Archives for posts with tag: digital marketing
This is a great article from Ayaan Mohamud of Pauley Creative 

First and foremost let’s get the definitions out of the way. What exactly is a lead you say? Well, a lead is simply a company or group of companies that you have identified as expressing some kind of interest in your products and/or services.  Lead generation is the marketing term for the process of creating and generating the interest of potential prospects. It occurs when a visitor to your site (or other company touchpoints) takes action and makes additional contact with your company.  There are several ways to increase lead generation and the main 5 will be discussed in further detail in this post. The purpose is to offer your target audience a wealth of relevant information that will shorten their buying cycle and convert targeted traffic into ‘hot’ prospects. This can be done through establishing your business and your team members as thought leaders in your industry.

*** If you are a construction product manufacturer that has all the necessary (and more) product information on your website, including online applications such as product selectors, pricing guides, downloadable brochures or product specification datasheets, you are making an architects’ or specifiers’ product selection that much easier. Good, relevant technical information creates loyalty amongst those who specify products or require assistance from those who manufacture products.

Lead generation is mostly accomplished through content marketing which includes:

  • publishing industry relevant articles,
  • whitepapers,
  • blog posts,
  • technical or demonstration videos,
  • hosting and/or speaking at events and seminars,
  • email campaigns
  • company newsletters
  • selection guides

It may seem that these are very time consuming activities but they are much more cost effective than traditional marketing methods. The number of enquiries generated can be controlled by publishing content on targeted landing pages and making offerings relevant for each stage of the B2B specification and buying cycle.

Savvy construction companies can set themselves apart from the competition by educating prospects about industry relevant topics, thereby solidifying a position as ‘experts’ or ‘specialists’ in their particular market. Generating leads online boils down to giving back to your target audience and ensuring that your business’ products and services are being found.

Here is a list of 5 ways that you can implement to increase your online lead generation:

1. Your Website should clearly state what you do

This ensures more quality traffic because visitors can easily spot whether you are a company that they want to do business with. Having a strong positioning statement and clearly stating what products and services you provide means that the leads generated will be companies with which you want to do business with. It also eliminates a lot of competition as you become specialists in your field instead of agreeing to work with any companies regardless of whether they are part of your target audience or not. Have a focus! Do not simply write about yourself but make sure content is geared towards how to can help your visitors. Writing in a conversational (but still professional tone) will make the visitor feel as though you are speaking directly to them and therefore is more likely to read on. Keep your website up to date and have links to social networks such as Twitter or your company blog so that leads can connect with you there. This helps builds a favourable company personality and increases trust.

2. Search Engine Optimised (SEO) content

Hire an SEO expert that will ensure relevant keywords are present in your website copy so that you will be easily found by your prospects who are searching for those keywords online. Remember to include both long tail and short tail keywords. Improving your search engine rankings will increase your company’s visibility and mean that more prospects will land on your site when they are searching for information. Become a knowledge and resource hub for your target audience and they will keep coming back. Keeping a company blog with industry specific content is loved by search engines like Google and if you include a balance of inbound and outbound links, your search ratings will improve drastically.

3. Compelling Calls to Action

The objective of lead generation is to convert these leads into prospects and finally into customers. Therefore your website, landing pages and other marketing activities need to include compelling calls to action. These will drive the leads further down the buying cycle and motivate them to contact you, download your e-book, sign up to your email newsletter or register for a seminar or event that you are holding. All these offerings should be geared towards lead conversion so do not hide them. Bold colours and buttons that catch the visitors’ eye will push them to action. Below are a few examples. Keep the buttons within your brand guidelines and use colours and shapes that are appropriate for your business and its purposes. You want them to look professional not tacky.

If the call to action requires a user to fill out a contact form, keep it short and only include fields that are necessary. Many leads will leave a site if the form is too long or too complicated. Usually name, email address, phone number, company name (and title if needed) are standard. Other information can be gathered once you have made contact with the prospect and a relationship has begun to form. These data fields will also improve your lead quality, weeding out poor quality leads and leaving only those who are part of your target audience.

