So just what is social media all about. Well we love this quote as we think it sums up the apprehension we hear from so many companies in both B2B and consumer sectors
Today we are broadly going to cover:Definitions and simple explanationsWhy should you consider using it in business? We are going to offer some compelling reasons as to why you shouldMyths – there are so many of these flying around and we are going to counter some of the most commonThis is a vital question that only you can answer – we’ll provide some guidance to help you decideAnd finally, a few pointers on getting it ‘right’
You could put up anyone of hundreds of definitions of social media here, but this one really puts it at its simplest. Communication enabled by technology. Looking at it from a simplistic perspective, e-mail is a form of social media – however with the considerably more advanced platforms available now it is very much on the peripheral of this area
Social media is about content – that could be someone posting that they have just bought something, to posting pictures of their wedding or blogging a diatribe about a horrible experience that they have just had. It is the process of sharing using technology that makes it social. Although not relevant for business – we could not resist including Charlie bit my finger – Again! – one of YouTube’s most popular videos. It illustrates that even the simplest content can gain significant traction.
So here are the most frequently used and most famous of social media platforms. From the early established such as Google and Wikipedia to newer fashionable blogs such as tumblr.
The common perception is that social started as a way for friends and family to keep in touch and ‘socialise’. However, in reality e-mail can be seen as the first incarnation, which was initially developed in academia and was then adopted into business. It is certainly true that the most common use of social platforms is friend / family interaction, however it is not without its benefits for B2B activity
B2B brands need to join the debate and influence these online opinions and build relationships with customers and prospects. Social media provides a way for businesses to join the debate and directly engage with their customer base through a non-traditional channel – it allows them to communicate on a platform that many people use as part of their daily routine.
The growth of these platforms, through growing sign-ups and increasing depth / variety, means that businesses simply cannot afford to ignore social media. Sticking your head in the sand just doesn’t work anymore!
WOM marketing is critical – it has been shown to behind as much of 50% of purchasing decisions. This has typically been used within the B2C sphere, but there is equal importance of using this within the B2B marketing.
The evolution of social media has dramatically enhanced the potential reach and audience for WOM. It has presented an excellent platform for businesses to take advantage of the opportunity WOM presents.Here are a few numbers for you…
Search is set to be about ‘sociagraph’, not just algorithmsLinked in has 4m users in the UK. The most LinkedIn sectors are IT, Financial services, computer software, marketing / advertisingNatural search liking and recommending content is set to become as important as search.Google+1 set to remould how people search for content – brings in peer-to-peer recommendations to search results. Recommendations from peers.Facebook is working hard to commercialise its platform beyond Farmville. Nearly half of the UK population is signed up to FB. FB Mobile has over 350million users globally. Avg user is connected to 80 pages, groups, eventsMobile is the future of social interaction. The growth of smart phones means there is even greater capacity to monetise social activity – particularly gamingA host of new developments from F8 - update
We have outlined some of the reasons why you should be involved – now it is time to dispel a few common myths that you may of heard.
I guess this depends on your definition of young!But in reality this simply isn’t true – social media is for everyone.
And these stats really say it all!FB fastest growing segment is 30+50% of pensioners use FB and a third use YTMore than 4 in 5 online users create / participate / read some form of social content at least once a month
Here a few examples brands that will appeal to some of the older among us – social media isn’t just for the young.
Again – this simply isn’t true and some of the world’s biggest B2B brands are involved in social media
These numbers show the increased participation from B2B companies as they recognise the value social media can offer their businesses.It is of growing importance to business – it provides an ideal channel that organisations can use to engage directly with their audience on platforms they will most likely use on a daily basis
Dell Enterprise is an good example of a B2B brand utilising FB to reach its audience. Intel and Cisco are also very proactive on social mediaAlthough it has fewer likes, you have to take into account that its potential audience is far smaller than its consumer facing division – never benchmark your following against those achieved by consumer brands – it is a different playing field
And here is another example of a B2B brand doing it well.
And here is another example of a B2B brand doing it well.
Social media is NOT about geeks and computer games or re-enactments of roundhead / cavalier battles.Social media is mainstream and people now expect companies to b using it.
Social is a fundamental part of the marketing mix, it is no longer simply a ‘nice to have’. It has relevance at all points of the sales and marketing funnel – from awareness to referralAdvocacy is social nirvana – creates brand ambassadors / advocates that create a very strong reason to purchase
Brand messages and stories are communicated in real time and not through brochures and short term advertising.Not being in social media won’t stop people talking about you, your brand or your products – good or badIf you’re not in it, you won’t hear / see, you can’t respond and address the negative or build on the positive
Successful marketing activity is developed through being informed about the target audience. Listening is vital to any social media activity – it will show you where people are talking about your brand / product / sector and help guide your decisions moving forwards.
Social media is a continual process of learning – constantly analyse the content that you derive from listening, take time to understand what people are saying about you, your competitors and your sector. This will enable you to create a far more effective strategy.
Learning is vitalIt will tell you what, where, when, how, sentiment etcThe more you listen, the more you learn – the more informed your approach will be
So you listened / learned:You may have decided there is no compelling reason to participate at this moment in time. If that is the case I would urge you to keep listening – keep in touch to see if the situation changesIf you are ready for the next step – here are a few guiding principles to help you get it right
A clear and concise strategy with a defined objective is essential. Social media must be treated as any other part of the marketing strategy so that it can be measured.Why is social media right for your business?What is the rationale for participation in each social media channel?How will you integrate this into your overall marketing strategy?What tone / approach / characteristics should be implemented to ensure an appropriate corporate voice is used which maintains brand consistency?Resourcing – time, content, responding, engaging
Corporate blogThought-leadership is a vital part of building confidence on your brandIt has to be relevant to your audienceIt can’t simply parrot other content – you will lose interest as people will ultimately return to the originating news sites, such as BBC etcIt has to be regular – if you build an audience, make sure you keep feeding them the content. Don’t let it lapse.Make it shareable – include the opportunity for readers to quickly and easily share or vote on (Google+1) the contentThird party bloggingEngage with bloggers as if they are journalists – be respectful, they can command immense respect from their followers
Forums are vital for businesses. Listening will help you learn where these forums are, who is on them and what they are saying. There will most likely be a range of well-established and highly respected B2B forums with your audience.You can use this information to feed your wider activity, as well and your social activity.If you engage on forums, do it respectfully, tactfully and only when the opportunity presents itself. Don’t just sell, seek to provide constructive advice to a problem they have highlighted with your product / business.
In a survey of B2B marketers, 26% identified LinkedIn as their single most important social tool.98 of the FTSE 100 are on LinkedInHow?Complete a comprehensive profile page, including details of your products and servicesPublish content so that followers can see you are activeUtilise the search functionality to identify relevant groups – join and contribute to the discussion, listen to what people are sayingUse the search functionality to identify potential customers, contact them directly and start to build a relationship – it is a professional networking tool so use it!Targeted LinkedIn adverts – paid for, highly targeted using LI dataBe active – respond and engage
Recent changes – around 78% of users don’t like the way it has changes – this may impact on the way that brands are able to use FB to engage.Best practiceCreate a landing page – include a call to action on the page!Segment information so that it is easy to findOutline house rulesIncorporate applications that will engage with the audienceUse the FB page to act as a hub for your other social channels, for example promoting youtube vids, twitter feedsContent, content, contentCommunicate, respond, engageOpportunities to build B2B Facebook:Rewarding brand advocates – Cisco do this very well with their SuperFan Spotlight – it is a very basic step but helps build a level of engagement with the audienceProduct case studies – Fluke Corporation uses its FB page to encourage product testimonials. It is highly product focused and fans know exactly what they are gettingUse it as an online news room – promote your company news, with images / video content. Scania does this very well. It also has a house rules section, which is a very important aspect of the siteShare video content – Use the FB page to share the content you post to other video content hosting sites – this may be your own domain or places such as YouTube or Vimeo. Dell Enterprise uses its FB page to share a wide range of contentMake your FB page a source of expertise – post expert comment, links to blogs, provide information about those thought-leaders within your organisation so they are more than just a name – allow people to identify with them on a more personal levelGenerate leads – a landing page is an excellent way to achieve this. Use an application on the landing page to encourage visitors not only to like the page, but also take a further action – for example request a free item / discount if you do X – this will provide the added bonus of data capture and give you greater understanding of your audience. Be active – don’t let it lapse – at the same time, don’t flood it with content. This can annoy fans and ultimate cause them to un-like the page because it is dominating their feed
Twitter is 140 characters of something, that something is entirely up to you.It provides a really good opportunity to share a quick thought along with a link through to additional content.News releasesA new blog postAn industry developmentNew video content added to your YouTube channelOffline content – eventsCustomer service! – this is a major use of twitter – it is real-time and a quick and simple tweet response shows that a customer has been acknowledged. Careful with private data – take conversations offline if needed. Allows proactive approach to customer service - @BTCare - broadbandUse Hashtags to communicate with an audience beyond your followersPromoted tweets / hashtagsBuild not only followers, but also seek out and follow relevant people. Don’t just broadcast content - consume, digest and engage with content, yours and others1. Hubspot (@Hubspot)2. Forrester (@Forrester)3. eMarketer (@eMarketer)4. CME Group (@CMEGroup)5. comScore (@comScore)6. Cisco (@CiscoSystems)7. Gartner (@Gartner_Inc)8. Oracle (@Oracle)9. radian6 (@radian6)10. Intel (@Intel)
Build a channel properly and populate it with content – brand continuity – making the user journey as simple and natural as possibleBe prepared to regularly upload contentEnsure you focus on providing content that your audience will want to seeDemos, conferences, talking-heads, case-studiesCross-sell YouTube presence across wider areasIt is now widely acceptable to hold corporate content on YouTube – relieving the pressure placed upon your own site – lightweight and easier to manage?
