Social & Mobile Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:19:32 -0500 DGR en-gb Lee Odden Makes A Case For Influencer Marketing At #B2BMX Lee Odden Makes A Case For Influencer Marketing At #B2BMX

lee odden square 2If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re not using influencer marketing as part of your overall strategy, you may be missing out on a lot of opportunities. The practice has really taken off in the B2C landscape, and it’s time for B2B marketers to follow suit.

Lee Odden will make a case for influencer marketing during his session at the B2B Marketing Exchange. His company, TopRank Marketing, just released an influencer study, which he will discuss at the event. But we caught up with Odden a few days before B2BMX to get some more insights into why influencer marketing is crucial and how content plays a critical role in its success. 

Demand Gen Report: Can you give us a glimpse of what you will be discussing during your session at B2BMX?

Lee Odden: [My presentation] is driven mostly by some of the findings in our research report which surveyed 102 enterprise marketers in the U.S. and UK about their use of influencer marketing. We found there is some interesting disconnect in B2B. One particular disconnect was that B2B is very much behind B2C when it comes to influencer marketing.

B2B companies have a shorter term transactional view of influencer marketing. They implement disconnected campaigns with virtually no effort to maintain relationships with those influencers in between when they need them. While this isn’t a big problem for the influencers, it is a problem for B2B companies that want to differentiate and have a competitive advantage. Because when they don’t maintain those relationships, they’re leaving those influencers open to being engaged by others. They’re leaving those opportunities freely available to anyone else who is going to make the investment, effort and time to develop legitimate or real relationship with influencers.

The pain point is lost opportunity for B2B marketers who are tactical and not strategic, or don’t view working with influencers for the long run.

DGR: How does content play a role in successful influencer marketing strategies?

LO: The ROI of influencer relationships is through content. The way we’re making money is with content. The differentiator—and this might seem obvious—is that there’s a lot of nuance and execution. Everyone does content, social and SEO, but where the rubber really hits the road is in the ability to understand nuance. When it comes to monitoring influencer relationships, the nuance is how capable or effective you can be at creating or co-creating content with influencers. So, rather than identifying people based on their topical authority and their fame, what we’re thinking is to create a content plan and then add influencers like ingredients. We think about the relationships we already have and our content plan is mapped to topical authority and customer journey. Content drives influencer engagement and is what strengthens the relationship with influencers because the content is an experience you create. What could we do to architect the content plan first and then find the most relevant people to include in that content and be clever about the way we engage with them? The experience not only gives us the content we want for demand gen efforts or thought leadership, but it’s also an amazing experience for that person. And they advocate for the brand as a result of that great experience. But most companies don’t bother with that.

DGR: How can B2B marketers find relevant influencers for their business?

LO: One of the first and most important questions a B2B company can ask is who are their top influencers. When you ask executives, PR, marketing people or people active in the industry that question, they’ll give you some kind of answer. That oftentimes can be a good starting point. That’s not the science, it’s just intuitive. But then you bring those ideas of names and bring them into a platform that’s essentially an influencer search engine. In B2B, it’s really more about DIY platforms. You can use something simple and Twitter-specific like Little Bird or BuzzSumo, or you can use something a little more sophisticated or blogger-centric like GroupHigh, which has an amazing search engine of blogs and authors of those blogs.

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) Industry Insights Wed, 15 Feb 2017 11:35:11 -0500
Top Data Challenges Social Advertisers Face Top Data Challenges Social Advertisers Face

As marketers continue to test and measure how their database can better their business decisions, social advertisers face some challenges—including a lack of internal technical expertise and capabilities to normalize social data. This infographic from Unified highlights key findings from a recent study that revealed pain points among social advertisers as they try to leverage data more effectively in their marketing initiatives.

]]> (Brian Anderson) Infographics Wed, 08 Feb 2017 10:04:18 -0500
Study: B2B Influencer Marketing Has Yet To Reach Full Potential Study: B2B Influencer Marketing Has Yet To Reach Full Potential

influencer placeitInfluencer marketing may be one of the most beneficial, yet underutilized strategies in B2B marketing, according to a new study from Traackr, Altimeter Group and TopRank Marketing. Research shows that 15% of B2B companies are currently running ongoing influencer programs, compared to 55% of marketers in B2C companies.

The report, titled: Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing, is based on a survey taken by 102 marketers between Aug. 24, 2016 and Sept. 28, 2016 from brands such as Microsoft, American Express, 3M and Amazon Web Services.