4. Specific content for your target audience

Your potential leads could all be members of the same industry who are looking for slightly different information. Your website content must therefore cater for all these various groups and their needs. An architect looking for a product is looking for different information than a specifier. What are you doing to provide relevant information and help to both of these potential leads? A way to solve this problem is to organise your web site by customer type so prospects can easily find what you recommend or have a drop down menu where visitors can enter their profession or what type of information they are looking for. Remember to use phrasing unique to each market you serve. Great example of this is the RIBA product selector.

Source:

http://www.ribaproductselector.com/

5. Follow up

This step closes the lead generation cycle. Follow ups are necessary to find out whether you can be of any more assistance. It is not a ‘sales’ call but more like a friendly introduction offering your services and letting them know you are there if they need any help. This makes them feel valued and not under pressure to buy anything just yet, but they will keep you in mind when your products or services are required. Auto – responder emails on sign up, download or registration forms are another good way of making contact with leads and clearly spelling out the next steps of the process. Include links to some of your previous work, to an article that can be downloaded as a gift, encourage them to connect with you on social media platforms or link to blog posts on relevant topics. Good auto response e-mails should also give visitors the chance to opt out in case they submitted the form in error. You don’t want to be sending your marketing message to people who are not interested in your work.

Jeff Bullas wrote an interesting post showing how important social media was for increased lead generation. The ability to share your content through different social channels generates more quality traffic to your website and/or blog, leading to more enquiries and therefore more potential customers.

Following these 5 steps should improve your lead generation and conversion rates if executed correctly. There are several other strategies and tactics that you can employ and we would like to hear from you which ones have worked for your company.

How do you generate leads and convert them into loyal customers?

 

 
This blog post by Peter Shankman, founder of HARO, needs to be read by all marketing practitioners! Note Peter’s comments about relevance, brevity (content) and knowing your customer. 
 
May 23, 2011, 4:11 PM 

I was going to call this article “All ‘Social Media Experts’ Need To Go Die In A Fire,” but I figured I should be nicer than that.

But my title stands. If you call yourself a social media expert, don’t even bother sending me your resume.

No business in the world should want one on their team. They shouldn’t want a guru, rockstar or savant, either. If you have a social media expert on your payroll, you’re wasting your money.

Being an expert in social media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.

Social media is just another facet of marketing and customer service. Say it with me. Repeat it until you know it by heart. Bind it as a sign upon your hands and upon thy gates. Social media, by itself, will not help you.

We’re making the same mistakes that we made during the DotCom era, where everyone thought that just adding the term .com to your corporate logo made you instantly credible. It didn’t. If that’s all you did, you emphasized even more strongly how pathetic your company was. You weren’t “building a new paradigm while shifting alternate ways of focusing customers on the clicks and mortar of an organizational exchange.” No–you were simply an idiot who’d be out of business in six months.

Ready for the ultimate kicker? We still haven’t learned! We got thirsty again, and are drinking the same ten-year-old Kool-Aid without so much as asking for ice. Rather than embracing this new technology and merging it with what we’ve learned already, we’re throwing off our clothes and running naked in the rain, waving our hands in the air, sure that this time it’ll be different, because this time it’s better!

“It’s not about building a website anymore! It’s so much cooler! It’s about Facebook, and fans, and followers, and engagement, and influence, and…”

Will you please shut up before you make me vomit on your shoes?

IT’S ABOUT GENERATING REVENUE THROUGH SOLID MARKETING AND STELLAR CUSTOMER SERVICE, JUST LIKE IT’S BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.

It’s about transparency. It’s about not lying to your customers, and thinking that a good Twitter apology will suffice when you’re caught. It won’t, and you’ll lose. Customers will run away in droves, because they can. They can go wherever they want now–it doesn’t matter how loyal they were in the past. Lie to them and get caught, and say goodbye.

It’s about using the tools to market to an audience that wants to help tell your story, because you’ve been awesome at providing them with the service they deserve. United’s reaction to “United Breaks Guitars” WASN’T a stellar example of a good use of social media. It was the exact opposite–it was knee-jerk crisis management that would never have had to happen had United been focused on customer service in their marketing to begin with.

It’s about relevance. It’s not about tweeting every single time your company offers 10 percent off on a thingamabob. It’s about finding out where your customers actually are, and going after them there. If you’re tweeting all your discounts, and none of your customers are on Twitter, then you sir, are an idiot. Marketing involves knowing your audience, and tailoring your promotions in specific bursts to the correct segments.

