B2B social media

B2B Social Media Marketing Trends & Tips for 2014

B2B social media marketingAre you a B2B Marketer that’s not fully on board with being social with your marketing? Have you started and you’re looking for a little inspiration?

Here’s a short presentation I’ll be giving this week in Moscow (in addition to a 3 1/2 hour social media marketing workshop).

While there are flavorings towards a Russian audience, (Yandex, Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki) there’s also plenty of good advice for any B2B company that hasn’t fully embraced opportunities on the social web.

In particular, I think newer B2B marketers will appreciate the Social Media Marketing Maturity Model that outlines various stages that companies will experience as they gain more experience and confidence with social media.

How Does B2B Marketing Work on Google Plus? 4 Top B2B Tech Company Examples

B2B Technology Google PlusWhile sports teams, news outlets, car companies, universities, non-profits and the entertainment industry dominate the top 200 business pages on Google+, a growing number of B2B technology companies have embraced Google+ as well.

As with any top consumer brand, consistent engagement is crucial to success. B2B technology brands are developing relationships with prospects just like on any other social platform.  In the world of optimizing customer experience across the B2B sales cycle, Google+ for businesses offers B2B marketers  an opportunity to connect with buyers in a meaningful way and provide relevant information.

Thought leaders and subject matter experts increasingly serve as trusted sources to help business buyers determine the best solution to solve a business need. Knowledge and expertise combined with social media have trumped the peer influencers of the traditional buyer, giving rise to the “B2B Social Buyer”. [Source: ITSMA pdf]

Building the B2B Social Media Machine with Adriel Sanchez and Jasmine Sandler at #SESNY

Lee Odden, Adriel Sanchez and Jasmine SandlerSocial media marketing for B2B brands requires creativity, scalability and buy-in across the organization. Just after the Tuesday morning keynote at SES New York, Adriel Sanchez, Senior Director of Demand Generation at SAP and Jasmine Sandler, CEO at Agent-cy, shared with attendees a framework for building a B2B social media machine in their session led by TopRank Online Marketing CEO Lee Odden.

Social media management changes constantly, Sandler reminded participants as she took the stage. The opportunity for B2B brands continues to grow; one-to-one conversations are happening across social platforms, blogs, forums, and elsewhere across the web.

Companies need to first understand the social media landscape – where are we today. where are we going, who is already here? If you’re into social media, you need to have a global perspective, Sandler said. Marketers must be thinking of social and its relationship with:

SES Chicago: Building the B2B Social Media Machine – 6 Steps for Success

B2B Social Media: 6 Steps to SuccessIt’s day 2 of SES Chicago, and the online marketing education is flowing full force.  I saw an excellent presentation about building a killer B2B social media strategy with Adriel Sanchez (@Adriel_S) of SAP.  With the sea of platforms, tactics, and schools of thought around B2B social media, it can be difficult to put together an actionable strategy that gets real results.

Follow the steps below to get your B2B social media strategy working for your business.

1. Forget Social Media, Think Content Marketing

Social media works best as a component of an overall content strategy.  The key is to think like a publisher, not a marketer.  This means avoiding the common pitfalls of being overly self-promotional or too sales oriented.

B2B Marketing Innovation: Tips On Creating Social Influence in B2B Marketing from Alan Belniak of PTC

Finding a way to influence your prospects, customers, and company advocates is an essential part of doing business in today’s digital world.  Finding different methods of creating influence is essential with complex purchasing processes often present with B2B marketing.

Fortunately, we have the insight of savvy B2B marketers who are out in the field, developing, testing and implementing best practices that are willing to share with our readers here at Online Marketing Blog.

To that end, next up in our series of B2B Marketing expert interviews is PTC’s Alan Belniak.  As Director of Social Media Marketing, Alan focuses on product lifecycle management developing strategy and innovating the right mix of social media tactics to create influence and and value with their business customers.