The survey found that almost half (43%) of respondents said their brand is experimenting with influencer programs, and 28% are utilizing the approach on an individual campaign basis. Yet, less than a quarter (24%) are running “always on” influencer programs, while just 5% have leveraged influencers in all aspects of their marketing.

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • Half of the respondents reported low influencer marketing budgets;
  • 55% of marketers plan to spend more on influencer campaigns next year;
  • Half of those surveyed said four or more departments within their companies engage with influencers now; and
  • 94% cited “improve brand advocacy” as a top goal for their influencer initiatives, followed by “expand brand awareness (92%) and “reach new targeted audiences” (88%).
]]> (Klaudia Tirico) News Briefs Tue, 07 Feb 2017 18:22:51 -0500
Crimson Hexagon Partners With Domo To Streamline Social Media Analysis Crimson Hexagon Partners With Domo To Streamline Social Media Analysis

crimson imageCrimson Hexagon, an enterprise social media analytics company, has announced an integration with the business optimization platform Domo. The companies said the partnership will enable users to analyze social media data alongside other business data, including sales, financial and website analytics — providing a holistic view of market opportunity.

The integration will help users analyze what customers say publicly on social media and how they act beyond that. Crimson Hexagon’s connector adds social media insights into users’ existing workflows on the Domo platform, according to the companies.

“Crimson Hexagon’s integration with Domo gives enterprises another layer of analytics and insights to inform strategic business decision-making with real-time, actionable data from the world’s largest focus group: social media,” said Errol Apostolopoulos, SVP of Product at Crimson Hexagon, in a statement. “The partnership means deeper insights into their customers’ opinions, behaviors and preferences.”

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) News Briefs Mon, 16 Jan 2017 08:00:00 -0500
Oktopost Launches Content Curation Tool With Feedly Oktopost Launches Content Curation Tool With Feedly

1feedlyOktopost, a B2B social media management platform announced an app integration with news aggregator Feedly to create a content curation tool.

The companies said the collaboration enables users to connect Oktopost to their Feedly accounts to enhance content discovery and sharing with custom RSS feeds, giving them the ability to discover and share new content ideas and gain social media visibility and engagement. It will also allow users to track shared articles for clicks and conversions.

“We are proud to announce the addition of Oktopost to our App center,” said Edwin Khodabakchian, CEO of Feedly, in a statement. “With the addition of Oktopost, we are able to make the world of Feedly and RSS more accessible to B2B marketers, who understand the importance of content curation in the world of data-driven marketing.”

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) News Briefs Thu, 29 Dec 2016 16:29:26 -0500
Oktopost Partners With Twitter For Social Content Insights Oktopost Partners With Twitter For Social Content Insights

OktopostOktopost image, a B2B social media management platform, announced it has partnered with Twitter to provide marketers social engagement data with their brand and content.

Oktopost’s social media management platform offers services such as social listening, content curation and social advocacy. With Oktopost Twitter Insights, users can collect relevant data on how prospective buyers are engaging with their content on Twitter; measure ROI; and connect that information to CRM and marketing automation platforms, according to the company.

“We are able to see an accurate metric on how our audience is engaging with our content,” said Paige Musto, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing at Act-On Software, an Oktopost customer. “This allows us to create better-tailored content based on precise audience interests.”

]]> (Brian Anderson) News Briefs Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:35:35 -0500
SugarCRM Debuts Facebook Leads Integration SugarCRM Debuts Facebook Leads Integration

SugarCRM has released Facebook Leads Integration to enable automation between Facebook’s Lead Ads offering and customers. The integration will allow customers to connect with their preferred ads and offers, while making it easy for businesses to receive leads in real time, according to the company. 

Facebook Leads Integration is designed to streamline the sign-up process for users by automatically generating contact information — such as email addresses and phone numbers — submitted by people via social networks, SugarCRM said.

The integration also enables users to directly important leads generated via Facebook advertising into their CRM instead of being shared in a CSV file, according to the company. This will also allow companies to find new prospects on Facebook that match their ideal customer profile and target them through the Lead Ads format.

Additionally, SugarCRM stated that the technology will enable companies to customize Lead Ad forms with open and multiple choice questions in order for them to receive relevant information from users. 

