Content is king, but it can only be driven through great distribution. One of the things that interests me the most is simplifying content publishing for business-to-business companies to help them better tell their story. A big factor in telling a powerful story, is making sure that it represents the whole company. It is important have to have parts of the story from many different employees. How do you make this happen?
This week the URL shortening service Bit.ly launched a new service called Bitly.TV. This service aggregates the most popular videos being shared using the URL shortening service. It provides a quick look at what is popular right now. So what if a B2B company took this idea and built on it?
Capturing What Employees Share
URL shortening services continue to launch, and while some people like them and others don’t, they serve an important function. What if a B2B company created a custom URL shortener for its employees to use? For example, a large company like GE could create GE.me as a URL shortener. This would brand any links shared as coming from someone at GE.
A corporate URL shortener could address many issues:
1. Capture information that employees are already sharing on the web in one place.
2. Reinforce corporate branding on the social web.
3. Denote that the link is not spam
For me the biggest opportunity for doing something like this is capturing the brain power and interest of an entire company. If the short URL service were adopted company wide, then one dashboard could exist to view the most relevant links and information to employees and customers at any point in time.
Knowledge Is Power
Once you have a digital pulse of an organization, thanks to the data being generated by a corporate URL shortening services, a world of options opens up for you.
You can use the information captured in your URL service to:
1. Guide your blog content.
2. Direct Facebook, Twitter and other social network content and conversations.
3. Focus e-mail and direct response calls to actions and offers
4. Educate sales and marketing on trends and issues
5. Guide product developments and enhancements
While all of these are key benefits, the best opportunity likely is the overall credibility that will come from a more accurate, “not just marketing” tone of your business on the Web.
Dealing With Data
Let’s be clear, I don’t think that you should just throw all the popular links onto the web and display them in the way Bit.ly did. I think that it is up to internal staff to understand the data provided and use it to impact business objectives and tactics, like the ones mentioned above.
This brings up an important issue to understand. The more resources you devote to the web, the more time you need to allocate for data and analytics reporting and interpretation. Understanding data from the social web will be a key success factor for B2B companies in the future.
With the popularity of URL shortening services it should be possible to license technology from an existing service or find a program that has experience building one as a way to get your own corporate short URL started. Your employees are already sharing relevant business information with other services. Shouldn’t you capitalize on the branding and data possibilities of actions they are already taking?
Is this something you see becoming a trend? Would your business consider doing this?