Will.i.am and 5 Ways to Use Google+ Hangouts for B2B Marketing

I recently saw will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas in a Google + Hangout. It was a one to many format, where he had the main camera, but fans could start talking and video-ing him and he’d answer personally to the group. It was the first time a rock group has ever done something like this. It was like being backstage with him and I’ve got to tell you he’s the ultimate cool guy.

If this is the new BIG thing in social media, it put me to thinking how cool marketing people could use it in a B2B setting. Here’s just a few quick ideas I came up with:

1.Host a “roundtable” expert discussion featuring one of your company subject matter experts, and a high level person from an OEM, inviting prospects to join the circle.

2. Host a weekly or top of month broadcast about the hottest topics in your industry segment. Right off your webcam.

3. Kick up your lead generation activity and demonstrate a new product or solution offering to prospects or customers–for a fraction of what a live event would cost.

4. Connect with remote staff and host team meetings in a lively new, and more importantly, cool format.

5. Market up and down the channel by hosting your own updates back to your OEM/ISV partners and hosting your OEM/ISV partner update sessions to customers.

That’s it for now, gotta go–I’ve got a feeling, that tonight’s gonna be a good night…

TTYS

Sneaking selling into your blog

 

The blog is at the core of your social media efforts. It’s a wonderful tool that when done well satisfies the need for content to backup your social media strategy, showcases your expertise and allows you to become industry relevant by being part of the big conversation. You can also use it for a very soft sell.

I’ve compiled a list of five ways that you can use your blog like a good p.r. campaign to help influence potential buyers as they work their way through the buying cycle.

1.Link to company offerings from within blog posts. Sometimes when you are offering insight on a particular observation or challenge, it’s appropriate to include a link to or mention of your own offering. You can even use links to your website such as when you are describing an offering like Software Integration, the reader can click to your site with Software Integration hotlinked to it. It will also maximize your SEO exposure as well.

2.Use the sidebar on your blog to advertise your content assets: video, white papers, studies, etc. When a new piece of content is published, you can summarize it in a blog post then link to it as well. Or you can create a link in the body of your post when the post applies.

3.Don’t forget to use the power of networking. Your blog should have links to your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter channels and vice versa. Also include share buttons for your readers to easily send your content to others. And make a subscription box on your blog sidebar so readers can easily subscribe to the feed. It gives you more face time to network with your audience.

4.Have a new product or service? You can’t link to your press release from your actual blog unless it relates directly to your story, but you can post a link to it in your blog sidebar.

5.Syndicate when possible. There are many sites you can syndicate your blog to that aggregate blogs in your space and make them available to tens of thousands of potential readers. Some of them are Ezine, ITToolbox, BlogNotions and Technorati.

So you see that if you use your blog not only to showcase your expertise, but also to promote it; in turn you’ll maximize your efforts and help along your marketing ROI. Have a great summer and enjoy blogging!

 

 

TMI or 5 Social Media Articles that Matter

This week I brought my daughter to have her wisdom teeth removed. Before leaving she looked up all of the information on the procedure posted on the Internet. By the time she was done, she might have gotten a few credits for dental school. And by the time we got in the car to leave for the surgeon, she was in pieces because she knew exactly how and what type of instrument was going to remove the teeth and that she would possibly vomit because 30% of the patients do. Shall I just say that thanks to TMI, we had to practice deep, cleansing breaths on the way.

It’s nearly the same story when my friend gets an ailment; from a dizzy spell to a bump on the skin, she visits WEBMD to look up her symptoms and has herself diagnosed with some form of terminal illness two out of the three times she looks. Their tagline is “Better Information. Better Health.”It should be “Too much information (TMI) is unhealthy.”

So I ask you, when is all this information just TMI? Online communities are abuzz with discussions, polls, blogs, etc. At no time in history has marketing ever had this much expert knowledge at their fingertips. Particularly social media marketing How-To articles.

I skim through the daily treasures from Ragan Communications, Social Media Examiner, PR 2.0, and Social Media B2B and I’ve decided to compile five of the best articles that have actually given me useful information:

1.How LinkedIn is Helping Businesses Grow
LinkedIn is becoming a strong tool for event marketing in that it obtains invites from people through networking and uses their networks to further the reach of the invites. Here’s a great video–you have to watch Lewis Howes, author of Linked Working, who explains the how-to at the beginning.

