Tag Archives: benefits of social media

Twitter to swim with the big fishes in business marketing

Most of the Twitter users who use it to promote their small business expect their company’s use of the popular microblogging tool to increase during the next six months, according to a recent survey by MarketingProfs.

The informal survey revealed that the practice of using Twitter as a business tool is gaining acceptance as an important piece of social media marketing. According to the MarketingProfs survey, 84% of respondents say their company’s use of Twitter will increase, with 46% saying the increase will be by a “significant” margin.

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

Compared to other social media tools, Twitter ranks second only to company blogs in perceived value. Company blogs and Twitter still rank ahead of LinkedIn and Facebook.

“This data shows that Twitter users, typically early adopters, no longer think of Twitter as just a personal networking tool, but as something that can provide real value for their company or business,” said Ann Handley, chief content officer for MarketingProfs. “Much like Facebook, Twitter is now moving into the business mainstream.” Additional Twitter research from MarketingProfs revealed that Twitter users are primarily motivated by the learning and immediacy components of the application. (MarketingCharts)

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

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Challenge #1: Proving the ROI of social media

As marketers, we’re under constant pressure to prove that our tactics are working. In order to show that what we’re doing is effective, we need numbers – cold, hard, measurable numbers to back up a high return on investment.

Unfortunately, when it comes to social media, finding those measurable numbers can be  quite challenging.

Marketers cited the “inability to measure ROI” as one of the largest barriers to adopting social media tactics by their company, according to MarketingSherpa research.

“This barrier is more of a perception than a reality because social media often requires qualitative measurement rather than the quantitative metrics that online marketers have become accustomed to,” say the Sherpas.

In order to measure ROI, you need two numbers: an investment cost and income returned. The easier you can find these two factors, the easier it is to measure your tactic and show that what you’re doing is working (or not).

MarketingSherpa’s most recent Chart of the Week reveals the social media tactics marketers find to be the most accurately measurable.

Proving the ROI of social media

Proving the ROI of social media

The top three most measurable tactics include advertising on blogs or social networks, online news release distribution and user reviews or ratings.

Instead of throwing out the bottom tactics – forums or discussion groups, blogging on a company blog, creating profiles on social networks – the Sherpas suggest factoring in more qualitative values into your perceived ROI.

“Those who don’t include qualitative factors in the planning of their social media programs may find themselves employing much less effective tactics, simply for the sake of perceived measurability, resulting in a loss of confidence in performance.”

More B2B buyers using Web 2.0 to decide

B2B marketers who dismiss social trends in buying as a strictly consumer trend are wrong, very wrong according to the latest research.

Forrester Research recently surveyed business buyers to discover more about their social activity, with special interest in how business buyers use social media in their purchase decisions.

The survey of more than 1,200 technology buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. with 100 employees or more in seven major industries, resulted in findings that may surprise some business to business marketers.

Key findings include:

  • 69% are “Spectators”—they read blogs, watch user-generated videos and participate in other social media for business purposes.
  • 37% are “Critics”—they contribute comments or react to content they see in social formats. This is the next most common behavior after reading and watching.
  • 29% are “Collectors”—they use social technology to collect information and stay on top of trends.
  • 29% join social networks (“Joiners”).
  • Only 5% are nonparticipants (“Inactives”).

Though they do take peers’ opinions in to account to make decisions, buyers who use social technology don’t rate it highly in terms of its influence on their buying decisions.

“If you’re a b-to-b marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, now is the time to start. Because many blogs, communities and other social outreach from firms that sell to business are less than mature, it is a perfect way to stand out.”

For B2B marketers interested in integrating social technologies into their marketing mix, Forrester researchers suggest:

  • First, understand your audience. How does your audience like to communicate and where do they go to share ideas?
  • Integrate social applications into other marketing. Don’t keep your social media separate, but a part of your overall marketing goal.
  • Learn from others. How are your peers using social media? Find articles, webinars and networking events to learn how others are finding success in social media.

Of demons and customer service

Seth Godin wrote a blog post last week, titled “Demonization,” that ties in seamlessly with our Tuesday post on what can happen when terrible customer service hits the Internet.

Here’s what Seth says:

The closer you get to someone, something, some brand, some organization… the harder it is to demonize it, objectify it or hate it.

So, if you want to not be hated, open up. Let people in. Engage. Interact.

If you interact regularly with your customers in the places they like to hang out (blogs, forums, Twitter, etc.), an unhappy customer will be more likely to approach you first, before telling all of their friends about the horrible experience they had.

Be open, engage your customers and help them when they ask for it. Instead of telling everyone how terrible you are, maybe, just maybe they’ll spread the word on how absolutely wonderful your company is.

Friday business humor: Taking Twitter too far

More than one in ten (11%) online adults in the U.S. say they have microblogged, on Twitter or elsewhere, to share personal updates or view updates about others, according to new research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Those who use Twitter are more likely to use other social media. Both blogging and social network use increase the likelihood that a person also uses Twitter, according to the study.

The study also revealed that Twitter users are also heavy consumers of blog content. About 21% of Twitter users read someone else’s blog the day before they participated in the survey and more than half (57%) have ever read a blog.

The research provides just a few more reasons why your B2B organization should be involved in social media and networking. But at what point does using Twitter for business go too far?

Maybe when you find something like this in the office:

Taking Twitter too far

Taking Twitter too far

How to find industry experts in social media

Yesterday we asked, “Is it ‘appropriate’ for business to business organizations to use social media techniques?

Our answer: It’s not just appropriate, it’s critical to the success of your B2B organization that you get involved in social media.

Even if you don’t have a company blog or a Facebook business page, there are still ways to connect with customers and experts in your industry through social media and networking.

The easiest way to get started is by reading blogs dedicated to topics that relate to your specific industry. Tools like Google Reader make it simple to keep track of interesting blogs and stay on top of the latest industry buzz.

Setting up Google Reader is simple, what’s tough is finding the blogs you should be following.

Here are some great places to start:

  • Google Blog Search. Google Blog Search narrows your Google search and only returns information published on blogs. It helps you find industry buzz on whatever subject you search for.
  • Alltop. Called the “online magazine rack” of the web, Alltop helps you find what’s happening in all the topics that interest you. The site collects headlines of the latest stories from the best sites and blogs in each topic. Topics range from HR, science, politics, automobiles, careers, to hundreds of other subjects.
  • Blogrolls. When you find a blog you like, be sure to pay attention to their blogroll. A blogroll is usually found in the sidebar of a blog that lists other blogs the author follows. They usually cover similar topics, making it a simple way to find new blogs to read.
  • Google Alerts. Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your topic of choice. You control the type of sources you want to monitor (news, blogs, etc.) and how often you would like to receive updates.

Social media is all about getting involved in the conversation. Find interesting blogs in your industry, make some comments and get the discussion going.

Using social media for business, Step 1: Find your customers

If you’re a B2B marketer trying to get started with social media, you first have to find your customers, according to the marketers at Hubspot.

Last week Hubspot’s Rick Burnes met with two marketers from BatchBlue Software to find out how they have made social media work for their business.

“The trick is to find out where your customers are and go where your customers are already.”

BatchBlue has found success with Twitter and believe other companies can use the tool to connect with and attract new customers. They explain how they did it, and you can too, in the video below: