A few examples from the hundreds I've written.
Three social secrets for B2B marketing success
Are you still using Facebook for flirting with old school friends? Do you spend your time on YouTube watching funny cat videos while your boss isn't looking? You're out of touch. Today, social media platforms are fast becoming the most valuable tools in a B2B marketing toolkit. More than half of B2B buyers now say they use social media to search for information on products and services (source). If you're not tracking down and engaging with your business clients and partners on social, you are missing a trick. Here are our top three B2B business social media strategies and best practices (other than LinkedIn), to take your marketing game to a new level.
1. Content is still King…but only if it’s optimised.
Content is everything, and everything is content, as far as social media marketers are concerned. If something is worth doing, it’s worth Tweeting about, filming for your YouTube channel, and adding to your Instagram story. Not using Instagram stories for your business? You should be. But don’t stop there. You need to be telling your brand story across multiple platforms. Potential clients will inevitably find you on social, so there needs to be plenty of interesting and informative content waiting for them on the platform they choose.
However, your content strategy needs to go deeper than simply churning out images and video. Content must be optimised for its intended distribution channel. Metadata that you upload with a YouTube video asset, for example, should be researched first. This ensures you are using appropriate keywords, thumbnails and descriptions to enable search and discovery of your business’ content on that platform. It may be the world’s second biggest search engine, but more than 100 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. So, you must give Google’s search algorithms every chance of surfacing yours. When it comes to ensuring your brand messages are in front of B2B buyers, a little YouTube keyword research goes a long way. Are you not sure how to get started with video marketing? Head over to YouTube for Business for some inspiration.
2. Engagement is a two-way street in B2B marketing.
When you spend much of your day online, it is easy to lose sight of what is going in the physical world. Even seasoned B2B marketing professionals can forget about the human beings behind social media accounts. However, it is important to use social media as a two-way communication tool for building positive relationships. Too many marketers use platforms like Facebook for blasting out one-way messages only.
In between creating and analysing all that data, make sure you make time to stop and smell the roses. By ‘roses', I mean the social media accounts of your clients and other B2B organisations. And by ’smell’, I mean like, comment, share, and click! Allocate at least 10 minutes of each day to read and share content that your B2B contacts produce. This will have enormous flow-on effects.
Of course, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, and sometimes it is a better idea to make a good old fashioned phone call. However, there is much to be said for using social media for building relationships. Let your contacts know that you’re interested in reading and engaging with their content. This will encourage them to check out the stories that your business has to tell.
In a lot of ways, social media is replacing the cold call. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking about social platforms only as sales tools. Once you gain a client, gain their trust, as well as their attention, by shouting about your partnership from the rooftops. Do this whenever it makes sense to do so - and don’t forget to tag them!
3. Place those Pixels, and create custom audiences.
If you don’t know what we’re referring to here, go ahead and take a crash course in remarketing with the Facebook Pixel. As the rest of us know, Facebook is a powerful B2B marketing tool, even if it feels like LinkedIn gets all the attention. In case you have been living under a rock, Mark Zuckerberg’s little company knows quite a bit about almost everyone. A whopping 17 million Australians are active on Facebook every month, so it’s a safe bet that many of your B2B targets are using the platform. This means they are also targetable.
If you have already installed the Facebook Pixel on your website and landing pages, well done! You are well on the way to a successful social media strategy. The Pixel works by tracking visitors to your website and capturing other data to create custom and lookalike audiences. This allows you to push your ads and content into the personal timelines of B2B contacts. If you have a database of email addresses that contains B2B buyers, go ahead and upload this list to Facebook Business Manager. Don’t complicate your marketing strategy. Let Facebook find your business customers for you.
Call to action: Free guide to creating lookalike audiences for your business. Try it now! (subscribe to receive PDF)
Follow up article headline ideas:
- How to set (and stick to) a content schedule for B2B marketing.
- B2B marketing on YouTube - are you doing it right?
- B2B marketing on Facebook: when business gets personal.
Twitter post: Top tips for B2B marketing on social media (more than just LinkedIn). [link]
Creating a Trusted Brand for SEO via Social Media
SEO writing has come a long way. It is no longer enough to simply litter a basically useless article with keywords and terms in a vain attempt to climb Google search rankings. The SEO experts who write search algorithms for Google and Microsoft work with an increasingly complex system of ranking criteria. No matter how will written the content on your site may be, it is ultimately pointless in SEO terms if Google and Microsoft search engines determine it to be unreliable. It is vital to create a network of trust around your brand. Search algorithms place a greater degree of trust in established brand presences across a broad range of streams.
