Posts Tagged ‘Web 2.0’

Our clients, and most people we’ve met and talks and events recently, have asked the same question: Is social media appropriate for business-to-business marketing? Unequivocally, the answer is YES.

In the last year, 40% of Clear Thought’s revenue can be tracked back to a social media source, and 100% has been enhanced or aided by it in some way. In the last six weeks alone, here are some things that Clear Thinkers have achieved through social media:

  • Hooked up two people met through Twitter with paying B2B clients.
  • Received two good quality new business enquiries, both of which are now at proposal stage.
  • Sourced experts willing to talk to us about their business as part of market research projects.
  • Enhanced relationships with prospective businesses using online nurturing techniques.
In B2B decision-making or considered purchases, social media has most impact in the top half of the sales funnel
In B2B decision-making or considered purchases, social media has most impact in the top half of the sales funnel

From a new business perspective, social media has critical impact in the first three stages of the sales funnel. That is, Awareness, Interest and Evaluation. From a social media perspective, you need to do the following:

To generate awareness: ‘Be There’ find out where your prospects hang out online and have a presence there.

To convert awareness in the interest: ‘Be Relevant ‘ provide information that is useful or controversial to pull people into your content.

To make it through evaluation: ‘Be Proven’ provide case study and testimonials at every turn online, ideally with other people talking on your behalf.

To really make the most of the channel, it makes sense to get some expert support – particularly in measuring and enhancing your activity. But, here are some really simple things to get you started.

10 FREE things you can do to generate awareness online:

  1. Ensure your company & all employees have a LinkedIn profile.
  2. Join or set-up an interest group on LinkedIn.
  3. Set-up a SlideShare space, link it to your LinkedIn profile.
  4. Set-up a YouTube Channel or Facebook page (if appropriate).
  5. Set-up a company Twitter Feed.
  6. Bookmark your content (StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, etc).
  7. Set up a BT Tradespace profile.
  8. Set-up Google, BlogSpot and WordPress identities.
  9. Comment on, or become a contributor to, blogs and forums.
  10. Regularly update email signatures with new content.

10 FREE things you can do to generate interest online:

  1. Post snappy links to content via Twitter, Status, Email footer, etc.
  2. Post regular interesting short blogs (10 mins).
  3. Prepare deeper content like pressos, papers and articles (20 mins).
  4. Give each of your team an area of expertise to track and comment.
  5. Post details of other people’s content relevant to your audience.
  6. Comment on industry news and happenings… in real time.
  7. Make sure all employees regularly update online statuses.
  8. Follow-up traditional touch-points with online contact.
  9. Gather permissions to send email updates.
  10. Ask intelligent questions in online forums.

10 (nearly) FREE ways to prove your credentials online:

  1. Provide written case studies on your site, blog, etc.
  2. 140 character lines to link back to your case studies, articles, etc.
  3. Post case study videos on your site, YouTube channel, etc.
  4. Post webcasts and presentations on your site, SlideShare, etc.
  5. Post product demos on YouTube, SlideShare, etc.
  6. Re-use the words of others about your products and services.
  7. Provide intelligent answers to questions posted in Forums, Groups
  8. Run live Q&A sessions via Twitter.
  9. Add a customer feedback / rating system (like Kampyle) to your site, blog, etc and re-use the positive feedback.
  10. Ask LinkedIn contacts for endorsements.

Note: In this blog, we’re focusing specifically on lead generation. It is worth noting (and blogging in the future) that social media can be powerfully used in market research, recruitment, lead nurturing and much more.

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Web 2.0 is now part of the fabric of communications; yet sceptics still see it as nothing more than ‘buzzword bingo’. Andy Davies of True Clarity spoke about the business potential of Web 2.0 at a recent meeting of my local LinkedIn marketing group. His talk was so good I’m going to pilfer from his notes over the next days.

Andy broke his discussion down into Five Ways Businesses can benefit from Web 2.0. No one likes to present a definition of Web 2.0, but social networking is perhaps its most well known aspect. MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube are all online destinations where we can create a profile, upload and tag content and build networks of friends.

And content can be shared between these sites, so your Flickr photos can be on your Facebook profile, and YouTube video can easily be embedded into your blog.

Google Maps is often quoted as an example of a ‘mashup’ where data, such as your business location and contact details, or photos of your favourite place, can give added richness to a map, and boost your business profile.

Andy sees great opportunties in harnessing these social networks to get new customers to your business. Facebook groups coalesce around common ideas or interests. For instance, taking a subject in which I have no interest at all (!), there are several groups dedicated to the appreciation of cider. Now, if you’re a cider producer, there’s an opportunity to get involved.

But brands must engage with online networks with great caution. Generation Y, digitally native users will not tolerate overt selling or old world modes of communication.

And, where enough people come together round a cause, online campaigns that grow in social networking sites can gather great momentum, as HSBC found out in the summer of 2007.

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A number of enterprise agencies are embracing Web 2.0. What is web 2.0? It is the online phenomenon with a shifting definition. Some of its ingredients are:

  • web-based communities such as social-networking sites like myspace and facebook
  • an open collaboration and sharing between users
  • a collection of web tools, probably developed independently, which have come together to allow a new way of using online services

Over at Enterprise First (an enterprise agency in Hampshire) they have just started a blog. East London Small Business Centre (ELSBC) has created a facebook group for their community. Tim Heath, CEO of ELSBC says: ‘We believe that facebook is not just a networking site for individuals to keep in touch with friends but also a very effective networking tool for organisations and businesses to create awareness of their products and services whilst connecting with the wider community’

And at a recent Marketing and PR forum run by the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA) how to harness the power of hi-speed broadband and the internet was very much on the agenda.

So does blogging and social networking mean the death of email? No, because people access and use information in different ways, at their own pace and with their own preferences.

Most businesspeople will make room for maybe 4-6 good, informative email newsletters in their inbox. If the message helps them with their business then they will trust it. It’s all about how relevant the content is to the reader. With localbusinessadviser we offer business support organisations the chance to deliver a relevant and timely local message to their client communities, backed by strong generic features and advice.

If you are using blogs, forums, social networking or advanced email techniques to support or market to small business, I would love to hear from you.

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