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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5 Ways to Find Prospects on Twitter

July 16, 2009

twitter-birdFinding your  best prospective client online audience is not yet an exact science. But for now you can be in the right ballpark. The same is true regarding Twitter. There are plenty of search applications out there, but all have their limitations. The following five sites have been the most helpful to me in locating prospective client “tweeps” to follow.

1. Twitter Search – Twitter’s built-in people search is the easiest place to start, but isn’t necessarily the best way to find people on Twitter. Twitter Search is much better, especially using their advanced search page. Be sure and check out their search operations pages for some handy examples for your search query.

2. Twellow – Is an excellent search tool for prospective clients with over 6.2 million Twitter user profiles now indexed in Twellow and placed into a huge number of categories. You can search the entire lot of profiles, or confine searches to a single category. Twellow also operates a local directory called the “Twellowhood.”

3. Tweepz – Allows you limited searches to specific parts of Twitter’s user information (such as name, bio and location). Through the advanced search filter results by follower/following numbers, location, and other extracted terms, enhances your search results.

4Twitterel –  You can search for prospective clients to follow by doing keyword searches of tweets. This service can update you by email, direct message, or @reply when it finds new people it thinks you might be interested in following. It’s similar to Google Alerts.

5. WeFollow – Is a Twitter user directory that organizes people by hashtags. WeFollow is user-generated and anyone can add themselves by tweeting @wefollow with three #hashtags that describe them.

If you have helpful search sites/directories that have been helpful to you, please share them in the comment section below.

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What’s Your Grade on Twitter?

July 15, 2009

twittergraderSocial media is trying to be taken seriously, and in late 2008 came out with several tools to measure the effectiveness of Twitter. Two of the more popular tools are Twitter Grader (I scored 97.6 out of 100) and Twinfluence (I scored 98 out of 100).

How much credibility do you put into these type tools? I use them as a guidepost to make sure I keep on track.

It makes me:

  • Check my network to get rid of non-contributing (spammers) followers.
  • Re-evaluate my end game to make sure you’re still on target. You want to search for like-minded people (in my case, those looking to talk to tradesmen). You’re not looking for the biggest list of followers; you’re looking for the right ones!
  • To make sure my messages are timely and rich in content for my target audience.

Twitter Grader bases its score on the number of followers you have, the power of your network, the frequency of your updates and how complete your profile is.

Twinfluence bases its criteria on Reach (what’s the maximum number of people that could get your tweet),Velocity (how fast are you adding followers), Social Capital (how many followers do your followers have) and Centralization (how dependent are you on a small number of followers who have big followings).

You may or may not agree on the metrics, but at least it’s a start. If it does nothing else but make you stop and evaluate your program at a 30,000-foot level, it has served a purpose.

So what are you waiting for? What’s your score?

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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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Two Ways You Can Get the Most Out of Your Blog Posts to B-to-B Marketers

June 25, 2009

blogpost1Beyond those who have signed up for your blog and those that reach you through organic searches, here are two ways I drive people to my blog.

1. Twitter. One of the applications, Tweetlater, allows you to pre-program when and what you want to tweet. I schedule tweets every hour during the business day and have got tremendous action. Twitter is by far my best source for page views.

2. LinkedIn Groups. One of the great advantages of LinkedIn, in my opinion, is that it’s more of a business site and you can join groups of like-minded folks. For example, I belong to the Industrial Marketing Mavens, E-Marketing Association and Sustainable Construction Groups. Each week I go up and post what I think is a relative subject to that audience under the news section. I get great feedback from them. I also use the group’s discussion option to get feedback on questions or issues.

We even put together a media schedule so we know what’s tweeting when and what posts were put onto LinkedIn. This gives us another way of monitoring what’s bringing  in the best results.

These are some ways I try to maximize my posts. I’d like to hear yours.

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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%


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