We often talk to B2B owners and CMOs who are thinking about funneling some of their marketing budget into social media. Many times, their main objection is the belief, either substantiated or not, that their potential customers do not use social media or would not think to look for their products/services on social media. Certainly, there are times when this is quite true today. If you have determined that your target demographic is 82+ years (that’s an actual best demographic for the hearing aid industry), you may have a point. And there are other demographics and industries where using social media won’t net you a lot of results today. But we like to think about the future.
Consider what Shiv Singh, Global Head of Digital for PepsiCo Beverages, has to say about social media when discussing Oracle’s acquisition of Vitrue and Salesforce’s acquisition Buddy Media: “No more is it (social media) something separate, disconnected, cute and experimental. It has just moved to the heart of all marketing efforts, and the stock price movements of Facebook will not change that. Social Media Marketing is on scale and needs to be at the heart of your marketing efforts right now.”
Investing time and energy into developing relevant and useful content and a large digital network now is preparing for your future. Pulling people to your website now by offering them something to read or watch on a regular basis is planting the seed for a later time. Just as in face-to-face business networking, you do not know where that initial Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook contact or posted article will lead down the line. The content that you place on your website and share out through your social media network doesn’t get thrown in the trash like a postcard. It remains to be found by your potential customers, today or in the future. They may even have to catch up to you. But you’ll be there already.
As we have discussed in previous posts, the key to success in B2B social media is the development and sharing of content that will appeal to your target market. When we work with new B2B clients, we always have an in-depth discussion about content and these critical questions:
1. What type of original content do you already have? Articles, videos, radio show, infographics, presentations, photos, testimonials, whitepapers
2. What type of content will appeal to your target market?
3. What type of original (developed by you) content will be developed on an ongoing basis?
4. Who will be developing the content? A staff member, the owner, a group of people, Mediavine Marketing?
5. What other content can be used to supplement your original content?
6. How often will the original content be developed?
7. Where will the content be placed initially? The website, YouTube, a trade publication?
8. Where will the content be shared? LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, social bookmarking sites, etc.
9. Will others be able to share the content as well? In other words, is your website set up to allow comments and sharing of your content?
Once we have established the who, what, when, where and why of content, we inevitably start discussing the details of developing content. Many B2B companies really struggle with this, and understandably so. Most of us will not acquire legions of raving fans who are waiting breathlessly for our next product or announcement.
So, what do we B2B companies share out there? How about thinking in terms of “edutainment”?
We’ve adapted the term “edutainment” from the educational world, but we think it applies well to social media. Edutainment is designed in order to keep people interested and engaged, and the goal is to provide some valuable knowledge to the target market by keeping them engaged with entertaining content. It doesn’t have to be hilarious and earth- shattering, but it does need to be interesting and/or useful enough to encourage further exploration of your digital profiles and even an email opt-in or phone call. Articles/blog posts should have targeted and interesting titles, and the articles themselves need to be written in a more conversational, less “whitepaper-ish” tone. Videos, rather than the “salesly”, long and over-produced showcases of yesterday, should be shorter, authentic and address a “pain point” or offer a way to solve a problem. Think about showing your prospective clients what their success would look like if they work with you. Help them visualize how they would achieve their goals with a short presentation or an infographic.
We have found from experience that edutainment may be the thing that keeps you in your prospects’ minds longer than anything else you have on your website. What do you think about the idea of using “edutainment” for B2B social media?
If you make quite a few presentations like I do, your old stand-by has been PowerPoint. Of course, everyone says that a presentation isn’t about the PowerPoint, it’s about the presenter and the information. That is true, but in this day of YouTube and Instragram, PowerPoint just doesn’t have that WOW factor anymore.
So now we have Prezi (www.prezi.com). Prezi is web-based (cloud) software that allows you to design an interactive presentation, easily including images and video with an impact that you have to see for yourself. “Prezis”, as they are called, combine embedded media such as images, video and audio with text, color and movement to create a dynamic and interesting presentation experience. The zoomable in-and-out canvas provides the potential to keep most of your audience awake and engaged.
Like any tool, Prezi is what you make of it. Just as there are “bad” PowerPoint presentations, I am certain that there can be “bad” Prezis.
