Content may be king but distribution and optimization are queen when it comes to B2B social media. Like it or not, tools and application aid in content distribution and optimization on the social web. I want to stress the importance of optimization. We hear a lot about distributing information online and making something “go viral.”
While distribution is important, optimization is the key quality of content that truly helps it spread. Optimizing B2B social media means making it easy to spread through search engines, social networks, e-mail, etc. The best B2B social media tools can help distribute and optimize.
10 Tools Every B2B Social Media Marketer Should Use
1. A Great Content Management System (CMS) – Owning the content you publish online is key. So is having a web presence that is frequently updated. People normally think about blogging when using a CMS. The truth is that a good CMS is more powerful than that and can do a lot more. There are many great CMS options and which one you choose depends on what it needs to do. Some examples of popular free and paid options include: WordPress, Moveable Type and HubSpot.
2. Skitch Or Other Screenshot Software - One of my favorite pieces of software that I use each day is Skitch. It is a simple program that lets users take custom screen shots and crop them for use on the Web. Images are an important part of the online content experience. Having a program like Skitch or another solution that lets you capture screenshots for use in presentations and online content is incredibly valuable.
3. RSS Reader – I haven’t even started into why, but it is likely some people reading this post are yelling at me screaming that RSS is dead and with things like Google Buzz and FriendFeed, we don’t need RSS readers. These people are wrong. For me RSS readers have never been about consuming content as much as they have been about retrieving it. When doing B2B social media you need quick access to data, past articles, competitors activities. For these tasks, an RSS reader is gold. I use Google Reader, but other RSS readers work to. The search function in Google Reader lets you search for articles easily from a single or folder of RSS feeds. It is like having a custom search engine for all of the information you need to recall, at your finger tips.
4. ShareThis – Remember what I said about optimization? Applications like ShareThis make it simple for other people to share you information online. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t technical geeks and we often get impatient waiting for technical or creative support to make online improvements. ShareThis is a way for none geeks to add simple sharing features to blogs or Web site.
5. Web Analytics – Regardless if you are a data hound or not, you need to have web analytics active on all of your online properties. Luckily on the web there are many free and easy to install web analytics services such as Google Analytics, Woopra and Clicky. All free services have their limitations, but without some type of information regarding how your social media strategy is impacting lead generation and key performance indicators you will likely be wasting your time.
6. URL Shortener – URL shorteners go hand-in-hand with web analytics to help gather web data. Since data from social sites like Facebook and Twitter is at a minimum, URL shortening services like Bit.ly can provide additional data and statics to help segment ROI and improve content for the future.
7. Twitter Client – The real-time web does matter in B2B social media and Twitter is a major player in this space. Even if you are not using Twitter for B2B marketing, you should still be using it to gather industry related information. The problem is that using Twitter only through Twitter.com isn’t very effective. To maximize time you need to use a Twitter desktop application like Tweetdeck, Tweetie, Seesmic, etc to make it easier to communicate with others and track key terms related to your business.
8. SEO Book Toolbar - You may not know that much about about search engine optimization. However, as a B2B marketer who who will be doing social media you will soon find yourself looking at new data set such as page rank, keywords and comparing traffic between sites. I have found that the easiest way to do these tasks as well as others, is to use the free SEO Book Firefox extensions. It makes a lot a great information easily accessible. While you have to sign up for a free account to be able to download it, it is worth it.
9. Skype – Skype is quickly become a universal way for people around the world to communicate. If you haven’t used it, before it is a free application that lets you chat, call and video conference with friends and peers. If you travel much at all, Skype is an especially important tool as it will let you host a conference call from anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection. Collaboration is key when it comes to B2B social media and Skype supports this.
10. Google Docs – Writing is an important component of B2B social media success. It and collaboration go hand-in-hand. Google Docs is the easiest way to share ideas and collaborate with others. It is a free way to crate new ideas and have them easily stored on the Web. Too much is happening today on the web to stop and take the time to e-mail a document back and forth 20 times. Google Docs keeps documents in one place to be edited, so you always know where the newest version is.
Have you used these tools before? What else do you use that makes your life easier?