Salty, crispy and mouthwatering McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets have arguably earned themselves an unfortunate reputation as of late for being made with questionable ingredients. To Ronald McDonald’s dismay, a picture of a rose-colored poultry paste, aptly coined “pink goop” went viral, cementing consumer fear: that their favorite fast-food snack is a fried paste consisting of mechanically separated and highly processed chicken parts.
Cat videos are not the wave of the future, but in 2011, it set the stage for all those in marketing.
The message: produce content that is digestible (and in this case, hilarious), and even if it is completely satirical, you will end up with 2.1 million views.
Content continues to evolve, and more marketers are becoming reliant on imagery and video in their content efforts as a means for generating traffic, engagement, and leads. Read the full entry
In the past, TV advertising has been a major hot spot for marketing budget. Businesses were able to reach a wide audience with a somewhat targeted approach, paying attention to channel, program, and location segmentation. However, more and more buyers and business decision makers are turning to online sources to consume video. From sites such as YouTube and Vimeo to Hulu and Netflix, online video channels are one marketing medium advertisers would be wise to take advantage of. We produced this infographic to show marketers and buyers alike that there is value in online video. Businesses can produce valuable content for brand awareness and engagement, and buyers can get the information they need to make more informed decisions about the products and services they need to run their business. Read the full entry
Nearly every business and every marketer are looking for ways to create compelling content that’s fresh, eye-catching and engaging. From customer acquisition to increasing customer retention, content is how businesses are looking to boost their bottom lines. Because of this, businesses are expanding their content libraries with blog posts, infographics and case studies. B2B marketers are increasingly becoming more visual to appeal to buyers. However, they aren’t limiting themselves to images or white papers. Videos are becoming more popular among both B2B marketers and buyers. Read the full entry
This past we week, we had the opportunity to sit down with representatives from Google and Yahoo! to talk about trends in content marketing and online advertising campaigns. While there were several good takeaways from each of the sessions, one of the standouts came from our meeting with Google. They offer a Youtube playbook that outlines an approach for creating a video strategy to build and engage audiences. Even after reading through just the first few pages, I was confident that this would be educational for small and medium-sized business looking to build out their content marketing strategies and on-site content strategy. YouTube can serve as a great content platform for B2B marketers
YouTube as a Content Marketing Platform
The B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America study from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute found that video had the largest increase of any content marketing tactic in 2012, jumping by 70% from an already large 54% increase in 2011 (Tweet this!). A study from Searchmetrics can help explain this trend. They found that video appeared most frequently, being displayed in over 70% of all the content included in Google’s general results. It isn’t enough to have videos as a marketing tactic, however. We have to be able to measure the success of our efforts. If you don’t know much about the YouTube Creator Playbook, there is an abundance of features B2B marketers can utilize to determine whether or not they are successful in their strategy. Here are a few of my favorite features.
- Because Google understands the difference in clicks and watch-time, they’ve added “Captivate Your Audience” and “Channel Experience,” which provides you with tips and strategies to increase watch-time.
- The customer experience can and will impact a buyer’s behavior. “Channel Experience” allows users to build a cohesive channel experience for their viewers so they can build a loyal audience and drive subscriptions.
- We’re all looking for ways to rank higher in search engines. YouTube Analytics and the ability to create Metadata for each video will make it easier for you to optimize your videos for YouTube and search engine indexing.
- Paid advertising online and on social media sites is on the rise. The “Paid Promotion” section allows businesses to create promotional videos and use readily-available YouTube promotional tools to build a loyal audience.
Creating Effective B2B Video Content
Think video is a space only for B2C businesses? Think again. With the right purpose and strategy in mind, video marketing provides B2B companies with a great opportunity to generate new leads and continue nurturing current leads through the funnel. In fact, the CMI study also found that 58% of respondents believe video to be an effective form of B2B marketing (Tweet this!). While the target length of a video should be between 1 and three minutes, you shouldn’t feel limited by the topics you can create videos around. If you’re unsure of the type of videos that your audience is most interested in, you have a few budget-friendly options:
- Interviews – Have your content team interview experts within your business or answer common questions received from customers
- Presentations – Presentations can be repurposed into videos without too much trouble. Insert a voice over and some background music to add pizzazz.
- On-Location – B2B marketers spend a lot of time meeting with clients, partners and other businesses. Take these opportunities to showcase your employees at events.
- Product Demos – Just as you would perform a product demo in-person or over the phone, you can perform a demo in front of the camera or using a screen recording solution when applicabl.e
- Case Studies – Take a case study and turn it into a video with before and after shots, a voice over, charts, and more.
Our sessions with Google, Yahoo! and other partners in the Bay Area helped us gain new insight into digital marketing and demand generation trends for small and medium-sized enterprises. Because Business.com is focused on helping your business grow, we want to continue sharing our learnings from the tour with all of you. Stay tuned for more from the Business.com Growth Tour of America.
We hear it all the time: “Content is King.” Content marketing is become more of a focus for B2B marketers as they begin to see the transition from telling to showing. Content enables marketers to provide buyers with the information they need while still promoting themselves as a thought leader and business that adds value to others. Relevance to the content recipient as well as how the content is distributed are things businesses need to pay attention to in 2013. Each year, there are some shifts in the marketing world, whether it is the adoption of a new platform or a transition from one strategy to the next. Content marketing is experiencing some shifts in trends in the New Year. The study “B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America,” conducted by Marketing Profs and CMI (Content Marketing Institute), provides some key trend takeaways.
The number of B2B marketers creating in-house content has risen 18 percentage points. While many still use a combination of in-house and outsourced content, it is becoming more common for businesses to keep content creation in-house. This is even true for larger companies, even though CMI found that the larger the company, the more likely it is to outsource content. 91% of B2B content marketers tailor their content in at least one way, compared with 88% last year. Content creation, whether it’s in house or outsourced, needs to be relevant. Different businesses tailor content in different ways. You can focus on the profiles of decision makers, where someone is in the buying cycle, or the company and industry characteristics. A great content marketer combines all three to create relevant and personalized information to business buyers.
Marketers are beginning to see the impact of visuals in their content marketing strategies and it’s one trend you need to be on board with moving forward in 2013. One of the biggest jumps in tactics has been in the use of videos. While only 52% of B2B marketers used videos in 2011, 70% used videos in 2012 and that number is expected to grow even more in 2013. The majority (58%) of respondents in the CMI study believe that videos are an effective marketing tactic. With the increasing use of visuals, more and more marketers are using the photo-driven sharing site, Pinterest. In 2012, more than one-quarter of B2B marketers used Pinterest to distribute content. You can use videos, infographics, charts and images as visuals in your content. Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t (AnsonAlex). Infographics and visuals need to be a part of your content marketing strategy.
Over the past year, 13% more B2B marketers are using social media to distribute content. In 2012, 87% of those surveyed by CMI responded that they were distributing content via social media networks. With increased social network usage, the number of marketers using social media is bound to increase in 2013. B2B marketers use an average of 5 social media sites to distribute content. Here are some of the most popular social networks for those in the B2B arena.
- LinkedIn was used by 83% of B2B marketers in 2012.
- Twitter was used by 80% of marketers in 2012, an increase of 6% over 2011.
- Facebook was used by 80%, an increase of 10% over 2011.
- 61% of B2B marketers used YouTube in 2012.
- 39% of the respondents used Google+ to distribute content.
Content marketing is an appealing way for marketers to connect with leads and customers, no matter where they are in the buying cycle. In 2013, the distribution of content over social networks will increase, visuals will become more common and more important, and content will need to be more tailored to the person receiving it. Customers and potential customers are tired of receiving “fluff” pieces that don’t translate to their professional lives. Providing relevant, visually-appealing content that is distributed across multiple platforms is how your business can become more successful with content marketing in 2013.
What other content marketing trends have you noticed in 2013?
[Ed: We are excited to feature B2B specialist Christina “CK” Kerley as a contributing blogger. Christina “CK” Kerley provides a strong voice in modern B2B marketing.]
