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B2B Social Media Marketing: 5 career killers and how to overcome them

Day one of B2B Summit 2012 has finally arrived.  Today, I had the opportunity to listen in on the panel discussion “5 B2B Social Media Career Killers … and how to overcome them.”

This session went beyond simply helping your company, and on to improving the future of your personal career.

MECLABS Director of Editorial Content Daniel Burstein moderated the panel of three B2B social media experts: Eddie Smith, Chief Revenue Officer, Topsy Labs; Chris Baggott, Chairman, Compendium; and Nichole Kelly, President, SME Digital.

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With the introductions made, they jumped straight into the first B2B social media killer …

Killer #1: Thinking your CFO is your nemesis

For some companies, it’s easy to write off social media as non-essential, particularly in the B2B field. That sometimes leaves the B2B social marketers forced to show how social media can truly help achieve a company’s goals to get the budget they need.

“CFOs control budget. You want them as friends,” Nichole said.

In this case, the CFO was used as a proxy for any business-level executive who isn’t knee deep in social media.

First, you must understand your CFO’s top business goals and the ways they want to achieve those goals. Show them how social media can help address the needs that keep them up at night.

Eddie presented a couple of charts from Topsy.

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The charts showed a couple of social metrics that can help build your case for social media. Start by putting together the keyword analysis and link-sharing analysis you can generate with social marketing.

But, you must go a step further before presenting these numbers to your CFO, Nichole says. You must translate social metrics into a language your CFO understands:  sales volume, revenue, cost, etc.

Track the source of your leads to social media. If you find that the cost per site visit or conversion is lower for social media than other channels, use that metric to show your CFO, CEO and business leaders the ROI potential of social media … and gain the budget you need to launch more campaigns.

CFOs don’t have to be your enemy – you just have to know how to speak their language.

 

Killer #2: Single-use content

It can be easy to write a blog post, Tweet it a few times and then forget it exists.

“This is considered a career killer because it’s a resource killer,” Nichole said.

For many marketers, limited resources is a constant pain point, so you put yourself at a huge disadvantage when you leave already available content on the table.

“There are so many silos of content, and you need to bring them together,” Chris said.

Chris then spoke about using an editorial calendar to plan your content campaign.  Scheduling your content allows you to meet marketing needs more effectively over the life of the campaign.

Nichole then explained what she called a layered onion approach. You want to create one piece of solid content so that you can then develop multiple layers using this content.

Your layers can be in both short forms (e.g., blog post, emails, status updates) and long forms (e.g., e-book, webinar, whitepaper), according to Nichole.

For B2B marketers, you can use this content build-out to generate leads by using a form in front of some of the content. You can also tailor the information into different perspectives so that you can appeal to niche audiences.

After all, Chris says he’s found that 80% of blog visitors are first-time readers, meaning you have great opportunity to capture leads.

 

Killer #3: Creating content that is not authentic

This one can be tough, and I love how Nichole put it: “Take off the marketing hat, and try to be human.”

You help your customers in real ways every day, so translate that into some authentic content.

Chris explained how “email is the biggest waste of content in your organization.”

You have subject matter experts (SMEs) helping customers through email, and that is untapped content. The help those experts have provided can be turned into blog posts to help other customers, prospects or leads, who are probably experiencing the same challenges.

So, the question then is, “How do you discover this untouched potential?”

Daniel suggested encouraging your internal SMEs to copy you on important answers to customers.

Beyond using your SMEs, there are a couple of other points to keep in mind.

Don’t just link to yourself. Other resources out there may be able to help your customers – so link to them. You’re using social media to create a relationship with your customers and prospects, and just like with real relationships, no one likes someone who constantly talks only about themselves.

Nichole also advised, “If you are doing something sales-related, make it fun for the users, too.”

 

Killer #4: Treating social media like its “special”

According to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Inbound Marketing Handbook (free excerpt at that link), 76% of marketers agree that inbound marketing integration is important, yet only 47% actually practice it.

The amplification of social media greatly increases when integrated with other channels.

“In terms of lead generation, social is kind of at the top of the sales funnel. So, it’s really good at generating new leads, but they tend to convert in other marketing channels.”

You won’t be able to fully demonstrate social media marketing’s success by using social media metrics by themselves. You want to tie your social media efforts to other channels to present exactly how social supports them. Show how social marketing created the lead that traditional marketing then converted.

Eddie also stressed the importance of being consistent in your social media.

“Create persistent presence over time using same theme, terms or hashtags,” he said.

Eddie also provided some research Topsy has found, “Only 10% of Tweets have links in them.”

That presents a great opportunity for B2B marketers to utilize links in their Tweets to push followers to other content.

 

Killer #5: Not soliciting outside content

There is a whole world out there to use for your content marketing – including your customers.

The MarketingSherpa 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report (free excerpt at that link) found that 54% of B2B marketers reported customer reviews as very effective content in meeting marketing objectives.

Chris said, “When asking for content from your customers, you have to get them to write about you.”

Ask them questions about their experiences and how they came to be customers: “Why did you buy this?” and “What was your biggest problem?”

Link to that user-generated content, because customers are more likely to share content when talking about themselves.

The panel came to close with a discussion of content on Twitter.

Eddie said, “Twitter is the world’s largest market data set.”

He provided the below chart to demonstrate how you can measure and quantify positive and negative reviews on Twitter to determine social sentiment.

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Knowing what your customers are talking about is a great way to develop content that you know will be relevant to them.

 

For more case studies and how-to articles on social media and other inbound marketing strategies, sign up for the Inbound Marketing Newsletter.

 

Related Resources:

B2B Social Media: Video of Jay Baer destroying social media myths

B2B Lead Generation: 6 social media tactics from 7 experts

Marketing Research Chart: Top metrics used for measuring social marketing impact

Social Media Marketing: Why B2B marketers need to care, by the numbers

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