Tips on how B2B marketers should leverage social media

Social Media Marketing is now getting a lot of interest not only from cutting edge startups but also from mainstream B2B companies. We have invited B2B Experts to shed light on the following question: What is your one tip on how B2B marketers should leverage social media? Read on to get their insights.

Recommended Resources from B2B Marketing Experts




Ardath Albee

Blog Marketing Interactions Twitter Ardath421

Integrate Social Media with Your Nurturing Storyline

Ardath Albee’s Bio

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist. Her company Marketing Interactions helps companies with complex sales and quantify marketing effectiveness by using interactive e-marketing strategies driven by compelling content. She empowers her clients to create customer-centric nurturing programs that leverage strategic story development to engage prospects until they are sales ready. Ardath’s book, E-Marketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, will be published this fall by McGraw-Hill.

Ardath Albee’s Tip

Social media can provide a conversational extension to a B2B company’s nurturing programs. In addition, social media can help B2B marketers drive inbound demand by generating personalized interest in their ideas and expertise. When you’re sharing content designed to answer questions and provide information your buyers want and need to do their jobs better they have a higher tendency to engage. Social media gives us the opportunity to humanize our communications and make our companies more approachable.

In order to reap the biggest benefits, B2B marketers need to be relentlessly generous and stop with the quid pro quo mentality. Giving away valuable ideas and insights freely will return to you many times what your company would accomplish by gating information and demanding an exchange before granting access to information people want. The sooner we realize that payment of time and attention by people interested in our ideas escalates our credibility—as well as our trusted resource status—the better off we’ll be.

The most important thing to remember is that social media is not just another broadcasting channel. When a B2B company participates in social media, they need to remember how to have a conversation. Promote others, share great ideas—whether or not they’re yours—and make sure there’s not a sales pitch in sight. Social media is not for selling, it’s for connecting. And there’s a big difference between the two.

Finally, make sure that the strategy your company develops for incorporating social media into your marketing programs is on message. If what you say in social media is disconnected from your other marketing communications your prospects and customers will experience the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde effect. Not the best way to form a good impression or build trust and credibility.

Ardath Albee Recommends

Rebel Brown

Blog Phoenix Rising Twitter RebelBrown

Be Thoughtful

Rebel Brown’s Bio

Rebel Brown is go-to-market strategist and Spin Doctor specializing in start ups, turnarounds and start-arounds in the high technology arena. She has helped to define, position and launch over 75 individual products and companies since she began consulting 20 years ago. Her clients who are technology vendors and venture firms leverage her strategic marketing and go-to-market expertise. She identifies and transforms differentiation – customers crown jewels – into compelling, customer-centric value that sells. Her blog is Phoenix Rising and her business is PeopleWhoKnow.

Rebel Brown’s Tip

My one word answer is “Thoughfully”. Social media is a powerful communications tool. But it can’t be approached with traditional marketing messages and positioning. In the social media world – chest thumping and ‘me me me’ marketing is the fastest way to send your audience packing.
We have to be thoughtful about the purpose of our social media endeavors. Before you jump into social media, consider the following – thoughtfully:

  • Who. Who in your organization are the best fits to communicate via social media? Don’t assume it’s your CEO or CTO or CMO. Whoever takes the lead in your social networking role MUST be open, informative, objective, available and most of all – truthful. They have to be prepared to take the feedback regardless of its content, to respond openly and fairly, and to tell the truth no matter how much it hurts. Anything less, and your social media efforts will backfire.
  • What. What information do you want to communicate via social networks? Make sure it’s educational and informative and of interest to your audience – and not a thinly veiled promotion of yourself or your solutions. That will backfire faster than you can Tweet. We’ve all seen examples of this across social media communications – and we’ve watched the network participants publicly dismember the offending party. Don’t go there. Be thoughtful, educate, inform and speak in your customers’ language about things that matter to them.
  • Where. These days it seems every one of my client marketing teams wants to do a CEO blog – whether it’s appropriate or not. Don’t assume a blog, or social media in general, are the be-all for communication. Think about what your audience reads, where they look for their information. Social media may be the marketing rage – but ask yourself, “Do my buyers read blogs? Do they Tweet? Are they more the LinkedIn or the Face Book types? Are they social networkers at all?” For example – technical buyers may read the latest product review blogs, but do the economic buyers, in the form of CEOs, read blogs at all? Or do they read the more traditional communication media – like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times? Match your media and messages to your audience.
  • Why. One of the best questions to ask up front before beginning any social media effort is “Why would anyone want to follow me? What value am I providing? What ‘persona’ do I want to create?” Decide up front what your value and ‘catch factors’ are for your audience – and then stay focused on delivering against that direction.

Social media gives you the opportunity to put a face and persona around your company. Thoughtful social media interactions can deliver super insights into your audiences’ perceptions of your business – insights that you can use to improve and grow your market position.

Rebel Brown Recommends

Brian Carroll

Blog Start with a Lead Twitter BrianJCarroll

Use social media to ‘listen’ to and learn more about your audience

Brian Carroll’s Bio

Brian Carroll, CEO of InTouch, is part of MECLABS Group (MarketingExperiments, MarketingSherpa, InTouch) and author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and the B2B Lead Generation Blog with expertise related to B2B marketing, lead generation and complex sales.

Brian Carroll’s Tip

There’s no doubt that all the different social media applications out there are great tools for branding your company, making connections and sharing your expertise. But, don’t forget to set aside time to ‘listen’ to your audience.

Social media can be a bit like a bunch of people with megaphones blurting out their messages one-way. People will cover their ears (unsubscribe) and tune that out. But if they could simply turn those megaphones and put them to their ear instead of their mouth, they’ll hear much better. Then they will be prepared to simply talk and join in dialog in a more relevant way to accomplish their goals.
Twitter, for instance, can allow you to get to know your prospects on a personal level. If your prospects are online, they will be donating lots of information that’s useful in relationship building. Follow a prospect’s Twitter streams, and you’ll learn about their personal lives. You’ll learn about the challenges they are facing both personally and professionally. I like how Chris Brogan put it: ‘Twitter allows you to minds read from afar.”

LinkedIn is another great way to listen and learn about your audience. Even if you don’t participate in your LinkedIn group’s discussions, take the time to ‘listen’ to the conversations. Find out which groups your prospects participate in via LinkedIn, and find out what those groups are discussing. Chances are that your prospects are ‘telling’ you a lot about their company through their questions and their responses to discussions in these groups. Use the conversations as a chance to find out where your prospects are in the buying process. Read the discussions to find out what issues they are facing.

And knowing what issues resonate with your audience is a great way to build content for your blogs and webinars. Use your blog to address challenges and give advice. Build a webinar around a question that you find interesting via a LinkedIn discussion.

Don’t use the information you find through ‘listening’ to be pushy, nosy, or obnoxious. Use good judgement and follow the standard etiquette for the application you are using. If you’re not sure of the etiquette read up on it before engaging in conversations. After a while, if you’ll just sit back and listen, you’ll get a feel for when it’s right to enter the conversation.

‘Listening’ to your audience will help you keep your touches relevant and timely. And, isn’t that the key to all good lead generation programs?

Patsi Krakoff

Blog WritingontheWeb Twitter PatsiBlogSquad

Be helpful and ask for help

Patsi Krakoff’s Bio

Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D., is a former psychologist and journalist who has been working in online content marketing for the last 10 years helping professionals use e-newsletters and blogs to grow business. Her award-winning blog can be found at WritingontheWeb. She provides quality content and newsletter services for global executive coaches at ContentforCoachesandConsultants. She is co-founder of The Blog Squad, providing blog services and consulting. She lived and worked in Paris for 20 years and now lives in Ajijic, Mexico, where she is an avid tennis player.

Patsi Krakoff’s Tip

Small business professionals who want to attract people for their products and services through Twitter often start off on the wrong foot. They look at it and answer the question, “What are you doing?”

Who cares?
Start off by doing a search for keywords in your field. Use the search button at the bottom of the page and type in “Need help with …XYZ” and see what comes up.
On any day, people are asking for help with things on Twitter. You can answer their questions, refer them to your blog, and offer to help. Be sure to follow them when you do.
The next thing you need to do is set up alerts for keywords in your field. I use Every time someone is tweeting about my area of expertise, say content marketing, or leadership and executive coaching, I get an email alert.That way I can respond to their tweets and be helpful. I can also stay informed of the latest buzz.
Small business professionals who want to attract people for their products and services by using Twitter should use two important features:

  1. Use the search feature on Twitter. You can use the words your prospects might be using. Go ahead and try it. You’ll be amazed at how many opportunities there are for helping other people.
  2. Set up alerts for key words in your field. That way you get email updates each time someone talks about your area of expertise. You can find people in your field or prospects and then follow them. You can use a Twitter alert service through TweetLater.

Twitter is only as good as you make it. Don’t tweet like this:

  • “I do executive coaching in Podunk, CA.”
  • I write web copy for you.”
  • “Best real estate property in the state.”

Be Helpful
Focus on others, what you can do to help them. Act like you’re a new arrival in a cocktail party. Don’t try to draw attention to yourself and your business. But be sure to be helpful by sharing where they can get helpful information to help solve their problems.

I’ve got my blog posts set up to feed automatically into Twitter by using I blog most days, or at least every other day. People see my tweets on Twitter, and click to read my blog posts. It’s a major source of traffic to my blogs. People from Twitter are more likely to leave comments on a blog.
Since this is done automatically, I don’t spend any time on this. Apart from that, I read my TweetLater alerts in my inbox. I go over to Twitter when I see an alert and I can respond or re-tweet something helpful.
Sometimes strangers will see one of my blog posts they like and re-tweet the headline with the link. Be sure to thank them and follow them, since they are a great source for you getting known. Be sure to re-tweet other people’s good blog posts too.
Ask for Help
When I was about to write this tip, I used Twitter to ask others for their best tip. Here are two responses I got:

  • @xposure (Nigel Lamb)@Patsiblogsquad: Use the search for keywords. Answer questions that are your area of expertise. Recommend others, so they return the favor.
  • @leeodden (Lee Odden) @Patsiblogsquad: Search twitter using queries that describe prospects in a state of need & be helpful to them.

On Twitter, I asked people how they would answer the question “What is your one tip on how B2B marketers should leverage social media?”

Just imagine how you could create content for articles, blog posts, and white papers. The next time somebody says, “Twitter? Who’s got time for that?” you’ll know why it’s smart to use social media sites for growing your business.

Patsi Krakoff Recommends

Mac McIntosh

Blog Sales Leads Insights Twitter B2B_Sales_Leads

Does social media drive leads and sales?

Mac McIntosh’s Bio

M. H. (Mac) McIntosh is considered to be one of North America’s top B2B marketing consultants and an expert the subject of using marketing to generate leads and drive sales. In addition to consulting, Mac conducts marketing workshops and seminars, writes regularly for leading marketing and business publications, is the publisher of Sales Lead Report, a newsletter with more than 15,000 subscribers, and Sales Lead Insights, his B2B marketing blog. He holds the Certified Business Communicator (CBC) designation awarded by the Business Marketing Association and was designated by BtoB magazine as one of its “Top 100 in BtoB Marketing.”

Mac McIntosh’s Tip

Think of social media marketing as being more effective for branding, awareness and SEO, than for generating leads or driving sales.
Sure social media is getting lots of buzz, but is it really productive at meeting what I believe are the primary objectives of B2B marketing—driving leads and sales?

Although I’ve been diligently searching for evidence of success at generating B2B leads and driving sales via social media, the only clear cases of success I’ve found to date seem to fall into these three categories:

  1. Those businesses which sell products or services directly related to social media marketing to those who are interested in learning more about it, or need help getting their social media marketing up and running.
  2. Very small businesses (often solo-practitioners) including consultants, speakers, trainers, copywriters and designers who have the time required to effectively use social media as a way to market their products and services on a shoestring budget. In general the small businesses which seem to be most successful with using social media marketing to drive leads and sales are those which invest twenty or more hours each week in social media marketing.
  3. B2B salespeople who are using social media, specifically LinkedIn, as an effective one-to-one sales tool for finding and contacting prospective customers.

So if none of the above apply to you or your business, I recommend you consider social media to be one of the marketing tactics you can use to accomplish your branding, awareness and SEO objectives. But suggest you look elsewhere in your B2B marketing communication toolbox when your primary goals are generating leads and driving sales.

Mac McIntosh Recommends

Maria Pergolino

Blog Modern B2B Marketing Twitter Marketo InboundMarketer

Social media should be a part of overall marketing strategy

Maria Pergolino’s Bio

Maria Pergolino works as Inbound Marketing Manager at Marketo, leading their efforts in adoption of social media channels for brand awareness and demand generation. She has worked in marketing for over ten years, and specifically in online marketing including social media, search marketing, and lead generation and nurturing for the past six. Maria has a Marketing Degree and MBA from the School of Business at Rutgers University, is a Salesforce Certified Administrator, and a speaker at numerous marketing events. She has also written for many marketing blogs, and is a frequent contributor to Marketo’s popular blog, Modern B2B Marketing.

Maria Pergolino’s Tip

Social media should not stand alone as it works best when used in conjunction with all marketing resources and tools. Marketing campaigns should not be isolated, but instead cultivated using email, blogging, the corporate website, search marketing, and social media sites liked LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. By doing this, you can look at the ROI of overall campaigns, focusing on those that work best for your organization, instead of spending your time trying to decide which Tweet is best or which email subject is most successful.

