5 Tools for Connecting Social with Demand

While there’s little doubt that social media has changed the game for sales and marketing professionals, many marketers have struggled to use it to drive actual demand for their products and services. 

Marketing automation company Eloqua recently released the Grande Guide to Social Demand Generation; an e-book, packed with real world examples, interviews and how-to advice, exploring social media within the context of demand generation.

We spoke to contributor to the e-book, Jesse Noyes, and asked him to reveal some of the top tips provided in the guide, specifically for our readers:

Social Sharing Buttons

These make it easier for leads to push your content to their connections across social networks. You can include them on your website, blog, landing pages, etc. without taking up too much space. Social channels like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, and Pinterest, to name a few, all have these buttons.

Social Sign-On

Social sign-on can really cut down barriers to conversion, allowing prospects to skip the long forms you require for a gated offer. You still get the data, but the prospect saves time and effort.

There are social sign-on tools that pull data from platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. This provides valuable data points like associations, skills, and number of connections or followers. You can better segment and score leads, sending relevant content to them based on what association they belong to, their job skills or even by how influential they are.

Social Plug-ins

With social plug-ins prospects can who in their social networks has interacted with your online content. Facebook and Google+ make badges you can add to your website or blog displaying how many people, and who in their network, have endorsed your offer. You can also easily add Twitter lists and searches to landing pages so leads can see the conversations around your content. These relatively simple tools are a cost-effective way to establish trust early on in the discovery and education phase.

Influence Measurement Tools

These come in many shapes and sizes. Brands range from highly specialized to one network (such as Twitter), while others are more expansive. Klout is probably the best known. It grabs data from a variety of social networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) and assigns a score from 1 to 100 on an individual’s influence on the social Web, as well as who they influence. Other tools like PeerIndex, TweetLevel and PostRank carry out similar functions. This data can be valuable for understanding a lead’s influence on others.

Social Measurement

Social monitoring vendors say they can help measure sentiment about your brand. Tools like Radian6 and Vocus, for instance, are used to help monitor what people are saying about particular brands and topics. These tools can be vital for informing the awareness step of social demand generation.

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Understanding SoLoMo

As marketers, we’re suckers for a new buzzword – but I’m not quite sure how I feel about SoLoMo yet.  I picked it up a couple of weeks ago at the Mobile Media Upfront Conference in NYC, and I couldn’t wait to begin throwing it around.  Judging by some of the looks I’ve gotten so far though….. I don’t know.

If you haven’t heard it used yet, SoLoMo takes the incredibly difficult to say combination of words Social, Local, and Mobile and mashes ‘em up (industry term).

The takeaway for me though is that those 3 spaces (Social, Local, and Mobile) are on a collision course, and we need to be ready.  While the importance of marketing effectively (and in an integrated fashion in each) is well documented, what has been assumed thus far is that we have been speaking to different customers.  To oversimplify it: “The Parents” and “the Kids.”

Parents are the most coveted customers right now in 2 of the 3 SoLoMo categories. 64% of parents use Social Media to research Local businesses, and of those, 45% are likely to refer an offer that they found within 10 miles of their home via their personal social network.

That brings us to Mobile, and our monkey wrench.  It seems that, to nobody’s surprise, teens are still the most coveted target for Mobile advertisers.  So what will it take to bring SoLoMo together? … Probably time.

History tells us that the “parents” demographic will fully adopt mobile the same way they did Social (remember that first friend request from your mom?).  But one tactic that may accelerate this waiting period is Location-Based Social platforms/Credit Card integrations.

AmEx and Foursquare have completely automated the awkward experience of having to show your waiter that you have “Checked In” at this fine restaurant and are thus entitled to a $5 appetizer, which then results in you having to explain to him/her what Foursquare is and ultimately respond to their blank stares with “forget about it.

