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

3 Ways to Get B2B Social Media Value from Google+

Many B2B marketers have already been scratching their heads trying to figure out how to make use of Facebook and Twitter. Along comes Google+, another social network that the average B2B marketer just doesn’t have the time to learn and master.

There are, however, reasons to believe that Google+ will be more valuable to B2B companies than Facebook and Twitter put together. And since getting in early is a big factor in determining long-term success, B2B companies should test the waters with Google+ right now. Here are a few reasons why B2B companies, even in niches like restaurant card processing and orthondontic website design, should be using this network.

1. Google+ Has More Appeal for Business than Recreational Users

The Google+ platform resembles Facebook, but lacks the pizzazz. The overall Google+ environment — particularly in terms of features like Circles and Hangouts – has much more appeal to businesses interested in talking business, than it does to individuals interested in harvesting virtual asparagus.

Action Step: Set up a company Google+ company page, and use it as a conversation hub. Through Circles, connections can be categorized according to product, service, the nature of the business relationship. It’s completely user-defined. Circles serve as an excellent, laser-focused system for both gathering market intelligence and sharing insights. Through Hangouts, companies can host private, real time video meetings.

2. Content Associated with Google+ Is Highly Visible in Search

Not surprisingly, Google gives Google+ content favorable positioning on its search engine, which, by the way, has an 80% market share. There are two major ways a firm can strengthen its search presence through participation on the network:


Action step: Produce original content. Original content published on Google+ posts is indexed and ranked, and appears in both standard and personalized search queries. Keyword-optimized posts may achieve first-page positioning for matching search queries.


Action step: Deploy rel=author links. Google has begun to associate content with authors as well as with publishing sites, using what is called the rel=author link. If a company’s writers have personal Google+ profiles and link their content to their profiles, their content will be more widely visible.

At this stage, it is difficult to measure the impact of Google+ optimization with any precision, since Google is developing the platform rapidly and continually changing where and how content is displayed in SERPs (search engine results pages). Directionally, however, Google is giving us every indication that it intends to continue looking for ways to make Google+ content stand out in search.

3. Google+ Delivers SEO and Social Value without Participation

Let’s face it: a lot of B2B companies don’t have the bandwidth to post content and chat with business connections on social networks all day long. Yet even these firms can derive useful SEO and social marketing benefit from Google.

Social shares of content through likes and tweets increase brand awareness and generate leads. Social shares are also positive ranking factors for Google. While the Google+ share, referred to as a +1, may not be socially significant (yet), it is thought to carry more SEO weight than shares on other networks.

Google+ social shares have broader implications than many other network shares. When people +1 a firm’s content, it may become visible to their Google+ connections when they perform personalized searches, creating a social media/search ripple effect that can increase brand awareness and generate leads.

Action step: With this in mind, B2B companies can promote Google+ sharing simply by adding +1 buttons to key site pages and all blog posts, and by adding a link to the firm’s Google+ page to all site templates. Instead of proactively trying to build a Google+ community, firms can just make it easy for Google+ enthusiasts to come to them.

Time for a Strategic Social Shift?

By now, many B2B companies have had enough time to assess the value of their Facebook and Twitter marketing. If results are lacking, a shift to Google+ is a much better option than giving up on social media. For B2B marketers that have not yet taken the social marketing plunge, exploring Google+ could be the perfect first step.

Is your firm using Google+? How have the results been so far?

A Kickstart to Get You Started in B2B Social Media

Many B2B marketers are still exploring social media and wondering where to get started implementing it for their B2B companies. Today I have collected a series of posts that provide some simple guidelines and ideas around getting started. They are not complex. They are high level. And it will get you thinking in the right direction. There’s some of the what and some of the why. No matter how many statistics I read about social media adoption by B2B companies, I still come back to my conversations with marketers every day. A basic understanding of social media is still needed in many organizations. So I present that to you today.

If there are other posts you have seen recently that have helped you get started with your social media efforts please share them below.

A Simple Explanation why B2B Social Media Works So Well
from 41 Stories
While a study by BtoB Magazine conducted last year pegged 93% of all B2B marketers to be engaged in some form of social media marketing, I still see some B2B marketers shun a mufti-dimensional social media program. Sure, LinkedIn is okay but all the others?
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Is B2B Really Ready For Social Media Marketing?
from MediaPost
Is B2B really ready for social media marketing? The short answer is no. The long answer is almost. Let’s just say that generally speaking, these kinds of companies are “social media curious.”
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Social Media Strategy for B2B Companies
from Dijital Farm
What about Business to Business (B2B) companies? How should they approach their social media efforts and where should they spend their time? In today’s blog post, we examine three ways B2B companies can get more from social media.
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Tips for Building a Social Media Strategy
from Springbox
One resolution on everyone’s business agenda should be to develop an ongoing social strategy. As social media platforms become mainstream and your industry competitors settle in for the long haul, there’s no better time to get organized.
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The Future Of B2B Search: Start Preparing For Social SEO Now
from SearchEngineLand
Just when you thought your strategy was defined in SEO, the time has come for us to once again get ready for significant change in how we approach SEO as search marketers. With the recent announcements from Google, the future of search is indeed social in nature.
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Marketers Must Beat the B2B Brand Titans at Their Own Game
from ITSMA
ITSMA’s 2011 Professional Services and Solutions Brand Tracking Study reveals that there are a few market leaders and a large pack of followers; yet the market remains fragmented and opportunities for differentiation abound.
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Just One B2B Social Media Reason for Google Plus: Search

Google just rolled out Search, Plus Your World and B2B companies need to take notice. If you have been taking a wait and see attitude, or you just don’t have the bandwidth for Google Plus, Google just changed the game and moved this to the top of your priority list.

Not another social network, you said. We are already challenged to come up with enough quality content. And learn a new platform? And see if our customers and prospects are there? Again, none of this matters anymore. Google Plus has always been about leveraging our social connections to provide better search results. But now Google is showing Google Plus results as top results in search.

It shouldn’t matter to you that Twitter is calling it “a bad day for the Internet.” Marketers need to roll with the changes that happen all the time in social media.

Lots of resources already exist online and off for learning about Google Plus, the platform, but for the time being, B2B marketers need to create personal profiles and business pages for their B2B companies. Yes, Google Plus is great for engagement because of a threaded comment system. Multiple people can manage a page (which wasn’t possible at roll-out). Circles really do allow you to segment outbound messages. There is not an ecosystem of management tools for Google Plus yet, so it will be a manual process to share content on the platform.

But for now. Get on there and start sharing content. Want to drive traffic to your blogs? Need more downloads for your ebooks and white papers? Share links on Google Plus. Prospects still find their way to your site and your content by search, and Google is giving B2B marketers another tool to help with that.

This really should be at the top of today’s to do list for B2B companies. Circle Social Media B2B on Google Plus while you are there.

6 Ways to Improve SEO with B2B Social Media

As search algorithms continue to change, and give more value to social search, it is more important than even for B2B companies to create an integrated approach to social media to improve their SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO is based on two different types of factors, on-page, which you control and off-page, which you don’t control. But using social media can help the social signals that search engines now use as part of how they serve up their search results.

B2B marketers should be looking to expand the reach of their social media efforts to drive more traffic back to their websites (and their calls-to-action). If you are unclear about the importance of social search, look no further than Google Plus. Google created a social network so they could get a better picture of our social connections and tap into them to provide better search results.

6 Ways to Improve SEO with B2B Social Media

1. Create a Unified Keyword Strategy
The idea of keywords starts with search. Google built its ad business on the back of its search results. Whether you are doing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising or just trying to optimize your search results, start with Google’s Keyword Tool to develop your list of keywords. If these are the words your customers and prospects use when they are searching for you, make sure you use these same terms in your social media activities. These keywords should included in blog posts, especially their titles, as well as within posts on social networks. The more often your posts are found, the more often they can be shared.
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2. Make Your B2B Blog As Social As Possible
Once you blog posts draw traffic, you want to do all you can to encourage sharing of posts. Many B2B companies focus on building a community on their blog through comments, but you are better off building a bigger community off the blog. With this in mind, rather than ask questions to encourage readers to leave comments, ask them to share the post instead. You also want to make sure the blog has sharing buttons in logical places. In the case of this post, not only is the main post shareable, but each of the six ways are shareable with its own Tweet button. Use those buttons to share a couple of these points in additional to the main post.
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3. Encourage Employee Sharing of Content
One of the easiest sources of sharing is your own workforce. Encourage employees to share blog posts and other content by making it easy for them to share. Provide a pre-written tweet that you email out to employees, or even share on internal network like Chatter. There are even tools like GaggleAMP to make employee sharing even easier. You can cue up the posts for employees and they can just send them with the push of a button.
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4. Leverage Your LinkedIn Network
Just like you want to encourage your employees to share your great blog posts and ebooks, you want to share it with your LinkedIn network. You can post it to your personal status update, your company status update and in any relevant groups. Since you are looking for SEO benefit, consider asking people to share it with their own networks for greater reach and greater sharing. Depending on the type of content, you might want to pick 5-10 of your contacts and ask them to blog about it. This will create some links back to your site.
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5. Properly Name Your Social Media Profiles
Sometimes B2B companies try to get too clever and create a Twitter account or a Facebook profile with their descriptive keywords, rather than their company name. This upsets the balance in the universe. Common best practices are to name your profiles with the company name and use keywords in your profile bios and updates. This architecture of social media keeps the balance in place and shows that the profile is from a real company, rather than someone trying to spam search results by keyword stuffing profiles. You can develop trust by following these guidelines so people with share your content.
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6. Write Compelling Social Media Posts for Readers, Not Spiders
The most important thing to remember about using social media to improve SEO for your B2B company is that you need to write for your readers. Not the spiders crawling the web for the search engines. If you are trying to network engineers, you will naturally write about things that interest them and may cause them to consider purchasing your products. You need to use keywords so they will find your content, but you need to create great content that can be read by humans so they will value it and share it.
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If you have any thoughts, please add them down below, but we would really rather you share this post on all your social networks. Feel free to print it out and put on the fridge in the breakroom, as well as the one at home. (I’m just following #2 above)

Photo credit: Flickr

Always Thinking about B2B Social Media is a Requirement

Your approach to B2B social media must be thoughtful if you are going to be successful in driving business for your B2B company. Marketers and communicators need to focus on how they can make a difference, and that begins with thinking. Can you see the big picture of your organization, your industry and the business world in general? Can you read about examples of other companies’ efforts and think about the takeaways that apply to your company? Can you understand tactic execution plans and make them happen? If your answer to all these questions is yes, please read on, as you will find some value in the articles below.

If there are other things you are thinking about, or have been inspired to think about by a recent article you read, share it in the comments below.

How Social Digital Is Your Company?
from Harvard Business Review blog
Recently, the CEO of Edelman wrote a blog post celebrating a company milestone. In it, he referenced our efforts in the non-analog world as “social digital.” To most, this may seem insignificant because the word “social” is often overused in professional circles. But the addition of “social” to the “digital” is immensely significant because it symbolizes that the current revolution is not only digital, but codependent on social behaviors and interactions from human beings. If the digital revolution was about computers being connected (the internet) then the social-digital revolution is about people being connected (the social web).
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25 business-tastic B2B social media case studies
from Econsultancy blog
I’ve been asked quite a few times over the past couple of weeks for examples of social media marketing being used in a B2B context. This is actually more prevalent than a lot of marketers appear to realise – and is certainly something that’s not new to the marketplace. Here’s some great examples of B2B organisations using social media with commercial purpose. Some are old, some new, some you might be familiar with, others perhaps not.
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4 B2B Social Media & SEO Blunders to Avoid
from TopRank blog
There are some things that you can’t take back: including what you release on the Internet. With over 93% of B2B marketers using social media, online sales has very much become a social business. As marketers we need to do our best to present as well online as we do in person (if not better). Creating an effective online marketing plan amongst all the changes on the social web isn’t easy, but here are a few things you may want to avoid.
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Take the guess work out of B2B guest blogging
from MLT Creative blog
One of the best ways to add more voice and variety to your B2B blog is to open it up to guest bloggers. Your blog may start out with one individual responsible for all of its original content. If that’s showing positive results and attracting engagement from your marketplace, you’re doing a great job. But you can do better.
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Get Your B2B Social Media Questions Answered

Usually on Fridays we gather recent and popular posts that we have seen cross our screens with the latest social media discussions relevant to B2B marketers and communicators. Today is no exception. A few of these posts have seen lots of retweets and shares on multiple social platforms. But just in case you missed them, here they are again. If there are other posts you have seen this week that have answered your questions, let us know in the comments below. A post that you wrote and are particularly proud of is okay, too.

The Biggest Question When Using B2B Social Media
from Marketing Interactions
Sometimes I become a bit skeptical when I see the huge uptake in social media by B2B marketers. In fact, recent research by Junta42 and Marketing Profs finds that use of social media is the top B2B tactic in use as identified by 79% of 985 marketers. Unfortunately, only 31% of those marketers said they found it effective.
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5 Metrics to Measure Effectiveness of Social Media Customer Service
from Mutual Mind
Today’s customers are increasingly using online, mobile and social channels and they expect companies to listen and respond to them on these channels. Business leaders recognize that good service experience is critical to their company’s success and social channels must be part of a company’s overall customer service strategy. However the implementations lag behind intentions. An Econsultancy survey conducted in September 2010 showed (see results below) that more than half of the companies that took part in the survey had not integrated social media with customer service yet.
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What marketers should know about SEO and Social Media
from Social2B
The line between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) is getting thinner every day. And that means more integrated campaign strategies for marketing professionals and faster campaigns, yielding results. But before marketers leap into the ‘SEO and Social Media Integration’ world, a few items need to be reviewed and considered.
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Asset Based Marketing in Action: The B2B Social Media Landscape
from Global Copywriting
A fascinating example of asset based marketing landed in my Twitter message box this morning. Asset based marketing, or ABM for short, is the practice of giving equal consideration to content and design in your marketing products. John Bottom from Base One in the UK alerted me to a fabulous piece of content.
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6 Small Town Sensibilities to Boost B2B Social Media Impact
from BlogNotions Marketers Blog
The world of social media is now a big one, however many successful participants from the B2B sector treat their participation as they would treat their residency in a small town. Why? Because a community is a community, whether it is online or off. The following are six characteristics that “successful social media participants” and “popular small town residents” have in common.
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Consider SEO Beyond Your B2B Website

Search engine optimization is the process to help your B2B company get found when customers and prospects are searching for terms related to your business. Without getting into the mechanics of SEO (lots of SEO resources here), this process generally starts with keywords. Use the Google Keyword Tool to get started, as well as creating a list based on industry knowledge, along with input from others in your organization. Once these keywords are in place, and you begin using them in website copy, blog posts and social media profiles, look beyond those areas to other non-traditional uses of your keywords.

Company Description
The description of your company should be standard, whether online or off. If it contains appropriate keywords, make sure all employees know what that description is, and use it to describe the company. When employees meet people in person, speak at events and even give short video interviews, by using the same description, it will start to get associated with your company. Customers and prospects will start to search for those specific terms and find your company.

Employee Job Titles
In many organizations, job titles are as much for the external world to describe what you do as they are to establish the internal hierarchy. What if that external facing title was more about what your company does that what you do? If this doesn’t make sense to you, check out Hubspot on LinkedIn, where 132 out of 215 employees have inbound marketing in their titles. Hubspot is an inbound marketing company and they have used this subtle approach to influence the search results of this term. People begin to think of Hubspot as an inbound marketing company when interacting with their employees and search using these terms.

Printed Materials
While is may seem like an odd approach to search engine optimization to make sure you are using keywords in a piece that will be printed and put on someone’s shelf, but this is the best example for why keywords need to be integrated across the whole B2B company, not just marketing and sales, but customer support, human resources and even finance. The online reason is that all documents should have digital versions online, whether reformatted as web pages or posted as PDFs. Either way, these are searchable. The other reason, as in the above examples, is that the more customers and prospects read information about your company, they will start to think of it in those terms. This influences their search behavior when looking for new products or services. If you have optimized your sites and social outposts for these same terms, you will be at the top of their results.

What other ways have you used your SEO keywords outside of your B2B website and social profiles?

100+ SEO Resources for B2B Marketers

One of the biggest benefits of social media for B2B companies is how it helps drive search traffic. By better understanding the basics of search engine optimization (SEO), which is the process of making sure search engines can find your website or blog, marketers can increase the value of their social media programs. Following are more than 100 great resources to help you learn more about SEO, or brush up if it has been a while since you have dug into this topic. Even if you are pretty well-versed in SEO, there are probably some good reminders here for things that you know you need to do, but just haven’t gotten to.

