6 Tips for Managing a B2B Crisis Using Social Media

b2b-social-media-crisisEvery B2B company, regardless of size and industry, will encounter the occasional crisis. Whether your company botches a product shipment or endures a network outage that affects the mission-critical software you deliver, your customers will be upset. In times of trouble, B2B companies can find high-dollar contracts at risk and strategic relationships in jeopardy, and these threats can shake an organization to its core.

Social media has raised the stakes when a crisis occurs, given that customers can communicate their dissatisfaction quickly and broadly. If not managed properly, social media can amplify a crisis and severely damage your business before you have even had the opportunity to troubleshoot the problem. But even though sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn may make managing a crisis trickier, they can also help you communicate with your customers, demonstrate your commitment to them and bolster your reputation. In fact, a well-managed crisis can not only help you retain customers, but it can lead to new customers and additional deals.

Following are six tips for effectively managing a B2B crisis using social media.

1. Develop a Strategy

Crises emerge without notice and leave little time to do much more than react. To respond in a way that is best for your business and your customers, you must develop a crisis management strategy for social media before issues arise. Take the following steps to develop your plan:

  • Gather your key team members and brainstorm the best strategy for responding in times of crisis using social media.
  • Assign someone to draft the various communications that will be required, and determine what additional review and approval will be needed before they post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other channels.
  • Establish parameters for follow up posts, including how frequently your team will post or tweet updates.
  • Consider using email and your blog to deliver updates.
  • Document your plan.

By the time the meeting is over, your team should fully understand the plan that will be set into motion at the first sign of trouble.

2. Acknowledge the Crisis When it Occurs

At the first sign of a crisis that impacts your customers, quickly gather an understanding of what is happening and set your plan into motion. In your early messages to your audience on traditional and social channels, make sure to communicate what steps you will be taking to resolve the issues, and confirm how frequently they can expect updates.

3. Be Honest and Explicit

Don’t sugarcoat the problems at hand or address them in vague terms. Be honest and explicit, and stand accountable. Social media has ushered in an era of transparency and it is one of the most important values in a crisis. If you receive questions or feedback from customers, respond in a calm, calculated manner to ensure they are aware that you are putting them first and that you understand their needs. All responses in social channels are considered public statements and can easily be shared. Another reason honesty really is the best policy.

4. Keep the Information Flowing

Keep the information flowing, and strive to provide meaningful social media updates according to the schedule and on the platforms that you have established. If there is no new information to report, let your audience know. However, make sure they understand the steps that are being taken. By communicating frequently, and in multiple places, your audience will be confident that you are working as hard as you can to resolve the problems.

5. Apologize and Close the Loop

Once the crisis passes, complete the due diligence needed to understand what caused the problems and create a plan for avoiding similar issues in the future. Once you have this information, craft an apology email or blog post to your customers that provides a full picture of what happened, why it happened, and how you will prevent this from happening in the future. Speak candidly and be direct. This is the stage of the process where you reaffirm your commitment to your customers and the relationships you have with them.

6. Prevent the Same Crisis from Occurring Again

Simply put, don’t make the same mistake again. If you do, you will drive away any of the goodwill that you created through previous crisis management efforts and further damage your credibility. This can prove troubling for existing clients and those considering engaging with your company.

Social media can be your company’s best friend during a crisis, and if used effectively, it can help you provide assurance to existing customers while building your reputation in a way that impresses prospective customers.

What best practices do you use to manage crises through social media?

43% of B2B CEOs of Never Consider Social Media in Decisions

As social media becomes an important part of business culture, considering the social media impact of decisions has to be part of the process for B2B companies. According to a recent study by the Zeno Group, CEO of all companies, but especially B2B companies, are not taking social media and its impact on their reputation online into account when making decisions. This has potential impact on attracting prospects and retaining customers, as social media sites and other online sources continue to be business people’s first stop when searching for information about companies.

Here are some highlights:

  • 43% of B2B CEOs never consider social media reputation in decision making
  • Only 45% of B2B Executives believe their company can respond to a negative online post within 24 hours
  • 13% of B2B companies would not engage an audience online at all to defend their reputation

What are you seeing in your B2B company? Is social media consideration part of your decision process?

5 Ways to Use B2B Social Media to Improve Content Sharing

B2B companies that create content or research reports to drive awareness of their brand, products or services, or even traffic and leads, need to remember social media and their own websites in the mix. A press release in not enough. I always try to link studies back to their original sources, and I would rather link to the company’s website than a press release on another site. This happened with a recent study about the Fortune 500 and their promotion of their social media profiles on their websites (read a Forbes articles here).

I wanted to link to the study on the company’s website or blog (or even news page), but it is nowhere to be found. This could just be a delay in timing and it will be up in the site in day or two, but if the goal is to make prospects aware of you, this is a missed opportunity. If the goal is to create inbound links to increase SEO (search engine optimization) through both search and social media, this is another missed opportunity. And the people quoted in the Forbes article are the head of sales and the director of marketing. These are two people who should know about the importance of using social media to increase the amount of sharing and link love of the report. Only one of them is quoted in the press release, so there were interviews conducted with the Forbes reporter.

And from a social media perspective, they are sharing links to the articles published by others. It would be better to also share links to the article on their own site.

What could they do differently to improve the sharing of this report?

1. Post the press release to their news page
There is a press release that was sent to the media and it is published on Business Wire. At the same time this was released, the PR team needs to work with the web team to get this on the web site. This may be an oversight, as there are other recent releases on the site, but this is a major report and it is more important than product and partner releases. Again, this is super easy and might be done by the time you read this, but you should not ignore the easy stuff. If you can’t do anything else, this content needs to be on your site for people to link back to.

2. Create a downloadable report with the survey results
These days a press release about a report that is not supported by an actual report doesn’t make sense. People want to see the report. They don’t just want to read the numbers, but they want to see the numbers in charts and graphs. A report of this type can be used for lead generation to get contact information for prospects. Also include share buttons on the download page, thank you page and in the report itself.

3. Write a blog post summarizing the report
This is great content and the easiest way to share it is by writing a blog post. It should link to both the report itself and the hosted press release, creating some internal links within your site. The blog post should take a different angle on the research. Make it friendlier and less formal and focus on a couple of the big results. If the connection to your products or services is not clear, you can do that in the blog post.

4. Share blog post and report on social media profiles
As stated above, the company shared other coverage of their report. This is a great thing to do, but it doesn’t drive traffic back to your site, it doesn’t create links to your site, and it doesn’t give you opportunity to discover who among those interested in the report are prospects for your business. Share your content in different ways on all your social profiles.

5. Email customers and prospects a link to report
At the same time this research is released to the press, posted to the company website and blog, and shared via social profiles, it should be shared by email with the company’s customers and prospects. Customers are not always paying attention to what you are posting and sharing, so email can help you connect with them more directly. And prospects are looking for valuable information from you, and a report fits the bill pretty nicely.

Have you created content for your B2B company and shared it across your website and all social properties to drive traffic and leads?

Photo credit: Flickr

Cisco Creates B2B Social Content in a Unique Place

Many B2B companies understand the need to create and curate content to connect with their customers and prospects, but Cisco has done it in a unique place, their newsroom. This very different approach to a social media newsroom was launched in June 2011. At its core, the newsroom, dubbed “The Network,” the winning name chosen by Facebook fans, is about extending the reach of Cisco’s content, whether it is a press release, feature story, video or third-party article, by making it sharable. The site also includes Twitter and Facebook feeds prominently featured in the sidebars.

Visitors Chose How to View Content
When a visitor arrives at the site, they land on a page with the featured news. As seen below, this can be sorted by latest news, most viewed or most shared. This adds the concepts of popularity and social proof to articles in the newsroom. And even though there is lots of additional content of various types, it seems that the press releases, or traditional news announcements, are the most viewed. Visitors can also click on the All News tab to filter the content and find what they are looking for. The robust filtering parameters include date, type of content, topic, Cisco Business Division, geography, technology and industry. This type of filtering is more like what people are used to in their online shopping experience, and it allows for greater affinity towards the site, rather than just an empty search box that usually returns press releases from 2006.

Content Follows Cisco’s Strategic Direction
Earlier this year, Cisco announced that is was streamlining operations “as it focuses on the five areas driving the growth of networks and the Internet: core – routing, switching, and services; collaboration; data center virtualization and cloud; video; and architectures for business transformation.” The Network newsroom is a way to organize and focus content in those areas as well. The content areas on the site are Data Center, Core Networks, Video, Collaboration, Cisco Culture and Social Media. The first four are exact matches for the key growth areas, while the last two, Cisco Culture and Social Media are two areas that are key to business transformation. Each topic area has a topic page manager. This not only provides a point person for curation of the topic, but humanizes that section and offers a Cisco expert for visitors to connect with on that topic. Each topic area also features a list of links of relevant Cisco products and communities.