Now, with this new Amex/Foursquare automation, you can simply:

1) Link your accounts,

2) Check In and redeem your local business offer

3) Have your rebate/reward applied directly to your Amex account

If this all sounds a little Minority Report-ish to you….. it should!  But embrace it. What could be better than walking down the street and receiving a message that the store you are about to pass has similar shoes to a pair you bought 3 months ago, in your size and in stock, and if you Check In RIGHT NOW you can have $5 applied to your credit card balance right at purchase? OK, maybe a few things, but if you had trouble understanding what SoLoMo meant, you shouldn’t anymore.

By Dan Opallo, Director of Social Media Services, StrongMail

Pinterest – should you take an interest?

Pinterest is the latest social media platform to get everyone talking. We first became aware of the site through an article on tech news website Mashable, which spoke of a virtual pin board which allows you to ‘pin’ images you find while you are browsing the web. This image is then attached to your Pinterest account which contains virtual scrapbooks in which you keep your favourite things. You can share these things with the rest of the world by attracting followers who will ‘repin’ your images.

Before you start pinning it is important to understand why you want to be on Pinterest and make sure it will benefit your company. Pinterest is a very visual site so if, like SilverDoor, you have exciting images you think others will want to see and share, it could work well for you. However, if your company sells a more abstract product – house insurance, for example – it’s going to be difficult for you to produce images that will become popular on the site.

If you do decide to join Pinterest, it’s a very easy website to use. Here are a few pointers:

- First of all, you need to request an invitation from Ben (the site’s inventor) and the team at Pinterest. This should come through in about a week – ours took around five days.

-When you create a Pinterest account you will need to connect via either your Twitter or Facebook account. Ensure your company has one of these before signing up.

- Once you have an account, simply install the ‘Pin it’ button to your internet browser toolbar (there are instructions to help you do this). Then you can pin all the images you want.

- When you pin things they are pinned to specific boards – you can have as many of these as you like. A board can be created on any topic, e.g. hair and beauty, recipes, travel destinations.

- You can add as many pins as you want to a board.

- Board names should be catchy to entice users to view the images in them. If possible, include keywords (with high search volume) within the board name as Google now indexes Pinterest profiles. For example, we have a board entitled ‘Serviced Apartments in London’.

- It is also a good idea to add a ‘follow me on Pinterest’ button to your website as part of your social media footer.

- As well as maintaining consistency throughout your pictures it is important not to forget the ‘fun factor’ of Pinterest. A board dedicated to other images (of something you aren’t trying to promote) which could easily be shared by users should also be included.

- Like all social media sites, you have to give to receive. We recommend that you engage with other users and follow any relevant boards. You can also repin or like other users’ images. A repin will put the image onto your board and maintain the original source, while liking the image is much like liking something on Facebook.

- Finally, in the words of Ben and the team at Pinterest – Happy pinning!

By Natalie Price, Marketing, SilverDoor

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Online retail in UK set to top £77bn in 2012

The UK’s online retail market is set to grow 13 per cent in 2012 – cashing in a huge £77bn.

The forecast further strengthens the UK’s position as a global leader in the market, second only to the US in terms of market value.

The market has exploded in recent years, with 30 per cent of all cross border trade in Europe, going through UK retailers.

John Andrews is Managing Director of Interactive Media in Retail Groups (IMRG). He said: “This means that British retailers export more than the rest of Europe’s e-retailers put together. It is a huge business – last year our research found that there were 228,000 UK online retail businesses now, that’s an estimated 30 per cent more than the year before.”

He added that this number was expected to double to 1.5 million by 2015.

Dell provides technology solutions, services and support, check out their latest small business offerings and deals here.

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10 Touch Points for a Socially Savvy Contact Strategy

While there’s little doubt that social media has changed the game for sales and marketing professionals, many marketers have struggled to use it to drive actual demand for their products and services.  Marketing automation company Eloqua recently released the Grande Guide to Social Demand Generation; an e-book, packed with real world examples, interviews and how-to advice, exploring social media within the context of demand generation.

 “As social media continues its rapid growth, many marketers have felt intense pressure to get on board. But too few resources are available for demand marketers,” said Heidi Melin, Chief Marketing Officer at Eloqua. “With the Grande Guide to Social Demand Generation, we’re giving the mix of practical guidance and wisdom demand pros need to join best-in-class companies that are already developing a social demand strategy and start passing highly-engaged leads to sales.”

We spoke to contributor to the e-book, Carmen Hill, Social Media Strategist at Babcock & Jenkins, a B2B marketing agency and Eloqua partner. We asked her to reveal some of the top tips provided in the guide, specifically for our readers: 

Companies want to combine social media tactics with traditional demand generation to not only counter negative buzz from competitors marketing campaigns and sales team, but also proactively build positive momentum and thought leadership.

To do that, you need a contact strategy. These are ten touch points we’ve seen work in action.

1. Industry events: Engage key influencers in person to demonstrate the product, and seed positive word of mouth. Engage in and share lively Twitter streams.

2. Influencer blogs and forums: Participate by providing relevant, data-rich content and comment or respond when appropriate.

3. PR: Reach out to reporters and bloggers covering the category with personalized pitches and exclusive access to data.

4. Online media: Drive awareness and generate leads through content syndication.

5. Social networks: Respond to conversations, answer questions and share content.

6. Demand-centric website: Showcase content and capture information about visitors, through Web analytics and/or registration forms. 7. Newsletter and social opt-in: Invite followers and site visitors to subscribe to newsletter and social feeds. Include optional social contact fields in addition to email.

8. Nurture via email and social channels: Stay in touch with responders until they indicate interest or intent to purchase.

9. Telemarketing/sales: Once someone registers for decision-stage content or requests contact, follow up with a sales call. If you have social contact data, reach out via Twitter or LinkedIn.

10. Encourage advocacy: Empower trial users and customers to share their successes by recording short videos that can be posted on YouTube or embedded in a blog. Push that to social channels.

To read the full Grande Guide to Social Demand Generation click here.

Dell provides technology solutions, services and support, check out their latest small business offerings and deals here.

Special Offer – Get an extra £25 off when you purchase a Vostro Notebook over £459 (except V1540). Use Coupon 50X1MH81FVB13D at the check out!!
Note: Coupon expires on 27/06/2012

 

 

B2B Branding on LinkedIn

Why use LinkedIn?

Often deemed ‘the Facebook for business people’, LinkedIn is the place to build, engage with and manage your professional network. Many businesses place a strong emphasis on Facebook marketing, focusing on attracting new fans to their page. But because LinkedIn is a professional networking site, the demographic is more favourable to B2B marketing. Everyone is there for the same reason: networking.

The growth in online networking has created a powerful branding opportunity. Company profiles on LinkedIn communicate the organisation’s values, selling points, general information and news updates. Followers can engage with the company by clicking on information updates or finding a new contact with whom to do business. Having complete, professional-looking profiles allows clients and suppliers to put a face to the person they are dealing with.

LinkedIn is also a valuable recruitment tool. Many jobseekers now use the site as an online CV, to search for opportunities and to research an organisation prior to their interview. Their findings will influence their decision, so it is worth tailoring your marketing to maximise the opportunities available.

The site’s benefits can be reaped by organisations which regularly update their page, ensure as many members of staff are signed up as possible, monitor consistency across staff profiles and encourage interaction.

How to make the most of it

Staff profiles

At SilverDoor a dedicated member of staff monitors LinkedIn accounts.

They ensure that all members of staff:

·         Set up an account upon joining the company, if they don’t already have one

·         Have their professionally taken photo on their profile

·         Are connected to all other members of staff

·         Have a 100% complete profile as soon as possible

·         Interact with other users as much as possible.

LinkedIn profile photos should be adapted to the people you wish to connect with. At SilverDoor, all new members of staff have a professional photo taken upon joining the company, which is used on our website and all LinkedIn profiles. Our members of staff are photographed in professional attire against a white background.

By ensuring that all staff members have an account and are connected to each other, we enable easy browsing of all SilverDoor’s staff profiles and demonstrate that we have a close-knit team.

Company profiles

At SilverDoor we ensure that our company profile is as valuable as possible to visitors and followers.

