Unexpected - Issue 11 - Social Media in B2B Marketing
BBN NEWSLETTER - ISSUE 11
Social Media in B2B Marketing
Anol Bhattacharya, BBN Singapore
Anol Bhattacharya, BBN Singapore
Feedback or comments:
Social media marketing is dead. Long live social media marketing!
It seems like not too long ago when at least 3 to 4 speakers at every conference I went to were preaching, “Throw away your corporate website and invest in Facebook/ LinkedIn/Twitter. Because that’s where the conversations and engagements are happening.”
Some Rip van Winkle-like social gurus might still be doling out similar sermons.
Thankfully, few actually listened to them.
Let's face it. We, the marketers and agencies, killed social media marketing. We tried to fit the same agendas, used the same methods; shouting through a megaphone instead of listening, or having a conversation with our target audience.
Even when we listened, it was only to 'manage reputation’— a defensive act by nature — not to add any value to the consumer experience.
We relied heavily on the social platforms we have little to no control over; ran after vanity metrics like number of fans and followers; and completely neglected our business goals.
We decried social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter when they tweaked their newsfeed algorithms to fit a 'pay-to-play' business model.
As a result, 'organic reach' for brand messages are down to single digits. Conversations and engagements are edging toward endangered status. No clear business goals are in sight.
The big questions before us now are: “What's next? Can we salvage the situation? Can we use social media responsibly as a viable channel for marketing?”
We require answers, and good ones at that, if we are to rejuvenate social media into the potent marketing tool that it still is.
Enjoy reading and please give feedback: email@example.com
What's new at BBN
Catch up on what's new at BBN
New agency partner in Brazil
Earlier this year, BBN formed it’s latest agency partnership with Brazilian agency Approach, who are going to be a key partner for our clients doing business in South America.
Founded in 1997, Approach have offices in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and currently have 145 employees. They are one of the ten largest communication agencies in Brazil and deliver cross media and multi-stakeholder custom projects to over 1000 customers in several industries. They have attained local and global awards in the communication industry including ‘best communication work’ and ‘Latin American agency of the year’ by the international SABRE AWARDS, run by The Holmes Report.
Their roots come from daily journalism, which gives them the experience to identify relevant news and the ability to tell good stories to their client’s audiences. All these skills has propelled them to go beyond press consultancy and today they offer a variety of communication services . Their particular specialisms are corporate communications, PR, media relations and crisis management.
BBN Owners' Conference 2016
The Owners' Conference held in Italy early May was a great success. With a busy first day of presentations and dialogue the conference culminated with two productive workshop sessions that generated lots of actions, commitments and great ideas.
A big thanks to all who contributed to the two days, it's always great to see BBN agencies engaging at this level... magic really does happen!
Curtis Gorrell (BBN USA), Peter Lyall (BBN UK) and Mark Sallows (Strategic Partner Turtl)
The conference always succeeds in fuelling collaboration, debate and a general desire to help one another... and above all world peace!!
Anol kindly represented our two strategic partners that could not be there in person, NUVI and SharpSpring and our Sponsor Ad-in-One demonstrated their agency management software. Rick Stoner, no stranger to BBN events, attended the conference for the first time, representing his new company and BBN strategic partner Derse.
Anol Bhattacharya (BBN Singapore), Libor Cerny (Sponsor Ad-in-One) & Rick Stoner (Strategic Partner Derse)
NEW Strategic Partner - Marketizator
Increasing conversion rates has become front of mind for agency clients. With the cost of traffic acquisition increasing, so has the pressure on agencies to deliver conversions to their clients. Marketizator has partnered with agencies worldwide to help lower bounce rates, increase engagement and increase revenue.
Marketizator is a SaaS subscription-based platform, with tools like A/B testing, Real-time Personalization, Actionable Surveys and one of the most expansive segmentation engines in the industry, all complemented by their team of specialists in the industry delivering managed services as well.
These are just some of the great reasons they are our new strategic partner....
If you want to learn more about becoming a BBN Strategic Partner, please contact Annette Fernandes-Poyser for more information.
Brand Asset Management (BAM) Training
BBN's BAM model brings together the best thinking and best practices from top BBN strategists around the world - it has been continuously refined over a period of 10 years. It is the most highly developed set of processes and tools ever created by BBN, and it has been proven effective in B2B engagements all over the world.
All our BBN partner agencies have access to these tools, however, just having access to these materials is not enough for a partner agency to become a confident and effective practitioner of the BAM model. So BBN provides a thorough indoctrination and training program to help partners understand BAM at a deeper level and become more familiar with the BAM elements most commonly used and most effective in practice.