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) News Briefs Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:37:43 -0500
5 Ways To Avoid The Unfollow Button With Your B2B Social Media Strategy 5 Ways To Avoid The Unfollow Button With Your B2B Social Media Strategy

My normal morning ritual may sound familiar to some people: I pour myself a cup of coffee, look at my email and check out my social feeds to see what is trending. Every so often I find myself unfollowing companies and individuals due to a variety of factors, and I always wondered if people felt the same way I do when someone direct messages me with a “CAN’T MISS OPPORTUNITY!”

In a recent study from Sprout Social, over 1,000 social media users shared their thoughts on what makes them follow — and unfollow — brands on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Here are my five takeaways that can help get the discussion going about how social media is leveraged in your business.

1) Find a Balance Of Education & Promotion

Forty-six percent of respondents noted that the biggest reason why they unfollowed a brand was because they were receiving “too many promotional messages.” Since social media channels were intentionally designed for communications, it’s important for brands to reassess the role it plays in their marketing initiatives as more of a channel for sharing industry trends, research and how-to’s, instead of the latest discount.

2) Stay Relevant To Your Audience

Relevancy, in general, was another topic important to social followers. Roughly 41% of survey respondents said that they would unfollow a brand on social media if the “information was not relevant.” This is where an extensive content strategy can be a big help in keeping social conversations with prospects on topics that they care the most about. Check out your offerings and make sure they are relevant to your buyers’ needs.

3) Don’t Tweet Too Much!

Just because there are social media management tools available that make it easy to post on social media whenever you like, it doesn’t mean you should. Roughly 35% of respondents said that they will unfollow a brand if they “tweet too much.” One thing that I’ve noticed here at Demand Gen Report is that our social media team is very observant of how often they share on social media and when it is the right time to do so. Our readers — and most likely your prospective buyers — are already inundated with messages from a plethora of channels. Test where and when social media works best, and refine your messaging so that the messages you do send are relevant to your audience and provide value.

4) Educate Your Audience About Jargon Before Using It

One thing that surprised me from the study was the respondents’ thoughts on corporate slang and jargon, which 30% stated was a valid reason for unfollowing a brand. Jargon, especially in B2B marketing, is abundant. I believe that it’s  a necessary evil, and it’s important to educate your audience about this jargon if you use it extensively in your content messaging.

5) Be Responsive

Social media was intended to be a “social” channel for people to converse with one another, and lacking that can lead to your audience unfollowing. Roughly one-third (32%) said that they will unfollow a brand if they are either “too quiet” or “don’t reply” to their questions or comments. Social media is the next best thing to a phone call and/or face-to-face conversation with a prospective buyer. You must be responsive if they have specific questions for you. This is also a great opportunity to gain deeper insight into what is important to your audience, so be sure to reply and have those desired conversations.

]]> (Brian Anderson) Blog Tue, 22 Nov 2016 18:13:53 -0500
Adobe Launches Tool That Measures Content On Social Media Adobe Launches Tool That Measures Content On Social Media

1adobeAdobe announced it has launched a tool that enables marketers to track and measure social content in real time, according to a report in Adweek. Clients of the company’s social management platform, Adobe Social, will now be able to use the data capabilities of the company’s Analytics suite to see how their content performs on social channels, the company said.

Using digital tags, which are codes inserted to keep track of content on the Internet, Adobe said the new tool will make measuring social content “more digestible,” and enable marketers to see what’s working — and what isn’t — on a larger scale, according to AdWeek.

Tracking content on social media is becoming more and more crucial for marketers. According to Demand Gen Report’s 2016 Content Preference Survey showed that LinkedIn (85%), Twitter (62%) and Facebook (39%) were ranked second, third and fourth among the top channels for sharing business-related content. 

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) News Briefs Tue, 08 Nov 2016 14:39:16 -0500
B2B Companies Successfully Target Small Businesses Through Content And Education B2B Companies Successfully Target Small Businesses Through Content And Education

No matter what industry they’re in, B2B small business owners have a few things in common: limited time and resources, relatively small budgets and a desire to self-educate on the fly.

When it comes to marketing to small businesses, it’s important for companies to understand these pain points to help SMB owners solve their challenges.

With this insight, companies such as HubSpot, Act-On Software and Autopilot focus on creating useful content and distributing it through educational channels to engage small business prospects.