Outside Writers Contribute Content
In additional to Cisco communications staff and subject matter experts, The Network features outside journalists who have covered business and technology for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Forbes, Fortune and Business Week. This brings a new level of content to the site. Many B2B blogs feature guest posts, and some even feature outside experts writing on a regular basis, but to add this level of business and technology journalism to an online newsroom is beyond the realm of what anyone else is doing. This is providing value to customers, prospects and others in the Cisco ecosystem by creating top-notch content and spotlighting it along with company news.

Site Encourages Sharing at Many Levels
The site has many ways to share the content they are creating, published and curating. The top featured stories include a variety of social media sharing buttons in the scroll at the top of the page. The list of stories on each topic page includes sharing options in the list and on the articles themselves. And if you are inclined to share the whole site, there is a widget you can grab and put on your own blog or website. This is perfect for Cisco partners who want to easily share the latest in Cisco news with their networks.

What do you think of Cisco’s approach to the newsroom? Have you seen other B2B newsroom that have created content and shared it in different ways?

5 Ways to Find Your B2B Company’s Online Fans

If your B2B company has been diligent in its product research, sales relationship and customer service development, it has developed a core group of fans. These fans love your products and services, and would gladly recommend them to their co-workers, clients and business contacts.

In the music business, street teams have long been an invaluable group of superfans that papers cities with upcoming concert flyers, spreads the word about new albums and recruits friends as new fans. Your B2B fans can act in a similar way in the online space, retweeting brand news, suggesting your B2B company for friends’ business needs on LinkedIn or tagging your company in a Facebook page status update.

Social media allows for B2B companies to locate, empower and task those fans on a direct level, without the go-between wall of media, email marketing or advertising. But before you can reward these fans and ask them to advocate on your B2B company’s behalf, you must first figure out who they are and where they interact with others online. Here are five ways to locate your B2B brand’s biggest supporters:

1. Use services designed to tune into online conversations

Find conversations about your brand using free services such as Kurrently, which tracks keywords on both Twitter and Facebook. If your B2B social media team has already set  up an RSS feed using Twitter’s search engine or specific search term columns in applications such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, keep an eye on users who post frequently about your brand. Build an internal list of users who frequently share information around your company, individual products or management, or interact often with your social media posts. Additionally, be sure to actively check in with these followers to build relationships beyond sales and promotions.

2. Review your blog comments
Advocates and fans of your B2B company are likely to be engaged on your company blog and are the ones leaving comments. This is true with any blog that receives even just a few comments. There are people who regularly post comments because they are engaged with your company. Since most commenting functions require an email address, it is easy to contact them and start the advocate conversation. If you are not encouraging blog comments by asking a question at the end of every blog post, here’s another reminder that you should be doing that.

3. Simply ask

You never  know if you don’t ask. If you’re already engaging on social media, send out feelers to your current followers. Schedule regular tweets that let followers know you’re looking to share insider information with people who want to be the first to know your B2B company’s news and get exclusive social media-only information, discounts and announcements.

4. Gather social media information from other marketing segments

If people are engaged enough with your brand to sign up for your email list, chances are they’ll also want to follow along on social media. Incorporate optional fields such as “Twitter handle” and “LinkedIn profile URL” into the sign-up process, and ask current registrants if they would like to be part of the action.

5. Take offline fans online

Be sure to leverage “real life” fans. Use face time at meetings, conferences and networking events to identify your B2B company’s fans, and carry those connections into the online world as well. Ask your B2B public relations, customer service and sales teams for positive media, customer and client encounters that could be continued and shared online.

Just like building an effective media list is key to pitching the right media contacts, identifying your B2B company’s online fans is important and takes time. Only after you have built a list of your company’s online fans, sorted them by their specific interests and engaged with them beyond the normal sales pitch can you begin crafting strategies and tactics to leverage those real – albeit online – relationships with you company’s fans.

How do you locate your B2B company’s biggest fans?

6 Ways to Guarantee Your PR Pitch to B2B Bloggers Will Be Deleted

As a popular blog in the B2B space, SocialMediaB2B.com get lots of pitches from PR firms about a variety of social media topics. Most of them get deleted without even getting read. It is a PR pro’s job to get coverage for their clients and many still don’t understand how to do that in the blog space. Based on some of the emails we receive, here are the fastest ways to guarantee that your pitch email will get deleted and you will not get the coverage you are looking to attain.

1. Send just a press release

This is an insulting email. There is no greeting or even pretend personalization. It is also the quickest way to get a blogger to click delete. This says to bloggers that someone thinks blogger outreach is important, but I don’t. I’ll just email out the press release and check off the “blogger outreach” box on my status report.

2. Send off-topic pitches

Many bloggers have a passion for their topic, and no matter how broad that topic is, they rarely stray too far from home. Before pitching a blogger, make sure you have looked at the blog and read the last 5-10 posts to get an idea of what they cover and what kinds of posts they publish. Even with a name like SocialMediaB2B, you would be surprised how many pitches we get for consumer social media campaigns. If it’s not B2B, we are not going to cover it.

3. Send a blast email from an email service provider

I know email marketers hate the term blast, but in this context, it is the correct one. While it might make things easier for you to load up bloggers into your email program and send an email out to your whole list, it does not send the right message to blogger. We want to feel special. By doing this you are also giving bloggers an unsubscribe button. They will usually click that to prevent hearing from you again.

4. Don’t introduce yourself

B2B sales and marketing are about relationships. Social media is about relationships. Blogger and influencer outreach are about relationships. There seems to a trend here. Why not build a relationship with a blogger before your next announcement? You can make a blogger’s day by sending a short email introducing yourself as the pr person for a company that might be relevant to their space. Ask if you can help them with anything. Most bloggers have more ideas than time, and running the blog is a matter of priorities. If your company is indeed relevant, there probably is something on their mind that can move to the top of the pile now that they have a connection for information.

5. Forget that bloggers may not blog during business hours

Most bloggers have day jobs. Contact them via email, or another way if they suggest a preferred method of contact. Unless your pitch is the right idea at the right time, don’t ever expect a phone call back. It’s not how many bloggers work. If a blogger is knowledgeable in an industry, have you checked out to see if they work for a competitor. In niche industries that can be very likely.

6. Pitch an interview with the CEO

Maybe this is just me, but every time I read a pitch that offers me an interview with a CEO of a company I just laugh. Maybe that’s supposed to make me feel important, but if I want to cover a product launch, I would be more interested in talking to a product manager or an engineer. As a blogger, I would expect that CEO’s comments would be too prepared and not provide enough value to my readers. Bloggers are looking to provide the most compelling information to their readers, and you may not get that from the CEO. They are probably going to give you something very much like the quote in the press release.

What are other ways to guarantee that bloggers won’t read pitch emails?

Win a FREE copy of The Now Revolution

Jay Baer and Amber Naslund wrote a book called The Now Revolution about the seven shifts that will make your company faster, smarter, and more social. Thanks to Jay and Amber for giving me a copy of the book to give away to one of our readers. Watch this short video to find out how you can enter to win your own copy of this book. Enter by March 4, 2011.

In The Now Revolution companies will learn how to:

  1. Strip away silos and overgrown business process, and create a culture of NOW
  2. Hire and empower a new type of employee who is adept at pattern recognition, human relations, and immediate analysis
  3. Organize internal teams for maximum external impact, and empower every employee as a marketer, even if they aren’t
  4. Listen at the point of need and answer the social telephone
  5. Travel the Humanization Highway, and respond effectively and persuasively to customer inquiries
  6. Plan for, find and manage real-time crises
  7. Redesign success metrics in a business world that’s increasingly instantaneous

And if you want to see previous interviews we conducted with Jay and Amber, click on their links.

Who Owns Social Media at Your B2B Company?

As more B2B companies explore social media, the question of ownership always comes up. Many experienced practitioners will tell you that social media needs to pervade an entire organization and one department can’t own it. But reality must rear its ugly head and claim that your company is just getting started, and someone needs to owns it. Someone has to physically set up social profiles, create the content and post it online for the world to see.

The following examples show extreme cases of what happens when someone owns social media and proceeds according to their own agenda without strategy or goals in place. This is meant to be instructive and mildly amusing, and any resemblance to your actual B2B company is purely coincidental.