Every BBN agency promotes and practices strategy as part of its service offering. But we believe this BAM training program provides further insight in how using BAM can more quickly and effectively help define strategy and increase success in the hand-off to creative for marketing communications development.
BBN on B2B: The Blog
We upload a new blog post every week and all of the content is generated by our agencies and partners. In the last few months we’ve written on topics like franchise, social listening, content marketing, thought leadership, lead generation and nurturing, trends in PR, events and creativity.
Read the BBN Blog
Why not join the LinkedIn discussion group on everything B2B Marketing
We like to talk!
Check it out: LinkedIn - BBN on B2B Marketing
A social story
Created by BBN Singapore
...in Social Media
What's trending in social media
Here are some key topics in social media that you're probably already hearing lots about and perhaps want to know what all the fuss is about.
People trust recommendations from third-party sources even more than the brand itself. This is, in essence, why influencer marketing exists. Influencer marketing is, in a nutshell, when marketers look for, identify, and engage with influencers. There’s an increasing trend of brands making use of influencer marketing, and understandably so: when you engage with influencers, not only do they raise awareness, but they also encourage and raise action among their audience and their network. They can increase your online exposure, and in some cases you may find that they can sell your products even better than you do.
Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the use of social media services, techniques and technology to enable organisations to engage with their customers. It adds a deeper layer of information onto traditional CRM, for example, listening to sentiments about their products and services. Of course the key benefit of Social CRM is the ability for companies to interact with customers in a multichannel environment and talk to customers the way they talk to each other. Social CRM enables companies to track a customer's social influence and source data from conversations occurring outside of formal, direct communication. It also allows companies to keep a full audit history of all customer interactions, regardless of social channel they choose to use.
Live video streaming (Facebook, Periscope etc…)
Eventually Live Steaming adoption will be widespread. How we consume content is constantly evolving and the demand for video is ever increasing. There is a great opportunity here for businesses to open out to a wider audience and for experts to connect easily to their audience. The huge advantage of Facebook Live is the size of the potential audience. This is also one of the limitations of Periscope. Facebook remains the most widely adopted social media platform and whilst there is steady competition from others in certain demographics, they are certainly doing everything they can to stay #1.
Here is a great blog post that gives you some insights and perspectives from Wowza Media Systems on the future of live streaming video.
Long form social content (Instant Article)
An Instant Article is nothing too complex. It’s an article with code optimised for loading within Facebook’s mobile app. This means clicking a shared link from The Guardian may not take you to the Guardian at all; if it’s an Instant Article, it’s The Guardian’s content alright, but hosted directly on Facebook. Zuckerberg and co. claim these articles load 10 times faster than they would in traditional mobile browsers, and at a juncture where minuscule attention spans are getting shorter still, it could be the difference between a read or a renege.
Right now, Facebook's Instant Articles are only available to select major publishers, but if Facebook users like the experience, Facebook could roll the content type out to publishers of all sizes—including brands. What might this future look like?
The Many Faces of Facebook
Facebook launched on the 4th of Feb 2004.
Since then, digital marketers have long struggled to leverage this powerful tool to reach their target market and discover new opportunities. Today, more than ever, modern digital marketers have to learn how to use the tool, or risk becoming a digital dinosaur.
Facebook brand pages only launched in 2007. (Before this, a number of brands started creating accounts as people due to the initial rapid adoption of social media as a marketing tool.)
When Facebook launched brand pages, many companies created promotional campaigns where users were encouraged to share the content or promotion in order to stand a chance to win something.
Because Facebook did not make the data available, there were a lot of third party plugins being created to support these campaigns and ensure there were some kind of analytics to track how effective they were.
Along with third party plugins, bots were being developed to help pages grow their fan base and appear to be more prominent and attractive to users. Unfortunately, these were not real people and it did not generate authentic value, making it even harder to justify investment in the platform. During this period, it was accepted as best practice to never pay for a fan.
On March 1st 2012, Facebook introduced timeline, a powerful tool for brands to have a thorough social presence, kicking the social media revolution into full gear.
Facebook remains the biggest social media platform available to the modern marketer. It currently has over 1.6 billion active users, 22% of the earth’s total population.
Facebook advertising has evolved over the years, offering a multitude of different ad units, targeting options, buying criteria and more, making it an effective, but complex advertising medium.
In addition to the above, Facebook analytics have become incredibly robust, with the data used to help drive spend and marketing strategies, promoting continued investment in the platform.
With more and more users joining every day, Facebook offers rich, detailed data on various demographics. This is great for marketers, because it enables us to increase the relevance and therefore engagement of our marketing campaigns.
