel happy to get their hands on the information you are giving them. So they position your brand as useful, knowledgeable, and trusted. And in the end put they you on their shortlist and buy from you.
But what information do they want? Where do they search for it? Who needs what kind of information, and when?
Buyer behavior mysteries revealed
The 2012 Buyersphere survey is designed to bring answers to these questions based on the actual behavior of B2B buyers. It is based on surveys o B2B buyers in the main countries in Europe, but I like to think that they are valid to other parts of the world as well.
A practical “power guide” to Video in B2B
Sometimes all it takes is to have a little idea that solves a problem. For a while now I realized that video in B2B should become an integral part of the marketing mix of B2B companies.
Out of experience I know that creating video is time consuming, expensive, and usually little people actually view these videos because as soon as they see it is an ultra-polished video they abandon. Yet another advertisement video…
And that’s where this little idea comes into play: creating video in B2B is not expensive, difficult or cumbersome ;-)
That little idea
Which video’s have the biggest effect on people ? Often marketers look at themselves when they need answers, and although that’s not always a good idea, in this case I think the answer is pretty straightforward:
- Unique videos: because of the graphical style, scenery or unique setting, they become special.
- Authentic videos: because of the setting, the people, and the topic, it is overly clear that the contents is special.
- Funny videos: we all know the effect of those.
Now each of these 3 video’s can be produced expensively, can consume a lot of time, and might have not enough effect. Unique video’s are viewed and shared, just because they are unique. But that does not mean the video will position you as a thought leader, or that it will bring you leads. The same goes for funny videos: people might even not get what you are trying to communicate, it’s just funny and they’ll view and share.
But what really resonates with people is AUTHENTICITY. Videos that help them solve their business issues, or provide them with information they need to make better business decisions.
What would happen if you start producing videos about customers that are actually using our products, in which you interview them and let them tell how they are actually using your products, and how it is helping their business? These videos are simple, non-glossy and little polished recordings.
Study: Strategic issues for communication management until 2015
The European Association of Communication Directors just published its annual report
It provides insight into communication and PR professionals (survey from 2200 communication professionals from 42 countries in Europe), and has titled it:
Challenges and Competencies for Strategic Communication
Why am I covering this report?
The reason I am covering this report is because
- It show the biggest challenges for marketers and communicators today.
- Because it comes from a descent source
- Because it has data from previous years that allows to spot trends.
Key take-away’s from the European Communication Monitor 2012
- Most important strategic issues: Need to address more audiences with limited resources
- Ethical challenges: Six out of ten PR professionals faced moral problems within the last 12 months
- Barriers to professionalization: 84% state that top management lacks understanding of communications
- Integrating and coordinating communications: Shaping multiple identities is more relevant today
- Practice of strategic communication: Operational work takes 37% of a typical week
- Social media: Large gap between perceived importance and real implementation in most organisations
- Development and qualifications: Management and business knowledge needed, but training is missing
Help, We need a social media strategy!
Yes, that’s the big question in the mind of many B2B marketing executives. Until recently, that included myself.
I did not really understand what to do with this “social media” thing. To put it black and white, I thought
- Facebook was for children and not for B2B,
- LinkedIn is for business only and serves to connect with people that I know or do not know,
- and I had no clue on why a company should use Twitter?
I think that about sums up all the prejudices I had on social media.
The moment I realized what to do with social media
Last year I started reading some great books on social media. I admit, I am a late believer, but around that timeframe it started to become clear to me what I had to do with social media in a B2B context.
As I wrote before in another post on social media, you should be where our buyers are. If your buyers, although they might be there for another reason than doing business (connecting with their friends or relatives), we should be where they are. Your buyers are there joining groups related to your business, and discussing trends, features and products!
How to maximize the effect of your marketing materials?
B2B marketing organizations create many marketing materials, or execute different types of outbound marketing activities.
As explained in some of my previous posts on the increasing ineffectiveness of marketing materials, for example press releases or advertisements, today’s marketers need to adapt their marketing strategy to fit the needs of today’s buyers who are on-line and make use of search engines and social media networks.
What can you do to make your marketing materials effective?
- Make them relevant: without a listening process, you have no clue what your customers want. Of course your marketing materials need to look good, but the materials and the content of the materials need to be what your customers want.
- Make them authentic: today’s buyers can smell unauthentic materials from miles away. The golden rule is: don’t write anything down unless you immediately can proof it. Don’t inflate numbers, not even when your competition is doing this, because your customers will trust you more because you promise realistic gains.
- Set your content free: too often we are afraid that the competition might steal our ideas of get access to our marketing materials. But at the same time your customers AND Google have no access to it. Set it free, on several platforms, and promote it on all social networks your customers are using.
How on earth will Twitter create useful opportunities for my B2B company?
Many B2B companies struggle with what to do with social media. They start creating a page on Facebook, Google+ or any other social media platform. And usually also a Twitter account.
But I’ve seen many B2B companies using it as an extension of their public relations, in which they just tweet about their press releases, new product launches, their promotions, etc…. Now that’s something you should not doing on Twitter.
Does my B2B company need Twitter?
If you are still asking yourself that question, you urgently need to dig into the topic of social media (you can start already today by reading this blog). Twitter, and social media in general, is being used heavily in B2B by journalists, analysts, but also your customers. They stay up to speed on trends, companies, and news, and educate themselves using social media.