You know your social media is owned by the marketing department if

  • all posts on social profiles highlight product benefits and solutions
  • all content supports a brand platform

You know your social media is owned by the PR department if

  • every word of every tweet is reviewed to send just the right message
  • press releases, media alerts and press clips make up the bulk of your social media messaging

You know your social media is owned by the legal department if

  • all posts must be pre-approved at least 1-2 weeks before posting
  • no retweets are allowed because they might be seen as endorsements

You know your social media is owned by the IT department if

  • all content is created from a series of RSS feeds
  • complex passwords keep anyone else from updating networks

You know your social media is owned by your agency if

  • a new version of your company logo is created for each social platform
  • every update is creatively crafted to show company personality

You know your social media is owned by the intern if

  • too much textspeak appears in social updates, even on platforms where character limits are not an issue
  • occasional beer-soaked photos are shared on company accounts

So make sure you don’t fall into any of these categories and work to broaden the scope of content you post online. Are there any other scenarios where ownership of social media causes extreme behavior online? Let us know below.

A Legal Perspective on B2B Social Media

As you have incorporated social media into communication planning for your B2B company, whether large or small, chances are you worked with the company legal team or outside firm. While these legal teams are in place to protect the interests of the company, some are just not familiar enough with social media to provide appropriate counsel for your efforts.

The following email interview with India Vincent and Howard P. Walthall, Jr., both partners at Burr & Forman LLP, provides some thoughts, not legal opinions, about the legal approach to social media.

1. What are some of the main legal issues (liability, risk, copyright) that delay companies from beginning to use social media?
All of the issues companies address with other forms of marketing and customer communication (including false advertising concerns, copyright infringement, regulatory issues, proper message, etc.) are all present in social media. The catch is that in order to use social media effectively, companies must devise ways to address these concerns, or at least mitigate the risks, in a more timely manner. Responding quickly does not mean ignoring the potential risks, it means developing more timely ways of addressing the risks.

For example, if a company is developing a new marketing campaign, the materials must be reviewed to ensure that there is nothing that could serve as the basis for a false advertising claim. Postings on social media must be reviewed for the same purpose. It is important that anyone tweeting for the company, blogging, responding to a customer email, or otherwise interacting with the public through electronic channels have a general understanding of the boundaries of false advertising and be aware that their st atements in these different forums could create liability for the company if the statements are over-reaching.

There are some advertising issues which are especially significant in the social media context as compared to traditional media. These usually involve the failure to disclose the true identity or corporate affiliation of a person touting the firm’s products or services via social media. This can happen, for example, when an employee posts a glowing review of a company’s products without disclosing the employment relationship, or when a celebrity does the same thing without disclosing that the company is compensating the celebrity for his or her comments.

Other legal issues familiar to advertisers also come up routinely in social media marketing. For example, someone managing a Facebook page for a company needs to understand not only false advertising issues, but at least the basics of copyright and privacy issues. If photographs are to be posted on a Facebook site or the company’s website, it is important to ensure you have permission to use the photographs, from the source of the photographs and, in some cases, from the subjects as well. Briefly educating those responsible for managing these websites in the requirements for obtaining proper permissions can go a long way to minimizing risks.

2. How has your team approached these issues so clients can communicate using social media?
Our clients who use social media effectively usually have a small team of people dedicated to managing the social media efforts. Those people are educated in the legal risks associated with advertising and social media, and are provided with ongoing updates as the rules continue to evolve. That is not to say that this team of people are experts in addressing legal risks, but they are able to spot the concern and in most cases to adjust the message in order to avoid or limit the risk.

In many cases, these people also have designated contacts in the legal department or with outside counsel so that they have a relatively efficient method of getting answers when something falls outside of their comfort zone. Those designated legal contacts are also educated on the impact of social media and the need for timely responses to such questions.

3. Are there any legal cases that have provided guidance on either side of the issue of social media participation?
There have not been many legal cases yet focusing on this specific issue. However, any company interested in developing a social media policy should review the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (pdf) which was recently revised to address social media issues, among other things.

4. How much does a social media policy influence the legal approval process?
Policies which clearly delineate which activities can be carried out without legal approval, and which cannot, can help greatly in mitigating the time constraints involved with legal review. Such policies not only give the social media team some room to operate in “real time,” but also help improve the response time on matters that do require legal approval because there should be fewer requests submitted to legal. Those responsible for the social media efforts should always look for ways to adjust the posting to comply with the policy, and only when that is not possible should requests be submitted to legal. If the social media team is finding that every posting they make is outside of the policy and requires independent legal approval, then the policy probably needs to be revisited. It is also important that the policy specify items which will always require legal review, such as contests.