Think about a topic such as American politics. You may have created a blog which addresses a particular aspect, such as the health care system in the United States. Your blog may be extremely well researched, with a long list of academic references and quotes from authoritative sources on the topic. The blog may be uncluttered with ads and you may have developed a large following over a number of years, continually placed highly in the weekly Wordpress rankings. Perhaps your blog is visited daily by journalists and academics known the world over and your content is duplicated and referred to on mainstream news sites. Your blog is by all rights the definitive source of news and opinion on the American health care system and is known and respected as such. So why will it not appear in even the first five pages of Google search results, let alone the first page, where you want it to be?
Google and Microsoft place a greater degree of trust in content which is accessed from a variety of sources. Perhaps you care little for now traditional social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This form of thinking is not only archaic and becoming more so by the day, it can be fatal to the search engine health of your blog. Quality content sources are now expected to be available across a multitude of platforms, especially social media.
Think about how the majority of western users now access the internet. More than half of internet browsing is now done on the move, when people are commuting or taking a five minute coffee break from their jobs. Users are now so connected and socially aware that the first app we open on our mobile device is usually social. Users like to see all information relevant to them collated in one place, namely their social media stream of choice.
It is a smooth process to make your content readily available across a multitude of social media services. Use consistent branding and make it immediately obvious to anyone reading one of your articles or blog posts that they could subscribe via social media and get instant updates of your latest content. Driving users to your site from a variety of sources will not only increase overall traffic to you page; Google will take notice of the diverse range of paths to your content and increase your search ranking accordingly.
Insure a happy holiday
Ask anyone at the top of their profession and they will tell you the key to success is preparation. A head chef spends hours each day making sure the tools and ingredients are in place for spectacular food and service. A CEO employs countless people to organise his or her schedule so that meetings can run efficiently, key decisions can be made and the company can profit.
The key to planning your next adventure is no different to the preparatory tactics used by businesses. Ensuring that all bases are covered before you set off will enable you to enjoy, relax and smell the roses. Spending the right amount of time and money on your planning process also makes it easier to handle the bumps in the road that inevitably appear.
Whether you are planning a trip to Thailand, a cruise around the Caribbean or your long awaited first trip overseas with your family there are many material items to consider. Off to see the world? Your shopping list will be huge: a backpack, a suitcase, walking shoes, a new camera, passport renewal, plane tickets, swimwear, snow gear, sleeping bag – it goes on and on. Taking a baby or young children? You will need a pram suitable for travel, books and toys to keep them amused on trains, as well as all the extra luggage and associated travel costs.
Insurance is often forgotten until it is too late. With all the physical objects that need to be secured in order to travel the world it can be easy to forget about travel insurance. When paying thousands of dollars for a trip aboard a luxury ocean liner you may assume you are covered by the tour operator but cruise travel insurance is absolutely vital. It may be difficult to think about the circumstances in which you will need family travel insurance but it is vital to plan for the worst in order to enjoy peace of mind and create lasting family memories.
At home some people like to live life on the edge. Perhaps you are a fantastic driver and don’t think it is worth insuring that battered old car you only drive to the local supermarket. Maybe you trust the local public health system enough to have relied on it thus far without shelling out the extra for private health insurance. However once you set foot outside your home country there are countless different possibilities that could mean you need to call on your travel insurance provider.
Of course you hope to never need to make a huge claim but even the smallest of inconveniences can become a huge problem without proper travel insurance. A camera or phone can disappear in an instant at a crowded train station but can be replaced within a matter of hours just by having made the necessary travel insurance plan in place. You may have travelled the world without a problem before but taking children along can be a different story. Even a minor scratch can become infected and ruin a holiday – with a good family travel insurance plan to call on you can be in and out of a hospital in a flash and relaxing on the beach again, cocktail in hand.
SEO Has Gone Social
Three or four years ago it was common to hear a lot of negativity regarding social media. ‘What is the point of Twitter? Why do I need a Facebook page when I prefer to talk to my friends in person or on the phone? I prefer to print my photographs and hang them on my wall, why would I want to publish them on Instagram?’ Today the answers to these questions are becoming increasingly obvious. My Grandmother has Facebook, my six year-old nephew clogs up my Instagram feed with and even my neighbour’s dog is on Twitter (really!).
Do a test: perform virtually any web search on any of the major search providers – let’s be honest, there are only really two – and see how many Facebook and Twitter results show up in the first few pages of web results. There will also be MySpace and LinkedIn offerings, Google plus, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube and more. Facebook is encroaching on Google’s space with the establishment of Graph Search in the past 12 months, while users often perform Twitter searches in the search for up-to-date news content.
Search engines are taking heed of the increased trust users are placing in the opinions and recommendations of their friends. This is important because it means that it is vital for web content creators to make it simple for readers to engage with their content on various social platforms. Not only is it necessary for a company to have current and stylish social media profiles; businesses must ensure that they are producing social-friendly content.
It is absolutely necessary to enable users to share content quickly and make it advantageous for a reader to do so. Social media sharing plugins are vital; a user will often not bother to open their Facebook feed and copy and paste a link into a new window, but a widget with ‘Like’ or ‘Tweet’ buttons will appeal to a social media-conscious reader.