“Social media experts” don’t know this. They’ll build you a fan page, and when all that work doesn’t convert into new sales, they’ll simply say, “Well, we’ll just post more.”

Don’t be that guy. Real marketers know when to market using traditional methods, social media or even word of mouth. Go ahead. Ask a “social media expert” what a traffic planner does at an agency, then laugh as they quickly ask Google for help finding the answer.

It’s also about brevity. You know what the majority of people calling themselves social media experts can’t do, among other things? THEY CAN’T WRITE. The number of “experts” out there who can’t string a simple sentence together astounds me. Guess what–if we have about three seconds to get our message across to a new customer, you know what’s going to do it?

Not Twitter followers. Not Facebook fans. Not Foursquare check-ins – NO. What’s going to do it is GOOD WRITING, END OF STORY. Good writing is brevity, and brevity is marketing. Want to lose me as a customer, forever, guaranteed? Have a grammar error on any form of outward communication.

Finally, it’s about knowing your customer, and making sure your customer thinks of you first. When Barry Diller was running Paramount, he’d call ten people in his Rolodex each morning, just to say “hi.”  That translated into all of Hollywood knowing this previously unknown executive’s name — because he took the time to reach out and communicate. It also translated into Paramount making billions in a time where other movie companies were struggling.

Do you know your audience? Have you reached out to them? I’m not talking about “tweeting at them.” I’m talking about actually reaching out. Asking them what you can do better, or asking those who haven’t been around in a while what you can do to get them back. It’s not about 10 percent off coupons or “constests for the next follower.” For God’s sake, be smarter than that.

You’d never give the intern permission to write the corporate press release to accompany an earnings announcement, so why the hell are you listening to the 22-year-old who says, “we’re going to do this social media thing because it’s cool?”

Social media is not “cool.” MAKING MONEY IS COOL. Social media is simply another arrow in the quiver of marketing, and that quiver is designed to GENERATE REVENUE.

If you’re doing anything else with social media, here’s a book of matches, and I expect to never see you again.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-i-will-never-ever-hire-a-social-media-expert-2011-5#ixzz1NFH6AdHH

I was interviewed recently and was asked a series of questions relating to the Deloitte Consulting South Africa social media marketing strategy. This is a five and a half minute video clip where I talk about our approach and the execution thereof.

 

Click here to access all the Deloitte Consulting South Africa communication preferences we offer our valued clients 

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The is the most recent blog post, published by Lee Traupel of Linked Media Group

May 4, 2011 By lee Leave a Comment
 
Clearly Social Media Marketing has moved out of the shadows into a front and center position in every marketing agency’s pitch session.  I don’t think this evangelical embrace of social media is all positive for many corporations and small to medium sized businesses. We see so much dreck that’s being passed off as “social media marketing” being foisted on unsuspecting businesses.Good Social Media Marketing is not throwing up quick profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and having an intern start to push out a bunch of lousy content. Case in point, we talked with a client last week that wanted us to do exactly this and we told them no. End of story.Great Social Media Marketing Campaigns Require these Elements:

1) Baseline understanding of and integrating Search Engine Optimization best practices with all Content, Platform Profiles and Web Site.

2) Setting up Google Analytics for ROI Analysis – if you don’t know where you started in terms of traffic, usability metrics you can’t measure a social media campaign.

3) Cross promoting social profiles to leverage content costs and to enable better content curation across the social web.

4) Building a social presence that is more than pushing out basic content. This may have been acceptable 12-18 months but it’s beyond the pale now.  This is about engagement.

5) It’s about call and response marketing. The wonderful underpinning of Gospel Music has always been “call and response” – a great Facebook marketing campaign necessitates comments on what’s being said on your fan page. You can’t let the conversation threads get pushed out without any dynamic interaction.

6) Measuring more than the number of Followers on Twitter, Likes via Facebook or the Number of Fans, number of Views of a YouTube account.  These metrics may have passed muster in the good old days but not now! You need to understand who is engaging with your brand by sharing, forwarding and/or moving your content to people they are connected with.  New Social Media Metrics:

  • Who is engaging with you via social influence aggregators like Klout and Peer Index. The real value of your social network will be determined by who is following and engaging with your brand, especially those that can influence others.
  • What actions are people taking in your social community that creates a lead, drives revenue opportunities or enables your brand to integrate CRM into your social stream. We called these “conversions” in the now ancient pre-Facebook days.
  • Who isn’t connecting with your brand via the social web. Take a holistic look at your customer focus so you can understand who isn’t connecting with you. This makes a comment on your overall social media marketing strategy.