We publish regular news updates on our company profile page on topics which are likely to be of interest to our followers (e.g. business travel news).

We also encourage staff to get involved in discussion groups as much as possible. This is a great way to learn about industry news and the hot topics among business travellers, as well as allowing us to network with clients and property partners.

If you have the time to maintain it, setting up a discussion group provides a great platform for businesses, which can present themselves as an authority in their industry, host networkers and encourage discussion.

Most companies use LinkedIn, but many don’t make the most of it. Attention to detail and a company-wide LinkedIn strategy will help you stand out from the crowd.

By Phil Hudson, Marketing, SilverDoor

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HTML 5 Taking the Internet by storm?

What is HTML 5?

HTML 5 essentially means that instead of having to worry about downloading flash plug-ins, you will be able to view videos and pictures on all media platforms from computers to mobile phones.

HTML or hypertext mark-up language is the code that determines how your website looks and functions. When it was first created in the early 1990s, HTML was fairly basic and uploaded multimedia content slowly. Macromedia’s Flash, however, came along in the mid-nineties and changed the way websites used animations, video and graphics.

Until now when companies have built websites they have had to rely on third parties like Flash or QuickTime if they want to include multimedia. HTML has never supported video natively so it isn’t surprising that HTML 5 is attracting a lot of attention.

Put simply, when you visit a website built using HTML 5, there will be a much smaller chance of you coming across a black hole in the middle of the page or getting those endless prompts to ‘download a plug-in’.

The biggest promise that HTML 5 brings with it is the potential for a cross platform experience: you will be able to load a website on a mobile device, a PC or a TV and it will look exactly the same and have the same functionality. As users of its products know only too well, Apple will not allow Flash to run on any of their iOS devices including the iPhone and iPad. The success of their products globally shows that companies cannot ignore the need to recode their websites in HTML 5.

Should you jump on the bandwagon?

Many big businesses have begun overhauling their websites and are not waiting for the HTML 5 specs to be finalised, using unofficial versions of the code. While HTML 5 will make it much easier for you to make your website more visually appealing, there is no need to rush.

For small companies, like us, it is worthwhile waiting for the HTML 5 standards to mature and for HTML 5 to be widely adopted. You do not have control over your client’s applications (browsers) and many of these still won’t be advanced enough to read HTML 5. If you adopt HTML 5 too early you could exclude some of your community from engagement.

The latest version of HTML can perform all kinds of dynamic tasks and visual tricks and promises plenty for the future, but for now it is best just to be aware of it and bide your time as its development progresses.

By Natalie Price, Marketing, SilverDoor

For businesses needing the best-in-class hardware performance, visit our sponsors Dell here

Social Media Users – How Big Is Social Media?

While there’s little doubt that social media has changed the game for sales and marketing professionals, many marketers have struggled to use it to drive actual demand for their products and services. 

Marketing automation company Eloqua recently released the Grande Guide to Social Demand Generation; an e-book about actually using social media in your business. We spoke to contributor to the e-book, Jesse Noyes Managing Editor of Eloqua, and asked him to explain this infographic that’s included in it:

‘You knew that Facebook was big, but did you know that number of Twitter accounts is nearly double the population of Indonesia?

Or that the number of LinkedIn users outnumbers Russia’s residents?

We wanted to give the scope of just how fast the meteoric rise of social media has been. So, for our new Grande Guide to Social Demand Generation, we compared the population of large countries – such as the United States, Japan and Denmark – to the size of sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.’

The result is the following infographic:

Jesse says that ‘this is was just to give a sense of the size of social media. Many marketers whose job is to generate demand for products and services face ceaseless pressure to use social. But there are few resources for these marketers’.

‘That’s the reason we created the Grande Guide to Social Demand Generation. It tackles social media – the tools, strategies and tactics involved in social marketing – specifically from the perspective of a demand marketer. It’s available for free download‘.

Special Offer – Get an extra £25 off when you purchase a Vostro Notebook over £459 (except V1540). Use Coupon 50X1MH81FVB13D at the check out!!
Note: Coupon expires on 27/06/2012