How to develop B2B social media marketing brand guidelines

Join me for a special B2B marketing focused online event on 31st January at 15.00 GMT, when I give a 90-minute webinar for B2B Marketing Magazine, the UK’s premier business marketing publication on getting the most from social media for business.

I’ll be running a session designed to help attending delegates

  • Improve their understanding of the benefits and risks associated with social media
  • Appreciate the importance and differing roles of individuals within a business and how all can and should play a part in company social engagement
  • Develop guidelines to maximise opportunities and mitigate risks
  • Present the core elements of a social media engagement plan
  • Place valuable content at the heart of a social media plan
  • Measure and evaluate social media success
  • Effectively use social media channels to build community and grow their business

If you’re smart, you might register one user, set up in a conference room and get your whole team around the screen.

And, if you operate in industrial and trade B2B marketing, look out for a number of examples from a range of engineering and manufacturing sectors that might give you some creative stimulus.

I hope you can join us as it is unlikely this content will be made available post-event.

Why information matters in B2B marketing

UK entertainment chain HMV is the latest big name UK retail casualty to the Internet. HMV failed because it took its eye off the ball when faced with the twin threat of Apple’s iTunes (creating a mass download market) and Amazon (delivering cheaper physical products). Customers migrated online and researched their options. HMV failed to adapt and was left behind.

Buyers seek reassurance

Many B2B companies run the risk of suffering a similar fate because buyers are using the Internet to inform, rationalise and justify their decisions as they seek reassurance that they have made good decisions on behalf of their companies and stakeholders.

In order to make well balanced business decisions, business buyers look for information. They need to be able to benchmark different solutions in order to categorise, rate and select the ones that best suit their needs. Across different stages of the buying and decision making process, companies are researching, shortlisting and awarding business based on their needs and the information they come into contact with.

Modern marketing

As a business trying to be front of mind when it matters, you need to market accordingly. Traditional promotional techniques are not working as well as they used to. Advertising is seen as interruptive and counter productive. The needs of niche customer segments means that mass market propositions do not engage or entice them.

For you, the modern B2B marketer, this creates a number of problems not least in selecting the right channels of promotion. Marketing needs to be measurable and needs to work right across a variety of audiences and their differing needs.

How and where you provide the information that customers need when they need it is diverging. But thinking through what your customers are looking for and where they go looking for it can have a significant impact on your marketing communications activity.

Visibility

Increasingly, in a wide variety of B2B sectors, this is happening online. So being visible, promoting that visibility and talking in terms that are helpful, relevant and engaging mark out the genuinely more customer focused businesses from those looking to make a fast return.

Focus on getting your primary online environment – website, Facebook page or other hub – populated and optimised correctly before promoting and advertising it to your target audience.

For guidance, I encourage you to look inside Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing today and check out the free first chapter.

Image credit: Chameleon

B2B Digital Marketing Priorities 2013 – my webinar and slides!

This past Friday (11 January) I joined Dave Chaffey for the Smart Insights Marketing Priorities conference on Bright Talk – where we and seven other leading digital illuminaries  offered our assessments on important digital elements marketers should consider for the coming year.

I encouraged B2B marketers to master the basics using a seven step approach to effective and meaningful B2B digital marketing – acting as a teaser for my new ebook “Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing” published exclusively on Amazon in December.

I used the analogy of being more owl like and less magpie like in terms of being seduced by shiny new digital things – instead following a robust goal based digital strategy.

The presentation focused on the importance of getting websites and SEO right before investing in any form of online promotion.

The webinar is embedded below. Or feel free to use this link to launch it at Bright Talk (you may well have to log in). The slides are also available separately on Slideshare here – and have been updated to reflect the feedback from the three votes as well as increasing the size and resolution of all the case studies.
A BrightTALK Channel
This was my first webinar so you can see we lost some time towards the end because of the questions and polls.  Do leave feedback and any questions below and I’ll be happy to moderate.

What are your B2B digital marketing priorities in 2013? Share below.

Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing – ebook B2B case studies

The interest in my new 440 page ebook Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing (co-authored with Dave Chaffey) and now available from Amazon for Kindle and Kindle apps, has been overwhelming and I’m thrilled to be able to answer questions.

One of the recurring questions is around the companies and case studies profiled in the book. As Amazon’s Look Inside feature doesn’t really help here (and because B2B covers a very broad spectrum of companies), I figured I’d pull together a quick list of the companies included so you can make your own decision to purchase.

(in rough chapter order – websites, search engine optimisation, content, social, CRM and email and integrated campaigns, evaluation)

The Engineer, Blackberry, BOC, UPS, Oliver Valves, Acer, Dell, Barclaycard, Skanska, Mint, Github, Ocean Spray ITG, RS Components, Salesforce, Atlas Copco, Mettler Toledo, BASF, Smart Insights, Nokia Siemens Networks, Espresso, BrightTalk, William Reed, Tata Steel, GE, Eloqua, HML, Packworld, Corning, Knauf, 3M, BDB, o2, PWC, Ingersoll Rand, Cisco, Saint Gobain, tna, The Construction Network, Gorvins Solicitors, Meltwater, Tyco, Claremont Interiors Group, Anglian, Google, Egan Reid, Hubspot, Experian, Active Profile, Perkin Elmer, Adobe, MarketBright, Marketo, Yahoo!, ThreeUK, Klout, Litmus.

I hope this convinces you this really is a true B2B digital marketing publication and not one looking at the B2B arm of predominantly consumer brands and businesses.

Get your copy of the book now by clicking here.

Why B2B digital marketing requires a new approach

There has been a very good reason why this blog has been left unloved for much of 2012. I started the year musing on the lack of credible B2B digital marketing texts available to modern marketers – so decided to write one.

In this blog post I lay out why it’s needed and what you can hope to get from it. Much more on B2B digital marketing to come over the weeks and months.

Marketing in complexity

Understanding, interpreting and delivering on customer needs has been the foundation of marketing for over one hundred years. Many business­-to-business (B2B) organisations are already successfully using digital marketing in specialist sectors like financial and professional services, IT and software, manufacturing, engineering or science.

Businesses have been buying and selling products to one another for hundreds of years. But, don’t let anyone tell you that B2B marketing isn’t different from marketing products to consumers. It is. B2B marketing often involves communicating challenging and niche product benefits to hard to reach and hard to engage B2B decision makers, through a complex purchase cycle taking them from unaware to purchase.

B2B requires a specialised skill-set and understanding of the psychology, the gestation period, differing information needs and complex operating environment in which specifers, influencers and decision makers work together to procure products and services on behalf of their companies.

Scarcity of advice

Yet, for business marketers, there is a limited amount of good quality, specific advice and best practice available to draw upon for the unique challenges and opportunities available from digital media.

Visibility in Internet search for B2B marketers is key. Companies that follow a stepped approach that creates touch-points, positive first impressions and a tangible interest to customers will see a return on digital marketing investment.

Up until now, there have been surprisingly few books or guides which address the unique challenges of promoting business products and services online, whether these are for companies which don’t sell online who are focused on lead generation and customer communications or online B2B retailers.

B2B marketers can still learn something from the many texts that focus on how global super brands like Apple, Starbucks, Coca Cola and Unilever build and promote their portfolios. Yet, it is often hard to relate what they do with their multi­million dollar budgets and unrivalled resource relevant to B2B campaigns.

Until now.

In my new (and first) full colour, 400+ page case-study and best practice packed Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing (published in association with Dr Dave Chaffey and Smart Insights), you’ll learn how to create a plan or simply work through all the issues you need to think about to make online B2B marketing more effective.

Available now from Amazon for Kindle and for all Kindle apps across a wide variety of PC, Mac and smartphone devices (check your app store, it will be free) it covers all the areas you need to review to take your online marketing to the next level if you market to other businesses.

These include:-

– creating a strategy and setting measurable goals

– building effective, high impact relevant websites

– optimising digital marketing for search

– using content and inbound marketing

– harnessing the most appropriate social media tools to engage target audiences

– developing deeper calls to action and eCRM

– using analytics to improve digital marketing

I hope it helps you to determine a clear pathway to improved digital marketing for your business and one that gives you the success you demand. Do please feedback, either here, on Twitter copying me @renepower using the hashtag #BrilliantB2B, via Linkedin.

And if you want to leave a review on Amazon, please feel free – nice ones may qualify for a kickback of some kind in 2013.

7 steps to brilliant b2b digital marketing; Preview at On the Edge, 10 October 2012

The blogging has been slow through 2012 because I’ve been working on a major project – a book dedicated to be b2b digital marketing. This work, published by Dave Chaffey’s Smart Insights website looks at a robust 7 step approach to digital marketing for b2b companies taking in strategy, websites, search, inbound content marketing, social media, lead generation and CRM and analytics and evaluation.

I’m very excited to say the book will soon be available from Amazon and iTunes (late October 2012) and for a limited time only it is available to Expert Members of the Smart Insights website. Visit http://www.smartinsights.com/guides/brilliant-b2b-digital-marketing-ebook/ to join the site and get the book early, and hundreds of other digital marketing resources for the next 12 months.

The first step of pre-promotion of the book took place in Manchester this week where I chaired and opened the On the Edge digital marketing event. The slides below give a flavour of the thought process under pinning the book and why it should be so useful to so many people.


There is nothing like this book for b2b marketers in the market right now. It has been been a labour of love and contains hundreds of best practice tips and dozens of b2b specific companies including 3M, Atlas Copco, BOC, BASF, Blackberry, Ingersoll Rand, Knauf, Nokia Siemens, Oliver Valves, Saint Gobain, Salesforce, Skanska, UPS and many more.

I’m thrilled to almost be at the point of release. Expect much more from me over the coming weeks on this exciting project and how can get involved in it.

Packaging your story: Social media for b2bs

Espresso do a great job of using Slideshare and have a real knack in producing slides that can be effortlessly clicked through but that leave long in the memory. Packed full of ideas, tips and examples, here’s a great deck giving a useful overview to social media for the uninitiated which can be skimmed in minutes or talked at for an hour.

If you know someone who needs an overview – a boss, manager or team member – do the decent thing and pass it along. Only when good ideas go viral do they have a chance of taking off.


 

RSS/email subscribers may need to visit the blog to see the slides.

Ten Linkedin business marketing mistakes to avoid

Many millions of people using Linkedin are missing out on the fantastic brand building opportunities new Linkedin presents. I say new because after several years of under-investment, Linkedin has gone functionality crazy of late.

Give your Linkedin profile a spring clean today, avoid these ten all-to-common mistakes and start to take the most of the platform as an unbeatable research and business development tool as well as an incredible brand builder.

1. Poor or non existent profile pictures. Who wants to see a faceless profile or worse a company or brand logo. Not me. As with all social media, add a profile picture.

2. Lack of clarity in titles and descriptions. Use keywords that best represent who you are and what stand for do.  That little box that tells you how many times you’ve been looked at – its down to keywords.

3. Lack of focus on achievements and what you add. Too many people fixate on titles when they should be focusing on your impact on sales, brand launches, new initiatives, or improvements in quality, process, training or operations if you are not in a commercial role.

4. Failure to use all available opportunities to promote via the profile page. There are some great links and embed opportunities. Use them. Add your website, a blog, a Twitter account, a Slideshare account.

5. Not having a thought out contact strategy or approach. Are you connected to all the people you’ve ever worked with rather than the people you want to sell to? Time to rethink who you want to be connected to by researching people using the search function, identifying key companies and seeking opportunities to informally approach them through Groups (see below). And don’t let Linkedin send a default invitation request. Tailor it giving a reason to connect – reference to a group, common contact or other common ground.

6. Not enough or over use of the status updates feature. Linkedin status updates containing tweets is one of the most frustrating parts of logging into new Linkedin. If you’re not careful a handful of people will take over your feed – luckily they can be hidden without dis-connecting. On the other side, don’t be a Linkedin bore. Update once / twice a day with something useful.

7. Not enough or over use of testimonials. These should matter. The best testimonials come from former managers, clients or customers. Asking your peers, team or suppliers to provide references just seems lame. Go for quality over quantity on this one. .

8. Being a lurker not a contributor in Groups. I estimate 1% of a Linkedin group’s membership actively engage in discussions within the group. What a missed opportunity. Getting involved in groups of like minded people is the cornerstone of the Linkedin experience. There is a group for almost everything on Linkedin. Search and sign up for one to try it out. There will be discussions taking place that you can add value to today!

9. Not building reputation through Answers. Like groups, this is a great feature to really build your profile as an expert in your field but as it is hidden away in the ‘More’ tab it is overlooked. Browse the categories and begin to provide feedback and recommendations to questions posed by other Linkedin members, worldwide.

10. Not fully populating your Company Page. This feature has developed in recent months with opportunities to add specific products and services linked to targeted landing pages and your Linkedin member colleagues.

Q: What other mistakes do you see made on Linkedin and how can they be avoided?

Business blogging – my latest for Smart Insights

My latest effort for the influential UK digital marketing blog, Smart Insights is my third post in a series on business blogging. This piece concentrates on ways to ‘seed’ your blog posts once they have been written and published – so they are seen by as many people as possible.

 

The highlights include:-

1. Promoting it on your own website.

2. Using blog indexes.

3. Using email.

4. Using Twitter.

5. Using Linkedin.

6. Using Facebook.

7. Using bookmarks.

8. Using other content formats.

Visit the blog post to read more and also click on my name to read my previous business marketing posts on topics including social media for business, email marketing, using video in B2B and two posts on Facebook, one on how to use Facebook for business and one with lots of relevant Facebook business case studies showing best practice.

Ten social media trends for 2012

An interesting set of slides from Comscore which previews/summarises the key findings from their latest social media report. (Using SlideShare to preview downloadable paid/free content is itself an interesting example of content marketing in action that will be explored more in a future post).

It’s not a surprise to me to see data which supports claims such as

  • Social networking is the most popular online activity in the world
  • Microblogging platforms like Twitter have emerged as a disruptive new force in social networking, news and entertainment
  • Mobile devices are fuelling an addiction to social

Slides 20-26 detail how Facebook truly dominates the social scene. How the site is even winning in most individual countries and regional markets is pretty astounding too.

What trends are you expecting or hoping for in 2012?