Social Media: Who Uses It and Why?

August 26, 2009

Would it surprise you to learn that the biggest gains in who’s using social media are among older users? According to a report in eMarketer, “consumer internet barometer” U.S. internet users who visited a social site in the 2nd quarter of ’09 rose 16% over last year. Females still lead males in usage and 70% of users were under the age of 35. The most popular sites in order were: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

US Internet Users Who Visit Social Networks, by Gender and Age, Q2 2008 & Q2 2009 (% of respondents in each group)

Now that we know who uses it, we can tackle the why.

According to a post in eMarketer, marketers surveyed by Marketing Sherpa in late 2008 found that increasing brand reputation and awareness, along with improved search engines, headed up the reasons why they thought social media was an effective tool. Blog or social media advertising, online news release distribution and blogging led the way as far as tactics they thought to be useful.

 

Social Media Tactics that US Social Media Marketing Professionals Feel Are Measurable and Effective, December 2008 (% of respondents)

Now based on what you just read, what do you think business executives think of social media?

Sean Callahan from BtoB online reported recently on a survey conducted by Russell Herder and Ethos business law that business executives were grappling with social media. The online survey of 438 executives showed:

  • 51% fear social media and that it could be detrimental to employee productivity
  • 49% said social media could damage the company’s reputation

At the same time they said:

  • 81% can enhance relationships with customers
  • 69% can aid in recruiting
  • 64% it could function as a customer service tool

About 70% say they are going to increase their social media, however only 33% had a social media policy in place.

I don’t know about you, but I think these guys are talking out of both sides of their mouth. The only thing they should do is support a social program. They should stick to what they know and do well and let the marketing departments do their jobs.

What are your thoughts?

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Next Time You Want to Send a Link, Consider Using Social Media

August 12, 2009

Most of us think if we wanted to share a link to something of interest that the logical way to do that would be through e-mails. Not according to a recent article in the E-Marketer Newsletter that cites AddToAny, a creator of content sharing and web publishing tools, that Facebook accounts for 24% of uses of the widget to share links to articles, videos and other content. E-mail only accounts for 11.1%. Social media has overtaken e-mail in terms of worldwide reach.

 

Leading Services Used to Share Online Content Worldwide via the AddToAny Widget, July 2009 (% share)

What that means to B-to-B marketers is that they should reconsider how they deliver links. By using a social media outlet like Facebook or Twitter, you not only deliver your message and link, but you’re continuing to increase your awareness and improve your search rankings and site traffic.

Nice bonus don’t you think?

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E-mail and Social Media – A Great “One-Two” Punch to Capture the Professional Tradesman

July 21, 2009

one-twopunchSocial media has dominated the news lately, and many marketers are considering moving out of traditional e-mail programs and focusing more on social. My advice to them is that neither one is the answer by itself, especially when it comes to reaching professional tradesmen who are slower to jump on the social bandwagon.

Social elements are just more tools marketing can use to gain attention and begin a dialog. Until social media came along, a good e-mail campaign only had their web site to fall back on for support. Social media complements e-mail efforts. B-to-B marketers who want to stay on top of their game must learn how to make them work together.

Here are 4 tips to get the best out of both worlds:

  • Create ONE strategy - Create the objective and then see how each element can help you meet those objectives. By working towards one goal, you’ll be much more effective in the long run.
  • Create content simultaneously - You need to make sure messages are coordinated (and are using the same voice) and are working together and not against each other. You don’t want to be duplicating content.
  • Utilize sites like Facebook and LinkedIn – These and other sites allow groups to their group members. Make sure when sending messages to these groups to target your message.
  • Use e-mail to give them something special whether it’s a sneak preview of a new product, a discount on a current one or some scoop about an upcoming company event or trade show activity. Then make it easy for them to share. Encourage them to share the news with their friends on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Make the most out of your marketing program by making the elements work together.

I’d like to hear what you’re doing to maximize your efforts using social and e-mails.