7) Identifying reasonable demonstrable goals for your campaign that dovetail with your organization. Key word in this sentence is reasonable. Social media marketing shouldn’t be siloed, it needs to be integrated with PR, Print, Broadcast and Online Advertising.  You must set up a way to break out social media marketing analysis to properly measure ROI.

8) Grasping the fundamental dynamics of social media. Social media marketing is a superb tool for local businesses. A restaurant as an example can dominate highly targeted keywords using a simple Google Business Profile and then dovetail a vibrant campaign with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter that enables communication with and empowering new and existing customers.

If your a big national brand, then localized marketing is not a fit. Your entire baseline SEO and content development and curation strategy has to be targeted much differently. A blog should be the epicenter of your social media marketing, with a social platform strategy that dovetails with your Blog and that drives brand engagement.

9) Understanding how to position your brand above the noise level in the marketplace. I would wager 20% of the accounts on Twitter are just bot accounts with no human interaction. Whether we like it or not this is a reality for the time being. You have to work hard to build a brand on Twitter to make yourself heard above the incessant babble on Twitter that passes for content. How? Simple, create and curate good content and engage with the community. Everything else will fall in place.

Our social media platform of choice is Twitter – click here to connect! No words were harmed in this Blog!

I ran a poll on LinkedIn where I asked business executives how they would prefer a professional services organisation to communicate with them. The options I provided were email, the company blog, Twitter and LinkedIn. I made a point of communicating the poll through all the options provided in the poll. To be quite honest, I am not surprised with the results of the poll  It is quite apparent that email communication is the preferred option, followed by Linkedin, then the company blog and Twitter. As the Digital Channels Executive at Deloitte Consulting I participate across all digital channels and keep a close eye on developments and research results in the digital marketing industry. These are my observations and findings:

  • Whilst LinkedIn is the preferred social network globally for business professionals, there are still those who do not use LinkedIn at all 
  • Many business executives may have registered on LinkedIn but do not use the network on a regular basis for communication purposes
  • Whilst many business executives have indicated that email is the preferred communication channel, do not abuse the channel. Keep communication short and relevant
  • The poll I ran indicated that 45 year plus business professionals prefer email. Do not ignore the younger demographic that DO participate on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc 
  • Whilst the older demographic prefer email, a large majority also use LinkedIn. Whilst these individuals do not actively participate on blogs or Twitter, they will have visibility of blog posts and Tweets if these are incorporated into your LinkedIn profile and web pages  

In summary, whilst a weekly email is the preference, I would advise the provision of links to pertinent blog posts and to your corporate website, and as mentioned in one of my points above, incorporate blog posts and Tweets into your LinkedIn profile and web pages and incorporate tweets into your blog. Whilst the majority of business professionals prefer email, remember there are others that do participate in Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc and these individuals are either senior managers and executives, or will be in the future.

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This is a superb blog post, written by Nicky Nikolaev (social media marketing strategist and head of sales, web design and the interactive marketing department at www.travelstoremaker.com).
 
The blog post and video not only displays the power of words but also the power of video and viral marketing. You will enjoy the video which gets the “power of words” message across very clearly!
 
by  Nicky Nikolaev
 

Since I wrote my last post Online Marketing Strategy Blueprint I got a lot of comments and requests to write a followup post that will go into more details. I will definitely do that but I couldn’t help myself the moment I saw this video. I decided to write a few words about it before I delve into more details regarding the Online marketing strategies.

I am a huge fan of copywriters like Gary Halbert and the way he expresess himself in his sales letters. Having read a lot of information and articles on the web I got to know that the most powerful tool that an online marketer could have in his/her arsenal is “WORDS”

Every time I want to start a promotional campaign on the web or just post something I think of three major things:

  • the headline
  • the opening paragraph
  • the story

The headline is definitely the first thing that will most probably grab the attention of people. Often times questions or provoking statements do the job. Sometimes A how to guide or the whatever number of something is also eye-grabbing.

