B2B social media case study: BASF chemicals

Whilst conducting some research into social media uptake in the speciality chemical sector, I happened across a great slide deck that outlines how chemicals giant BASF goes about it.

With a dedicated social media manager and senior management buy-in, this is about as socially emersed as B2B marketing gets.

Slides of particular relevance to me include

[Slide 4] The statistics that support why they engage on social media

[Slide 11] How different tools and platforms like content, dialogue, news flow and aggregation are used separately and together

[Slide 14] How it is all brought together as a social newsroom (FirstDirect also doing this)

[Slide 17] How to use call to actions on Facebook


Sometimes we have to see how the big boys do it, in order to take the best from it. We may not all have the resource to bring to bear, but the attraction of social media for the smaller B2B firm is that, like most digital marketing, it doesn’t take a lot to stand out from the crowd in your sector.

Play to your strengths, identify your niche and above all, add value to the people of most interest to you.

NB: Note to RSS/email subscribers, a Slideshare is embedded which may need a trip to the blog to view in full.

Links worth a click #15

A week with some great online content, tips and tricks.

PowerPoint as content: PowerPoint gets a hard press, in and out of meetings. But, used correctly, it can be turned into social media gold. Have a quick read of this blog post and see what ideas it sparks for you and your customers.

Business blogging: Here’s a piece for those amongst you managing or considering blogs, a list of ten great things to include in your thinking.

Some useful advice next on designing paid search (pay per click) campaigns that deliver.

Apparently, it’s no longer six degrees of separation when it comes to human relationships. According to Facebook, its 800m users give you access to anyone in the world (if they are on Facebook) in only 4 hops.

Using video? You should be. And it should be optimised. Here are some tips on how to optimise online video, with a natural focus on YouTube.

More next week. Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping weekend!

From destination social to dispersed social

A great little deck from Patricia and Steve at The Social Practice in London looking at ten trends in social media – or more acutely how social media is evolving from a destination to being everywhere.

As mainstream ubiquity gives rise to mobile commerce, sharing, liking, scoring and polling on the move, social businesses push the boundaries.

Baffled? Don’t be. The slides lay it all out. One thing is for sure. The soothsayers who predict the demise of social media as marketing return on investment folly haven’t got a clue.

 


In b2b marketing, the only way is content

Amy put her shirt on the only way being Essex and lost

It’s amazing just how few B2B companies really understand the significance of inbound, content marketing. Culturally, it seems absurd to not only give away your best ideas and approaches for free but also potentially to your competition too.

Yet smart B2B marketers appreciate that there is no other way. If you want to be seen as an expert, an authority, someone to be trusted, it goes without saying that spamming everyone with interruption based advertising and direct mail is no longer going to achieve those goals.

The web is awash with advice and best practice on how to stimulate engagement. Engagement is the buzzword, the future of all relationships in the next generation. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook are very different businesses, operating different models but with the same engagement strategy at their core. Engaging audiences at a time when attention span is at an all-time low partly because of technological advancement is a challenge with a lucrative prize.

But isn’t engagement actually the result of a process that looks to disseminate (transmit) useful information to target audiences (touch) which over time encourages them to believe you can help (trust) before then taking the obvious, and critical, step of taking an action which will lead to a single, or preferably multiple, purchase (transaction)?

It is now possible to map how everything you do from a content perspective delivers against tangible outcome-based measures whilst supporting your mission of being the go-to provider.

So, if you’re not going to transmit, touch, build trust and encourage transaction, what are you going to do?

Links worth a click #14

In the week where Richard Branson got his hands on Northern Rock, and Tesco and Asda fought in the digital space (Tesco with new AR and Asda with a transactional and price comparison iPhone app), here are some of the other interesting digital marketing related things that caught me eye.

Love this from the Twitter blog. They tracked who was talking about 11.11.11 on 11 November 2011. It’s an interesting animation showing the reach of Twitter, the power of hashtags and trends and how they can go global – all in thirty seconds of animation.

If you are considering, or are already running your own Linkedin groups, you might like to know that there is now an analytics dashboard for group managers, released this week. Offers some great demographics of your members.

Another day another infographic. This one provides some quotable statistics on who is using Facebook and Twitter. Gender, age, income, location and frequency, there will be a stat in here for everyone.

It’s getting increasingly difficult to find objective search results from Google now we’re all logged in. A new tool, hidden away in the search menu called Verbatim might just be able to help you find what you want rather than what Google or your friends think you want.

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Links worth a click #13

In the week where the Greeks held the Euro to ransom, Google rolled out new Gmail  and Groupon raised $700 from its IPO, here are some of the other interesting digital marketing related things that caught me eye.

First up, Google – or rather your Facebook comments, with news that some comments will be indexed by the search giant.  Do you see this sort of development as Alarming or great for your visibility?

Next, an infographic on the differences between outbound and inbound marketing. Infographics can be brilliant in distilling down complex arguments, processes and statistics and is used well in this example looking at why blogs, videos and white papers are going to give you more credibility than cold calling ever will.

If you use email marketing as part of your communications mix, you might to think again after reading this piece about how decisions are made within 3, 5 and 7 seconds.

And finally, if you’re a creative type looking to do something different with your website or blog, consider using your smart phone as a catch all content-generation device. This blog post from Social Media Examiner shows the way with five tips to create audio and video content on your iPhone.

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4 reasons why your B2B social media marketing isn’t working

Providing integrated marketing consultancy to B2B companies means having to test drive new technologies and new platforms to establish if they are relevant to my clients.

Recently I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the social media space assessing the uptake in a number of very specific sectors. It is fascinating that whilst there is a never ending stream of data from surveys and polls indicating that social media is being used by the vast majority of B2B companies, the reality on the ground I think is very different.

Part of this undoubtedly lies in the semantics and what actually passes for B2B marketing. Working with accountants, lawyers and other professional services is quite different to fast moving technology products which is again quite different to industrial and scientific engineering. I suspect that the polls, surveys and sea of infographics fixate on the first two groups, but rarely on the third.

The problem is compounded when companies that I consider to be 100% B2B begin to ‘dip their toe’. Whether it is the established platforms, or emerging tools, if you don’t crack the following four areas, your social media marketing won’t succeed.

1. Lack of clear objective setting: If you don’t have a view on what success looks like, how can you measure success. For me, the hundreds of potential metrics can be boiled down to two categories – outputs and outcomes. I’d focus on outcomes – the actions that are encouraged through your activity, so downloads, subscriptions, forms, transactions if you are sufficiently enabled. Measuring fans, follows, tweets, blog posts etc is just lame and provides no return on investment.

2. Broadcasting not engaging: You have to find a mix, otherwise it is advertising, but even more annoying and interruptive. Initially, do nothing. Watch, listen, observe, follow. Then curate and share what you like and what positions you in the discussion. Then increase the ratio of broadcast content. But, and this is the differentiator, present your broadcast material in the form of posts like this that inform, advice, help, support even entertain.

3. Failure to build trust: Social media networks and platforms were designed for individuals not brands. The sheer volume of users – Facebook = 800m, Linkedin 130m, video accounting for 50% of search – inevitably lead big brands and then B2B to seek out opportunities to interact with users. On these platforms, trust is earned not paid for. Social media taps into the oldest human forms of word of mouth interaction. People buy from people they like and people they trust.

4. Using the wrong channels, in the wrong way: B2B companies dipping their toes do two things wrong. Firstly, they go about it wrong, like a moth to the light seduced into using all the high traffic sites without a clear strategy and an appreciation of audience relevance. Secondly, they fail to implement specific campaigns across social media sites, opting to syndicate the same messages and content to all platforms in a bid to be consistent.

Linkedin is great for impressing people with knowledge and expertise, Facebook is great for building a hub designed to engage (which supports a corporate website) and Twitter is a great overall distribution tool.

But there is so much more to social media for B2B and success really lies in ‘the link’ – the content of the tweet, the video, audio, image, news story, white paper, ebook, slide set that is forming the message. In B2B you should strive to be a great curator, a trusted authority and a provider of useful information to buyers looking to shortlist credible suppliers. 

Working out the value of a fan: Facebook marketing

Note RSS / email subscribers should visit the blog for the full post.

I’ve been musing on Facebook for business of late and was flicking through a slide deck on Slideshare on The Value of a Fan.

I eventually arrived upon slide 36 below, which for me is the killer slide, as it contains insight on which any self respecting Facebook marketing campaign should be based.

What is great about this data is that much of it is as relevant to B2B marketing as it is to B2C. Sure the majority are interested in transactional benefits but around 20-25% of followers are interested in content and information that aids, helps, informs or entertains.

Then slide 50 neatly summarises why Facebook (and sites like it) are becoming so important in the next communication age.

It’s not just about banging people, repeatedly over the head with broadcast messages. To be seen and acted on, you need to do more. Clever marketers are already understanding and doing this, recognising that lifetime custom can be achieved and word of mouth can have a significant impact on their business as a result.

Your content isn’t yours any more. It’s their’s. Lady GaGa knows it. Old Spice know it. Coca Cola know it. Cisco know it. Isn’t it time you engaged your audience the same way?

The full slide set is here kudos to Mat for pulling this together.

Six examples of how to use Facebook company pages for B2B marketing

I’m writing regularly over at SmartInsights. It is a great digital marketing blog with lots of collaboraters covering lots of urgent topics.

There is a real lack of good quality information online about B2B use of Facebook as the debate rages about its relevance.

Across two posts over recent weeks, I wanted to outline the emerging and evolving case for adding Facebook to your B2B marketing arsenal. And I wanted to offer some advice on the type of strategies you might adopt. In the second post which went live earlier this week, I identified a number of current B2B companies using Facebook to drive engagement and promote their business.

Q: How is Facebook working for you?