However, despite the seemingly endless opportunities Facebook offers, it does come with its own set of challenges. Remember that fan-base marketers had to nurture, entertain and grow? Then came Edgerank, Facebook’s most brutal algorithm. It is Facebook’s way of monetising social media’s growing presence in digital marketing and engagement. It essentially forces marketers to pay to reach their audience on Facebook, or risk becoming one of the brands that only reach about 6% of their market without Edgerank. Therefore, organic reach and engagement is a thing of the past, and marketers must pay into an endless pit of investment to reach their audiences and stay relevant, with boosted posts and other ad units.
Marketing strategies are also vastly different from what they used to be in the early days. They now have to consider a number of elements to guide their social strategies:
Creating highly engaging content in the form of storytelling, live video, strong imagery and more is used to drive awareness, education, and engagement. Today, it’s all about engagement rather than “shares” and “likes.”
Facebook introduced business manager, which allows marketers to select a few different objectives. For example:
This entails promoting your page to grow your audience. (Looks a lot like buying likes, right?)
My personal favorite is the targeting options. It’s an eerie thought, but Facebook knows us better than we know ourselves sometimes, and can help us reach our exact target market no matter who they are or where they are in the world.
There are various ad formats available, such as a mobile view and the latest addition focused on Instagram ad units.
One particular ad format that has shot up in terms of effectiveness due to the way Facebook has evolved is video ads.
Videos now automatically start playing when users scroll through their timelines, making video the most engaging ad format. Some users can’t resist watching a video once it’s begun.
One of the most interesting aspects of Facebook marketing is the amount of robust data that can keep a digital marketer wrapped up for days. This includes different actions and even reactions to each post, page reach, likes, views, and more that can give a strong indication as to where to find more opportunities for a company.
And if that wasn’t enough, you can add a pixel to your own site, which allows you to track conversions from the click to the close.
Where to from here?
Here are the major areas of Facebook’s focus:
- Video: As you’ve probably guessed, the most important trend right now is video. Video-based marketing and services are growing at a rapid rate and Facebook is at the forefront of this development by creating the first ever 3-D/360 film called Here and Now. They’ve also launched live video streaming and soon, this service will become one of the primary video platforms. We are already seeing the impact on TV viewership numbers, with more and more people turning to online entertainment.
- Internet access: Another important note is Facebook’s Free Basics project, which aims to provide internet access to everyone within the next couple of years. Previously known as Internet.org, this project is a power move, despite being heavily criticised due to its ambitious scope.
- 10-year roadmap: Facebook’s 10-year project roadmap includes some pretty impressive plans, with a few already implemented. Among them are some pretty formidable executions including virtual reality and advanced artificial intelligence.
- Continued growth: As Facebook grows, the knowledge and insight marketers have on users deepens, along with the pool to market. In fact, today we are seeing an unprecedented growth amongst the 65-year-old market which is a big indicator to Facebook’s reach – and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
How does it all fit in with marketing automation?
It’s a no-brainer – if you drive users to your website via Facebook after a very targeted advert, you know they are interested!
Marketing automation enables you, as a marketer, to grab that interest with both hands by creating a dedicated campaign group for Facebook users. This way, you can nurture them based on the information you already have on them.
The end result? Delivering hot leads to sales, and relevant, useful content to users – everyone wins.
Additionally, a marketing automation platform enables you to measure the success of each post you put out there. It answers that age old marketing question of what kind of content interest your users, and it directs your content team to focus on what works, and what generates the highest ROI.
Facebook may not be the right choice for every brand right now, but if most modern marketers intend on staying relevant with their users, they’ll have to monitor the evolution of Facebook and take advantage of marketing automation solutions.
Because let’s face it – who doesn’t like social media?
A social success story
A Social Media Marketing Campaign for G-Technology.
G-Technology’s roots are deeply ingrained in delivering premium storage solutions that offer style and reliability for audio/video production, photography and the professional content creation market. The company worked with BBN Singapore to connect with production houses and creative professionals in Asia and Australia.
The objective was to position G-Technology as a brand for organisation and professionals who appreciate the value and importance of reliable storage for their work. The campaign was led by social media and themed around educating, inspiring and showcasing the creativity of G-Technology’s professional community.
GetIT Comms launched the G-Technology Facebook Page as the primary engagement platform to connect with production houses and creative professionals. Together with offline channels, the campaign helps to build and nurture a marketable community of passionate, creative professionals loyal to well-designed, reliable solutions for their creative work.
Information and Education
More than 80% of content on G-Technology’s facebook page comprises agnostic material such as product reviews, news and opinion pieces. This provides incredible value to the professionals and establishes G-Technology as a progressive thought leader in the creative field.
The G-STREET Contest invited creative professionals to share their best work and have industry peers, their cohort and extended networks to vote on the best submission. This inspired creative professionals to form a community, which in turn helps the content gain more mileage.
We invited eminent street photographers Tamara Voninski, founding member of Australian photographic collective Oculi, and Misho Baranovic, founding member of international mobile photographer collective Mobile Photo Group to provide feedback and also judge the contest entries. The brand association with eminent photographers bolstered G-Technology’s reputation with the target audience.
Offline Channels to Compliment Social Media
We integrated G-Technology’s social media campaigns with offline channels such as exhibitions, workshops and referral marketing. Bridging the physical and digital space helped build deeper connections with followers while amplifying the social media outreach.
The winning entries — both judges’ choices and popular votes — were exhibited at a eminent art gallery in the heart of Melbourne. This was a big hit with the professional community, as they regarded these exhibitions highly. The winners were also presented with premium G-Technology products, thus attaching an aspirational value to the products.
We used workshops by eminent industry personalities on photography, videography and other creative fields. This created tangible experiences that complemented the social media campaign.
The workshops improved engagement by giving people a reason and the means to become involved, while nurturing a more responsive and interactive community.
With this campaign, GetIT Comms created an entire community of passionate, creative individuals loyal to G-Technology. This pool also contributes data for market research or customer relationship programs for specific target groups.
Outside of this pool, brand awareness is also established among users that have been touched by G-Technology’s multiple campaigns.
Get in the game
How companies can
leverage social media
Want to connect with your customers?
Then step up your game!
Cameron Jensen, CEO,
As a former NFL player, and now the CEO of NUVI, it is easy for me to see the connections between football and business. When companies are not in tune with their teammates and don’t know or understand the playbook, the pass will get dropped, the ball will be fumbled, and the trust and reputation you may have built for your brand is lost, sometimes forever. Companies that want to be industry leaders and avoid unnecessary turnovers, which benefit their competitors, have to step up their game and take full advantage of the social landscape.
Still, most brands just don’t seem to “get it.” For instance, let’s take a look at the song thatDave Caroll spread through social media after United Airlines broke his guitar and then refused to replace it. What began as one upset customer, quickly snowballed into a viral phenomenon that cost the company millions in bad publicity.
Regardless of how stale the industry might seem, or how apathetic customers are, these customers, clients, advocates and critics are all logged into social media. Which means you need to be aware of what’s going on. Here are my three tips on how you can leverage social media to create a better connection between you and your customers.
Visualize the Conversation
Seeing is believing. In fact, 93 percent of the conversations we have are nonverbal. It is nearly impossible to understand your customers if you only look at a snapshot of the words they say. Understanding and seeing the entire conversation is a distinct advantage of those that tap in the social landscape.
On a recent trip to New York, I met with a large beverage brand who had been struggling to find a social media listening tool that gave them exactly what they wanted. They were creating a social media command center that would provide a data driven, visual perspective of their social campaigns. They wanted these visualizations to both break down the data into understandable insights and impress clients and potential clients. Most tools in the industry that they had seen had either catchy visualizations but no real data behind them, or even worse, they had data but no way to visualize it. Time and time again, this is the case.
For this brand, the constant visual stream of data was essential in order to gauge the success of current campaigns and plan for future ones. And, while marketing has primarily been a “telling” initiative, it quickly evolved into a listening activity. Thus, the brands that want to effectively market must also effectively listen, and this cannot be done without visualizing the conversation.
Dig Deep into the Data
At my second stop in New York the director of a large agency emphasized to me why the data needs to be complete. He described to me that when evaluating the success of social media campaigns, likes and shares are only part of the picture.
An effective social listening tool should provide more than just likes and shares. Deeper understanding of who were the top Influencers, what was the spread & reach of the message or campaign, who or what was mentioned the most, what were the trending hashtags, URLs, locations, and more, are all essential to understanding the conversation. By understanding and seeing the deep data you are now able to fully understand the conversation and see if your message is resonating with both influencers and customers.
This deep data also sheds the light onto the behavior of your audience. By understanding the conversation AND behaviors, this deep data acts like a crystal ball for all types of agencies. Adjustments could then be made much more quickly, saving time and improving results. Not only will they see what is working, but why.
Refocus your Focus
Before getting carried away with the thoughts of graphs, analytics, and reports, it’s important to understand the real focus of social media listening. Social listening is just that, listening. This is the key to providing the best service to your clients and brands. Social listening is genuine, empathic and not defensive posturing. You can’t serve your customers meaningfully if you don’t first understand why they are upset—even if the criticism seems unfair or makes you uncomfortable.
One good example of this is Alaska Air. They have completely embraced social customer service through social listening. In 2012, Alaska Air started off as a social experiment of social listening. With just a handful of people shifting between phone calls, Twitter, and Facebook, this quickly became the backbone of their entire customer facing strategy. Now they lead the industry with social media involvement and it has garnered so much free publicity and praise that the department has become a revenue generator as opposed to a cost center. Keeping the focus on listening to the customers will propel any company to greater heights.
Take your Brand to the Next Level
Each of these tips will help brands go further in their customer development and reputation. The real key to successful social media campaigns, or any interpersonal relationship for that matter, quite simply is to listen. By combining finely-tuned listening tools (like NUVI!) with a visual, real-time data platform, any company can find the critical information that will be vital to your brand or agency.
Find out more: https://www.nuvi.com/
NUVI in Practice
BBN Australia has been using Nuvi for over a year, to monitor client keywords and social trends, participate in social listening, and track campaign analytics in real time.
Typically they use Nuvi to discover which keywords and/or hashtags are trending in social conversations, taking these and applying them to their paid social media campaigns to further optimise them.
BBN Australia's goal with using the Nuvi measurement system is to gain insight from social listening. By understanding what is being talked about, and what keywords and topics are already working in the Twittersphere, they can boost engagement by exploring the right trends and then build appropriately targeted content to guarantee reach and engagement through sponsored posts.
An added bonus of the intelligence collected is that they can use it to provide tips and guidelines for content marketing strategy to their clients and editorial department, helping them tailor content to trending topics and potentially increase engagement with brands.
On many occasions, clients themselves may not be aware of the correct keywords or trends that are needed for a campaign, so Social Intelligence Platforms like Nuvi assist in tightening the client brief, targeting suitable words and topics that can be used in said campaigns.
One of the fantastic benefits from using a system like Nuvi is competitor analysis, where they compare branded keywords with that of the competition. Using this feature, they can discover which words have more exposure, the varying positive and negative sentiments, and see how a client's brand is performing in comparison across the spectrum.
By tracking what a competitor is talking about through their respective social channels, they can avoid overlap and risk having a client lose out on their virtual voice, ensuring that the post trends are tailored properly, all the while improving a client’s content to help them get ahead.
Meet BBN Netherlands
Referro was established in 1991 and evolved into a B2B Marketing agency specialized in improving the effectiveness of marketing and sales processes of local SME clients.
After joining BBN in 1996 they expanded their business to include corporate organisations with international activities.
They combine brand building, market intelligence, online marketing, campaign management, marketing automation and telemarketing competencies to design or improve their clients ‘marketing machine’.
An interview with Gerard van den Bogaart
Gerard is Managing Director at BBN Netherlands, based in Oisterwijk, Netherlands.
1) Some personal background (career development)?
Hi, my name is Gerard, age 47 (okay, okay, still looking like 46), I’m married to my beautiful Esther and we have two kids, Robin age 17 and Bram age 14.
Being a teenager I saw my young boys dream to become a fighter pilot crushed. So, what is next? Even in my first year at University I was still searching. Then my marketing professor enchanted me. He gave his students a simple definition of marketing: everything a company can do to make sales the easiest job in the world!
I was grabbed by the marketing fever. And started my professional career in sales….. but only to discover the true meaning of what my professor tried to teach us. So it was only a matter of time before I became a Marketing Manager. After 20 years working in both SME and corporate environment I decided to combine my B2B marketing and sales experience with the strong competencies of B2B agency Referro. I joined Referro in October 2013 with the intention to buy the company from Bart and Len Stovers, the agency founders. Since January 2015 I am the agency owner, and I can only say…. why did I wait so long with this career move.
2) Give us some background on Referro’s journey since joining BBN?
Referro joined BBN in 1995 and the previous owner of Referro, Bart Stovers, was part of the board for several years. Referro took part in establishing some of BBN’s B2B marketing methodologies, processes and tools that are still being used today. Since joining BBN, Referro has continuously been able to anticipate on the developments in the B2B marketing world and has been able to harvest those skills within the agency with help from BBN. In the past we have worked on several large international clients with fellow BBN agencies and more recent we have been involved in the set-up of C-Map.
3) What attracts you about BBN and how have you benefited so far?
The possibility to actually apply ‘think global, act local’ for our clients, the international ambitions of BBN and the focus on collaboration between agencies, sharing knowledge and learnings with each other and the high quality standards.
I see two other important benefits:
- Being BBN Netherlands opens doors for us that otherwise might stay closed. Let me give you an example. Last year we pitched for LG Europe in Amsterdam, at the moment we are pitching for Sana Commerce and we have some other good examples off customers and prospects that invited us mainly because of our BBN membership. In fact, this was one of the reasons for Proact to start working with Referro last year.
- BBN Methodology proves to be very important trying to convince potential clients to work with us, and is also very important for successful project executions.
Pay to Play
Why putting money behind your social media offers competitive advantage
Pay to Play
You’ve invested your marketing dollars in SEO and display ads, but what about social media? If you’re only using social media marketing to achieve awareness and engagement, you’re missing a huge opportunity. It’s time to think differently about your approach.
Julia Haas, Sr. Architect and Laura Stingl, Sr. Activator
Social media is now considered a must-have in an effective marketing campaign. But many businesses still struggle with the best way to use social media to support business objectives. Rather than simply garnering empty impressions, marketers can better use social media to drive target audiences to take a specific desired action. Developing a paid social media strategy to better support your overall marketing program can make your social activity really count.
Particularly in B2B, where marketers often need to educate and build consideration with a customer to sell their products or services, a paid social media strategy offers the ability to precisely target customers and prospects and effectively spur concrete, measurable action to drive sales.
Paid social media is your ticket to big, immediate and measurable benefits for your brand and business. If you need to shift dollars or ask for incremental budget to reap those benefits, here are five points to make your case for paid social media investment:
Gain measurable results from a clear objective
By setting clear goals for your social media content, such as encouraging website visits or app downloads, you can use the results of a paid social media initiative to determine how successful you were at achieving these goals. Through a paid social strategy, brands can pay for a specific action, not just an impression, providing for a clearer and more measurable picture of success. As a result, sound measurement will prove the value of your investment in a paid social media program, which is critical in an ROI-driven business environment.
Effectively reach the right audience
A study from EdgeRank Checker found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook page dropped from 16 percent to 6.5 percent. That number continues to decline steadily as advertising capabilities change and algorithms evolve on Facebook and other social platforms. A paid social media program can ensure that your content is seen because you can invest dollars to boost content and reach the right audience.
Precisely pinpoint your audience
If you’re going to pay to play, make sure you target exhaustively. Social media offers the ability to pay for rigorous targeting parameters to reach specific audiences with information derived directly from social metrics such as interests, job title, age and location, based on information you already have about your audience. Use the wealth of audience insights available on social media to your strategic advantage.
Drive your audience to a specific, desired action
According to a Microsoft study, the average human attention span is down to a mere eight seconds, less than that of a goldfish! As consumers wade through all the content on multiple social media channels across many devices, a paid social media strategy offers the benefit of standing out with a clear call-to-action button. This will spur action to tell your audience exactly what it is that you want them to do. This call to action should connect directly to your content goals and your overall marketing objectives.
Test, learn, optimize — quickly and efficiently
Testing is a smart and effective way to see what resonates with your audience. Options offered by social media channels for paid programs will only continue to change and grow. Use audience insights to guide copy, imagery, post timing and length of campaign as well as the investments you choose to make in your paid social media program. If you have a small budget, begin with smaller tests to target specific audience segments, and use those insights to make future direct response ads on social more efficient.
While raising brand awareness is still important for digital advertisers, social media is proving to be a powerful tool to have a real impact on revenue. So what are you waiting for? With platforms and algorithms constantly changing, it’s important to start today. By beginning to test a paid social strategy, you’ll gain insight to apply to other marketing channels while getting ahead of competition. Once you see the incredible value a paid social media strategy can deliver to your marketing efforts, you’ll wish you had started months ago.
PR meets Social media
A match made in heaven or a ticking time bomb?
Reputation Management in the Social Web
Uwe Schaad, Director Content Services
In the last decade, social media have become a hot topic among marketing professionals. And numerous strategies have been developed, from word of mouth marketing (WOMM) to social selling. But is social media really useful for public relations? Or has it replaced public relations? Let’s take a closer look.
About two thirds of today’s journalists log in daily to social media for professional reasons. Their preferred platforms are Facebook (62%), Blogs (57%), YouTube (45%), and Twitter (36%).
2016 Survey by Cision Inc.
To begin with: PR is not the same as marketing. And it never was just about supporting journalists. PR has always been about building relations with a company’s most relevant stakeholders – from customers to business partners to employees to politicians – you name it.
The goal: winning influential endorsements
PR is about reputation management or – paraphrasing Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon – it is about what people say about your brand, when you are not in the room. PR is not about you speaking, but about other folks speaking about you.
In the past, you could find the differentiation between “above the line” (marketing) and “below the line” (PR) communication. The latter indicating that you have to find different ways of influencing people’s discussions – whether on public platforms or in secluded circles – when you cannot participate in them. Or when you have no authoritative role in the discussion and will be heard only as one participant among others.
Don’t shy away from this “below the line” communication! It’s nothing sinister – that is, as long as you don’t try to buy or force people’s thoughts. As in any other respect-based communication, it’s not useful here to use loudspeakers to get yourself better heard or to drown other people’s voices. What you are looking for is their support. It is exactly their intellectual independence that makes them valuable for you. It’s his – or her – public role, his or her trustworthiness with a specific group of people that you would like to instrumentalise. If you undermine what makes them so influential – as journalists, bloggers, analysts, industry experts – this will harm your very intentions. You’d like to gain their endorsements. This hasn’t become less important in the times of social media.
The beginning: establishing yourself as an open communicator
Social media actually offers you a broad range of opportunities to interact with your targets. But whatever you do, it’s going to happen publicly, it’s never a one-on-one communication. If the latter is your goal, then e-mails will serve the purpose much better. Nevertheless, there are situations – even in PR –, when you would like to reach out to a large group of people very quickly. For example, when you are in very event-driven business. Or in a situation when you would like to present your organization as a particularly open and transparent one. Then social media is your tool of choice.
But keep in mind, that with social media it’s always a community experience. People will not just communicate with you, they will also share comments among each other. And third parties may chip in as well.
The currency: content is key to building relationships
Content is interesting middle ground between marketing and PR. Even curating other people’s content is a form of branding yourself. Done wisely, it can make people start talking – perhaps not about you, but sometimes with you. If it’s your own content, the impact can be stronger. And if it’s good content, so that other people start curating it, this is already a form of talking about you. But still - it’s not a relationship yet.
This only occurs, once people have a clear opinion about you. Once you’ve become a constant in their thinking – as a go-to “person” whenever they have specific questions, or as somebody they recommend as a problem solver. To get there is not easy. It requires a consistent presence – not just as a promoter of content, but as a true dialogue partner.
And that’s an investment. You don’t do it, if it’s not relevant for you.
As in real life, you can’t establish strong relationships with everybody. You have to select your targets carefully. If done improperly, the effort will become overwhelming very easily.
The trick: focus on influential members in your community
From a PR point of view, two groups of people are of particular interest in social media: multipliers (journalists, blogger) and influencers (industry experts, analysts).
According to a 2016 survey by Cision Inc., about two thirds of today’s journalists log in daily to social media for professional reasons. Here they are monitoring target industries, reaching out to experts, researching their stories. Their preferred platforms are Facebook (62%), Blogs (57%), YouTube (45%), and Twitter (36%).
Nevertheless, as important as social media have become for journalists, their interest in customised content that offers them opportunities to tell unique stories and differentiates them from other media has been increasing over the last years.
Bloggers are a mixed crowd. Some of them are industry experts promoting their own business. Others have a journalistic vocation. Sometimes it’s simply a university student who is so keen about her subject that she collects and shares all insights she can find about it. The one thing they have in common, though: they have all become influential reference points within a community that is relevant for you.
They are not always easy to identify as their influence may be shifting over time. But there exists numerous analytical tools to support you. Some of them have been integrated even into comprehensive platforms that allow you to manage your communication activities based on social media insights.
Influencers can be bloggers. But very often they simply contribute to a specialised forum – e.g. on LinkedIn or attached to a dedicated online publication. Sometimes they are authoring a Wikipedia article that will be of relevance for you.
The tricky thing about influencers is: they need to maintain their independence. Otherwise they would immediately harm their business. That’s something you need to respect – but it shouldn’t keep you from communicating with them.
The take away: social media need to be integrated into your PR strategy
According to a joint research project by Gartner and the Harvard Business School in 2015, B2B decision makers’ primary resource for sales-relevant information is the direct interaction with prospective providers. The least influential resource is – social media.
But it would be a dangerous misapprehension, to assume that social media is irrelevant. This list reflects the progress in a buyer’s journey, from the bottom up. And, of course, the final interaction with a provider’s sales persons is the most critical step just prior to the sales decision – at least in the b2b space!
But the study also confirms: the age-old marketing formula of attention – interest – desire – action (AIDA) still applies today, though in a modified way. It’s no longer a succession of distinguishable stages, but four parallel streams of interaction: exploring – evaluating – engaging – experiencing.