I have also tried asking a question and having several good keywords in the question itself that reveal to the reader what the real value I would like to provide them actually is. And let’s not forget that before you pinpoint the final version of the headline one should make some split testing and see what converts best and what gets the most clicks and readers.

Once you get people to read your stuff you have to keep the rhythm with a good opening paragraph something that will make people want to spend even more time with you and your story. Did I say story?

I did! Make sure you have a story to tell and share something that will appeal to your target audience…because Facts Tell and Stories Sell

Have a look at the video…Enjoy it…and remember…be CREATIVE!

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Posted by Patrick on April 14th, 2011 at 3:00 pm to Social Media Strategy

It’s sad how often internal company conflicts and weaknesses transfer into the organization’s social media efforts.

Over the weekend I read through a book our CEO Christopher Swanson loaned me called “The FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS of a TEAM.” It was a narrative that illustrated how you can have all the right tools, talent, money and time at your disposal, yet still get your clock cleaned by competitors, due to five key dysfunctions that unfortunately too many companies struggle with – and often don’t overcome.

The book is great, and every member of your team ought to read it. But for those doing business online, I thought the dysfunctions applied not just to doing business, but incorporating social media into a company’s fabric.

The Five Dysfunctions

Here are five dysfunctions of the book, and how they manifest themselves online.

20110416-073003.jpg

1. Absence of trust:

“Without it, teamwork is all but impossible,” writes author Patrick Lencioni

Without a doubt, this issue plagues companies that want to take advantage of social tools. Whether one person is in charge of your company’s social media, or hundreds, if there’s too much friction in the system – too many people must sign off on each tweet, each Facebook status update, each blog post – you won’t see results. The system just gets slowed down too much because of lack of trust and second guessing. Put people you trust in charge of social media. Set up clear guidelines for what they can and can’t say. Have the company lawyer clarify what the company can publicly say about its products if necessary.

Then allow the content creators the latitude to publish content that intrigues those sorts of clients. The more people second guess, the more the content creators try to play it safe, the blander the content becomes. And trust me, in a world where everyone’s producing content, bland content is worse than no content at all.

Obviously isn’t not a bad idea to have one person read blog posts before they are published. But if executives have to read and sign off on every piece of content, just kiss good results goodbye due to too many hurdles getting good content out the door.

2. Fear of Conflict:

“All great relationships, the ones that last over time, require productive conflict in order to grow.”

Your content must fascinate at the risk of alienating some people. It can’t just be mediocre content that people would only read in prison. It should be something that catches people’s eye, that prompts your target audience to take note, and read further, perhaps even bookmark it. But too many companies want to play it safe. I’m not saying be sensational or provoke anger just for the sake of being provocative.

Just take the time to be interesting. If you’re going to take a stand, then stand. People don’t like wishy-washy. They’re looking for people who want to lead.

Right one really good blog post a week, not three mediocre ones. Only send out e-mail newsletters you’d enjoy reading yourself. I wrote 109 Ways To Make Yourself Irresistible To The Media, because I wanted people to pass the post along to friends, thereby spreading our brand farther and farther. And boy did they. A potential pool of around one million people were exposed to the post through all sorts of different channels. So don’t be afraid to rattle some cages, and talk about what’s really on your mind online, or publish something you’re sure people would print off and save. Sure, you’ll turn away some people, but they probably wouldn’t have bought from you anyhow. People crave honesty, and conflict is wrapped up in honestly speaking your mind online while remaining civil. Give people honesty, not fluff.

They’ll appreciate you all the more.

3. Lack of Commitment:

“In the context of a team, commitment is a function of two things: clarity and buy-in.”

I can’t overstate how critical commitment is to businesses embarking on a social media initiative. I advise clients not even start looking for any leads or other results during the first six months. It’s akin to building a house. A whole lot of commitment must be present and goals clarified before earth is moved. And it takes a long time before you can move in. But once the home is up and livable and maintained, it can produce benefits for decades, even centuries. But you must have clarity on the strategy, and buy-in by all involved, and a commitment for the long haul.

4. Avoidance of Accountability:

“…the willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team.”