B2B Marketing Innovation: Social Media Marketing Tips from Amber Naslund of SideraWorks

amber naslundAs customers evolve and change the way that they find and consume information, marketers must innovate their approach to meet customers where they’re looking, especially in the social media world.

Business to Business marketing can involve many decision makers and sales cycles that take weeks or months.  Navigating the mix of social content types for different customer segments over time can be a challenge. Luckily, we’ve picked the brains of some of the digital marketing’s world’s brightest to share their practical and innovative B2B marketing tips.

To that end, we visited with Amber Naslund, who is a business strategist with a strong focus on social media communication and community initiatives in the B2B Marketing arena.  Amber is the co-author of The NOW Revolution, and her blog Brass Tack Thinking has been recognized for excellence in social media and community related content.

How to Boost the ROI of B2B Social Media? Optimize Across the Entire Sales Cycle

optimize brand consumer alignmentMost forms of online B2B marketing and advertising focus on attracting and engaging business customers through a sales cycle to create awareness and interest, through consideration and ultimately to purchase. That’s reasonable since there’s a clear investment and return.

While a lot of social media-savvy business to business companies are leveraging social channels to engage with communities and for customer service, most implementations of corporate social media marketing are no different than any other sales-focused marketing effort. Expectations are high to influence a social return on investment (ROI).

In fact, a recent survey by PulsePoint Group and The Economist Intelligence unit reports that, “Executives who said their companies had established an extensive social media presence reported a return on investment that was more than four times that of companies with little or no social network engagement activity.”

For Better B2B Video Marketing, Check out the Top B2B Companies on YouTube

B2B Video MarketingIf a picture’s worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth millions. The thing about content marketing is that it’s not just about informing and educating, but creating an experience that your audience can feel. Whether you’re a consumer or business customer, decisions are not made solely on logic, but emotion. As content marketers, we have an opportunity to tie into the experiential state of information influence by leveraging media like video.

eMarketer reports a lot of support for the growth in video investment: Online video is expected to grow 55% this year and is the top format for content marketing. Stats about YouTube are pretty compelling.

Did you know?

  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube

5 Ways to Win with B2B Content Marketing & Social Media

Dominate Your B2B Content MarketingIn the world of B2B online marketing, content and media have been used in a variety of forms to educate and persuade customers across long buying cycles with great success. Over the past few years I’ve heard from many B2B marketers that prospects are leading themselves through much of the initial phases of awareness, interest and consideration by consuming useful content discovered through social channels and published by the brand.

The result of smarter content and social engagement is a more qualified and educated consumer by the time they get to sales discussions which can mean a shorter sales cycle and even an impact on order volume and referrals.

Building B2B Online Communities – Why, How & Where to Start

B2B Online Community Member MatrixThis week at the PRSA Digital Impact Conference Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks talked to attendees about the benefits of online communities as part of a B2B social media strategy.

According to DiMauro, nearly 2/3 of organizations surveyed are engaged in private, online communities hosted by companies that sell them computer hardware, software or services.

The average visit in an online B2B community is 10 minutes, with 1 visit every 5-7 days.

What B2B organization wouldn’t want roughly 40 minutes of time per month with members to help solve problems, learn how they are using tools and what topics they are most interested in?

Building an online community gives organizations an opportunity to strategically connect with its audience in meaningful and sometimes deeper ways through private interactions.

4 B2B Social Media & SEO Blunders to Avoid

B2B Social Media BlundersThere are some things that you can’t take back: including what you release on the Internet.  With over 93% of B2B marketers using social media, online sales has very much become a social business. As marketers we need to do our best to present as well online as we do in person (if not better).  Creating an effective online marketing plan amongst all the changes on the social web isn’t easy, but here are a few things you may want to avoid.

#1: Flying By the Seat of Your Pants

A “lets throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks” approach will only take you so far in social media.  Consider your internet marketing plan to be just as essential as your traditional sales and marketing plans.  Below are some questions you may want to ask yourself when creating your social content marketing strategy: