Social Media is Key to B2B Content Marketing

31 Jul 2013 – Pam Dyer – Featured –

B2B Marketing

91% of B2B marketers now use social media as a content marketing tool.

 

Social media is key to b2b content marketing Social Media is Key to B2B Content Marketing, B2B marketers are distributing their content on social networks more than ever before.

A recent study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs confirms that content marketing remains a top priority for B2B marketers, with the vast majority leveraging the practice as part of their marketing strategy. But many are uncertain about how to successfully employ the many tactics available to them.

 

Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruptive — instead of directly advertising your products or services, you are communicating with your target audience by sharing valuable, free information. The core of this content strategy is the belief that buyers will be driven to do business with you if you provide valuable information to them on an ongoing basis.

 

If you have a website, a blog, or maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks, you are a publisher. You need to think like one, and build a digital content marketing strategy that leverages what you create — blog posts, website articles, images, and multimedia like videos, slideshows, and infographics — to enhance consumer engagement and conversion rates.

Here are some interesting statistics from the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America:
More B2B marketers are using content marketing to achieve organizational goals:

PoD_SM1

 

Brand awareness, customer acquisition, and lead generation are the top B2B content marketing goals:

PoD_SM2

87% of B2B marketers use social media to distribute content — it is now the most popular content marketing tactic:

PoD_SM3
B2B marketers are using an average of 5 social distribution channels.

LinkedIn is the top social network when it comes to B2B content marketing. It’s interesting to note that Pinterest is now being used by more than 25% of B2B marketers — read 18 Tips for Optimizing Your Pinterest Images to Improve SEO to learn how to get positive results and drive traffic with the visual social network.

PoD_SM4

63% of B2B content marketers say that producing enough content is now their biggest challenge:

PoD_SM5

 

5 Minute Guide to Using Instagram for Business

Nell Terry – Featured

It seems like the world of social media has been awash with buzz over its latest darling – Instagram. The trendy photo editing and sharing site has taken hold of the 18 – 24 crowd, and it currently boasts more than 80 million users. That’s precisely the reason Facebook acquired the social network so greedily a few months back. Keeping their enemies closer, you know?

Any time a social networking site catches fire with such quickness, marketers scramble to follow the crowd in an attempt to capitalize on the fad before it fizzles out in favor of the next big thing.

Instagram is a social network that’s definitely hit, its stride. The company is in full-peak mode, which is why online businesses are desperately attempting to figure out how to harness the platform to promote their business. And, hey, in my opinion, as long as we’re not talking about spam, scams, or get-rich-quick schemes, what’s the harm in online mom-and-pop shops and the big guns alike getting in on the action to pad their bottom line?

If you fit this description and you want in on the action, then read on to uncover how you can use Instagram to boost your business before users flock to another edgy platform that you’ll need to learn how to use (yet again).

Set Up Your Account and Get Your Web Profile

To begin, you’ll need to install Instagram’s free app on your mobile device. Once you’ve done that, register a new account for your business. From there, you’ll be able to upload company photos and use a variety of filter effects to enhance the images you select.

Then, you can share your company’s pics with fans in their photo stream. But that’s only the beginning. Instagram has recently introduced what it calls “Profiles on the Web,” and they’re a dynamite way to show off your brand as well as the photos you share on the platform. These new profiles are slick indeed, and they come, complete with a rotating carousel of your company’s most recently shared pics located directly above your profile picture and company bio. Here’s a little sample of the format in action:

Image:

Source: Instagram Blog

When you set up your profile and create a web page for your account, you open the door to a fantastic tool for growth. For example, you can add a “Follow Me on Instagram” button to your company website or to your other social media accounts and link it all to your Instagram profile on the Web. Instagram users can surf through your content, leave comments, like your images, and start following your company right from their Web browser – no smartphone required (although they can use that too)!

Your profile will also include an easily memorable URL. To view your company’s spot on the Web, visit instagram.com/[username]. It’s that easy. The official Instagram blog gives the example of Nike. If you want to check out Nike’s profile, you’d type instagram.com/nike into your browser’s address bar and you’d land on Nike’s Instagram page on the ‘net.

In this era of online marketing, social media integration is vitally important. You must streamline your online persona and brand your business on the Web so people will recognize your company’s identity across platforms. Interlinking social media networks can be a real pain, but it’s worth it in the long run. Further, sharing your content across multiple platforms will maximize exposure exponentially.

Instagram has tried to ease this pain for companies recently. It has added a way for you to share your Instagram content on Twitter seamlessly. Even if your usernames are different for each site, you can now share content between them both. When you share your pics to Twitter, Instagram will now translate @mentions if your Twitter username and Instagram username are different.

You must make sure to connect the two platforms so each has the appropriate permissions set for sharing. Once you’ve done this, your Instagram username will show up in the photo caption of your tweet, and your Twitter username will, of course, still appear as the author of the tweet itself.

Tips for Using Instagram for Your Business

Once you’re properly set up for sharing and you’ve added some cool pictures of your company and products, it’s time to take things to the next level. If you are a product-based business, use Instagram to create a (free!) online catalog of sorts for your fans to browse through, and comment on at their leisure.

Another great use for Instagram is demonstrating how to use the products you sell. Sometimes people need a little help with visualization, and if you show your fans how they can improve some problem they’re facing by using your product, then it’s a win-win situation.

According to the official Instagram business blog, many bigger companies have launched full-scale campaigns in which they invite users to submit their own content. This has paid dividends as far as social shares and exposure goes – Tiffany & Co., the infamous jeweler, has launched a campaign inviting people to submit pictures of love situations and finish quotes the company starts to prompt user participation. Once you’ve gained enough fans, try out a similar tactic to increase engagement for your own brand.

Behind the scenes photo series sets are also a hot trend for businesses on Instagram these days. Think about reality shows – people like to see the inner workings, things they’re not privy to under normal circumstances. If you go public with interesting shots of people working at your company or allow a look into an industry event, for instance, you may gain shares from curious users who want to find out more.

Starting a dialogue is the best way to get fans fired up about your brand, simply because people like to be heard and have their opinions taken seriously. Use the platform to learn how to better your business through user feedback, and you’ll find fans come to you – and they’ll do it organically.

7 Reasons Your AdWords Campaign Isn’t Profitable

12 Sept 2012 – Kalena Jordan

Did you know that 80% of new Google AdWords advertisers fail to achieve a Return on Investment from their campaigns? I didn’t either because I just made that up. But seriously, I bet the percentage is very high. I seem to be spending more and more time helping clients tweak their AdWords campaigns these days.

Unless you live and breathe search marketing, it’s difficult for most people to allocate the time and resources necessary to maintain a successful Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising campaign. Plus there are just so many little tricks and secrets that most people don’t know about. I’ve seen firsthand AdWords campaigns that are simply hemorrhaging money in the hands of new advertisers.

Then there are the new features that Google and Microsoft keep introducing into their PPC programs. Just when you think you have a handle on how the system works, they go ahead and change the system, sometimes dramatically.

For one of their first assignments, our PPC Starter Course students at Search Engine College are required to set up a new Google AdWords campaign, complete with carefully considered strategies for keyword selection, ad copy and matching types. More often than not, what they come up with is a campaign that is destined to fail. I then spend the rest of the course teaching them what’s wrong with their campaign, how to correct the errors and how to make sure their campaign has a good chance of succeeding.

But it’s not just first-timers that make mistakes with Pay Per click advertising. I’m often asked to review AdWords campaigns for new clients, some of which have been running for a long time. I often cringe at what I find when I login to their account. Campaigns that have been unprofitable for years are left to flounder and waste thousands of dollars because the staff are too busy to manage them or are simply ignorant of what it takes to make them profitable. Unfortunately, the “Set and Forget” mentality is alive and well in PPC.

The Unprofitable Campaign

Take last week for example. A client asked me to take a look at their Google AdWords campaign because, although it brought traffic to their site, it didn’t seem to be resulting in any direct business. They had decided that PPC was simply unprofitable and they were ready to abandon it as a marketing channel. I logged into their account and had a good look around. It wasn’t the worst campaign I’ve seen but it was pretty close.

There were 13 (yes 13!) problem areas I discovered:

1) Not Enough Ads

This was the single biggest problem with the campaign. There weren’t anywhere near enough ads to cover the number of keywords the client was targeting. Some ad groups had over 150 keywords and only one ad! Ideally, each keyword should have it’s own ad, sometimes two, because it is important that each ad is laser-focused on the keyword and includes repetitions of that particular keyword. You should always create multiple text ads for each keyword so that you can measure which ads work best. Not everyone will click on the same ad so you need to create and test multiple ads with different wording to see which convert best. AdWords will gradually show only the best performing ads over time.

2) Using Ads That Don’t Reflect Target Keywords

One or more of the ads didn’t use the keyword in the ad headline. For example, one Ad Group targeted the keyword phrase ‘bridesmaid dresses’ but that specific phrase was not in the headline or ad text. The single ad they had in place actually related to wedding dresses so it wasn’t relevant to be triggered for ‘bridesmaid dresses’ and related keywords. The client had tried to cover all bases with a single ad, but this was never going to be effective. To entice people to click, they need to see the keywords they’ve just searched for appear in your ad. You should always use your target keyword in your ad headline and first or second line of ad text.

3) Not Using Enough Ad Groups

This was the second biggest problem with the campaign. There weren’t nearly enough ad groups to cover the keyword themes the client was targeting. Many of the keywords in each Ad Group required dividing into several other Ad Groups based on unique keyword themes. For example all “bridesmaid” related keywords and ads needed to go in their own Ad Group, while all keywords and ads relating to “used wedding dresses” needed to go into their own Ad Group and so on. Then several new ads needed to be drafted for each new Ad Group to laser-focus on those keywords as described above.

4) Not Using the Quality Score Column

The client didn’t have Google’s Quality Score column showing, so it would have been difficult for them to know the quality score of their keywords so they could tweak bids and ads. I switched it on immediately. To find the Quality Score, look at the Keywords tab and click on either the white speech bubble next to your keyword, or if you want to, you can add the Quality Score column from the columns drop-down list. This column will show a score out of 10 for each of your keywords. The higher your score, the lower the minimum bid Google requires you to pay for each keyword.

5) Opting into the Content Network

The client had opted into Google’s Content Network as well as the Search Network. Using the Content Network will almost always produce a lower ROI and higher click charges because the network consists of AdSense publishers. These publishers include many personal and irrelevant web sites that show AdSense ads. These often have content only loosely related to your subject matter but this is often enough to trigger your ads to appear as a contextual match. In my experience, Click Fraud also seems to be more common in accounts that utilize the Content Network. I advise my clients to avoid the content network like the plague unless they have an e-commerce style site where they can expect some drive by sales. Needless to say, I flicked the Content Network off on this campaign pretty quickly.

6) Not Using Content Bids

The client had opted NOT to use Content bids, even though they had opted into the Content Network. If you must use the Content Network, you should always use separate, lower bids for your keywords on that Network because the ROI is so much poorer. The number of clicks you are likely to receive on the Content Network is much larger, but of a much lower quality and less likely to convert so you shouldn’t pay as much for them. You can set your maximum bids to a lower amount than the search network by opting into use Content bidding in your campaign settings.

7) Unnecessary Use of Multiple Campaigns

The client had actually created two campaigns, but they both had the same regional target markets and other settings. There is generally no need to set up multiple campaigns unless you are separating out the Search and Content Networks, you are targeting different regions/countries and/or you have multiple advertising campaigns with different start and end dates.

Is your AdWords campaign guilty of any of these common mistakes? Don’t worry too much – you’re not alone.

Mobile Advertising Predicted To Surge Past $18.3 Billion by 2015

Sarah Frier – July 2012 –

Samsung Electronics, eager to retain its lead over Apple in the smartphone market, will soon deliver discount offers to the very iPhones it wants consumers to ditch. In the next few weeks, some users of the latest version of Apple’s handset will get a marketing message offering as much as $300 to people who trade it for a Samsung device.

Samsung’s strategy is helping fuel a boom in mobile advertising, which Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts will surge to $18.3 billion in 2015, from $3.6 billion last year. Target, American Express , and Coca-Cola are also rushing to woo the more than half of U.S. adults who own smartphones. Their spending is vital to companies like Facebook (FB), which has yet to make much money from people who are too busy socializing to heed ads on small, handheld screens. “You’re dealing with so many fewer pixels that being able to articulate the brand promise and the offer is challenging,” says Colleen McDuffe, director of digital marketing for Samsung Mobile USA. “It needs to be exclusively built for mobile.”

Even as smartphones account for 10 percent of the time consumers spend consuming media, they draw only 1 percent of advertising spending in the U.S., according to researcher EMarketer. Samsung says it has no trouble getting a marketing message across to users of wireless handsets. Samsung’s U.S. division doubled its mobile marketing and advertising spending in the first quarter, to 10 percent of the total. While mobile ads cost about one-seventh the price of an advertisement on a desktop computer, they’re generally twice as effective, McDuffe says.

Other companies have yet to be convinced that ads on handsets can be as effective as those on traditional computers. It’s harder to measure the success of a mobile-marketing campaign, says Jay Henderson, strategy program director for IBM’s (IBM) Enterprise Marketing Management group. “They’re not as certain about the return on investment,” he says.

A further challenge is deciding where to spend the money. Marketers can work with mobile-ad networks such as Google AdMob that place ads on various sites tailored for handsets. Automaker Chrylser Group is one case in point, using AdMob to place promotions that show up alongside mobile search results. A marketer can also go directly to the Web companies that specialize in social media and seek to profit from advertising.

American Express favors Foursquare Labs, the startup that helps people share whereabouts with friends. AmEx delivers coupons that can be redeemed at a location where a person has used Foursquare to check in. Retailer Target depends on Shopkick, a mobile-phone software provider, to send coupons to shoppers as soon as they enter a store. Coca-Cola uses a Facebook service that lets it insert marketing messages in the news feeds of people who indicate an affinity for its soft drinks.

A concern for some companies is that would-be customers won’t be swayed by irrelevant ads that crowd out other content on small screens. Pandora Media (P), the online radio service, may get around that issue because its ads fill a smartphone screen while music plays. Users engrossed in a song don’t mind seeing a full-sized ad on the screen, says Pandora Chief Marketing Officer Simon Fleming-Wood. Some ads include audio with on-screen graphics. Pandora’s application, which can be downloaded onto smartphones, generated more than $100 million in mobile-advertising revenue in 2011, Fleming-Wood said.

The sheer range and complexity of options give some companies pause, says George Bell, chief executive officer of Jumptap, which—like Apple, Google, and Millennial Media (MM)—runs a mobile-ad network. “It’s not unusual for us to run an ad campaign with several thousand permutations to it,” Bell says.

Mobile advertising is a far cry from television, where history can dictate what kind of time slot to buy on what network, says Mike Parker, chief digital officer at McCann, the advertising agency network arm of McCann Worldgroup (IPG). “Marketers are under pressure to justify the return on all the dollars they spend,” he says. He tells his clients to set aside “test and learning” money.

Coca-Cola is experimenting with a range of options. Mobile advertising will play a role in helping the Atlanta-based company achieve a goal of doubling revenue to $200 billion by 2020, says Wendy Clark, the company’s head of integrated marketing and communications. Efforts range from promoting restaurants that offer a Coke deal alongside search results to making bottle caps that ask users to win prizes by sending text messages.

Smartphones already drive 5.1 percent of U.S. retail store sales, or a predicted $159 billion in sales for 2012, according to Deloitte. By 2016, that share will grow to 19 percent, or $689 billion, Deloitte says. The majority of mobile advertising is in search or display—mirroring desktop options—with further possibilities still in early phases. Facebook launched mobile-sponsored news feed stories earlier this year. Foursquare won’t make money off its 20 million users until it rolls out advertising products in the next few months, says Chief Marketing Officer Steven Rosenblatt.

Even if Samsung can’t win over Apple users, it has already shown success with mobile messaging in other ways. Using New York Zip Code targeting on Facebook, Samsung held a contest to choose invitees to a June 20 party featuring electronic music artist, Skrillex, in honor of its newest phone, the Galaxy S3. The number of people lured with the targeted messaging, McDuffe says, was 1,500.

Twitter reaches 500 million users

31 Jul 2012 – AAP


More than 500 million people are on micro-blogging site Twitter and Americans and Brazilians are the most connected, according to a study by social media monitor Semiocast.

Twitter surpassed the half-billion mark at the end of June, with the United States accounting for both the most users and largest number of “tweets” or short messages of no more than 140 characters posted on the site.

The Paris-based monitor carried out the study by analysing data such as time zone, geolocation and language available for the social networking site’s total 517 million accounts.

The US accounted for more than 141 million of Twitter users, with Brazil ranking second with 41 million after seeing its number rise by 23 per cent since the start of the year. Japan came in third with 35 million users.

Americans also posted the highest number of messages on Twitter, with 25.8 per cent of all tweets hailing from the US.

Japan came second, accounting for 10.6 per cent of all tweets, making Japanese the second most common language on Twitter after English.

The study found Jakarta to be the most active Twitter zone, with 2.4 per cent of all tweets originating in the Indonesian capital.

The popularity of Twitter continued to soar in the Arab world following the site’s key role in the “Arab Spring” revolutions last year, with Arabic now the site’s sixth most common language.