These past few days, members of the Business.com marketing team have been attending Social Media Marketing World 2013 in San Diego. With just about 1,000 social media and marketing professionals in attendance, Social Media Examiner was able to create a large-scale networking conference with special events such as a boat cruise in the bay and 45 minute learning sessions from industry experts. While some speakers spoke more to those in roles at B2C companies, many suggested tips and strategies that B2B marketers can use.
Lock On to LinkedIn
Sales and marketing professionals who are looking to generate new leads for their business or strengthen their relationships with those they've established a connection with, LinkedIn is the network you must be on. In the opening keynote, Social Media Examiner shared some stats from a study that has yet to be released. According to their survey, 49% of the 3,000 marketers responded saying Facebook is the most important social network they use followed by LinkedIn at 16%. While there were a number of presenters who spoke to LinkedIn directly, here are a few things B2B marketers can begin to use immediately to find greater success on the social network.
- Use banners -- Your Products/Services section of your company page allows your business to upload three banners. This display advertising is often an untapped section of company pages.
- Add new audiences -- It's all about relevance and targeting your audience is one way you can deliver the great content your site has to offer to the right people.
- Choose keywords -- On your personal page, in URLs and in product descriptions, use keywords so that people conducting searches on LinkedIn can find you and your business easily.
B2B marketers are making a shift. As the behavior of buyers has altered, marketers are taking note and altering their strategies. B2B buyers are doing more and more research before ever getting in touch with a provider. Forums and online communities enable businesses to build their own social networks and target communities. Technorati found that 54% of consumers say smaller communities are more influential. As this is the case, it makes sense that 29% of marketers plan to increase forums activity (Social Media Examiner). Social community marketing strategies are becoming more important as it's yet another way for businesses to connect with their target audience on a more personal level. Your business can cultivate communities with:
- Forums or industry-specific communities hosted on your site or by your business on LinkedIn. These can create conversations, opportunities and leads for your business.
- FAQ podcasts and YouTube videos enable your business to address customers and audiences directly. Podcasts and videos show the people behind a business and encourage discussion.
Build Your Blog
Does your business want to be influential? Do you want people within your organization to be considered influencers in your industry? If you answered yes to either one of these questions, you need to be blogging. Technorati found that 86% of industry influencers blog. In the Social Media Examiner survey, 14% responded that blogging was the most important network for their business and 62% of marketers want to learn more about blogging. As different industry leaders and experts discussed their blogging, there were a few trends that kept appearing.
- Add value -- Your blog should add value to its readers. Pay attention the demographics and actions of your audience to create content that will benefit them.
- Fascinate -- In the closing keynote of Day 1, Sally Hogshead noted that the average attention span is now 9 second. In order to capture your audience's attention in that time, you need to fascinate them with your blog's content.
Some of the major points from Social Media Marketing World is that businesses who want to connect with customers need to realize that what those customers and buyers want are connections. It's about the relationship and social media is how your B2B businesses can cultivate those relationships so that as a buyer moves closer to their purchase decision, they don't just think of the business or brand, but the people behind it.
Did you attend SMMW? What did you take away from the events?