5. Are there companies that you look to for examples, and say if they are comfortable with social media, our clients can be too? Or even companies where you can contact their legal department and understand their comfortable level?
There are sometimes particular uses of social media that we use as references when a client wants to adopt a similar use of social media, but we do not hold particular companies out as good or bad examples. Use of social media requires a strategy customized for the company in order to be successful. In addition, every company has its own level of acceptable risk and legal concerns based on its business model, its particular products and services, and any regulatory requirements applicable to its industry. As a result, the legal implications of each company’s social media strategy are different and must be considered independently, rather than copied from another company. It is certainly clear, though, that a number of large and successful companies are actively engaged in social media efforts.

6. What advice would you give someone in communications as to how to approach their legal department regarding social media.
The company’s legal department should be involved from the beginning in the development of a social media strategy, not brought in at the end of the process for approval. Many legal departments already understand the importance of social media in today’s market, but it is important that they also understand the objectives their business groups have for the social media efforts. As with most projects, the earlier you involve the legal department in the process, the more they can do to assist in developing a strategy that is workable, meets the business objectives, and still minimizes the legal risks. Certainly, the legal department should be involved in developing any policies for identifying those matters that do not require legal review .

These comments from Burr & Forman LLP are general in nature and are not intended to be treated as legal advice regarding the topics discussed therein. No representation is made about the quality of legal services to be performed or the expertise of the lawyer performing services. Applicable state bar or attorney regulations may require these comments to be labeled as “Advertising.”

6 Ideas to Get Your B2B Social Media Plans Started

Your B2B company’s online marketing strategy needs to incorporate social media. The big question now is, “What, exactly, do we need to do?” The web is chock full of answers to that question. And although no two bloggers, companies or marketing and PR professionals agree on everything, the following six ideas have emerged as the basics to getting started:

1. Keep in touch with your customers with social media
Because of the ease of interactive communications, marketing and PR are more of a two-way street than ever before. Social media outlets allow you to solicit feedback, answer complaints (and compliments!), and generally get to know the companies who use (or should use) your products – all without leaving a desk. What PR or marketing strategist wouldn’t want to do that?

2. Focus your message
Actually, focus all of them. You don’t want to be saying one thing in a blog and another in a news release. Make sure that communications are coordinated throughout the company. More to the point…

3. Be authentic (and specific)
Lots of businesses offer great service and low prices, but only your company does…what? In your communications, highlight the services and products which really add value to another business. Also ensure that those communications are true to the voice of your company and its values. No one is going to fault authenticity. It is when you say or do things which are incongruent with the rest of your story that causes problems.

4. Develop distribution channels
Don’t just write a news release and put it on your website. Don’t simply create blog posts and hit publish. Promote them in a non-intrusive, organic way to people, companies, media and other groups that might be interested. Make it easy for people to subscribe and share all content published digitally. Participate in other networks that might be interested in your content and, very carefully start to introduce your own ideas into the mix after you’ve established initial credibility. If you’re unsure where to begin, PRWeb publishes an entire resource section dedicated to helping create exposure for releases specifically. Check out the latest news release distribution tips for more.

5. Link back to high-conversion areas
Every blog, news release, YouTube video, and other digital communication should have an easy-to-find, easy-to-use link back to your website. Your website, remember, is where you completely control the content and where most conversions happen. Ignore the early adopters encouraging you to give all your content to the stream. This is a mistake. You don’t have control of the signal to noise on social sites, nor are there clear calls to action there.

6. Constantly update and revise your content
Never has it been so easy (and cheap) to learn from your mistakes. All kinds of free analytical tools exist that will tell you how many times your content has been read, and shared, how well your website ranks in web searches, how effective your website is at generating conversions, and other things marketing professionals need to know.

With so many resources to help with your digital education, there really is no excuse not to get savvy. No matter where you are on the adoption curve, you must keep learning and moving forward to not just survive, but to thrive in modern marketing.

This guest post is by Jiyan Wei, director of product management for PRWeb, the leader in online news distribution and online publicity. For more tips on using press releases, follow @PRWeb on Twitter or like them on Facebook.