Wednesday, August 10, 2016

B2B Social Media Marketing 101

Of course branding and awareness are also roles that can be played effectively by B2B marketing, but from my point of view these are only supporting roles—secondary to the primary objective of helping drive sales.” -- Mac Macintosh

If you ask how is B2B social media different from B2C social media, I believe this quote summarizes it all. In B2B social media, influence matters over popularity. Relevance matters over numbers. More than the features and functions of the products, businesses want to do business with trusted advisors.

Gone are the days when the sales person of the vendor could dictate and decide the flow of information for the potential buyer. Today, buyers have become much more informed and aware of what they want. They are doing their own research online, searching for the answers to their questions – it is important for you, as the vendor, to ensure that through your content marketing and social media, you are found and are in front of them when they are looking for the information. As per SiriusDecisions, 70% of the buying process in a complex sale is already complete before the prospects even engage with a salesperson.

Let’s understand the various aspects of B2B social media – any B2B business wanting to start with their social media initiatives should consider all these factors 

The first and foremost thing, like all strategic initiatives, is to identify and finalize the goals and objectives. “Getting more leads” is a good and obvious objective but remember that it is a long-term objective. Do note that social media offers many great opportunities and you should not miss on those – aim for things like “establishing thought leadership”, “getting in front of more audience”, “engaging with prospects and customers”, “driving more traffic to the website”. As Chris Brogan has very aptly said: "Marketers need to build digital relationships and REPUTATION before closing a sale."

Content Marketing
Yes, any conversation about B2B social media is incomplete with the mention of content marketing. You have heard stats like “88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy”. But content marketing is a lethal weapon and needs to be used accurately. B2B content marketing is a different ball game altogether. It is about telling stories. It is about not about you or your products. It is about your buyers, their problems, and solutions to their problems. It is about telling stories where the potential buyer is the hero. B2B content marketers need to have specific traits. Apart from being skillful writers, they are process oriented, they are storytellers, they understand social media, and much more. (You can read more on this here).

The importance of choosing a right channel
You might be very comfortable using Facebook, but does it make it the best social channel for your business? You don’t know of many success stories with Twitter, does it make it an irrelevant channel? How can you leverage LinkedIn? There are 700+ social channels and putting your energy in leveraging the right channel is very important. Our experience at Midas Touch has been that Twitter and LinkedIn are very effective channels for B2B social media. Twitter is a great medium to connect with prospects, customers, and influencers. It is a wonderful medium to share the content which is relevant to your industry, show your interest areas and also share your own content. LinkedIn, of course, is undoubtedly the number one professional network and, therefore, very relevant when it comes to B2B social media. LinkedIn company page and LinkedIn groups can be very well leveraged for engaging with the prospects and opinion makers in the industry.

What to expect?
Of course, the end objective is to get more leads to the business and that’s where social media is going to help. But if you expect that people are going to read your content and are going to fill out the contact form on your website immediately, then, that’s not how it works in the B2B space. Social media and quality content will help you establish your thought leadership, be in front of the right audience when they are looking for answers to their questions, and help the vendors form a positive opinion about you. The key is being patient with the efforts. At the same time, constantly measure and monitor the results and the impact in terms of visits to your website, engagement with your content, social connection etc. Remember, social media is a strategy and not a campaign. 

Keep your customer at the center of the social media strategy is – leverage the best channels, have a strong content strategy and use an integrated approach. You are sure to benefit from it!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

12 Things to Share on Twitter While Building your Personal Brand

Personal branding is more important than ever. It’s not that you don’t understand it, but you are busy, strapped for time, juggling multiple balls in the air, and don’t have too much time to think and spend on social media.

I often come across Twitter handles of executives, CEOs, consultants, where there are a few tweets put up initially and then no activity thereafter. The Twitter account is collecting cobwebs and it are almost giving away an impression that either they don’t care or they don’t really know how this new world of social media works. In any case, it’s not giving away a very good impression.

I have Twitter app on my phone, but I don’t really know what you can share there”. I hear it quite often. Well, leveraging Twitter is actually very easy – provided you know how to use it.

Here is a quick list of few things which you, as a startup founder, company CEO, independent consultant or a trainer, could share from your personal Twitter handle –

#1 Industry News – I am sure you read a lot of news, blogs are articles to keep yourself updated on what’s the latest in the industry. Share the articles which you think could be useful and relevant for your followers. It will also show that you do take efforts for keeping yourself updated. Personally speaking, I have subscribed to various magazines on Flipboard which provide me the daily dose of latest updates.

#2 Your own blog articles – You have your blog, or write for your company blog? Great. Twitter is a great place to share those articles. It will be very useful for your Twitter audience if you share some insightful information through your blog.

#3 Books – Sometimes too many lists of recommended books or tables in book stores can be overwhelming. People always like suggestions from friends, connections, or from someone they look up to. Share the names of the books which you are reading, which you have liked/ not liked, or which you would like to highly recommend reading.  

#4 Personal Interests/ Passions – Like to write stories, poetry, or like photography? Don’t hesitate to share your passions on Twitter. Don’t think that your ‘personal’ side will interfere with your ‘professional’ side.

#5 Employee Appreciations – Has someone from your company or your team completed some milestone? Spent 5 years, 10 years with you? Got some awesome certification? Why not click a picture with them and post it on Twitter?

#6 About the Organization – You can very well use your personal Twitter handle to talk about your company, some milestone, event, or any important update about it.

#7 Company Blogs – If your company has an active company blog and you especially appreciate some article, go ahead and tweet about it.  

#8 POV about Industry Updates – Some big thing about your industry is making news and you have got some views about it – go ahead and tweet about those. It could be release of some product/ service, passing of a new regulation– Post a tweet with your views and link it to the article.  

#9 Podcasts/ webinars you attend – Webinars and podcasts are great ways to keep yourself updated with what’s happening in the industry and also learn from the experts. If there are any specific podcast / webinar which you would like to recommend to your followers, go ahead and tweet about that.

#10 Speaker Sessions / Industry Connections – If you are speaking at some conference or a meetup, Twitter is a great place to talk about it – build up the excitement by asking the audience what they would like you to cover in your talk, interacting with then, and letting people ask you questions there.

#11 Polls – Want to get the opinion from your online audience? Run quick polls. Yes, Twitter allows you to run polls with simple question and options. You can get the pulse of your audience and use this data in your research as well.

#12  Presentations of Talks/Videos – If you have given a talk at some event or have prepared a very good presentation, host those assets on relevant platforms such as YoutTube or SlideShare and use Twitter to promote those assets.


Now that we know what all can be shared on Twitter, let me also share some “what not to do”.   

  • Automated Messages - Many people are in favor of it, but I am personally not in favor of automated RTs or Direct Messages. No matter how personalized the message is, it does not go well with a personal handle.
  • Non-engagement – Social media is about engagement. It is not a broadcasting medium – it is for two-way communication. So if someone engages with your tweets in the form of RT or reply, ensure that you don’t ignore it. Acknowledge and respond to it.  Don’t forget to ReTweet others’ tweets and converse with your followers and Twitter audience.
  • Not Understanding the Platform – One needs to remember that Twitter is quite different from the other social networking platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook. Understand the nuisances of the platform and you will be able to rock it!

I am on Twitter at @radhagiri. Look forward to connecting with you there!

This post was originally published at PuneDigitalMarketers.