Buying and selling is no isolated moment in time, but an ongoing experience. And social media (as well as advertising and journalistic articles) keep the ball rolling, supporting decision makers in moving from one stream of interaction to another. Nevertheless, as the impact of influencers will increase even, as they participate in “work-related communities”, contribute to “events” (like trade shows and conferences) and share “references”, it is actually critical to start reaching out to them and building relationships with them from the very beginning.
Social media needs to be on every PR person’s agenda. It’s neither the replacement of PR, nor the “New PR”. But it should be a critical element in your PR strategy.
and why it makes sense
The world's B2B agency
Let’s start by asking what makes the world’s best
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Collectively the people in our B2B agencies are amongst the world’s most talented marketing professionals. Over 800 experts able to put their specialist skills to good use for clients. Put these ingenious individuals in these leading agencies together and the result is simply extraordinary.
The result is BBN.
Since 1987 BBN has been providing a wealth of B2B experience in every corner of the world. But unlike traditional global agency networks, we are individually experienced and openly collaborative. Everyone shares the same culture and everyone plays their role.
Watch this video to hear some of the reasons why BBN is good for our clients.
BBN on B2B: The Blog
B2B marketing insights, ideas, views and BBN news. Keep your finger on the global pulse here.
Please visit the BBN blog for more great content, contributed by our agencies and partners.
On the BBN Blog
1 August 2016
‘Social commerce’ is emerging as a combination of e-commerce and social media. It promotes social interaction and user engagement for buying and selling products and services.
By Mark Brown - BBN Strategic Partner - SharpSpring
25 July 2016
The events industry is fast paced, high pressure, and constantly evolving. With clients wanting more bang for their buck, and attendees begging for more engaging, interactive content how can events professionals keep delivering outstanding and appealing events?
By Isabelle O'Brien - BBN Australia
18 July 2016
Looking for insight on franchise marketing? Patti Laine, President of BBN Canada (Franchise), shares her expertise and advice with Canadian Business Franchise Magazine.
By Patti Laine - BBN Canada
11 July 2016
Powerful new business points of view are being bought because they arrive from a deep understanding and strong ‘why’ arguments. They are fascinating, compelling and poignant. Your business point of view is powerful when it is new, deep, relevant, valid, useful, robust and understandable.
By Bart Stovers - BBN Netherlands
4 July 2016
Sweaty palms. Stiff business suits. Powerpoint presentations that took weeks to build. You’re on the clock, trying to convince that group of people scrutinizing you that you’re the best team to take on their marketing or PR needs.
Many marketing and PR agencies have found their secret weapon to awe-inspire their potential clients: the NUVI Command Centre.
By Amanda Farish - BBN Strategic Partner - NUVI
1 July 2016
Okay, while you might not be able to eat these yummy ‘top tips’. We think you’ll find them deliciously useful.
Last week we shared three of the top tools to help you create engaging content. This week, we invited BBN experts from around the globe to give us their thoughts for creating engaging content that was, well…. engaging! So here’s a serving of our top ten…
28 June 2016
Have you ever wanted to add data visualisations, quizzes, surveys, and infographics to your content and achieve greater engagement — in just 15 minutes? You can.
But why do this extra work? Because if creating content is hard, then creating great content is even harder. And creating content that’s engaging, that will get people talking, and will get shared like mad, well, that’s just asking for too much!
By Sunil Shah - BBN Singapore
21 June 2016
For many B2B marketers, the days of focusing their efforts solely on their business customers and their channels are relics of history: The “good old days” are a thing of the past. Your customers are feeling pressure like never before. Their consumers, the end users, have expectations born of unprecedented information being shared in social media.
By Jeff Young - President - BBN USA
14 June 2016
Here are some key topics in PR and media relations that you’re probably already hearing lots about. Some trending activity is technology driven, but not all, some just require us to look at traditional methods slightly differently.
by Annette Fernandes-Poyser - BBN Newsletter
7 June 2016
“Lead nurturing” is about building relationships with leads over time and continuing to engage them until they are ready to buy. it keeps you top of mind with your potential clients. This means that when they’re ready to make a purchase you’ll be the first person to whom they speak.
By Maryka Burger - Strategic Partner - SharpSpring
9 May 2016
The journey to becoming a BBN agency partner certainly isn’t an easy one.
By Annette Fernandes-Poyser - BBN Central
2 May 2016
As with many things in marketing, a ‘Big Long Idea (BLI)’ is an English term that probably doesn’t translate that well across borders. So what does it stand for? And, more importantly, how can such an idea ensure more efficient marketing efforts?
By Bart Stovers - BBN Netherlands