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.
By now you’ve surely seen the odd looking graphics that have been popping up everywhere- on websites, business cards, signs, postcards, promotional products and even vehicles (I was driving behind a van the other day with a huge QR code on the back window).
If you haven’t seen one, you definitely will. QR (Quick Response) codes have been around for a while but have become more in vogue in the last year due in part to the proliferation of smart phones. You can take a picture of a QR code with your smart phone or mobile device that has a QR code reader application (which you can easily download for free on your phone). The QR reader allows your phone or mobile device to do something- such as show a video, visit a website, and display a message or coupon or contact information.
QR code generators are also available. Just google “create QR codes free” and you’ll get hundreds from which to choose. Many of the generators are very simple to use and will create a code from a URL (such as your website address). They will usually also give you the option of saving the code as a picture and emailing it to yourself. Many of these QR generator sites are affilated with promotional products and printing companies so that you can have products or paper materials printed with your new QR code. We created the QR code for this post using one of the free services we found on the web.
You may have heard that QR codes are the future and you may have also been feeling a vague uneasiness that your business should also be using these for… something. So, how can they be used and how can you take advantage of this technology for your business?
Send people to your social media profiles or blog
If you have an attractive and interactive website with constantly updated information, then send people there with your QR code. However, if your website isn’t much more than an online business card, why not send them to your Facebook page, Twitter account or blog site? That way, they can become fans or followers and get your updated news and information (as often as you update, anyway).
Add one on your business cards or other printed materials
Put a little excitement into your business card or flyer by adding a QR code that links to a YouTube video showcasing your products or services. Or maybe link it to a special page on your website that shows a discount coupon or promotional code.
Print one on promotional giveaways for your next trade show
Many promotional products companies are printing items with QR codes. People who pick up one of your trade show giveaways may be more inclined to take a second look at your business if they know the QR code will allow them to enter a raffle (as long as they provide their email address, of course).
Put one in your window
If you have a storefront or office, consider putting a QR code in your window. When you’re closed, people may take a minute to scan the code while they’re walking by and find out more about your products, services, specials and promotions.
Some of these options may require you to work with your website developer in order to create a new web page or raffle entry form that collects email addresses, etc. However, you are only limited by your creativity and budget.
QR codes have many more applications and uses than detailed above, and it’s probably safe to say that businesses will think of even more in the years to come.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a devastating disease to many people around the world and seriously impacts not only those who have the disease but also their families and friends, including the Mediavine Marketing family.
World MS Day was started in May 2009 and its founders describe it as an opportunity to raise awareness about MS and to strengthen the network of people living with MS across the world. This year, World MS Day was observed on May 25, 2011, and in just 3 years, its message has spread around the globe through the use of social media.
Special Observance Days such as World MS Day give businesses, organizations and individuals the ability to highlight their passions and causes while also increasing their own visibility. This is nothing new, of course. Businesses have been promoting charities and causes for a very long time. What is fairly new, however, is the myriad of opportunities that small businesses and organizations have to promote causes. This year, Facebook users were able to add a World MS Day badge to their profile photos. Videos about MS and World MS Day were made and spread through YouTube and other video sharing sites. MS organizations such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society promoted the day on Twitter and Facebook.
One of the ways that your small business or organization can engage with current and potential customers in social media is to promote the causes that you truly care about. It’s a good practice to determine which causes you want to promote and find out when they have special days or events such as golf outings and charity events. Set up a calendar and then post about these events on all of your social media accounts. You’ll find people who care about the same things and they’ll notice that your business cares, too. You may even find that some of your favorite causes will in turn promote you back! Of course, remember to be authentic instead of opportunistic and promote the causes that truly matter to you or your staff.
Did you know that we are losing our World War II veterans at the rate of about 1,000 per day? Did you also know that the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. wasn’t opened until 2004? That means that since the average age of WW II veterans is 88, most of them have not had the opportunity to see their own memorial.
Honor Flight Chicago is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring Chicago’s WWII veterans with an all-expense paid trip to Washington DC for a day of honor to see their Memorial and other locations such as the Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Memorial. The veterans spend an event-filled and emotion-packed day flying from Chicago’s Midway Airport via Southwest Airlines to Washington, D.C. When they return to Chicago, the veterans are given a hero’s greeting by several thousand cheering and grateful people. It is an incredible day for everyone involved.
Each flight to Washington D.C. is funded by donations from foundations, corporations, individuals and other groups who wish to help honor these heroes and recognize the urgency to get veterans to see their memorial before it is too late. No government funding is received.
Although Honor Flight Chicago exists to help veterans in their 80’s and 90’s, they take a very current approach to spreading awareness. Their active Facebook page has over 3,000 fans and people write on their wall to express their thanks and post photos, ask questions about how to get involved, find out the status of upcoming flights or inquire about how to get their veteran relative on the flight waiting list. YouTube is peppered with videos of veterans enjoying the day in Washington as well as the welcome home celebrations in Chicago. Numerous blogs such as this one have been written about the organization and the impact it has made on our remaining veterans and their families. Social media often gets a bad reputation as a place of self-promotion and random utterances. In the case of Honor Flight Chicago, social media has become a valuable way to spread the world and help out some very deserving heroes.
Here’s a video that explains a little more about Honor Flight Chicago, taken on May 11 at Chicago’s Midway Airport after the veterans had returned home. We had the honor of talking to Bill Wolf, the Illinois VFW State Commander, about his experience as a guardian on the flight.