Here are some other posts that might be of interest to you:

7 Ways to Combine Social Media with E-mail to Reach the Professional Tradesman

Stay Up on New Trends But Don’t Forget Old Friends

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Industrial Marketers Focus on Social Media

July 14, 2009

industrialmarketingI’ve been saying for some time now that B-to-B marketers, and especially those in the industrial section, need to start embracing social media. Recently BtoB magazine hosted a Netmarketing breakfast in New York. Among the panel members were: Paul Dunay – Avaya Inc., Robert DeRobertis – GP DSP division of Analog devices, Rick Short – Indium Corp. and Gary Spangler – Dupont Electronic and Communications Technologies. Here are some nuggets from the meeting for you to ponder on:

  • Paul Dunay said, “You must bring valuable content that adds to the discussion. We’re using Twitter as a teaser channel, Facebook as a hub of information, Forums as a type of help desk and Blogs as our corporate voice.”
  • Robert DeRobertis said, “You have to link your social marketing to financial results, noting that internal transparency helps guide both strategic and budgetary direction.” DeRobertis’ program is driven by an understanding of his customers’ buying process which means staying up on important influencers and offering “test drives” which are special offers to see how their audience reacts.
  • Gary Spangler cautioned the audience to go slow and have a plan for social media. “The social train is coming, but you don’t have to get on all the cars at once.”
  • Rick Short uses real employees in his outbound programs, making his company more human and approachable. “Turn your company inside out. Customers want transparency, they want the real deal.”

They all agreed that your strategy should include listening, supporting customers, embracing product ideas and energizing the communities that you serve.

See videos of the speakers

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Social Media 101: How to Get Started So You Can Reach the Professional Tradesmen

June 30, 2009

blog

So, you’ve been reading about all this social media stuff…your friends have been talking about Facebook or Twitter, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge. Come on in, the water is fine. The longer you wait, the farther behind you’re going to be. Social media has made it to the mainstream which means businesses (you) need to get on board.

The best way to learn is by doing it yourself. Don’t worry, you can’t break anything. This whole social thing can be overwhelming, so I’d recommend you start off slow, and as you get comfortable, expand your horizons. If you want to get up to speed quicker, I’d recommend hiring a coach. When we decided to get into the social market, we wanted to be up and running in a short period of time, so we hired a coach that helped us identify our niche for a blog, and helped not only set up the basic accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), but helped us to get our networking going. Your timeline will be dependent on what you want to accomplish. If you are going after the professional tradesman or other industrial-type markets and want to ramp up your activity quickly, we do offer a program to help you do that, and if you want more information, you can click here.

Here’s what we are recommending to our clients who want to get started:

  • LinkedIn. Beyond the basic profile info, make sure you link to your web site and eventually your blog (if you decide to do). Start inviting your friends and business associates to join (you might be surprised as to how many are already on). Join groups that are appropriate to your industry and start watching and participating in discussions, surveys, etc. Once you start getting a following, you can start asking for recommendations. Also consider starting your own group. Our agency started our own group, Sonnhalter.
  • Facebook. You need to make a choice of either doing a personal or company profile. Once that’s determined, you need to fill out the profile making sure to include your web site and leave room for a link to your blog (again, if you plan on doing one). Facebook also offers pages, which are set up similar to profiles, except people are fans of pages making it a good option for companies, products or brands. You need a profile before you can create a page. On Facebook, you can also add photos (either personal or work-related depending on how you set up your site). Start inviting friends and engage in the conversations.
  • Twitter. Sign up and start adding followers. Rule of thumb is if someone follows you, you should reciprocate. The idea is to have more people following you than you are them. Twitter has some useful tools, one of which I’d recommend you start off with is Twilert. This is a tool where you can put in search terms (about your company, its products or your competitor), and they will identify any tweets that have mentioned those terms.
  • Google. Through Google, you can set up Google Alerts which again uses search terms and gives you daily updates on the latest web and news pages on the Google web search. They also have a tool called Google Reader which lets you assemble, in one place, all of your reading resources and links from various sources.

