By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter
We’re all looking for the best, most effective way to get in front of our prospects. According to a recent survey by eMarketer.com conferences, trade shows and webinars are the three best venues to do that.
Trades shows, although expensive, can be an effective tool in getting in front of the right audience. The big problem for most of us who can’t afford a 100 x 100 foot booth is getting folks to notice you.
What’s often overlooked are industry conferences where you may either not attend or send only a few of your team. Typically, these are the kinds of events that C-suite folks go to, and most conferences allow plenty of time for networking opportunities. Ideally, it would be nice to be able to present to the group as an industry leader.
Webinars are another great way to get the attention of your target audiences. The best part of webinars is that you’re not competing for their attention, you have 100% of it. The key to a great webinar is having content that users need. This is especially true when talking with engineers (both design and mechanical).
The biggest challenge is getting people to sign up and attend. You naturally want to include existing customers, but ideally, you want to attract new potentials. There are media companies out there like WTWH Media that will help identify and get folks to participate, but will also act as moderators and promote the event both before and after.
The key is to try some of these other activities to aid in your thought leadership.
Today we have a guest blog post from Stacy Combest, Marketing Team Leader at WTWH Media.
It’s no secret that social media has become the major player in marketing, but with all the hype, there are still companies not ready to step up to the plate. In the beginning, business-to-consumer companies were reaping all the benefits of social media. Consumers were attracted to the informality of engaging with their favorite brands one on one. However, recently business-to-business companies have started to pay attention to the benefits of using social media.
With that, the distinguished line between B2C and B2B has begun to fade. What we are discovering is that even though we’re interacting with other brands, we know there is a person or team of people behind the name, changing how we interact with them. Rather than targeting the brand alone, B2B social media targets individual influencers either directly related to the brand, the industry or in some cases both.
The goal in targeting the influencers is to shift them into brand ambassadors: people who will share your content, give your company positive reviews and ultimately spread the word about you. The key is to know who your top influencers are, what platforms they use, how to capture their attention and when they are online.
Top influencers typically have a strong social media presence and are industry experts in their own right. They may already be engaging with you often, increasing your success because the relationship has already been established.
Tip 1: Lists are key for success
Make a list of these users (broken down by industry if you’re company is involved in more than one) so you can target them for future campaigns.
It’s important to push your business across many channels; however if you are using Facebook because it’s popular—but your audience isn’t there—it’s a waste of time. LinkedIn is currently the best social platform for B2B companies. Starting out as more or less an online resume, LinkedIn has grown into the place to be for B2B companies because those on it are there for business reasons. You are not going to see pictures of what someone ate last night for dinner or the umpteenth smiling baby. Rather, LinkedIn is a social platform for the professional.
Twitter is another platform growing in popularity within the B2B community. Aside from live tweeting; tools like CoveritLive and Storify give customers real-time updates not only from the company but everyone using a specific hashtag or handle. The number of things you can do with Twitter grows everyday.
Tip 2: Broaden the search and ask for love
Search for top influencers on all the platforms you’re on—you may even find the same influencers on more than one. Invite them to like your page, follow your Storify or share your post. (Chances are…they will!)
The way in which you compose your post is also very important. Each social platform is designed to attract in different ways. Twitter allows 140 characters in a tweet but most successful tweets are fewer than 60. Where Facebook has an unlimited amount of characters, it recommends a character count of around 100. Learn what will attract your influencers based on the industry you’re in. For example, engineers use social media to learn or seek information, so posts that work best are composed in the form of questions.
Tip 3: Learn the lingo
Test the headline of your article on by tweeting multiple titles and seeing which one performs the best.
Finally, timing is everything. You created an amazing social post; it has a beautiful eye-catching image and the perfect call-to-action. You post it on all your platforms at the same time but the next day your impressions are less than 2% of your total following with zero clicks. What did you do wrong? The answer is timing. Everyone uses social media at different times, and diving even deeper, each platform’s traffic is different. The key is to know what times of the day are the most active and post then. You may find that users are on LinkedIn in the mornings but more active on Facebook in the evenings. So the same post will need to be scheduled at different times.
Tip 4: Don’t let your post die in vain
Each platform has an average life for its posts. Facebook is 2-5 hours, Twitter is about 45 seconds (yikes!), Pinterest never dies, and so on. Learn when your customers are online and target your posts during those times, otherwise your hard work will never pay off because no one will ever see it.
All in all, social media is constantly shifting and changing. What worked for you today may not work next year or next month. By continually checking your reports and what’s working, you’ll be able to stay on top of your social media success.
Stacy Combest is the Marketing Team Leader for WTWH Media and has been with the company for three years. After her service with the 350th Psychological Operations Company, she shifted her focus from the military’s version of marketing to winning hearts and minds in the civilian world. Stacy enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and daughter.
Today we have a guest post from Carli Evilsiver, Marketing Coordinator at WTWH Media.
Social media marketing is becoming common across all types of industries, but some B2B companies are still hesitant to jump on the social media bandwagon. B2B companies have many reasons for believing they should not be on social media, but they are misinformed. Keep reading to find out why.
Photo courtesy of Carli Evilsiver, WTWH Media
I’m not sure how to do it: Companies might avoid social media because they do not understand it. They are sometimes intimidated by social media marketing because it is new, changes every day and can be difficult to create a strategy for social media.
Solution: Companies should research social media platforms, learn the basics and determine which platforms would be a good fit for their company. A common mistake is joining every platform. Not only is doing so a lot of work – as social media needs to be updated regularly – but the audience may not be there. Prospective manufacturing customers, for instance, probably are not on Instagram. Companies can also seek out social media training.
I don’t have time: Possibly the most common and valid reason a company isn’t on social media is the inability to devote time to another task. Social media marketing uses time and energy to set up and maintain.
Solution: Marketers who have too much to do and too little time should consider outsourcing their B2B social media marketing. Outsourcing social media is a great option for companies who want to be on social media but don’t know how to begin or don’t have enough time. By handing over the responsibilities to a professional social media manager, companies can rest assured that their social media channels will be updated daily in the correct format. An added benefit of outsourcing social media is the analysis and measurement that an experienced professional can provide.
There is no ROI: Any time resources are invested in a project, a boss will want to know what their Return On Investment is. It can be difficult to determine the effectiveness of social media marketing and unfortunately some companies think there is no ROI from social media.
Solution: Every social media strategy should include specific goals and a way to measure success. Tracking likes, follows and re-tweets is just the beginning. Other ways to measure success include website clicks, downloads and other measurable actions originating from social media.
Social Media is only for B2C: A common misconception is that social media marketing is effective only for companies marketing to the end-user. They might believe social media marketing is just for fun, creative and sexy industries, or that their clients aren’t on social media. Many B2B companies set up a LinkedIn and think the other social media platforms wouldn’t work for their company.
Solution: Marketers should recognize that if social media is used correctly it is effective for B2B. Success on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter requires companies to share interesting and relevant content. A mistake many companies make is sharing only promotional content. They should be engaging in conversations and sharing based on their audiences’ interests.
I don’t have anything to post: Another reason companies avoid setting up shop on social media is the worry they don’t have anything to say. Companies don’t always realize the amount of content they have already that could easily be shared on social media.
Solution: Companies should follow an 80/20 rule when posting on social media. Only 20% of content should be directly related to the company while 80% should be industry-related news. Social media is a great platform to promote a company’s brand, share blog posts or send out press releases. While marketers should take advantage of the opportunity to promote their company they need to remember that the audience will get bored of sales pitches. Try sharing a funny blog post or a great article about something going on in the industry. The re-tweets and likes received will expand reach and could lead to more followers.
I had the chance to hear Jeffrey Rohrs speak at a WTWH Media event recently and subsequently read his new book, Audience.
Jeff’s take on social media and content marketing revolves around one thing – THE AUDIENCE.
Companies need audiences to survive – before they are customers they first have to be part of an audience. As we all are focusing on creating content, it won’t mean much if you don’t have someone to read and react to it.
And that’s his point, to build what he calls the “Proprietary Audience.” He defines it as ” a comprehensive, collaborative and cross-channel effort to build audiences that your company alone can access.”
He shows you how to build your database using paid, owned and earned media to identify your audience. He also shows you how to identify and communicate with Seekers (those that are looking for info), Amplifiers (those who have audiences that can share your info) and Joiners (those that are buyers).
The book is an easy read and I would recommend your marketing teams look at Audience as a new marketing discipline.
According to a recent article in BtoB Magazine, Making the Most of Mobile is beginning to change. Here’s an interesting stat – in December of 2011, eMarketer released a study that showed mobile had surpassed print readership. Mobile increased by 30% in 2011 to 65 minutes a day compared to print at 44 minutes. Magazines are finding that their content consumption on smartphones and tablets are beginning to boom.
This trend isn’t just in the B-to-C market. B-to-B publications are beginning to focus on different delivery options. Summit Media Group who owns Packaging World found in a recent survey that 46% of their subscribers owned a tablet and that 78% planned to own one by the end of the year. Of those that currently own tablets, 74% said they read work-related digital magazines on these devices. They have incorporated “responsive design” into their websites which allows for optimum readability automatically.
Ziff Davis, a tech media company, is moving ALL its print magazines to digital and mobile and is clearly a leader in this endeavor. Newer media companies like WTWH Media which just started a few years ago focuses heavily on the digital aspect. Cygnus Business Media, Penton Media and others are starting to follow suit.
So bottom line for those of us that are trying to reach professional tradesmen, we now have another opportunity and avenue to reach them. Benefits of digital are:
- We can measure responses
- We can enhance our message by including links to videos, testimonials, etc.
If you haven’t included digital in your marketing plans, maybe it’s time you consider it.