3 Social Media Marketing Mistakes You’re Making Right Now

B2B Amie Kjellstrom

As social media continues to cement itself as an effective online marketing tool for large and small businesses alike, thousands of marketers are making three very crucial mistakes as they search for the best methods of marketing their products and services to potential customers via social media channels. Avoiding these mistakes are crucial, as social media users are increasingly “unliking” and unfollowing brands in 2012.

Over-promoting your product.

This is the first and most common mistake that marketers make on social media sites. Remember: social media is a community (it does, after all, have the word social in it). As such, social media channels are places for you to share engaging and compelling content with followers. The mistake that people make is assuming that sharing “content” means blasting followers with products, products, and more products. I hate to break it to you, but the only thing that will come from slamming followers with product links and then sitting back and expect social media to do all the work for you is a massive wave of unfollows. You need to be social. Use your social media channels as a place to engage followers. An easy way to do this is to provide content that guides your audience. Ask leading questions that encourage dialogue with other followers. Ask customers for honest feedback on your company’s products and services. Respond promptly to customer questions and complaints. Show them their opinions and voices matter.

The bottom line: always put your social media followers before your product.

Water Brands

Although everyone is in the market for water, different brands of water have individual target audiences.

Believing your product is for everyone.

It’s not. Case in point: everyone needs water. Yet there are thousands of different products, brands, and types of water available on the market, and some people inexplicably prefer Dasani over Aquafina. The worst mistake that people make in believing their product is for everyone is that they fail to target the audience that’s most likely to actually buy their product or service. It’s crucial that you define and then get to know your target audience. Learn their consumption patterns. Don’t underestimate the amount of research you need to do to fully understand them. For example, knowing that your target market “uses social media” isn’t enough. What platform do they prefer? Are the majority of your loyal customers engaging with you on Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest? The social media platform your followers prefer can clue you in on their preferences. And keep in mind from the first mistake: social media marketing should focus on building relationships with followers.

The bottom line: make sure you understand who you’re building a relationship with on social media.

Getting impatient and giving up.

The first lesson of inbound marketing is simply this: it takes time. Inbound marketing isn’t a quick-fix solution to your marketing problems. If you think you can build a strong following on social media overnight, you’re making the previous mistake all over again by believing your product is for everyone. You need to have a well-defined social media marketing strategy, and it needs to be a long-term strategy. Commit to posting creative, compelling content that differentiates you from others and engages your target audience on a regular basis. Schedule posts for x number of times a week depending on the size and scope of your company. Be sure to differentiate content across social media channels, as users who follow you on multiple platforms may feel overwhelmed by seeing the same post more than once. Commit to building real relationships with your followers, and remember that building a solid relationship with someone takes time.

The bottom line: don’t give up if you aren’t seeing immediate results. Social media marketing is a marathon.

3 Keys to More Compelling Case Studies

Creating content for Lead Gen

B2B Rachel Foster

3 Keys to More Compelling Case Studies 3 Keys to More Compelling Case Studies

According to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report, 70 percent of B2B marketers find case studies to be an effective content marketing tool. That’s because they can increase customer confidence in your organization, educate prospects on how to solve their challenges, and provide social proof that your solutions are valuable.

However, many marketers often put case studies on the back burner while they pursue sexier marketing strategies. Putting off your case study development isn’t a good idea, because you may find yourself with new products or services and not enough proof that they provide ROI.

Here are three ways that you can get your marketing back on track and create compelling case studies that excite and influence your potential customers:

1. Use photos and videos

Multimedia can make your case studies more engaging and give you a way to connect with auditory and visual learners. Here are some ways that you can incorporate multimedia into your case studies:

  • Add photos and charts to punch up your written case studies.
  • Film video case studies and use them throughout your marketing.
  • Create a video and text version of the same case study. Developing content in multiple formats will get your message across to a wider audience.

2. Don’t write case studies from your own perspective

One of the biggest challenges in developing case studies is getting detailed interviews from your customers. You may get frustrated trying to coordinate interviews, or your customers may tell you to “just write something” and they’ll approve it. However, if your case studies don’t contain quotes from your customers, they won’t be as effective or credible. Plus, your readers will be able to tell when you’ve written a case study from your own perspective.

When you take the time to get a detailed interview from your customer, you may be pleasantly surprised by the great things they say. If you have a hard time scheduling interviews, try using scheduling software that allows your customers to pick the best time. If you have trouble getting compelling quotes, be sure to ask your customers a range of questions that take them through their entire story — from the problems they faced before they started working with you to how they implemented your solution to the ROI that they achieved.

3. Create dual case studies/“how-to” articles

A great way to turn case studies into content marketing tools that will educate and inform your audience is to sprinkle in “how-to” tips. “How-to” tips can work nicely in the implementation part of a case study. Instead of just explaining how your customer implemented your solution, offer advice on how others can do the same. Here are some questions to ask during your interviews if you want your case studies to also function as “how to” articles:

  • What steps should someone take to implement this solution?
  • What should someone know before starting this process?
  • What top five things should someone consider before purchasing a similar solution?
  • What can someone learn from this process?

Also, remember to create case studies for all of your solutions and verticals. When a prospect reads a case study, they often like to envision themselves in the role of your happy customer. To make their visualization process easier, you should develop case studies for as many of your customers and solutions as possible. Go through all of your products, services and verticals and see where you are missing proof points. Then, make a list of customers in each area who may provide you with case studies.

5 Ways to Create Effective Online Visibility

Social media is just one part of it…

B2C Michelle Carvill

Ok, so you’ve got your social media accounts set up – and you’ve gone around things the right way, by ensuring that you

  1. considered your business objectives when you set them up
  2. have been pragmatic, done the research and listening to understand what’s important to your audiences
  3. created a content strategy so that you’re ready to create and procure an ongoing pipeline of relevant content
  4. have set up social media listening / keyword tracking so that you can capture and listen in and engage where relevant in a targeted way

Getting your house in order to start off with social media, as you can see from the above, takes a bit of thinking, researching and planning.

However, even making all the right noises with social, you still have to create a great ‘space’ to be able to drive people back to.

Here are some key thing to consider that impact your online visibility?

  1. Website – What does your website look like? Is it up-to-date, enticing, trust evoking? Is it flexible enough so that if you want to drive people to a specific and targeted landing page for a Twitter offer you can?
  2. Blog – Do you have a blog incorporated into your website? Most website designs don’t naturally lend themselves to having the need to constantly update the site. For example – once you’ve got your services, about us, contact info, how it works sections in place – you don’t naturally keep adding pages. A blog provides you with the perfect vehicle to be able to share relevant and purposeful information consistently. And of course, you ensure that each blog post has ‘Tweet this, share on Facebook etc – share features enabled, to encourage others to share the content. Good content can really fly. So be sure to implement the processes to enable your audience to easily pass on what they are reading. And of course, your blog doesn’t just have to be written content – it can be video too.
  3. SEO – Is your website well and truly keyword optimised? And of course, those keywords don’t only apply to your website – you also need to ensure that you are leveraging them across your social media accounts too. For more about Keywords see this previous blog post here.
  4. PPC – Pay Per Click advertising – is another way of gaining online visibility into audiences that you haven’t touched before. Not only can you undertaken PPC advertising on Google – to be found in search results – but you can also undertaken targeted Pay Per Click advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn. The advertising here differs slightly – as rather than bid on keywords so your ads appear when someone types in those specific keywords into a search engine, with social ads, you can target a specific demographic (usually using quite rich and specific information) – so that your ad appears to that target audience when they’re in their social networks.
  5. Social Nedia / Social Networks – And yes, of course, having a presence on social platforms certainly helps your online visibility. Once upon a time, all we had to do was consider our website and how great that looked – now we have a plethora of social media networks to consider too. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ , FlickR – to name just a few.

Of course, enhances to your online visibility focus around

  • Frequency – how often you are ‘live’ on the platforms, how often you blog and share content etc – eg: daily blogging, weekly blogging –versus- an annual newsletter.
  • Recency – how recently you last posted. If a Twitter account was last updated in 2009, doesn’t evoke trust and isn’t going to get you much visibility.
  • Authenticity – The more authentic and unique the content, the better. People want to hear from you – your opinions, what matters to you, your advice, your viewpoint – and so be sure that you are creating unique content , rather than content that’s ripped from other sites and isn’t very unique. Add your own viewpoint. But make it yours. Be authentic. It’s those blog posts and videos that really do engage and create advocacy.
  • Creativity – Yes, that little word. So simple to say, but so difficult to implement. Get creative, think about how you can engage an audience. This is where video and images and diagrams (quick plug for mine below) come into play. Be creative – can you say it with an image or diagram or video – add that in too. Also be creative with your messaging and how you get audiences to share.

Online visibility experts, social media, search, seo, pay per click, web

I’m sure you’ll agree that Online Visibility is about optimising the many parts of your online presence. Our advice is always to take a ‘joined up’ approach.

I liken not doing so to running a really successful direct mail campaign and the call to action is a telephone number – and when a potential customers calls that number, the sales person they gets through to doesn’t have a clue about the campaign – and takes a message. It’s a huge campaign FAIL.

Just so with doing one part of online visibility – you could run a stonking social media campaign, but if the place you are driving people to is awful and doesn’t engage and deliver on the call to action – then again, it’s a campaign fail.

So – take that joined up approach and ensure you’ve got all your bases effectively covered.