2.10 Best Facebook Apps You’ll Actually Find Useful

Good for business users. My favorite is Feedburner, which you can use to feed your blog to your Facebook site.

3. Why Facebook Should Not Replace Your Website
I get asked once a week why someone needs their website when they have Facebook. Jason Matthew Murphy so eloquently puts it in this article–a short read, but valuable to show any proponents of ditching the website for this ever evolving platform.

4. 10 Quick and Easy B2B Blog Post Ideas for a Thursday Afternoon
What can I say, these 10 ideas will jumpstart any writer’s block when writing your blog. I especially like #8, “List Your Favorite Industry Publications and Websites,” you can see I’m doing that here!

5. PR Pros: Ban These Terms From Your Writing
Words that make your writing sound cliche–another favorite of mine from Ragan Communications. I have to confess that I use 1, 5, 8 and 9 too much–how about you? Post a comment and let me know your top used word from the list. 

Weathering the Marketing Storm

Our beloved b-to-b marketing climate changed over the past couple of years. And it started with the economic storm–bad things happened, and then bad things continued to happen.

I saw three significant events occur that created a natural disaster somewhat akin to a Cat. 4 hurricane:

1)The economy brought massive reductions in staff, especially marketing.

2)The wave of social media increased marketing departments’ tasks, leaving us with more to do and more to learn. But, we weren’t asked NOT to do any of the other aspects of marketing, demand gen, PR, etc. So not only did we have to learn something new, we needed to implement and leverage it while it was emerging and evolving (i.e. no good roadmap of best practices, etc.).

3)Partners and vendors trimmed marketing co-op budgets, which restricted marketing’s efforts to absorb and implement the increased workload through outsourcing, which is probably how we would have addressed the problem in #2 in the first place.

Less overall marketing dollars and less headcount + more workload = OMG I better find a better way.

So, after having this thought process, and realizing that I am still getting a lot of stuff done (although I take more work home these days), I thought about the few things that I had done successfully to counteract these bad events:

-In the book, “Zilch,” by Nancy Lublin, the author implores for-profit companies to behave more like not-for-profit companies in that we need to make “everyone do everything.” She refers to CEOs stuffing gift bags for events and office managers proofreading PSA announcements. So I tried to do more of that–you wouldn’t believe what a great proofreader our event coordinator is, and how well our receptionist can phrase a follow up letter to respondents from a customer survey. Besides that, we’ve tapped our in-house experts to write blogs for us, so I now have writers as well.Video? The VP of Sales’ office works great as a set for expert interviews and our in-house graphic designer happens to be a video whiz.

-I used the social media apps to be more effective. That’s not super easy, as there are like, thousands of them. Some I use are TweetDeck, to measure your Twitter online mentions, Google Alert to measure yours and others mentions, and Cotweet, to allow you to control your company master Twitter account but let others in. A new one we just demo’ed is GaggleAmp, which takes your social media program and makes is real easy for you to get your employees to use their followers/fans/friends to post all of the company stuff to, exponentially increasing the amount of your online reach. Worth a look. And instead of producing that resource draining monthly company newsletter for partners, we get them all to join a LinkedIn group and post content there. Cost=FREE.

-I also use online content hosting sites as a way to turn up the volume. I find sites like BlogNotions that act as libraries for blogs and they draw the crowds for us. We posted a blog article written several months ago by one of our in-house technology high frequency trading experts to a financial traders’ site at: The High Frequency Trading Review and in 24 hours he had 500 reads. With our old co-op funding from item #3 above, we might have paid $10k for an event that would draw one tenth of that number and pray that everyone came. Today, without as much funding at our disposal, this tactic cost us a fraction of that, and shows an exponentially better ROI. That’s the beauty of syndication. Use it.

There’s hope for us all, a lot of work to be done and plenty of marketing jobs to be had. That’s good news: you’ll be able to pay your mortgage, tuition, car insurance and still eat three times a day. I will leave you with this comforting statistic published recently that says the demand for marketers is at a four year high. At least you’ll have some shelter from the storm.