There is room for innovation in this realm also. A user may be more likely to engage directly with your website and share content if it is of obvious benefit for them to do so. Perhaps a ‘Like’ on Facebook will give a reader access to a premium section of your site or enable them to download a song or receive a discount on a purchase. Hashtags can be utilised to great effect here; users could be invited to post pictures on Instagram with a hashtag, for example #cocacola, for a chance to win a prize. Not only is this a great way to get people to interact with your content and product, it makes it likely that any users who do engage will view the corresponding hashtag search results on the social media platform. This is a fantastic way to increase brand exposure.
Aside from making it a smooth process for users to share web content, it is vital to produce copy which appears attractive when viewed on a newsfeed or in a Tweet. Eye-catching thumbnails and catchy introductions are the key. Keep it snappy, keep it social.
Choose an SEO Company Who Can Back Up Their Small Talk
When going about your daily tasks as a small business owner or operator you almost certainly perform large amounts of research. If you worked for a large multi-national company it is easy to dodge complaints and pass the blame onto others, for example suppliers who can be blamed for faulty products. However small businesses have nowhere to hide and must take ownership of even the smallest decisions in order to succeed in the cut-throat business world of today.
Before making even seemingly insignificant decisions for your company, for example where to source office supplies from or which freight company to use, you almost certainly turn to the internet for assistance. There are endless streams of information for you to call on before choosing which companies to spend your money and develop partnerships with. The same method should be followed when you are deciding which of the countless SEO companies to handle your own search engine optimization.
There are a number of factors which will stand out when you start reading web marketing experts reviews across the internet. Firstly you will notice the they are able to tailor the web strategy to your business, no matter how big or small you may be. This means that even if you are a small company with just one or two employees and a selling area of only a few suburbs of Sydney, for example, WME has knowledgeable staff who understand your target market and will be able to identify the localised keywords which people in your area are using. By the same token, if your business is expanding rapidly with dozens or even hundreds of staff, offices and sales departments operating around the globe and a network of websites selling your product, the team at WME can cater expertly for you too. They have professional and experienced staff, some of whom have worked at Google and thus have an intricate understanding of the inner workings of the web search industry.
Another thing to look for when doing your research are the testimonials provided by satisfied customers of Web Marketing Experts. You will see that very well known and highly respected organizations such as World Vision entrust the management of their SEO campaigns to WME. This means that you can rest easy and devote your time to working on other aspects of your business, such as design and development, while knowing that the search status of your website is being taken care of by the best in the business.
Take a quick look at their website and you will see that WME have been nominated for a long list of awards. While award nominations are not necessarily an indication of a successful company, you will see that their award nominations are for some of the most prestigious accolades in the industry. For example, they have been nominated for the well known Telstra Business Awards 2014 (winners to be announced later in the year) and have continuously ranked in the Smart Company Smart50 awards, in fact rising from number 45 in 2012 to number 16 in 2013.
Social Sharing Just the Tip of the SEO Iceberg
Before I did my research I could not really understand the need to employ an internet marketing agency to optimize a website for search engine results. Sure, for online shops and some other businesses, maintaining a high search status would be beneficial but why would a small restaurant or tradesman need to spend their hard-earned cash on search engine optimization? More than that, looking around the web I can see that almost all companies now have multiple websites and social media profiles.
If you perform a search for a specific company name, you will see that on the first page of search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo and any other search provider, there are a number of results for the same company. They probably have at least one website, possibly more if they are a global company selling into various markets, plus multiple social media accounts - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, the list goes on and on. Sometimes these companies also have Wordpress or Tumblr blog pages as well.
I was curious as to why so many web pages are necessary for an offline company. Sure, a large online news service, for example, may need and make use of such a large amount of web streams as they are able to connect with a diverse range of clientele by targeting them in different ways. But why would a restaurant or other offline small business need so many profiles and web pages?
After I did some more research, I began to notice something interesting. All the businesses that have a large number of active web streams seemed to have a very professional website and are well-known, established and presumably profitable. Obviously these large and successful companies would have marketing departments or agencies looking after their online strategies so setting up and maintaining so many sites and social media profiles is surely not a waste of time.
Sure enough, after doing some more reading I began to understand the reasons why. Even if you think keeping so many social media profiles up to date is little more than a nuisance, the web is becoming more and more social whether you like it or not. The major search providers regularly update the algorithms which determine search result rankings. Google understand that people are sharing more and more content each day using their social media profiles and have made changes to the way search results are ranked to reflect this. This means that even if social sharing is a very minor part of your day to day tasks it is vital to establish profiles and keep them current with fresh content.
Of course this is just one of the methods that will be identified if you decide on a web marketing experts review of your business. In the past search engine optimization was simply a matter of using lots of keywords and filling forums with links but today the game has changed considerably.