(Remember, our target audience is manufacturers who want to sell to the professional tradesmen, but these suggestions apply across the board.)

A link you will find interesting from Nicky Jameson, How to create your own social networking site on a shoe string.

Suggested reading, Monitoring the Social Web, by Larry Weber

Comic courtesy of Automation.com

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If You’re Going After Professional Tradesmen, Create a Facebook Page

June 23, 2009

CJSFacebookFor manufacturers who are targeting the professional tradesman, we think creating a Facebook page instead of a group is the better choice. Facebook pages let you connect directly without having to connect to a personal account if you create a group. Think of your Brand as a rock star who wants to stay connected to your fans.

More importantly, you want to build a fan base. To create a fan page, go to fan and create a new page.  Both you and your friends can post photos and comments, you can share updates, create upcoming events (or new product announcements) very easily. The whole idea of social media is networking and building relationships, so we need to make it as easy as possible for tradesmen to have access to you. Pages are also indexed by external search engines and groups are not.

Groups, on the other hand, have options for privacy settings (which means there’s another layer to go through to get in). Groups are limited to 5000 members (they won’t let you do e-mail blasts to anything over that). This is great if you’re in charge of a class reunion or some other group that needs a common place to communicate.

Facebook has continued its tremendous growth, according to Compete; it grew from 104 million to 113 million monthly uniques; an 8.54% increase. Visits grew from 1.63 billion to 1.74 billion, solidifying Facebook’s position as the number 3 site on the Internet.

You should take advantage of this network. What are you doing to capitalize on your Facebook account? I’d like to hear from you.

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Social Media Survey to Editors of Top Trade Publications is Very Enlightening

June 18, 2009

Many manufacturers are still leery about social media in a B-to-B arena. Since we deal with the professional trades, we know most of the editors very well and recently asked many of them to participate in a survey on social media. The majority of them are responsible for end user books that serve the likes of plumbers, electricians, HVACR contractors and mechanical contractors.

Here are some highlights:

Editors are using the social tools, and if for no other reason, you should be using them to communicate about your brand.

While some editors are currently writing blogs, more are anticipating doing them in the future.

Editors are looking for success stories involving social media.

Although most editors believe their audience isn’t that social savvy today (35.2%), they think that will improve dramatically in the next year (64.7%).

Here are the results:

1. Are You Using Any of the New Social Media Tools?

LinkedIn – 88.2%

Facebook – 64.7%

Twitter – 35.2%

Blogs – 29.4%

Online Forums – 23.5%

2. Do You or Another Editor on Your Staff Write a Blog for Your Publication?

Yes – 35.2%

No – 64.7%

3. If no to Question #2, are you planning on Doing a Blog for Your Publication?

Yes – 52.9%

No – 41.1%

4. Is Social Media and its Impact on Business on Your Editorial Radar Screen?

Yes – 76.4%

N0 – 23.5%

5. Have you Written Articles on Social Media and its Impact or Future Impact on Your Readers?

Yes – 35.2%

No – 64.7%

6. Do you Think Your Readers are Aware of Social Media as it Relates to the Business Aspects of Their Lives?

Ye s- 35.2%

No – 64.7%

7. Do you Think Your Readers will Become More Involved in Social Media in the next Year?

Yes – 64.7%

No – 41.1%

8. Do You Think Your Readers are Using any of the following Social Media Tools?

LinkedIn – 47.0%

Facebook – 41.1%

Twitter – 11.7%

Blogs – 35.2%

Online Forums - 52.9%


B-to-B Marketers: The Next Big Tidal Wave in Communications Will be Google Wave

June 12, 2009


Agoogle wave logo new product is on the horizon that will have a major impact upon online communications.

Let me give you a heads up. The next big tidal wave will be made available to the general public later this year. It’s the top trending conversation on Twitter and is becoming a hot topic in the daily news cycle.

Google Wave is a new real-time communications platform. It’s one of the top Google product launches and is expected to redefine online communication. It’s being heralded as the next evolution of email.

check out wave developer review

Click Here to check out the Google Wave Developer Review

This will be an all-in-one communications tool. You only need Google Wave open to manage your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, project management, email, etc. It will also replace lots of communications and can easily be embedded into your web site or blog

“(Wave) could very well be the game-changing communications tool that everyone has been waiting for.” Ben Parr, Associate Editor for Mashable

To learn more about Google Wave, check out Mashable’s Google Wave: A Complete Guide. Also be sure and sign up for Google Wave updates by clicking here


B-to-B Marketers: Why You Should Embrace Social Media

June 3, 2009

socialmedia1Everyone’s putting out stats on how one element or another of the social media landscape is doing, i.e. 175 million Facebook users spend an average of 3 billion minutes a day on Facebook, according to Conde Nast Portfolio; Twitter is growing at a 1,382% annual growth rate; Facebook has grown from 100 million to 200 million users in less than 8 months.

What does all this mean to the B-to-B marketer? It means that the world is embracing social media in one form or another. It means that Americans have not only found it, but are using it. Media post reports 49% of us are using some combination of social media in their life. Here’s a breakdown of social usage by age, gender and education that I think you’ll find interesting from a poll by Harris Interactive:

Online Social Network Usage – By Age & Gender (All Online Adults; % of Age Group)
Age Group Gender
Network Usage Total 18-34 35-44 45-54 55+ Male Female
Have a Facebook or MySpace account

48%

74

47

41

24

45

52

Update Facebook or MySpace account at least once a day

16

29

17

10

3

14

18

Use Twitter (Net)

5

8

7

4

1

5

5

Follow people on Twitter

5

8

6

4

1

5

5

Use Twitter to send messages

3

4

5

1

*

3

2

None of these

51

25

50

59

76

54

47′

Source: Harris Interactive, April 2009 Multiple responses allowed; * indicates less than 0.5%
Online Social Network Usage – By Education (All Online Adults; % of Group)
Education
Network Usage Total HS or less Some College College Grad+
Have a Facebook or MySpace account

48%

40

55

52

Update Facebook or MySpace account at least once a day

16

14

18

16

Use Twitter (Net)

5

3

7

6

Follow people on Twitter

5

3

6

6

Use Twitter to send messages

3

1

4

4

None of these

51

59

43

47

Source: Harris Interactive, April 2009 Multiple responses allowed; * indicates less than 0.5%

For additional information from Harris Interactive, please visit here.

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5 Tips for B-to-B Marketers To Get the Most from Twitter

May 15, 2009

john twitterBusiness marketers trying to reach professional tradesmen can’t seem to warm up to a 140-character message as an impactful way to reach their targets.

Twitter has become a very powerful tool especially if you use some of their tools like Twitter Search which allows you to identify key words and phrases so you can follow and start a conversation with them. You can even monitor your company or product names and see what they are saying about you!

Twitter is a great tool for starting an opinion poll or directing folks to things they are tweeting about. It has been used by marketers at trade shows to create “BUZZ” on the floor: Stop at booth XXX and see their new left handed widget for plumbers.

In a post by Chris Brogan, 50 ideas on using Twitter for business, he outlines steps and hints on how to get the most out of Twitter in your business surroundings. Here are the top 5 tips that will help B-to-B Marketers to get the most from Twitter:

  1. Instead of answering a question “what are you doing?” answer the question “what has your attention?”
  2. Have multiple twitters at the company. People take vacations, quit, get on special projects. You need to keep the content going, it has to be good and it’s nice to have a different point of view.
  3. When promoting a post, give them a hint of what’s coming next.
  4. Tweet about other people’s stuff – it makes you look human and not always talking business.
  5. When you do talk business, make it useful. Give them a tip or advice that would make their life better.

What are your thoughts on using Twittersearch?

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