The Prezi website has several demos that are fun to explore and see the possibilities. Just what exactly Prezi is and isn’t is hard to describe in words, so have a look.
This video, which is a recorded Prezi, provides a great overview.
Recently during a SXSW (South by Southwest) panel, Matt Cutts, who is the head of Google’s search spam team (now there’s a one-of-a-kind job), spoke about Google’s new focus on websites that are “too optimized” for SEO. He explained that Google is working on an algorithm update that will penalize websites that “throw too many keywords on the page, exchange way too many links, whatever they’re doing to go beyond what a normal person would expect”. Cutts also said that those sites site owners who will be penalized are “all those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site(s). We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it…”
For small business owners, the next quote by Cutts speaks to the frustration of many who are trying to get our websites found. ”Are you pretty much out of luck if you’re not optimizing your site but it has relevant content? If I’m a mom or pop and I’m trying to optimize a site by myself, I’m going to get beat by people paying thousands of dollars.”
“Make a site that’s useful. Make a site that’s interesting.”
As an antidote, Cutts also said something that we business owners and leaders should note: “Make a compelling site. Make a site that’s useful. Make a site that’s interesting. Make a site that’s relevant to people’s interests… We’re always trying to best approximate if a user lands on a page if they are going to be annoyed… All of the changes we make are designed to approximate, if a user lands on your page, just how happy they are going to be with what they’re going to get.”
If you’re working with an SEO company and you’re not exactly sure what tactics they are using, ask them. What you don’t want is an SEO company that is stuffing your pages with keywords, building back-links aggressively and doing other “black hat” sorts of activities. SEO is still useful for making sure that your website is easily “crawlable” and that you do have good and targeted keywords on your site, among other things. However, for most SMBs, I believe that an important takeaway from Mr. Cutts’ statements is that we need to create and post good content that we know our readers will want.
If your strategy lately has been to add interesting and relevant content to your site on a regular basis, then you’re probably ahead of a lot of your competitors. If that hasn’t been your strategy, now is the time to start.
Today’s post is from guest writer Kyle Lagunas. Kyle is the HR Analyst at Software Advice, a resource for selecting a talent management or an applicant tracking system. Kyle reports on trends and best practices in HR and recruiting software—offering fresh insights into the ho-hum of people processes.
Qualified candidates are regularly overlooked, and for the simplest of reasons: they didn’t plug the right combo of buzzwords into their resumes. Candidates are taking things into their own hands. In an attempt to circumvent the keyword-laden resume game, job seekers are adopting a more creative approach to captivating recruiters. Rather than dropping the resume altogether, the trend seems to be more focused on breaking away from over-automation and a return to the heart of what makes a good hire. In short, they’re using elements of multimedia—video, infographics, and social media—to bring their resumes to life.
While there are certain guidelines that you should always follow when submitting a resume regardless of mode of delivery, there are a couple of multimedia elements a candidate can tap into to get that extra oomph into his resume:
1. Adding a Face and Voice with Video. By replacing a cover letter with a quick video pitch, job seekers can showcase skills and abilities lost in translation in a traditional resume. As Bruce Hurwitz of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing says, “Video can increase my confidence in a candidate’s ability to successfully interview–Is she professional? Is she articulate?–or eliminate a candidate from consideration.” Of course, time is money, and candidates need to give recruiters a reason to keep watching. My advice: personality is great, but don’t get too cute. Balance is key.
2. Bringing Flat Resumes to Life with Infographics. Breaking out of the traditional resume template isn’t easy without a degree in design. But presenting a recruiter with a more visually stimulating overview of experience and qualifications can go a long way in setting a candidate apart. Thankfully, it doesn’t take an Adobe Illustrator savant to turn a boring old resume into an interesting infographic. Not only are these easy to create, but they’re easy to share across multiple channels.
3. Showing Off with Blogs and Personal Sites. Blogs are an excellent platform for candidates to showcase their hobbies, writing and communication skills, and general interests. Think they’re just for marketing candidates? Think again. Even a meat cutter at Whole Foods can run a successful butcher blog to establish expertise and share experience with an avid audience.And who said blogs are just for writing? Techies can demonstrate their ability to build WordPress templates, too, or simply prove they know how to find and add plug-ins to build websites. And candidates for and candidates for artistic positions can showcase their portfolio of work.