Archive | February, 2014

Twitter Launches ‘Twitter Marketing Platform Program’

24 Feb

Twitter announced the launch of the Twitter Marketing Platform Program, a new brand encompassing its network of partners – both through its Ads API and in measurement and targeting.

“The companies in our new Marketing Platform Program have helped their clients reach new levels of success by improving their clients’ direct response, branding, and live initiatives across multiple verticals,” says Tony Wang, VP of Global Revenue Partnerships and Development at Twitter.

This comes as the Twitter Ads API turns one year old.

Advertisements

5 (RELATIVELY SIMPLE) STEPS TO B2B SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING SUCCESS

17 Feb

There are plenty of well-documented social media stories in the business to consumer world, such as JCPenney’s recent Super Bowl “Mitten” tweets.

 

However, the business to business world has been a bit slower to buy into social media marketing, but that’s changing quickly in 2014. From General Electric to Maersk, there are a growing number of B2B companies starting to take social seriously in an effort to build brand awareness, to generate leads, and to recruit employees.

 

As an AdAge survey recently revealed, 80% of B2B marketers plan to increase digital spending next year (up from 67% last year). With a significant percentage of this spending going towards social media marketing, here are a few things every B2B marketer should do.

 

1. INVEST IN A STRATEGIC PLAN

It’s tempting to dive head first right into social, but it’s important to take the time to think about your strategic goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. Once you define your overall social media marketing goals (e.g. increase sales) and determine specific objectives (e.g. grow LinkedIn connections), focusing on your core strategy (e.g. create thought leadership content) and tactics (e.g. post new content once a day, Monday through Friday) will help you to succeed. Remember, not every platform is right for every business, and in this case, every industry. More on this in the Tools section.

 

2. BUILD THE RIGHT TEAM

Put the right people in charge. While your daughter’s boyfriend might be a computer whiz, that doesn’t mean that he is the right person for the social media marketing job. There are plenty of examples in the digital space of junior employees (some senior too!) or interns who lack the skills and experience to build and protect your company’s reputation online. The person posting on your behalf should always know your plan, know your voice, and know how to effectively escalate issues that get out of hand. This free social media policy generator is a quick way to figure out what type of policies you should have in place for your social media team and beyond.

 

3. SELECT THE RIGHT TOOLS

All tools are not created equal. Traditionally, LinkedIn is one of the top B2B social media marketing tools. It’s a great place to establish yourself (or company) as a thought leader and to connect with potential sales leads. However, there are plenty of other places to market online. With image-based social media marketing on the rise, investing time on platforms such as Pinterest might make sense for your company.

 

For example, whether they’re sharing photos “From the Factory Floor” or showcasing “Badass Machines,” General Electric does a great job on Pinterest. When it comes to images, Maersk is leading the B2B pack on Instagram.

 

Finally, we know that search engines dominate first phase research. More specifically, according to Pardot’s 2013 State of Demand Generation Report, 72% of product research for a future business purchase begins on Google. This means participating on Google+, which can positively affect your search rankings, is increasingly becoming a priority.

 

4. INCLUDE CONTENT MARKETING

Content marketing should be an important part of your overall strategy. This includes creating blogs, photos, videos, and other content to promote what you do. In fact, promote might be the wrong word; educate is probably more precise. According to a recent IDG Connect B2B study, 89% of IT buyers want educational content. This same study notes that, “IT buyers will soon look to social media as the single most important content source to inform their buying decisions.”

 

Whether you’re creating short YouTube videos demonstrating how to use products or hosting live Twitter chats, the goal should be to educate buyers. Perhaps your core audience aren’t avid social media users, but if your content is exceptional, they will find you, remember you, and hopefully work with you.

 

5. EMBRACE PARTNER AMPLIFICATION

Every business has partners. Whether these are people who work within your company or organizations outside your company, work to build them into your social media marketing plan. Connect with all your partners who regularly engage online. Share their posts. Like their photos. Leave them comments. Put the spotlight on them. Your partners can help you to reach new audiences within your own industry. Partner amplification should be an ongoing priority.