In my last post, I shared the spotlight on building the B2B business case for social media—and as a companion to that content, this time I’m focusing on building the B2B business case for mobile marketing, through both a slideshow and a short video.
It’s likely you’re hearing a lot of buzz around mobile, but might be perplexed as to its efficacy for B2B audiences. You might also be facing a lot of obstacles from your organization’s internal executives who aren’t yet aware of the remarkable reach, benefits and tools that mobile has to offer. To that point, the below slideshow walks you through 10 key arguments that will help you build the business case for mobile marketing for your B2B and turn mobile skeptics into mobile supporters.
And to add more ammo to your B2B mobile argument, in the below video, Chris Koch, ITSMA’s Director of Research and Thought Leadership, and I explore 3 key questions around integrating mobile into the B2B marketing mix, namely:(1) Why Mobile for B2Bs? (2) What are the critical success factors for B2Bs in Mobile? and (3) What are some key mobile approaches for B2Bs? Featured below, as well as at Social Media B2B, the piece runs right at 13 minutes.
This is the beginning of a series that will feature several how-to videos speaking directly to small businesses and addressing their online marketing needs. We know small business online marketers are strapped for time, so we have committed to delivering the most pertinent information in 5 minutes or less. Discover specific tactics and strategies you can implement today to begin boosting your online marketing performance tomorrow. If you would like to jump ahead in the series visit our YouTube channel here.
Looking for a crash course in online marketing? We’ll cover topics such as search engine marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO) and social media.
In our first featured video, our very own Business.com expert Matt Gussin Manager of Account Management walks you through the process of setting up a PPC campaign from start to finish in “Guide to Pay-Per-Click Advertising for Small Business”.
Matt reviews the basics and more advanced topics of starting a PPC campaign including how to plan a paid search campaign, how to optimize your ad copy and how to select the proper keywords to maximize ROI.
Tell us what you think! Did you find this video helpful? What other subjects would you like to see covered?
This is part two of a two-part blog post – Recapping the Business.com and BtoB Webinar, ‘Finding B2B Marketing Success Integrating Social Media and Search’
As promised, we’ll address many of the additional questions asked during Thursday’s webinar that we were unable to answer during the Q&A. To view the on-demand version of the webinar, click here.
In reviewing the questions, we evidenced a common desire among marketers to understand more clearly how they can measure social media and better integrate it with their search marketing efforts, a trend supported by the responses of more than 450 marketers in our recent co-sponsored survey.
In fact, our survey revealed more than half of B2B marketers currently do not use a social media monitoring tool to measure their social media efforts, even though three-quarters of marketers are currently using social media to enhance their search marketing efforts.
It’s clear marketers understand that (1) social media is an important part of an online marketing program and (2) that social media can be used to enhance search marketing efforts. However, when it comes to truly executing on the measurement of efforts, many marketers are unclear how to proceed. Our in-webinar poll reaffirmed this assumption in showing that 41% of marketers are currently not measuring their social media efforts; only 27% are using a social media monitoring tool.
Many attendees asked us similar questions surrounding the measurement of social media and the integration of social with search; to better educate our attendees and B2B online marketers, check back in the coming weeks for our upcoming solution guide detailing the top social media monitoring tools available for B2B marketers.
In the interim, we’ve addressed some of the main questions asked during the webinar. If you have additional questions on this webinar, feel free to contact us directly or comment on this blog post.
Q: How did you define/determine ‘The Best’ and ‘The Rest’?
A: The two groups, ‘The Best’ and ‘The Rest’ were a result of respondent segmentation on this within the Business.com and BtoB Survey: “What has been the overall impact of social media channels on the search performance of your business website(s)?”
Respondents who answered as having a positive impact (either ‘very positive’ or ‘positive’) were grouped into the segment ‘The Best’ (n = 205). Respondents answering anything other than these two choices (neutral, negative, very negative or don’t know) were grouped into ‘The Rest’ (n = 259). Data was then rerun for each segment and statistical significance was analyzed.
