5 Ways to Use Content Marketing to Attract New Business

September 8, 2010

Content Marketing is an overarching term that involves the creation and sharing of content for the purpose of engaging your prospects. Manufacturers who are trying to reach the professional tradesmen would benefit by building your brand, increasing your recognition and having you become a thought leader in your industry.

Relevant and valuable content will attract a clearly defined and understood target audience.

Here are 5 ways to use content marketing:

  1. Define your target audience.
  2. Identify their pain points - what keeps them up at night, and develop a way to address them.
  3. Make a blog the center of your communications efforts - make it the one-stop shop concept where professional tradesmen can come and get valuable info and insights.
  4. Continually measure your response and make adjustments if necessary.
  5. Jump start your blog traffic – repurpose content through other social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook using third-party tools to make the process easy and efficient to manage.

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Using Social Media to Market an Event

August 19, 2010

When doing an event, from a press conference to an open house or a new product launch, are you using social media to capitalize on it? Social is an inexpensive and cost-effective way to enhance the buzz around what you’re doing. I’m not suggesting that social replace traditional methods, instead use social to enhance them.

I recently read an article on Social Media Explorer.com by Rich Brooks on 12 Ways to Market Your Event with Social Media. Rich makes some good points and here are some highlights:

  • Before the event - Market your event through Twitter. Even consider your own hashtag in all your tweets. If the event is large enough give it its own Twitter account. Use Facebook Events to attract fans. Use LinkedIn groups you belong to to promote the event. If you have a blog, use it to promote it. Forums, talk up your event and its benefits. Tell them about the agenda, speakers, etc.
  • During the event - Use those hashtags to make your event more findable and searchable. If it’s a local or regional event, use Foursquare and Gowalla to promote it by announcing the event, link to a registration form, give updates. If you belong to Forums, talk up the event and its benefits. Live blogging from the event, let people know what they are missing. Share video and photos – a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • After the event - Blog about highlights and possibly interviews with attendees. Post similar comments on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and ask for feedback.

These are some great tips. What are you doing to capitalize on social?

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Social Media Success Story

July 28, 2010

I’ve been talking about the benefits of social media in the B-to-B space now for almost 18 months and yet there are some companies out there that still don’t “get it.”

I wanted to share a success story with you of a traditional trade association, the PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association) and their results from starting a social program a little over a year ago (disclosure: they are a client of ours). These types of associations aren’t very sexy and they have plenty of competition out there for members to help them run their business better.

To better position themselves within the metalworking world as a thought leader and as part of a new business strategy, we recommended they jump on the social media bandwagon.

They did, and the following is an article written by Miles Free (Director of Industry Research and Technology, and principal contributor to their blog, Speaking of Precision) in their monthly magazine to members and potentials advocating they too jump on the social media bus.

PMPA content has been before people who are interested in it over 1,500,000 times in just one year at next to no out-of-pocket cost…

In just one year, we can document over 65,000 page views on PMPA’s Blog, SPEAKINGOFPRECISION.COM.

We’ve used Twitter to help connect people to our Blog content, and we’ve made hundreds of thousands of contacts using that tool. Once a week, one of our selected Blog topics gets uploaded to LinkedIn, where it is seen and shared by over 25,000 people in the machining, medical defense, and aerospace markets that belong to groups on LinkedIn. We can conservatively say that PMPA content has been before people who are interested in it over 1,500,000 times since we started our social networking program a year ago.

And on our blog we’ve posted some pretty good content – our posts on austenitic grain size, welding resulfurized steels, bar straightness, temper color, and material impacts – these all come up on page 1 of Google search results. Often in the top handful of non-paid links.

Page one on Google is the gold standard for information in the information age of today.

These social networking tools have helped us connect with members, potential members, your potential customers, suppliers, and the larger market for Precision Machining. The out-of-pocket expense was very small, trivial really. And the staff time required once we set it up is just a few hours a week.

So why haven’t you picked up these Social Networking Tools You Can Use? We’ve demonstrated that they can create connection, start a conversation, and introduce us to new clientele. Our getting topical page one rankings on Google shows that the knowledge that your shop has is just as likely to command attention in the Marketplace of Ideas online. Certainly you have special capabilities and expertise that when properly shared and targeted can help those people (and companies) who need and want to find you, to connect.

For several years, we’ve been working on the idea of connecting. Our member surveys always show Networking as a highly valued PMPA deliverable. Networking is done by connecting.

We’ve just had a one-year demonstration of what social media tools can do for an industry association. The numbers are as impressive as the costs are low.  We hope that you will follow our experience by using these new tools to connect with tomorrow’s buyers who haven’t yet figured out that you can help them, and won’t take your salesman’s call if he finds them.

Social Media tools make you bigger in your market. The 30,000 people who see a message from us weekly are larger than the few thousands of people who were already in the PMPA “tent.” And they have conversations and network with people with similar wants and needs. Of course you want to reach them!

Consider social networking. Not just an email blats of a newsletter. A blog perhaps or enhancements to your website. At the very least, you need to be on LinkedIn. Join relevant groups. CUSTOMER GROUPS. Industry groups, any group that might conceivably be related to your business. Develop content. Share it weekly with your new Network. Do it now.

From PMPA’s first-year experience, there may be a million and a half or so of your potential followers, customers, and maybe even potential employees out there waiting to find you. And, perhaps, 60,000 or so opportunities to teach those who are really interested in what you might have to say – the stuff that makes you an expert and that they really need to know.  

Social networking. It’s not about selling. It’s about cultivating your market. Connecting. Establishing your expertise. Finding your voice. Being found. Connecting.

Social Networking – it’s Tools You Can Use. Pick your tool. Give it a try.

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Use Twitter to Talk Up Your Brand to Tradesmen

July 14, 2010

If you don’t talk up your brand on Twitter and other social sites, you’re missing the boat.

This according to a recent  post on eMarketer.com from ROI Research. A study in April of 2010 found that at least once a week, 33% of active Twitter users shared opinions about companies or products, while 32% make recommendations and 30% ask for them.

Behavior* of US Twitter Users Since Connecting with  Companies/Products on Twitter, October 2009 & April 2010 (% of  respondents)

According to Daina Middleton, CEO of Performics who commissioned the study “Social networking has greatly contributed to the shift from strict consumerism to more lively, two-way participation between Brands and everyday customers.”

If you like this, you should like:

How to Engage the Professional Tradesmen on Twitter

Awareness of Twitter has Exploded: Great Way to Reach the Professional Tradesmen

Want to Find out if Professional Tradesmen are Active on Twitter?

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How to Find Tradesmen on Twitter

July 7, 2010

Twitter is one of the most useful social media tools we use to drive traffic. For it to be effective, you first need to determine key words and phrases that fit into your space.

Twitter has tools as well as third parties that can help. I recently read an article by Adam Holden-Bache in Social Media B2B where he outlines some tips on fine-tuning your audience searches. Here are some highlights:

  • Determine key words and phrases - Go to Google AdWords Keyword Tool and enter some key words. For example, air conditioning heating gets an average 550,000 monthly hits and 450,000 are local searches
  • Search Twitter by key words - Twitter Advance Search, take what you find on Google and plug into Twitter
  • Optimize tweets for inbound opportunities - Use Google Reader and select Twitter Search Feed. When you click on “show details,” it tells you when most activities are taking place so you know when to Tweet
  • Use Buzzom.com to search Twitter Bios - Search key words that would describe the people that buy your products, such as remodeling contractors
  • Use Twellow.com to search business categories - This is a directory of Twitter accounts and you can search broad categories to identify people who are in the energy market, aerospace or green

These are some great tips. Do you have any to share?

If you like this article, you may like:

How to Engage the Professional Tradesmen on Twitter

Awareness of Twitter has Exploded: Great Way to Reach the Professional Tradesmen

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50 Power Twitter Tips to Help B-to-B Marketers

July 1, 2010

Twitter is often one of the most misunderstood and underutilized social media tools. I use it all the time and it’s one of the best lead generators for my blog.

Chris Brogan, one of the industry’s gurus, has put together a list of tips that I thought would be useful, so here they are:

Intent (Human Artist)

  1. Don’t read EVERY tweet. It’s perfectly okay. You have permission.
  2. Follow anyone who follows you (and unfollow spammers/jerks).
  3. Promote other people 12x to every 1 self-promotional tweet.
  4. Build lists to watch people who matter to you more closely.
  5. Retweet the good stuff from others. Sharing is caring.
  6. A lot of @replies shows a lot of humanity/engagement.
  7. Robot tweets are less sexy than human tweets.
  8. Promote the new/less followed more than the “names.”
  9. Set an egg timer. Twitter is addictive.
  10. Everyone does it their own way. You’re doing it wrong, too – to someone.

Technical

  1. A non-standard background and face avatar means we believe you may be human.
  2. Leave 20 characters or more space in each tweet to improve retweeting.
  3. Use Seesmic or Tweetdeck or Hootsuite so you can see more.
  4. Linking one update to several communities is technically possible. It’s just not respectful of each community’s uniqueness.
  5. Tools like http://bit.ly let you see stats. Use them.
  6. Make hashtags small and simple. We need room to tweet.
  7. If software allows you to “post updates to Twitter” as well as to the app, don’t do that. We rarely want to see them.
  8. If you develop software that pushes updates to Twitter, be VERY explicit how that works.
  9. Every time you use OAUTH to give apps permission to use your account, you open a potential security hole. Check your permissions monthly.
  10. The best mobile app is the one that you feel comfortable using. We don’t know better.

Business

  1. Spamming us repeatedly is okay. We just unfollow you.
  2. Spend more time in search than in chatting us up about your stuff.
  3. Finding people who need what you’re selling trumps advertising to us.
  4. Retweeting someone’s nice words about you is lame and doesn’t buy you more attention. Let it stand.
  5. If your link is an affiliate link or a client, say so (in parentheses).
  6. Your customers might not be on Twitter. Use rapleaf to find them.
  7. Invite your customers to Twitter, then make it worth it for them.
  8. Use Twitter as a personalized communication tool, not another blast.
  9. Having different accounts for everything seems like the right move, until you realize it’s hard to grow multiple followings.
  10. Just make money and then the boss won’t ask about ROI any more.

Integrated Usage

  1. Twitter makes every event better. Post the hashtag everywhere. Make every speaker sign/label/name include a Twitter ID.
  2. Apps like TweetChat.com make following event chats really easy. Put in a hashtag and go.
  3. Tweeting the content of events is nice, but so is occasionally making a real live connection with the speaker.
  4. It’s okay to tweet your blog posts, but try asking a question that leads readers into the post.
  5. Can you invite Twitter followers to your other social platforms, like LinkedIn or Facebook? Sure you can.
  6. I’m not into mixing my location apps with my tweets, but if you do, do it FROM the location app into Twitter, not the other way around.
  7. Getting others to tweet your posts or news or registrations is useful, but sometimes comes off as a barrage or spam. Be prepared for that perception.
  8. Tweets that point us to photos and/or video and/or music, etc., are always a great way to enhance the experience.
  9. Please remove Twitter from LinkedIn. Use the #in tag instead and be selective.
  10. Spammy or no, events that tweet their attendance registration seem to drive attendance.

Off-Twitter

  1. Are your tweets really what you want to show in your sidebar? Doesn’t that direct people away from your site?
  2. Think of Twitter as a guidance system to what you think is interesting. A lot of that is likely off-Twitter.
  3. Apps like VisibleTweets.com are neat, but can be very distracting at events.
  4. If you use tweets on a screen at an event, be warned if you moderate. Angry crowds can happen.
  5. Don’t forget to invite people from off-Twitter to follow you on Twitter. Include your actual Twitter ID (I see lots of “follow me on Twitter” with no details).
  6. Asking questions on Twitter makes for very interesting commentary and opinions for blog posts.
  7. Tweetups are awesome, especially if you make them about more than just drinking and saying hi. (Though, hey, drinks can be nice.)
  8. Outside of the Twitter app, keep “Tw” names to a minimum. We’re not your “tweeps.”
  9. If your only marketing efforts are on Twitter, start building an email marketing list. Never put your eggs in one basket.
  10. Start thinking in 120 characters (remember? save 20). Every bit of this advice is tweetable.

Your mileage may vary. Some of these might be really helpful and others might not be that useful at all, given your own situations. In fact, feel free to make your own version, add and subtract at will, and comment on where you disagree or agree. It’s all up for discussion. Besides, you’re doing it wrong.

If you like this article, you might enjoy:

How to Engage the Professional Tradesmen on Twitter

Awareness of Twitter has Exploded: Great Way to Reach the Professional Tradesmen

B-to-B Marketers: Tips on How to Optimize Twitter

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How to Engage the Professional Tradesmen on Twitter

June 10, 2010

I don’t know why people are afraid of Twitter. Most of the world suffers from ADD anyway and wants something short and to the point. Politicians use the 10 second sound bit all the time to grab our attention. Do you know why? Because it works! 10 seconds isn’t a lot of time, so they give us one idea to think about.

Twitter is the ideal platform to state your case and engage your reader. I recently read a post by Cindy King on Social Media Examiner, 12 Tips to Engage People on Twitter, and wanted to share her thoughts. Here are 6 of my favorites:

  1. Publish Something Useful - Sounds trite but true. Give a fresh perspective to the conversation and see what happens.
  2. Retweet to Acknowledge Others - This gives them reach and starts the viral effect we all want.
  3. Answer Other People’s Tweets - You can’t get engaged until someone starts a conversation.
  4. Ask for Help - Tell people what you’re looking for and you might be surprised as to what comes back.
  5. Introduce Yourself to New Followers - Make it personal, after all, that’s what social is all about.
  6. Say Thank You - If someone acknowledges you or retweets your message, say thanks. Beyond being a common courtesy, it starts to build a relationship.

Those are some of the ways I try to engage my followers.

What are some of the ways you use Twitter?

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