Wed, May 26, 2010
Social media monitoring can help connect offline and online marketing initiatives by providing additional tracking data for B2B advertising. Most B2B advertising has a call to action. This is what you want your prospects to do after viewing the ad: go to a website, call a phone number, fill out a reader reply card (do these still exist?), or call their sales rep. These actions generate leads, but there are other actions a prospect can take online that can also add that prospect to the funnel. Let’s look at how this can work with different kinds of ads.
This is the most traditional kind of advertising there is. These ads are most likely to occur in a trade magazine for your industry, or another vertical industry you are targeting with your products or services. These days that print ad is likely supported with a pr placement or product announcement, a web banner on the publication’s site and maybe even a listing in an online directory. These additional placements generate more impressions than the print ad alone, but other than direct leads, it is difficult to know if these value-adds are effective.
Social media monitoring can help you discover if your ad and other bonus placements were actually more effective than your leads would have you believe. Monitor for key phrases in the ad, including the headline and key product differentiators. This may be easier if you have an especially creative campaign. If the phrases in your headline return results that are from your competitor’s products or other industries, your ads may not stand out among other ads, or your products may not be differentiated. These results can help you determine keywords for advertising monitoring, and it may help you refine the messaging for your ad for future insertions.
While it is possible people may be talking about the ad itself, it is more likely they are talking about their situations that you can help them solve. This gives you another use for monitoring the content of your print ads. It lets you find customers and prospects who may be in the market for your products or services. You can reach out to them and let them know about your solution. This does not need to be a sales pitch, but a really soft sell message that lets them know you were listening and might be able to help them.
Another thing you should be monitoring for specifically are all the calls to action on your print ad, whether it is a unique phone number or a campaign landing page URL. If your ad has a special offer, whether it is a free service or a big discount, you never know if one of your existing customers shares that information online with their network. This behavior combines a recommendation with providing value to their connections. If you discover these types of comments, you should definitely publicly thank your customer.
Consider all of the above social media monitoring ideas listed above for a print ad when conducting a direct mail campaign. Listen for the headline, key messaging, special offers and specific calls to action. You can segment your list by any number of factors, including geography, industry, current customers, prospects and depending on the size of the segments, you can monitor for online discussion and revise subsequent mailings to improve their effectiveness.
Online Banner Ad
Depending on who you ask, on what day, and based on what study, determines whether you should run banner ads for your B2B company. The best things about them are that they can be very targeted and they have built-in metrics. You know how many impressions they got and you know how many clicks they got. Adding this to your side of the funnel, including the number of visits to the landing page and how many visitors completed your desired action, provides pretty good, trackable data. The biggest problem is that without lots of impressions, you don’t get lots of leads. By using social media monitoring before you start your online campaign, you can find sites that are more relevant to your ads, and you can refine your messaging to tailor it more to the language of prospects, rather than company jargon. By analyzing the comments online helps guide you not just in your keywords, but in using the correct terms.
Trade Show Booth
Trade shows offer a great use for social media because you combine people with a place for a limited time, but if you think about your trade show booth, or even your attendance at a trade show, as advertising, social media monitoring can help those dollars go further. While many tradeshows feature hashtags on Twitter, those show abbreviations preceded by # to aggregate the conversation about the shows, there is much more going on without the official hashtag. A full-blown monitoring campaign for two weeks before and two weeks after the show looking for general terms in the industry, your specific solutions and its messaging, as well as that related to competitors, will find blog posts, status updates, photos, videos and more that can connect you to prospects who you may not have met at the show.
What are some ways that you could use social media monitoring to improve your B2B advertising?