 

While those of us in the social media marketing world might argue over B2C versus B2B needs, there is a new buzzword that is getting some traction online: H2H. Human-to-human marketing is really nothing new, but it does force us to remember that at the core of all social media marketing we are quite simply people talking to people. With a solid plan in place, some creative ideas lined up, and the right team and partners at the helm, every B2B company has the chance to shine bright in this space.

4 lessons learned after spending 10 years on Facebook

10 Feb

As we commemorate Facebook’s 10th anniversary, it’s hard for many of us to imagine a life without the colossal online world that we’ve all come to often love, and sometimes hate.

To date myself, I remember a time when I didn’t know what everyone was doing every second of the day, and I miss those days. At the same time, we’ve all learned some valuable lessons from engaging on Facebook. After 10 years of posting, sharing and liking, here’s what I’ve learned:

1. It will never be a substitute for speaking to people in person

Never in the history of our society have we been so connected to one another. But, messaging/liking/sharing with your online friends is not the same as picking up the phone or speaking with someone in person.

From a business perspective, social media can be a great tool to engage with customers and incentivize them to purchase your products. However, humans crave personal communication that involves touching, feeling, seeing and hearing. Don’t let social media keep you from being a caring member of society. Pick up the phone, send a hand-written note, or even better, invite someone to come and talk to you in person.

2. It can be a time-waster

We’ve all been there. You check your feed, gaze at a few headlines, and the next thing you know you’ve spent 30 minutes looking at your BFF’s pictures from Disneyland or reading a 2,000-word blog post about why you need to buy the latest version of P90x.

Just like Mark Zuckerberg and his team of digital nerds have planned, it sucks you in and keeps you for far too long. If you must spend time on Facebook, set a timer to let you know when you need to stop and get back to the important things. Even better, download an application like Hootsuite that will allow you to make posts in advance without actually going to the Facebook website.

3. It can toy with your emotions

So-and-so got a new job — and you’ve been unemployed for months. Or your favorite actor just died and your social feeds are constantly being cluttered with RIP messages. No matter how mentally sound you are, seeing the constant ups and downs of all of your friends can wreak havoc on your state of mind. Don’t be scared to take a break from time to time and remember that what YOU are doing is far more impactful on you than what everyone else is doing.

4. It can be very useful

For as much bad as Facebook brings, it probably brings an equal amount of good. Businesses and individuals now have a way to connect with friends, family and customers in a way that we never thought was possible just a decade ago. Nonprofits now have a unique way to raise funds, and the news media can give us second-by-second updates on stories, often resulting in a positive result.

Like it or not, social media is here to stay. Just don’t forget to literally go out and smell the roses sometimes. A friend’s picture of a rose can never replace the real thing.

Work Smarter, Not Harder- Recent Changes to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn

3 Feb

Social media changes so fast that we often miss the small differences on each platform we use. Every now and then I find it really useful to do a roundup of what’s been changing on the big networks lately. Here are 10 changes I found that took place in the last couple of months, which could be useful for your social media strategy.

1. TWITTER ROLLS OUT NEW DESIGN

A very recent update for Twitter’s web view is a new design that adds an inline Tweet composer. While the compose button and composer pop-up remain, you can now add a new Tweet much faster from the left-hand-side menu. The update also includes a refreshed design for the navigation bar and a profile setting to choose accent colors.

2. TWITTER EMPHASIZES IMAGES EVEN MORE

It wasn’t long ago that Twitter added inline image previews to its official apps, including the web view. Now, Twitter is including more image focus in the latest redesign, as you can see above. On the left-hand side of Twitter’s new web view, your profile and header images are now visible. When we did a test before, about how Twitter’s new image highlighting affected metrics, we found that retweets shot up by 150% and looking at our metrics today, they are still high:

3. FACEBOOK CHANGES ITS ALGORITHM–AGAIN

Facebook has changed its ranking algorithm for the News Feed many times before. Yet another update came in December, as Facebook pushed for more “high quality content,” including a focus on news from media outlets.

From the Facebook announcement:

Why are we doing this? Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme.

The announcement goes on to talk about news articles versus memes even more specifically, saying that fewer “meme photos” hosted outside of Facebook will be shown in the News Feed. It also mentions a feature in the works to help you discover more interesting news:

Soon, after you click on a link to an article, you may see up to three related articles directly below the News Feed post to help you discover more content you may find interesting.

To keep posts from friends populating the News Feed, Facebook says it will bump up stories that have new comments more often than before.

4. TWITTER ADDS PHOTOS TO DMS

If you’re a fan of using Twitter’s direct messages, you’ll love this update. Twitter recently added the ability to send and receive images in DMs. This update also added a tab for DMs into the navigation bar of Twitter’s official mobile apps, making DMs easier to use.

 

5. TWITTER ADDS PROMOTED ACCOUNTS TO MOBILE TIMELINES

You’ve probably noticed promoted accounts in Twitter’s “Who to follow” sidebar section before. Now, advertisers can promote their accounts with a Tweet in Twitter’s mobile timelines.

The promotions work in the same way: advertisers only get charged for each person who follows their account. The accounts are displayed differently, though, with a full Tweet and a follow button inside the timeline in Twitter’s mobile apps:

6. FACEBOOK AND TWITTER HELP ADVERTISERS MEASURE CONVERSIONS

Facebook made a recent change to help retailers get more out of their Facebook ads by measuring offline conversions. Especially if we’re looking at how colors affect conversions, Facebook’s tips seem to be guided by a very deep underlying understanding of human behavior.

This is actually a feature that’s been around for a while, but it was previously available only to customers who worked with a Facebook “measurement partner.” The network is now opening it up to all advertisers.

The way it works is retailers collect personal data about offline consumers, upload it in a hashed form, and Facebook matches it with internal hashed data about those same consumers. This lets Facebook work out whether any of those purchases were made by consumers who saw one of the retailer’s ads.

In December, Twitter opened up online conversion tracking to all advertisers. This lets Twitter ads customers track conversions and engagement on promoted Tweets:

7. TWITTER OFFERS TAILORED AUDIENCES TO ADVERTISERS

To make Twitter ads more effective and appealing, a recent change from Twitter rolled out “tailored audiences” to all advertisers. This lets advertisers take advantage of browser cookies to serve up ads to users who have recently visited their website.

8. LINKEDIN ANNOUNCES SHOWCASE PAGES FOR COMPANIES

Among the slew of ad-related updates is an update from LinkedIn to Company Pages. LinkedIn has long been making waves by making it easier for companies to get exposure and opening up it’s APIs for more great use cases. Companies can now create Showcase Pages on LinkedIn, to focus on a particular brand, business area or initiative.

LinkedIn users can follow Showcase Pages, which are focused on content updates, to keep on top of any new posts.

9. FACEBOOK UPDATES ITS PAGE COMPOSER

A slightly older change, made in November 2013, is this one to Facebook’s Page Composer. The update includes making it easier to schedule posts for your Facebook Page, reducing the number of steps required from 12 to 4.

What’s particularly interesting is new push and addition for scheduling Facebook posts. This is in fact something, Twitter had introduced earlier in the year too. It seems that scheduling your posts is becoming more and more of an encouraged behavior from both Twitter and Facebook.

It’s also easier to upload multiple photos at once now, with drag-and-drop, and a photo icon in the composer makes it easy to upload a photo or video when posting an update.

10. TWITTER ADDS SEARCH FILTERS ON MOBILE

Finally, another update from November is the addition of search filters to Twitter’s mobile apps. The new options let you add a filter to any Twitter search, limiting results to photos only, videos, or just Tweets from people you follow.

You’ve probably noticed some more recent changes that I’ve missed–what are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

How are you experiencing Facebook’s, Twitter’s, and LinkedIn’s latest changes? Would love your thoughts on this in the comments!