Even More B2B Social Media Tools You Haven’t Heard Of

B2B Social Media ToolsWe’ve had a lot of interest in our previous posts on B2B Social Media Tools (see 7 B2B Social Media Tools You Haven’t Heard Of and 7 More B2B Social Media Tools You Haven’t Heard Of) so we’re providing another set of 7 tools you may find useful for your B2B business. Give these a try and let us know what you think.

1. Timely
Timely is a Flowtown product that helps you schedule tweets for maximum impact. It will analyze all your tweets and figure out what times of day you get the best engagement. And Timely continues to learn as your followers grow.
Cost: Free

2. ReSearch.ly
Find the conversations and influencers that matter to your business. ReSearch.ly creates instant communities for whatever you’re interested in or writing about on the social web. Quickly search and filter based on community, sentiment, geography, time, and relevance. Find what communities already exist around your ideas. And with instant analytics while you write or search, ReSearch.ly gives you critical data to better understand the social stream in real-time.
Cost: Try for Free, Plans from $9-$999

3. Namechk
If you haven’t secured your username across all social channels you’ll find Namechk to be a useful tool. Namechk allows you to see if your desired username or vanity URL is still available at dozens of popular social networking and social bookmarking websites.
Cost: Free

4. Brizzly
Brizzly is a reader that works with Twitter and Facebook. It simplifies your browsing and updating experience by putting a lot of features in one interface. It can also assist with communications. In Brizzly users can create “picnics” – private conversations between multiple users (think group chat) that can integrate multimedia such as photos and video. And Brizzly’s mute function allows you to temporarily turn off people without unfollowing, which can be really useful for those friends of yours who are at that conference you don’t care about.
Cost: Free

5. MentionMap
MentionMap is an really interesting (and addictive) way to see Twitter connections. In an animated visual interface you can see what people and hashtags users have mentioned in recent tweets. It’s a great way to find new people to follow and hashtags that may interest you. Check out the @smb2b MentionMap.
Cost: Free

6. Kurrently
Kurrently is a real-time search engine for Facebook and Twitter. Just enter in a search term and get a constantly-updating stream of mentions.
Cost: Free

7. All Facebook Stats
All Facebook Stats provides Facebook analytics for your business. With All Facebook Stats you can track and compare the performance of Facebook Pages and Places. Analyze your Facebook page fans, interactions and content, benchmark your page against your competition and track and compare Places check-ins. Dig into the results, customize your dashboard and save time reviewing all your Facebook metrics.
Cost: Free for 3 pages, paid plans from $69 and up for additional pages.

Are there any other social media tools that you use regularly?  Let us know in the comments and we may include it in an upcoming post.

4 Things to Know When Pitching B2B Bloggers

While hundreds of blog posts have been written on the topic of pitching bloggers by both bloggers and communication professionals such as Chris Brogan, Jason Falls and Arik Hanson, not much has been written about the unique requirements when approaching B2B bloggers.

Pitching a blogger is very similar to pitching a mainstream media journalist. Relevance and timeliness remain the two most importance factors in a pitch; in fact, these factors are even more important in the blogging world. Do it wrong and you could be made an example of and outed on the Bad Pitch Blog.

Bloggers tend to be much more specialized than their mainstream counterparts, who, as newsrooms around the world shrink, may cover crime, food and finance beats all in the same day. Bloggers, on the other hand, craft their content more carefully around their passions. This makes relevance even more key, as a blogger can’t e-mail your pitch to his or her co-worker who covers that beat. Similarly, the issue of timeliness in the 24/7, around-the-clock, insta-publish social space brings a new meaning to the news release term “For Immediate Release.”

Some points to consider:

  • Actually read the blog. Whether you subscribe to it in a news reader or do a quick scan once a month, get a handle for the blogger’s tone, writing and opinions.
  • Search for the term “pitch” and “pitching” among the blog posts. This may yield a post that details exactly how that blogger would like to be approached with ideas for content. Check the about page or other pages on the blog.
  • Establish a baseline relationship by following the blogger on Twitter and commenting on his or her blog.
  • Make sure the blogger has access to images, screenshots, link, etc. that will help him or her directly drop those into a post.
  • Personalize, personalize, personalize. Put yourself in the blogger’s shoes – if you received this e-mail, would you immediately drag, drop and delete?
  • Don’t attach a news release. If you can’t relate how your information is important to a blog’s readers in a paragraph or two, reconsider your angle.

What are some things that are different when you pitch a B2B blogger? When you have a story, product, person or example you think could provide great content for a B2B blog, here are some things to think about:

1. Ideas > Products

In the Mom Blogger space, many companies have garnered mentions on influential blogs by sending out products such as toys, food and clothing for review. It’s much harder to send a blogger the latest copy machine or tractor.

Instead, pitch guest posts about your experience in the B2B space. Many bloggers would be hesitant to publish a guest post from a company on one of its products. However, a guest post from a company on its experience with a specific marketing campaign, its social media strategy or its approach to direct mail will be valuable across the board.

“Products” B2B bloggers are interested in: books, upcoming events, software and mobile applications that will make life easier for B2B industry professionals.

2. Logistics

Like B2C bloggers, B2B bloggers probably aren’t blogging full-time. They have a day job, multiple part-time jobs, consultancies and a fast-paced travel schedule. In the B2B space, this is multiplied even further when you consider B2B relationships revolve around much longer sales cycles and much more expensive buying considerations.

Also, make sure you know if the blogger you’re targeting can actually write about your pitch. Is he or she writing for a company blog legally bound not to accept products for review? Does the blogger write a personal B2B blog, but works at a competing company? Investigate this by adhering to the bullets laid out above, or by e-mailing the blogger asking about his or her parameters and preferences.

3. It’s a small word, after all

There aren’t as many B2B bloggers as there are B2C bloggers, especially when you begin breaking things down by industry. While that limits the sheer number of bloggers out there who can create content, use this to your advantage.

Curate a manageable list of B2B bloggers that speak to you and your industry and develop relationships with them on a level beyond comments and retweets. Know the players, and know what topics spark their interests. By putting your name out there and delivering valuable information, you can get on the short(er) list of B2B bloggers’ short list of go-to individuals when they need content.

4. You’re probably talking to a marketer. Remember that.

Jason Falls wrote this post on things bloggers should know about PR and advertising, after noticing some bloggers confusing pitches with paid content. B2B bloggers don’t fall under that category.

While they may not have a strict PR, advertising or even journalism background, the simple fact that they’re talking about B2B on a blog shows that they’re in-the-know on the communication mix. Vista Consulting says the B2B buyer “is sophisticated, understands your product or service better than you do, and wants or needs to buy products or services to help their company stay profitable, competitive, and successful,” and the B2B blogger is no different.

Use this to your advantage: Skip the formalities and don’t be afraid to delve into details. He or she will appreciate that you recognize their expertise and experience, and you’ll get to the heart of your message faster.

If you’re a PR pro – do you have any success stories for what worked when pitching B2B bloggers?

5 Awesome But Unconventional B2B Social Media Approaches

As B2B companies start planning and executing social media, many communicators look to others for examples. What are the best practices for getting started. Since we are still at the leading edge of social media in B2B, it seems that many best practices either have not yet been established or they keep changing. In an environment like this, you primarily follow the popular, or common approaches to social media.

But instead of following that path, I looked at what everyone else was doing in social media and marketing and thought about what could happen if the opposite was done

1. Don’t Set Up Social Network Profiles – One of the first steps any B2B company takes when starting in social media is to set up profiles on popular social networking site. So what if you didn’t set up all of those company profiles and instead opened access to social networks to your employees and trained them on how to best represent the company online. Instead of a dry, corporate account, you could create an empowered task-force of real people that could help solve customer questions and advocate for the organization.

2. Influencing The C List – When marketing products in social media, B2B companies take the approach of trying to influence, and sometimes even spamming, industry thought leaders. Instead, ignore the A-list thought leaders of the industry and begin developing relationships with the C-level (not executive) of up and coming thought leaders. These people will become the next group of A-listers. Instead of a mention from one current thought leader, you could have advocates across an entire group of emerging industry thought leaders

3. Ignore Google – It is easy for all of us in B2B marketing to become obsessed with Google. Traffic from both paid and organic search marketing can be an incredible source of attention and leads. If we ignore Google and take the time and money from search engine marketing, we can then use those resources to build better relationships with current customers. Google is about new customer acquisition for most business-to-business organizations. Leverage social media and content to help you better understand your current customers and up sell them, instead of constantly chasing new opportunities. Let customers become your source of leads, not Google.

4. Make Content How You Want To – The Internet is full of blogs, including this one, that will tell you the right way and the wrong way to “do” social media and create online content. I suggest that you ignore all of the people, including me, and write blog posts and send e-mails how you want to do it. The opportunity is that you may be able to stand out, but more likely your style and expertise will be more clear when it is presented in the way that you feel is best.

5. Remove Social Media From Marketing Completely
- This is the most radical suggestion on this list. What if you leave marketing the way that it is and don’t let social media live within that department. Instead you elevate social media to the level of business communications and integrate it into the executive team’s core business objectives and functions. This means social media is no longer about marketing. Instead it is about business. This type of elevated status could transform an entire organization, instead of only helping to generate leads and impressions.

I am a crazy? Would you take these unconventional approaches?