It might be the new kid on the block, but because it is intrinsic to the world’s largest search engine – it holds fantastic search benefits for businesses.It will be a major challenger to FB, providing a new way for people to engage with not just friends, but wider circles – you can segment this in anyway you chooseFastest out of the big three to reach 10m+ usersEncourage people to share your content with their Circles on Google+Implement the Google+1 button with content you post so that people can give their public stamp of approval. It is similar to the ‘Like’ button, but is integrated into Google’s search results so your Circles can see – it takes peer-to-peer recommendations to the next levelFacebook is a closed book – Google+ isn’t – this opens it up to a whole new world and expands its reach over FBMany experts are saying when, not if, so get in quickGoogle is slowly rolling out Google+ for business, so keep your eyes peeled for more opportunities
A strategy is key to measuring ROI – every business has different objectives and therefore the ROI will be different for each.Measurement is much more than quantity – as we pointed out, Likes can mean absolutely nothing – so look at it from a qualitative basis as well as a quantitative.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR B2B BRANDS Alison Meadows Managing Director Nick TapperSenior Media Manager
The numbers can‟t be ignored• LinkedIn has 100m+ users globally, growing at a rate of 1m every week, there are around 4m in the UK• Twitter has 200m registered users; 180m+ tweets a day! 50% log in every day• YouTube had 144m viewers in September 2010• Facebook has 800m+ users world-wide with 45 billion pieces of content shared per month and 1.5m businesses with active Facebook pages
social media for businessAt its core, Social Media for businesses is about:• Listening• Learning• Engagement• Communication• Reputation• Conversion
social media is mainstream• 98 of the FTSE 100 are represented on LinkedIn• Facebook„s fastest growing segment is users over 30 years old• Nearly three-quarters of baby-boomers use a video sharing site like YouTube, every month• Research has shown that 50% of pensioners are on Facebook and a third use YouTube• More than four out of five online users are active in either creating, participating in or reading some form of social content at least once a month
Myth 2social media is not relevant for B2B brands
Word of mouth has always beenimportant ...social media makes it visible• In 2007 15% of B2B marketers said they used social media• In 2010 that number has risen to 57%, using some form of social media to connect with customers, create leads and tap in to new sources of innovation• In 2009, 51% of B2B communicators cited brand building/brand management as the primary objective for social media adoption• Digital and word of mouth is deemed the most trustworthy source of information
Two thirds of consumers expect companies to allow them to postpositive and negative comments on their website
Myth 4 social media is not relevant to conversion
social media works at all stagesof the sales & marketing funnel Online advertising, news AWARENESS content, specialist reviews Facebook, Twitter, YouTube INTEREST podcasts, product videos EVALUATION Review forums, live chat COMMITMENT Blogging, recommendations Participation, interaction REFERRAL and advocacy
Learn from your listening• As with all good research, your findings will shape your social and marketing strategies, guiding your level of involvement• Even if your learning tells you that it is not appropriate to become more actively involve, you may chose to continue listening and learning
Have a clear objective• What do you want to achieve?• To listen and observe in order to inform your marketing strategy?• To engage with customers to improve brand reputation?• Gain new customers?• Open up new markets?• Drive traffic to increase sales online?
Blogging• Blogging is one of the earliest forms of social media and is a vital tool for B2B organisations• It can enhance SEO activity and also provides a compelling reason for people to regularly visit your site• It displays thought-leadership
Forum• B2B typically has a more limited audience, but at the same time that audience is more clued up• Forums provide a method for individuals to discuss industry issues with fellow professionals
LinkedIn• B2B professionals have highlighted LinkedIn as one of the most effective channels for new business• It is important to harness the professional networking opportunities this channel presents
Facebook• Not just a platform for B2C companies• Facebook is an excellent way to share a wide range of content with an audience• A „Like‟ is NOT engagement
Twitter• Twitter is an excellent channel for B2B organisations• Seek out stakeholders, media, thought-leaders and engage with them• Engage with customers and provide regular snippets of information
YouTube• 24 hours worth of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute• Provides an excellent platform to share video content with your audience• Don‟t have a silo approach to YouTube – cross-sell across other platforms to help build traffic
Google+• New and exciting or just another platform we have to worry about?
Success metricsIt‟s not just about number of followersIt‟s about:• Number of influential people who Tweet about the brand• Number of influential blogs that are linked to us• Increase in page ranking• Number of unique visitors• Number of people by location who follow your brand• Number of things discovered about customers that we didn‟t know before• Impacting on the volume of negative / neutral / positive content in social spheres
Some cardinal rules for businessesOnce you post content, it is almost impossible toremove itNever post anything you wouldn‟t say in personNever lie, you will always be found outNever post anything in anger / as an emotional reactionDo not ignore repliesAlways be politeAlways make content relevantDo not leave accounts for extended periods of time