For the first time in history, your company can actually measure what people are saying about your business, brand or industry online. Yet so many organizations don’t really decide what measurable goals they want to achieve. This means results and who is responsible for producing those results tend to get fuzzy, and fuzzy gives way to failure. So set up clear plans for who does what when. Don’t allow people to write or post only when the muse hits them. Because trust me, that sort of muse vanishes by week three. Then hold them accountable, if you don’t see social media helping drive those goals.

5. Inattention to Results:

“The ultimate dysfunction of a team is the tendency of members to care about something other than the collective goals of the group.”

This ties into social media in a myriad of ways, but the most important one is making sure the goal is to enhance the company, not make a few members of your team social media stars, and help them get a better job elsewhere. While that certainly does happen, and you should always encourage staff to expand their networks, It’s important to lay out tangible, measurable goals for your business, which are typically linked in some way to being a thought leader, driving leads, providing customer service, or listening to what your customers want.

So benchmarks in your organization should include things like customers helped, e-commerce sales, leads generated, along with some diagnostic benchmarks like unique visitors, click through rates from social sites to your website, increase in positive sentiment about your business, phone calls that sprang from online searches, fewer product complaints, etc.

So what are your thoughts on this? What other dysfunctional examples have you seen in companies? Or do you think I’ve botched it. Go ahead, stick it to me. I dare you.

Being in a B2B marketing role, I understand the importance of getting buy-in from management before embarking on your social media marketing quest. This guest post by Eric Schwartzman which I dicovered on Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert lists a few ways you can do this effectively.

Guest post by Eric Schwartzman, coauthor of Social Marketing to the Business Customer, the first book devoted exclusively to B2B social media communications. He has been conducting monthly social media training programs since 2006 and works as an independent online communications consultant to businesses, the US Military, government agencies and nonprofits.

5532983826 3524d2696a B2B Social Media: 4 Ways to Sell the Value to Management

When it comes to selling soap, marketing to Facebook’s 500 million members is a no brainer. But when it comes to selling specialized products and services to business customers, the value of B2B social media marketing can be murky to even the most seasoned business-to-business decision makers. How do you know if your market is active in social media? How do you gauge if they’re open to being sold through these channels? And how do you measure success?

These are some of the questions my co-author Paul Gillin and I set out to answer in our new book Social Marketing to the Business Customer. And while I can’t give you everything you’ll get if you buy the book, I can give you some critical, topline tips for how to build a business case that will resonate with managers and clients, even if their social media literacy is somewhat, shall we say, “challenged.”

Follow these four steps and you’ll be on your way to securing the budget and resources you need to get the job done.

Discover Buyer Oriented Keywords – Monitoring the name of company, brand or service is important, but it’s unlikely to generate leads outside of your existing purview. In the book, we show how Paul Dunay of Avaya closed a $250,000 sale by responding to a tweet that said “Time for a new phone system very soon.” In this case, monitoring the phrase “new phone system” resulted in an opportunity. Once you’ve discovered the right phrases to monitor, showing these types of conversations to decision makers is a very compelling way to sell B2B social marketing.

Evaluate Your Competitors, Clients and Suppliers – There is probably no easier way to put a fire under management’s feet than by showing them which of your competitors, clients and suppliers are using social media already. Start by using a free tool like Google Reader to build a social media monitoring dashboard (we give step-by-step instructions in the book) and see how your market is using blogs, Twitter, forums, YouTube, Craigslist, Linkedin and other online networks already to drive commerce. Regardless of how niche you think your segment is, chances are, you’re not going to be the first one.

Position Social Media as an Extension of Existing Efforts – How has the trade media that covers your industry adapted to social media? Are they blogging on their website? Are they tweeting their headlines? Most organizations get the value of trying to land coverage in trade media. If the journalists covering your trade are active in social media, then participating in discussions with them online is really just a path to a stronger relationship and a way to stay top of mind. From this standpoint, commenting on their blog posts and answering their questions on Twitter is really just a more efficient way of conducting mainstream media relations.

Support the Prevailing Corporate Culture – As social marketing gets more mature, and measurement becomes more effortless and easier to grasp, I predict many of today’s old school marketing tactics will ultimately be retired. But for sophisticated B2B marketers reporting to managers with a low-level of social media literacy, that day has not come soon enough. Until it does, marketers should develop strategies conducive to the organization’s existing corporate culture and temperament. If management wants to maintain strict oversight, propose channeling social marketing through marketing or PR. If they’re exploratory and curious, show them how it works by developing a social media policy and increasing social media literacy throughout their ranks. If they already embrace change and are ready to fail fast, learn from their mistakes and get stronger, focus on the ROI from the start so you can maintain and grow your budget allocation over time.