Q: For the BtoB/Business.com Survey, you said that the survey consisted of 464 people. Was that a random sample? How did you find the participants?
A: Participants were recruited through multiple BtoB Online E-mails that went out from July 1 – 16. Recipients were asked to complete the survey and were provided with an incentive to be entered into a raffle to win an iPad.
Q: Also for the BtoB/Business.com survey, what types of businesses participated and what industries were represented?
A: Respondents were primarily B2B decision-makers in an executive or managerial role that were overseeing or managing directly both paid search and social media marketing. Responses on key variables were not significantly different between B2B and B2C respondents so that data was pooled for analysis purposes. Although there were some specialty marketers, many (33%) were general B2B marketers and had cross-channel roles and responsibilities. Most companies had fewer than 250 employees (59%) and were from a variety of industries, including high/tech, advertising and media.
Q: Must you post on multiple social sites, or is it beneficial to focus on Facebook and Twitter? Is it necessary to also go to Digg and others? Or should you stick to one venue?
A: Again, it all depends on what your overall goals are for your social media efforts – let your objectives determine the appropriate social media channels. We found within the study that The Best marketers were using, on average, more social media channels than the rest, so definitely don’t be afraid to use more than one social media channel and continue to try out and test new channels that might fit with your overall goals.
Q: What is another option besides CTR that will help track views/sales?
A: Some social media monitoring tools like Radian6 or Viralheat are CRM compatible and will allow you to link social media activity to clients and prospects, better allowing you to capture the influence of your social media programs. The majority of CRMs (like Salesforce.com) will allow you to then pull reporting that can show activity impact among these contacts and revenue generation.
Q: In today’s economy, how can a company approach the resource issue of social media ($ or people) within the confines of existing resources… without more budget or staff (or agency expense)?
A: A few suggestions for increasing your social media footprint without increasing resource allocation are:
- Will work for free – Check out your local community college or university to recruit interns to come on board at no cost to you in exchange for class credits.
- Clearly define your social media goals – Companies who set up Twitter and Facebook accounts because they feel like it’s a “must” can easily waste valuable time and resources. Consider your social media efforts as an extension of your overarching online marketing goals to clearly understand which social media accounts are the most right for you.
- Get other marketers on board – Now that you know what you want to accomplish with social media, let other team members know how you can use social media to assist with their marketing programs.
- Establish KPIs for your efforts – Work with your colleagues to establish measurable KPIs for your social media programs.
- Set up a free social media monitoring tool – There are many free and easy-to-use social media monitoring tools that take minutes to set up like SocialMention or Google Alerts to help you measure the success of your social media efforts. They are great resources for monitoring all the major social media channels for conversations and mentions about your brand, product or a competitor’s product.
- You have a social media army – use it! – We hear you on the resource front – realistically, many companies are still lacking in a dedicated social media manager.
One way to lessen the load (or reallocate, in a way) is to educate all employees on your social media efforts and encourage them to participate. Train sales to share the latest press releases, news and product updates across their social networks; show them how to monitor the major social media channels for potential customers looking for your product or service. Let engineering or product departments serve as the ‘field experts’ for any feature and functionality conversations or questions raised in online communities and forums where they’re most likely already participating. You’ll quickly find you’re able to make a bigger impact with less stress on your end. It make take some up-front work to establish company ‘best practices’ for social media use and train employees, but the investment will pay off.
Q: How can I train for myself for social media without paying big bucks?
A: Start by using social media to find what you’re looking for! Webinars are great (and usually free) educational tools. I’d also recommend doing a quick search in YouTube to see if anyone has set up an instructional video you can watch.
Some channels and monitoring tools also offer free demonstrations and information on their Web sites for getting started, so make sure to look there; finally, consider asking around in community forums like Business.com Answers or other online communities to see if anyone has additional advice for the best ways to get started, given what you’re looking for.
Q: I have heard that Facebook may not be as key a component of social media for B2B organizations with a niche market. Is that true, or should we have a Facebook page and post updates even if we only have 5 “friends”?
A: You need to start somewhere, right? Every company out there probably had just a few Facebook “friends” at the beginning stages of their Facebook efforts. As to whether or not Facebook is the place for you to focus your social media efforts, it depends on where your audience is and how they are using that channel. If your product has a viral element and your brand has a personality that matches that of habits and behaviors on Facebook, then it makes sense to continue there. However, if your business is more conservative and thought leadership is a key element of your marketing strategy, you may want to consider starting off with a blog or Twitter account.
Take some time to really think about the end goal for reaching your market with social media, and that will help dictate your use of social media channel. You may find you’re better served engaging in a tight-knit online forum or community where your audience has established itself.
Q: How do you build a Twitter following without a “personality” to drive the content?
A: Share really, really relevant and quality content. Twitter users follow other users who are sharing information they’re interested in. Share links to the latest articles, blog posts and videos you find or create that you think your target audience would find valuable.
You should also engage with industry thought leaders and other key influencers on Twitter who are sharing content your audience values. Follow them and publicly thank them and retweet their articles and content you find valuable. Just make sure to keep a healthy mix of what you’re sending out and what you’re retweeting of others.
Q: For B2B videos and webinars- is it better to cover products & services, or simply share expertise?
A: Both can be effective, as long as you know when and which to use. Webinars are powerful thought leadership vehicles and are a great way to share your expertise with a large group of potential customers and current clients. And, since the majority of webinars can be archived and accessed on-demand, this thought leadership content can easily be incorporated into your Web site.
Product and service videos are a great addition to your Web site or YouTube. They allow clients and potential customers to gather information about your product and maximize the use of your services. If you have an upcoming product release or enhancement to share, you could consider a webinar to showcase the new release and give a quick tutorial of what clients and future clients can expect. Just make sure to be clear about the webinar content up front – don’t lead attendees in under false pretenses of thought leadership only to be presented with a product pitch or demo.
Q: How much do the social media theories apply to non-retail businesses? e.g. Selling technical software to financial institutions or specialized equipment to manufacturers.
A: Consumers aren’t the only ones turning online for purchasing information. According to an Enquiro Study, 83% of business purchasers first locate a vendor online. Furthermore, a recent Coremetrics whitepaper indicated 67% of Twitter users who become followers of a brand are more likely to buy that brand products, and 60% of Facebook users who become a fan of a brand a more likely to recommend that brand to friends.
In the end, a business purchaser is still a single person looking to gather information and make an informed decision. With the majority of people turning online to conduct that research and locate vendors, missing out on the social media conversation can mean missing out in general. By knowing your target audience and how they search for and interact with your product, you’ll best be equipped to determine the social media channels that are right for you.
Q: Is there a tool for tracking mentions/text for such “social” networks like Flickr?
A: Yes, there are many. Some of the free tools mentioned above are SocialMention and Google Alerts. There are also paid tools like Alterian’s SM2, Sysomos’ Heartbeat and Viralheat. Check out Chris Rawlinson’s blog post for 21 Free Social Media Tracking tools for more information, and stay tuned for the upcoming Business.com whitepaper detailing the top social media monitoring tools.
Q: Is there any point of setting up a Twitter or Facebook account if it is not frequently updated? And how often should these accounts be updated?
A: Would you be inclined to follow or engage with a stagnant account? If you’re going to invest the time into setting up these accounts, you should make sure you’re maximizing the use of Twitter and Facebook to achieve your goals. These accounts should be updated as often as you have something new or valuable to share with your audience. News? Discounts? Interesting research? It’s all worth sharing.
If you’re struggling against old mentalities vs. new objectives when it comes to integrating social media into your B2B marketing mix, here are 2 resources designed to win over even the most challenging of executive audiences.
First, the below presentation builds the B2B Social Media business case through 10 key benefits. Best viewed in ‘full-screen format’, the slides are also available for download right here.
And to ensure you’re armed with a bunch of supporting statistics, this dynamic video, brilliantly executed by Earnest Agency, provides a compilation of statistics in a highly entertaining format: