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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Want to Find Out if Professional Tradesmen are Active with Social Media?

June 2, 2010

If you’re reading this blog, then it would be safe to say that you aren’t asking the “why” or “should” we be using social media. What you’re looking for are ways to answer the “where” and “how.”

Companies should follow, not lead their customers in the social media arena. I read a post recently from Jay Baer, one of social media’s thought leaders, Four Ways to Find Out if Your Customers are Active With Social Media, and I thought I’d share some of the highlights:

  • Hire a Spy – There are companies out there that track down your customers and see what they are on and to what level (scary thought). Flowtown and Rapleaf are two of the leaders.
  • Ask – It’s too obvious, isn’t it? In your regular business conversations, ask if they are active. If you have an online lead generation form, add data fields for LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
  • E-mail Behavior – Add links to your social outposts in your e-mails.
  • Gmail Stalking – Twitter, Facebook and other outposts have incorporated a function that allows you to see if they are using their services and invite them to connect with you.

If you like this post, you might like:

How B-to-B Marketers Can Make Good Use Out of Facebook Fan Pages.

Follow Companies on Twitter: Keep Tabs on Your Competition or Customers.

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3 Facebook Tips to Protect Your Privacy

March 11, 2010

If you use your Facebook account for strictly business, then what I’m about to share won’t be as important.

Facebook, one of the fastest growing social networks, has become one of the fastest growing forums for embarrassing photos, awkward wall posts and uncomfortable sharing. Would you show your boss those pictures from last weekend or your opinion about the new office policy? Probably not, so why have it open to everyone on Facebook? Employers and schools are now monitoring Facebook and most people aren’t protecting themselves correctly.

Below are 3 basic privacy setting tips that will help you protect yourself on Facebook:

1. Use Facebook Friend Lists

Lists are by far the most important and coolest compliment to privacy settings on Facebook, and surprisingly, most people don’t use them. Friend lists allow you to group your friends together by category. For example, I have a Work, Professional Associations, Close Friends, Family and Other lists. These lists allow you to view friends by their list category on your feed and allow you to specify different privacy policies. For example, I want my close friends to see my wall posts, but I do not want my work or associations to.

To create lists:

  1. Go to the “Friend tab” on the left side of your home page
  2. On the next page, there will be a “Create List” tab in the top right corner
  3. You simply decide on a name and select the friends you wish to be in that list

To hide an element of your profile from a specific list:

  1. Go to Facebook privacy settings and choice which element you wish to conceal (make sure you go through each element).

For example, in the Profile Information there is “About me,” “Personal Info,” “Birthday,” etc.

  1. In the tabs on the right, pick “Custom”
  2. Type the name of this list in “Hide From” section

2. Protect Your Photos/Videos

Photos/videos can be some of the most incriminating elements on Facebook. Photos/videos are also something you don’t want to share with just anyone. For safety as well as avoiding embarrassing moments, you need to protect your photos/videos.

First, you want to make sure you protect the photos/videos you upload. On the upload page there is a privacy box. You can again choose “Custom” and select who to “Hide From” the album.

Second, you want to protect yourself from photos/videos others upload of you.

You cannot control someone tagging you in an album. You can detag yourself, but there is no way to prevent it initially. One way to ensure you do not have to explain a video or photo to a boss is to just ensure they cannot see any of your photos/videos.

  1. Go into privacy settings
  2. Under profile information, go to photos and videos of me
  3. Hit “Custom” and select who to “Hide From” the album

3. Search For Me On Facebook

When someone types in your name, what do you want them to be able to see? Facebook’s default search settings may surprise you and you definitely want to go in and modify them for your own personal preferences.

To change who can search for you:

  1. Go to Facebook privacy settings
  2. Go to the “Search” tab and choose who can find you

On the same page, there is a box “Public Search Results.” Having this checked allows search engines to access your publicly available information and any information you sent to everyone. By unchecking this, your Facebook page will not show up in search engines. Search engines can be a great tool to direct people to your page and another way for people to contact you, but if you are using Facebook as a private site used just to connect to friends, I would advise you to uncheck the box.

Conclusion

By going through each element of these tips, you can protect yourself from hackers or just embarrassing, awkward moments with co-workers. One of the most important things to remember though, is that to avoid embarrassing things being broadcast about you is to avoid doing the embarrassing thing!

If you can’t avoid that, at least make yourself aware of the settings available on all social sites to protect your privacy.


Don’t Overlook The Power of Facebook For Driving B-to-B Applications

February 17, 2010

Even though social media will not replace search marketing, it is still a strong contender when it comes to both traffic and brand loyalty. According to Chris Crum, WebProNews recently covered a study from Chitika which found that Facebook was the most valuable social media tool for driving repeat readers to content sites. The study considered you a loyal user if you went to a site 4 or more times a week, and Facebook led the pack with 20% of all visitors. While the likes of Google will certainly outpace you in sheer numbers, Facebook’s popularity offers you the value added of them probably seeing your info on that page because of the frequency of them checking it. Chris’s insights and suggestions are worth the read.

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You Should Know the “Why” Before the “How” If You’re Going to Jump Into Social Media

October 7, 2009

whyandhowI recently put on a Webinar on how social media could be used by B-to-B, and one of the most common questions is what tools should I use? Should I concentrate on Facebook, LinkedIn or is Twitter the best for me? When I ask them why are they doing social media, I get a silent pause. One of the first things we talk about is the “Why” you want to participate in the social media scene. If you can’t answer the Why, then the How doesn’t matter. Don’t get into social because you think it’s cool or that this will be the “silver bullet” that will save your business. You need to treat social like any other marketing program. Define expectations and outcomes. Adopt a phased approach to meet these business objectives. Here are some questions to answer to better understand your goals:

  • Why are  you participating?
  • How can social media improve your customer relations?
  • Can social media help you build/reinforce your brand?
  • Do your current customers use social and which sites do they frequent?
  • How do you define success?
  • What kind of metrics are you going to set in place to monitor your success?
  • How can social media help you gain more knowledge?
  • What kind of social media policy do you have in place?

Like any other program, success is based on developing a plan and then implementing it. If you want to be cool and hip, do your homework and you’ll find out that people respond when you have a plan.

What are your thoughts?

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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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