5465776157 1431e460ac B2B Social Media: 4 Ways to Sell the Value to Management

The bad news is that since social media is still relatively new, it gets measured by tougher standards. But the good news is, it’s the most measurable form of media out there. Every view, every click, every transaction is captured, and that data provides better insight into the wants and needs of your customers than ever before.

To build the business case, capture and show your decision makers the byproduct of all that collective sharing. Don’t start by pitching a Linkedin group or a SlideShare channel. Take a step back, and collect evidence of buyer related conversations leading to real purchasing decisions.

Put together a presentation showing who’s on Twitter, who’s blogging, who’s using relevant Linkedin Groups and who’s prospecting on SlideShare. Visit iTunes and see if any of your competitors have released mobile apps to help them connect with new customers and retain existing ones. Paint a picture of how the social web is being used to drive commerce and figure out where the most activity is so you can strike where the iron is hot.

Once you’ve secured the buy-in and resources you need, pick up a copy of Social Marketing to the Business Customer to build a smart strategy and select the social media channels most likely to deliver immediate results.

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By Philip van Zyl of Memburn

There’s a saying that goes like this… “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Amen when applied to social media. An analogy came to me one day that I use when explaining social media in context to clients and at learnshops that I run, and it goes something like this…

Imagine that your blog or your website is where you have your party. Social media are simply the channels you use to invite people to your party and to share news about your party.

So if you spend all of your time on your site or blog, organising the party décor, getting a rocking house DJ with a name like “DJ call-to-action”, and making sure the glasses get delivered – guess what happens? Sadly you have the most amazing party and you’re the only one there to enjoy it. That’s more like a great night in than a party and it will feel like a #partyfail.

Scenario two. You hit the Twitter keyboard between getting out of bed and taking a pee, and you’re sharing and telling and retweeting to anyone who will listen (or not). Then onto Facebook to continue the fascinating comment thread you were driving until midnight. Something to eat and then it’s LinkedIn during tea time, Plaxo when no-one’s watching and perhaps squeeze in an email or two and get a few invoices paid.

Problem with scenario two – you probably guessed – is that everyone knows about your party and they all arrive on Friday night. To find you online having a peek at your cousin’s baby shower pics on Facebook and no party organised. Uhm, forgot the DJ, the glasses – even the drinks. You make your name a bit of a joke and notch a major brand dilution coup.

It is so easy to get sucked into one or other social media channel that time really does have wings. And that is why it is essential to have a strategy that guides what you are doing, how you do it, and how much time you spend on each part of it.

Strategy is the working “on” your business rather than working “in” it. And if you are employed by someone else that would mean working “on” your role and how to be brilliant at it, rather than “in” your role where you just keep yourself busy. Not very productive.

What a strategy should do is provide simple guiding principles and goals that inform every action we take online, including all social media. If you are using social media to grow your business then it has to work for you, not the other way around.

Did you find this article interesting? If so, please comment and share with your network

by David Graham

I started a social media marketing group on LinkedIn, predominantly aimed at anyone that is investing time (and money) in social media marketing. To date there are over 160 members (and growing) which includes a number of CEOs, marketing directors, digital/social media marketing managers and local and international social media gurus that I have come across. The collective experience and expertise that resides within the social media marketing group will enable any organisation to develop and execute a successful social media strategy. I am familiar with most of the specialists within the group and I am quite happy to channel any requests or questions to the relevant person.

The primary aim of the social media marketing group is to encourage the sharing of information amongst members such as the introduction of new ideas, concepts and  tools, sharing personal experiences of things that work or do not work, overcoming resistance to social media marketing in the market and within companies and asking for assistance for problems being experienced.

To date, there has been a fair amount of participation from the social media marketing group members which is very encouraging. As the group facilitator, I constantly scour the market for meaningful, interesting and value-adding content relating to social media marketing, which I post on a regular basis. I also ensure that all comments are responded to.

If you are interested in social media marketing and where it is going, I encourage you to join the social media marketing group, participate and share. I have provided a Group Join link below.

Group join link

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