Podcast 36: Panel Discussion – Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

Panelists discuss using social media to grow your business

Welcome to episode 36 of the Waiake – My podcast to help you take your brand to new heights online.

In this episode I wanted to share with you the wisdom of my three co panellists from the recent Harcourts Real Estate Conference. We talk about digital marketing and using social media to grow your business.

We were interviewed by Troy Rawhiti-Forbes who has for the last few years been the conduit between New Zealand’s largest telco and our nation on Twitter and Facebook. Having experienced the highs of branding brilliance and the lows of national outages and email hacks Tory is in good space to bring out the best in my fellow guests and to prompt me to say a few things of merit too.

Coming from quite different backgrounds it was really interesting to get some diverse perspectives – yet hear some common themes as to whats best when using social media to grow your audience and business.

I’ll let you hear Tory give the impressive introductions (I cringed through mine) and I hope you find it of worth as the topics covered work in many industries.

If you’re keen to follow along the other panelist are:

HR

Key takeaways:

  • Know your Unique Selling Points and incorporate this into your online presence and SEO.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new networks, find out what fits best with you.
  • Always be transparent in your actions.
  • Think – “What would I want to hear from a brand?” and “How does this help my customers?”

HR

4 tools to help you master B2B social media sales

Image

Earlier this year LinkedIn celebrated reaching 1 million users in New Zealand – or around a quarter of the population. Their growth globally is also impressive at over 277 million members and 2 new members a second.

It is no wonder LinkedIn profiles are fast becoming the preferred source of truth – from tradespeople, right through to global enterprises – that are struggling to maintain their CRM.

Coupled with this mass adoption, I’ve also heard some startling statistics from the folks at LinkedIn. 75% of B2B purchases are influenced by social media and 57% of the buying process is complete before sales reps are involved. That really hit home the necessity to get social media sales working efficiently for you. A personal brand on LinkedIn and regular engagement with your audience and clients is a must.

You’ve no doubt got more than the basics mastered for B2B sales. But what about some of the advanced features LinkedIn offers, or the many other free tools available, to open and maintain relationships with clients?

LinkedIn Sales Navigator lets you mark a target and tells you when a new person enters the role

What if instead of searching for someone at X company in X industry you could save a search and narrow it right back. Sales Navigator lets you add: job function, shared groups and seniority level. You can save that search and be alerted when a new person enters and meets that criteria.

Better still, filter back the search to a company name and limit the results to the CXO you’re targeting. You can save it as an alert so when that CXO leaves – you can target their replacement. You could use this for gatekeepers as well, or for leads into brand new organisations if a great contact moves on.

TeamLink as part of Sales Navigator lets you see any contacts to leads from within your team

The short description sounds like sales utopia, the place where everyone is a brand ambassador and making sales for the business. TeamLink, when connected, allows you to see any person in your organisation that has a first or second degree connection to the potential client you’re searching for. You can leverage them for a warm lead or better insights into your next pitch. If you are using sales navigator you could also include interests to see if a team member plays golf or sails with the potential client or is a supporter of the same philanthropic cause.

Salesforce and Sales Navigator can show latest LinkedIn updates and Tweets from a select group

This allows you to create a group that you may be targeting within an organisation. Say the digital marketing team to sell them your analytics tool. You can monitor updates and tweets from the whole team or narrow to a specific contact. If they have questions or are posting about an area you have expertise in, why not flick them a copy of your research or a relevant white paper.

Newsle monitors and alerts you of press mentions of your contacts

As a backup to monitoring them on LinkedIn, why not plug your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles into Newsle. Scraping the public internet, Newlse sends you a notification and snippet when a contact is featured in the news. A fantastic opener for meetings or to rekindle a lead.

If you’re on Gmail – Use Rapportive to show latest posts from that email contact

In a similar vein to Newsle, Rapportive, allows you to see the latest social media posts from your contacts, again a great opportunity to garner insights into their world.

What do you use?

There a number of other tools I am sure to have missed. I would love to hear what helps you find leads, nurture relationships and ultimate win business for your organisation.

The Future Of Customer Engagement – Ashley Friedlein from eConsultancy

Here’s my rough notes from his presentation at the Alterian Alchemy launch yesterday. I’m hoping his slide deck is out soon! (hint)

Ashley broke out with what I thought was a gamification slide first which got me interested. Well I though he did, but just wanted to say the old game is over, here’s version 2.0.
Reiterating the classic “it’s all changing” the old ways of shouting at potential customers and BUYING fans are no longer effective he emphasised that the language, mediums and methods that clients want to be engaged through are constantly changing and evolving.

Constant engagement is now key, so here’s some before and after shots:

Email – used to be DNS registration, feedback loops and getting off blacklists.
It’s now about engagement, reputation, connectedness, trust and authority.

SEO – used to be keyword density, meta tags, directory and local business listings
Is now, about engagement, reputation, connectedness, trust and authority.

Ashley’s New rules of engagement

Kill multichannel!?!

Having attended #jump I sat up at this point. He’s saying this, but in reality Ashley believes as I do in Joined Up Multiple Platforms, JUMP.

Getting your head around multichannel is something that very few get right. Journey mapping helps to plot out where you want to be with clients.
The biggest challenges being connected software and people understanding where they are going, organisational structure, silos and the complexity of client touch points.

The marketplace is moving from:
Moving from ROPO Research Online Purchase Offline to Research Everywhere, Purchase Everywhere, REPE – a John Lewis ism.

Make marketing experiential
Digital is failing a little here, storytelling helps, but it links well to support truly experiential marketing. And for fun here’s some examples:

The AC Milan – Real Madrid prank by Heineken

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_URyWFBOy4

The kids door into the imaginarium stores

Imaginarium Doors
by jglaser175

Jamie Oliver’s restaurants giving kids a view master to see the kids menu

Prismacolor - Viewmaster
by JMC | Y&R

So we still for most B2C brands, an Ogilvy or the like, helping with interactive engaging experiences.

It’s also funny that with so much data, we can’t create a manual like we can for store merchandising. As there’s such fragmentation, we can get a grip on a norm for what works on web.

New terms for “value proposition” and brand attributes

  • What do you believe
  • What do you stand for
  • How are you different

These are the new terms for “value proposition” and brand attributes.

Reknit were given as example of what they stand for being central to clients. Toms shoes springs to my mind.

Marketers as CEOs

Now this of course resonated well with me.More and more through digital, the chance for CMOs to move to CEO improves.

My job, and that of all heads in digital marketing requires:

  • People skills.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • The ability to work in flux and change.
  • And deep insights into customers via social media and analytics.

Takeaway

  • Engagement is about behavioural change, and being involved is the best way to learn and change
  • Doing #customisation badly is not acceptable any more, our base level of what people should know about us a lot higher
  • And oh dear here comes the classic statement about IT issues – technical failure = customer failure. IT and marketing need to find a way to interbreed!!
  • Mobile, web and APP strategies are only as strong as your content strategy

Writing content, articles or posts for your website

Writing blog posts and online content - you need images!


I’ve read so many great articles and to be honest, can’t compete with @copyblogger when it comes to giving great copy insights.
Having said that, I’ve made these as a note to self, a 101 guide for new writers to the web. Let me know your thoughts or comment below. Would it work for your team?

Starting out

Try to think in terms of keywords (maybe brainstorm 5-10 before you start writing) but you don’t want to force yourself to use synonyms just to get all of them in there. You don’t want to ruin the flow of the article, just to cover every keyword, but you do want to have thought out what the keywords were.

Layout

Use the Journalists pyramid or News Style to create your work.

The most important facts should come first, and expand as you scroll down. The idea being that if the article goes over the word limit, the least important parts can be removed.  You can always end with a summary or conclusion. But remember that readers may not get that far, if the content becomes too hard or boring to read before they get there.

Length

Optimum page length for search engines is 400-600 words. – Take up the challenge. (I’ve only just made it with this post!)

Content

  • Your opening sentence is key, as it sets the tone for the article. It must be hard hitting, including as many of your keywords as possible.
  • Paragraphs should vary in length throughout the article from 2 to 6 sentences. It makes the page easier to read. – remember to try and fit your key words in once or twice each in subsequent paragraphs.
  • Sentences should average, 12 to 15 words for readability, especially if you’re a highly technical company – as per Economist/NY times.
  • Use active voice customer-focused messaging, rather than internal terms and acronyms.

Formatting

  • Try to use subsections and headers – it really breaks the content into readable chunks.
  • In most articles you can focus on a “call to action”. Pose a question or express a view to encourage reader interaction.
  • Bullets and lists can be used to great effect, making complex items easier to read.
  • Highlight key words or phrases with bold or italics – you could even try and block quote a key line from the author.

Linking

You want to add a few links but you don’t want to pile a huge number at the top of the page, or you risk losing the reader (they’ll click off and get away from you).
Use descriptive text to link from, like this link to bulleting content by @copyblogger. I’ve given it a good SEO friendly title that you can see on mouse over as well (Copyblogger article on various bulleting and listing techniques).

Links should reflect their actual content (so no more – click here, more info etc). Here are some possible linking options if you’re stuck:

  • A relevant press release or article
  • Related services
  • A Glossary reference
  • Relevant laws
  • Twitter posts or a hashtag search
  • Your Facebook or LinkedIn groups / profile

Images

If you use an image, include an appropriate descriptive title (alt text) for it.

Wrapping up

When you’ve finished, read the page out loud. This is to see if you can actually say that sentence in one breath, as readers’ minds lose track otherwise.

How is the call to action looking? Do you need my help?

Let me know your thoughts!

Light thoughts: A B2B Web Presence

A B2B web presence should be at least a collection of: targeted, integrated, interlinked, ongoing interactions.
For a B2B Consultancy to stand out from the masses and warrant a premium price, the company must stand out. Be it for: knowing the most, offering the best service, consistency, innovation or quality. And their Online presence should express this, be it at a corporate level, or extended to that of its associates, alumni and fans.
The tools are there – PDF thought pieces, ebooks, quick email updates, in depth analytic material or tools, insights into current market developments, events, forums, networking groups, surveys and web-casts. The hard part being creating themes and learning paths to take your clients down – something that engages the client and links to their interactions with their account manager/consultant. Something that rings home with their current issues and the wins they’re after.
A plan might roll out something like this.
  1. Marketing translates and polishes great though pieces into quick to market, well thought out, easy to digest (and share) nuggets.
  2. Events are booked to discuss the emerging themes.
  3. LinkedIn groups form post event, and webcasts or one to ones are booked for further dissection.
  4. Collections of nuggets are turned into publications for distribution and sent with Deep Insights to clients to devour offline.
  5. A full record is kept of client interactions preferences, consulting, thought pieces received and the events they have attended – even what they browse, how much they read and what’s their favourite topic.
  6. Marketing augments client engagement and supports Account Managers with “your clients may like this – please forward or add them to our distribution”.
  7. Possibly networks of clients and consultants form, discussing relevant themes, formulating areas of interest and shaping a companies offerings.

And harking from my Rework chapter today (37 signals)  – Who knows, the company may even start to think like a famous chef, and publish their best recipes for all – knowing that even if a competitor tires to do what they do –  only they know how to really mix the ingredients.

Collaboration of designers and suppliers

I was inspired this morning buy the though that @chrisbrogan was in my time zone (attending a conference in Paris) and that maybe a 30 second tweet up with him would “inspire me for life”. Too slow in figuring an angle and commitments to work meetings meant I missed my window.

Thinking of his Trust agents and tribes throughout the day I got a boost when @dbasulto posted a great post on @archdaily http://bit.ly/4T4vDk

Leveraging networks to collaborate

The post is a great piece of theory any budding entrepreneur should action on.

It’s the kind of thing I think all Designers in New Zealand could do and the UK/developed markets too. For too long we have tried to compete on mass production, doing everything, outsourcing nothing for quality control fears – something we just can’t do with the BRIC nations growing so fast.

Smaller firms or even single entrepreneurs, pairing up with others that have the skills they need to produce great work.

Experts in each area: market, design and produce something fantastic.

There’s even spots to outsource the whole business logistics, accounting and legality side as well.

I think we’ll see more and more simple online packages for startups (accounting/Irenas Cloud Bookkeeping and marketing), and suppliers pricing for one offs rather than bulk orders.

A website to foster this collaboration

One site I’d thought of was to put these two points together. A DIY hubspot where the client has the idea, he picks a skilled designer by resume, who together come up with a good builder and choose the optimum parts for the job.

Just imagine how your next bicycle, car or house could look!
I’m sure someone’s already doing this on a freelance scale, but what about for mass marketed custom goods?