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!

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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Links worth a click #12 – my digital week

In the week where Google announced an update to its Chrome browser [link], X-Factor voting in the US hit Twitter [link] and BlackBerry owner RIM braced itself for millions of lawsuits, here are some of the other more business focused digital marketing articles that caught me eye.

First up, and the one that needs your time this Friday lunchtime, is Econsultancy’s excellent 25 B2B social media case studies. B2B cases are notoriously difficult to come by, so credit to anyone who pulls them together. (You may also want to check out my previous post on Facebook cases).

New from Linkedin, are you making the most of your former classmates and colleagues? A new feature ‘Classmates’ might just help unlock a few doors.

Social media isn’t just for big business. Small businesses can embrace the power of the Internet and the connectivity of social media to punch above their weight.

Finally, one on Facebook with a great little summary of how to get your fan base crowdsourcing and working for you.

Q: What do you make of these developments and what have you been reading this week? 

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Links worth a click #11

In the week where millions of users were left without Internet and email as BlackBerry servers in Slough suffered a serious outage (read outrage) whilst Apple secured 1 million iPhone 4S pre-orders in a week in the US alone , here are some of the other interesting digital marketing related things that caught me eye.

First up, Facebook advertising with the news that Facebook ad click-through rate has increased by 18.5%, claims TBG. I’ve been waxing lyrical about Facebook [link] as an emerging and untapped b2b marketing resource of late and think that the targeted advertising opportunities might just yield a return for those early b2b adopters. Key word = targeting.

Want to see who is sharing your tweets? TweetReach might help identify your biggest fans.

And if you’re not tweeting, why not? Maybe it’s your nervous CEO. Reviewing this 28 point list might help you see the social media world from their perspective and help gather some insight to change their mind and see the benefits.

It wouldn’t be a round up without some content from the lovely inbound marketing experts at Hubspot. This week they offered some good examples in their piece outlining 9 must-haves for the perfect landing page.

Finally, a piece exploring B2B cold calling best practices together with my comment on whether such a thing even exists in modern business?  Surely there should be no such thing as a cold call these days with all the profiling information available?

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Making the case for Facebook in b2b marketing

The first of my two part series exploring how business-to-business marketers are using Facebook has recently gone live at Smart Insights.

The aim of the first post was to assess the contributing factors to using (or not using Facebook) and to start to outline some of the strategies that might be deployed.

 

Facebook offers tremendous opportunities to develop deeper ties with customers and prospects and to tap into their perspective and insights. I challenge any B2B company to review the 64 approaches above and not find one that they might benefit from.

I’ll be following it up with a post highlighting some examples of best practice B2B best practice. Should readers have come across some examples that would be worthy of sharing, please do drop me a line or leave a comment below.

An accidental Apple fanboy

I consider myself a bit of a medium-term adopter when it comes to technology and never really felt like a ‘fanboy’. Indeed, it took me a long long time to get around to sampling Apple.

My first purchase was a 15GB ipod that a work colleague bought for me on a business trip to the US back in 2003. It had a black and white display, was pretty boxy and a click wheel that really did click when you ran it around.

I quickly ran up more than 15GB of music in iTunes – as everyone at work shared their albums and synched their iTunes libraries. This meant I had to switch sync mode to manual rather than automatic updating of all new material. This became rather time consuming.

I flirted with various incarnations of shuffle based devices when I was into going to the gym before the kids came into our lives, before settling on the 160GB iPod Classic in 2009. The opportunity to listen music, podcasts, my favourite radio shows, audio books and other forms of content was of huge appeal.

More recently I treated myself to a MacBook Pro following a period of self employment, ironically not really used for the video editing and photo retouching work I had planned [but I will at some stage].

Then in January, I brought the iPhone4 into my life giving me tangible and usable internet on the go for the first time in my life.

Oscar, who’s three and a half, loves daddy’s iPod and now watches his programmes on long car journeys. I suspect we’ll introduce an iPad to the home some time soon.

My point is that I’m a mainstream consumer and exactly the type of person I think Apple has worked to nurture. Love it or hate it, Apple products are beautiful. They work, and when they don’t the service is often second to none. Waiting at the Genius Bar is quite unlike any other retail store experience.

So, thank you Steve Jobs for having the vision and passion to deliver products that are crammed full of form and function, and that make life more enriching and more interesting. I think you will be missed and the world is a slightly less creative place today as a result of your passing.