“We start with valuable, useful and educational content to pull people into our marketing fold and help them warm up to the idea of potentially becoming a customer,” said Meghan Anderson, VP of Marketing at HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform. “We believe in this idea of inbound marketing, which is about providing something of value without asking anything in return and using that as a magnet to pull people into our website, for example. Inbound is a great equalizer. That’s why it works well for SMBs that may not have a huge market.”        

While budgets and levels of sophistication may differ between small-, medium- and enterprise-sized businesses, you’re still dealing with and marketing to people. Anderson stated that individuals within SMBs are fixed on growth — both for the company and their own professional development.

“A lot of the content they care about are tactical things,” said Anderson. “That need to learn and self-educate and get better, that doesn’t change because of the size company you’re working in. What does change is the level of sophistication of those challenges.”

Some examples of tactical content include themes such as:

  • How to convert a one-time buyer to a repeat buyer;
  • How to navigate algorithms; and
  • How to optimize emails for better results.

Marketing Channels That Resonate For SMBs

When marketing to SMBs, Nick Bhutani, Director of Demand Generation at the employee scheduling software provider When I Work, relies on paid search and retargeting, as well as paid ads on Facebook. He also said SEO should be a key focus for marketers.

{loadposition GIAA}“[It’s important to use] keywords that SMBs would use to help grow their business,” Bhutani said. “The terminology is very different. SaaS, for example, is not in their vocabulary. Neither is CRM. So searching for and using keywords [that are relevant to SMBs], like customer database instead of CRM in terms of paid search, is crucial.”

Paid search, retargeting and social media channels are effective for reaching small and medium-sized business owners because SMB owners can access content through these channels at no, or low, cost.

“The first thing we do is build a content machine and distribute it through retargeting, nurturing and social media,” said Guy Marion, CMO of Autopilot, an email marketing and marketing automation software company. “[Retargeting, nurturing and social media] are basically free forms of marketing that are super effective for companies to grow and scale quickly.”

For Act-On Software, a marketing automation software, social media — specifically LinkedIn — also plays a critical role in marketing to SMBs. “LinkedIn has proven to be an effective marketing channel to target SMBs with the ability to feed respective ads to segments based on company size,” said Michelle Huff, CMO of Act-On.

Act-On is currently running a campaign on LinkedIn titled, “Digital Marketing Mistakes,” which is another form of educational content that’s proving to be successful.

“While it has only been running for two weeks, it has shown positive metrics: .5% CTR, 804 Clicks, 165,616 impressions and 75 downloads of the E-book,” said Huff.

Review Sites Play Critical Role

Just as consumers scope out review sites such as Yelp for a restaurant, SMB owners look to review sites as definitive resources. Bhutani and Marion both factor in review sites when marketing to SMBs.

“A big category for SMBs is influential review sites,” Marion said. “Word of mouth can be one of the biggest sources of awareness for SMBs, but there are also paid services where you can have a company profile and create awareness by driving users to your site.”

Bhutani and Marion told Demand Gen Report that actively advertising on sites such as G2 Crowd and Capterra is helpful.

“SMB owners act very much like a [consumer] in terms of buying cycle and persona,” Bhutani said. “They search for reviews on software that other SMB owners have used. Sites such as G2 Crowd and Capterra are geared towards SMB owners looking for ways to grow their business via software. Having a heavy hand in advertising where the actual business owners are looking and researching on how to grow their businesses — in particular, software that solves their pain points — works well.”

Formal Schooling For SMBs

Formally educating small- and mid-size businesses is another effective marketing tactic. SMBs are often starved for information and find it difficult to invest in formal training, experts noted. Building off its strategy of inbound marketing, HubSpot created the HubSpot Academy to provide the education SMBs desire.

The academy is a collection of courses where marketers or SMB owners can sign up for a course, and learn about email marketing strategy, sales strategy and basics of inbound marketing. “We’ll teach you over a series of courses and videos how to level-up your skills,” Anderson said. Once completed, the SMB execs are given an accreditation to put on their LinkedIn profile to showcase their expertise.

Anderson said the academy receives up to 15,000 registrants a month. “[It] has been successful to help us find new businesses to interact with, but also for our customers who continue to want to improve themselves,” she said.

Similarly, Autopilot also hosts a free online learning platform called Flight School, which offers best practices for SMB marketers looking to improve their marketing. The company also keeps track of the content that is getting the most traction from the platform and distributes it on Facebook to engage more prospects. 

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) Industry Insights Wed, 02 Nov 2016 09:38:52 -0400