And here’s an SEO tip: Notice that the link to each one of these resources below has “Search Engine” or “Search Engine Optimization” in it, not “click here” or “for more information.” These are called anchor links and sites you are linking to, in this case SEO sites, get more search benefit from these keywords than from generic terms.

Beginner’s Guides
Google has recently released a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide as a pdf. Since they are responsible for approximately 65% of the search traffic in the US, it is wise to understand their approach to optimizing your sites for search.

And to provide additional perspective from outside the Googleplex campus, here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization from SEOmoz that is available via the web and a pdf download if you prefer.

Resources
Hubspot offers a ton of blog posts, webinars and other resources on their topic hub about Search Engine Optimization. Many of these are geared more towards marketers than hard-core SEO people, so they may be more relevant to you.

Search Engine Land features a list of resources for those interested in learning much more about Search Engine Optimization, including topic areas on their site and a list of other notable SEO blogs.

Glossary
If you just want to brush up on the latest terms, here’s a Search Engine Glossary from SEObook.

What are some your go to sources for SEO? And do have a simple SEO tip to share with other B2B marketers?

Weekly Roundup of B2B Blog Posts

As any good blogger, we don’t just write about social media in B2B, but we read about it too. In addition to some sites I check regularly, I have Twitter alerts set up to show me tweets related to B2B social. These are frequently blogs, but they are also thoughts, conferences, webinars and even online chats (#b2bchat). Posts that are frequently tweeted show up in these alerts. There is no algorithm to their inclusion in this list, just anecdotal evidence. If I see a post being tweeted a lot, I consider it. For some reason, Paul Gillin was especially popular this week, anectdotally. And I fill out the list with posts from other B2B blogs. Not scientific, but hopefully, this will provide additional perspectives on B2B social media. If you come across a post that we should include in our weekly roundup, let us know on Twitter @smb2b.

4 Tips To Go Global With B2B Search Marketing
from Search Engine Land (@sengineland)
For years, B2B marketers have refrained from putting search dollars into non-US markets because the userbase was lacking and the investment seemed too risky. But search markets around the world have matured considerably in recent years, and now offer a great opportunity. It is time B2B marketers took another look at global search.

Who Says B2B Social Media Can’t Be Fun?
from CRT/tanaka (@crttanaka)
I just got back from NewCommunication Forum and Paul Gillin’s session on “B2B Social Media Marketing-Really?” is still fresh in my mind. So here are some key takeaways from Paul Gillin that B2B marketers can introduce to their social media efforts. Unlike consumer brands like Pepsi, Ford and even Dell to a certain extent, traditional B2B companies don’t have the luxury of launching a viral video or a community blog that gets them thousands of unique visitors. Come on let’s be honest, how many of us really enjoy a product demo video or leave a comment on an extremely technical blog.

Current issues with B2B social media
from Daryl Pereira (@cagedether)
Paul Gillin penned an excellent article on the rise of social media in the B2B space for the latest edition of B-to-B Online. As the veteran tech journalist points out, marketers are now showing a higher comfort level with using social media, as evidenced by the ‘Twitter and Facebook emblems sprouting up on business Web sites like dandelions in a summer field’! As Paul explains, both Twitter and LinkedIn work well for getting in front of a professional demographic whereas Facebook has huge mass appeal but often the communication is less work, more play.

Four Cutting Edge B2B Social Media Marketing Best Practices
from Jeff Majka (@jmajka)
Tuesday morning in Chicago, I was perched atop a 38 story building listening to four top corporate marketers talk about how they have responded to the twin challenges of a recession and the impact of social media. No, I didn’t parachute in to some secret industry confab- I was attending the BtoB Magazine NetMarketer breakfast being held at the Hotel 71. And lucky for you, I took some notes…

Understanding How and Why B2B ‘Buyers Are Liars’ … and What This Means for Demand Generation
from Adam Needles (@abneedles)
Anyone responsible for B2B demand-generation programs—whether on the marketing or sales side—knows that self-reported data from prospects must be taken with a grain of salt. Whether it is titles or contact information, or the often ‘loaded’ questions about timeframes for purchasing, buyers regularly enter data that is not wholly accurate because it serves their purposes at that moment in time. And that means quite a bit of the data we collect (especially from prospects that are earlier on in their buying processes) is riddled with errors.