Marketers should become familiar with the social networks that their prospects and customers participate in and find the ways to share information on these sites. This means that B2B marketers shouldn’t just join every social networking site and broadcast their information to all using RSS. Instead, talk to customers and prospects about which sites their using and begin developing relationships on these sites, creating two way interactions. It’s also important to remember that social media includes websites with social functionality including sites that use comments and ratings like Youtube, Yelp, and Slideshare. These sites may also provide some extra punch, supporting your SEO effort as well.

By thinking of social media as a piece in your overall marketing strategy you will save your organization time, make customers and prospects happier, and provide a stronger return on your social media efforts.

Maria Pergolino Recommends

Seamus Walsh

Blog B2BContentMarketing Twitter SeamusWalsh

Social media is not a panacea, it is a means to an end

Seamus Walsh’s Bio

Seamus Walsh founded VAZT Global Inc. in January 2008. Seamus’ passion for sales, sales process and excellence enabled him to develop a platform that “finds, cares and feeds” prospects until they are ready to buy. Prior to forming VAZT, Seamus worked in sales and strategic account management for The Hackett Group, a strategic advisory and management consulting firm in Atlanta, For Gartner, a research, advisory and consulting company in Stamford, CT and Cambridge Technology Partners, a web development company, prior to its acquisition by Novell. Seamus resides in Essex Junction, VT with his wife and four children.

Seamus Walsh’s Tip

First understand social media is not a panacea, it is a means to an end and should be part of a thought out customer touch point strategy. Before you invest precious time ask your customers where they are, some will prefer a phone call, a salesperson meeting or a toll free customer service number.

That said, it is important to go to every identifiable social media site and register your company name and trademarks as userid’s, that way when you are ready to launch into a social media campaign you and your brand is ready and you are protected from unscrupulous intent. This approach acknowledges social media has its place but that does not mean you have to be everywhere day one, to start be where your customers are. At the same time, personal branding is vital. Ensure key members of your team have their first name, last name registered on existing and emerging social media sites.

Venues like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace or the plethora of other social sites may or may not be the right venue, but with your name/userid registered you can step into it on your and more important your client’s and prospect’s time.

Seamus Walsh Recommends

Read these interesting articles on social media for B2B Marketing

To learn more about B2B Marketing, get these following lists

Over to you…

What is the one tip from B2B experts you will put to use in your social media marketing?

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Killer Flagship Content – a Chris Garrett eBook Review!

Why does your blog or site exist? What is its purpose? Can you sum up its essence with a few words? If you can’t answer these off the top of your mind, that means your content strategy might need to be tightened up. It might also means that you haven’t got any flagship content.

What Is Flagship Content?

Chris Garrett has published an eBook called Killer Flagship Content: How to Create and Promote Truly Compelling Blog Resources that explains the importance of defining your blog and content through one particular element. As he points out, “one way of looking at it is to think of Flagship Content is as the “go-to” resource for your niche. Just like Wikipedia is the lazy bloggers go-to reference for general research, your Flagship Content is the place everyone will link to when they think of your topic. When people visit your killer content and find it valuable, they will want to subscribe to your blog, sign up to your email list and come back again and again. And tell their friends. And buy your stuff.”

With a clear and prominent piece of flagship content, you’re suddenly definable by both your readers AND search engines. It makes you more focused and helps you establish a stronger niche presence. Chris Garrett does a great job of explaining why you need to develop your own identifiable content strategy in his eBook, as well as offering tips and ideas on getting started. Here are some highlights:

  • Be an expert. What is your expertise? How can you share it with your readers? What value would you provide them with?
  • What are people looking for when they come on your blog or site? Are you answering these people’s needs? If not, how can you develop a content strategy based on your readers’ desires?
  • Read other blogs. Do you see any gaps or opportunities you could fill in with your own expertise? Chris Garrett mentions in his eBook that “your audience is your best asset. I have said this over and over. If you don’t already have an audience, borrow someone elses!”

The author also tackles the aspect of promoting your flagship content and provides advice on gaining and maintaining traction.

This eBook is free but you do need to subscribe to Chris Garrett’s blog to benefit from this opportunity. Click here if you want to download your copy!

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White Papers – List of Lists – Part 1

This is the second installment of white paper lists for the month of June. The first installment was White Papers – List of “How To” Blog Posts. I have put together a list of lists on white papers. There is a treasure trove of information in these lists on how to write and market white papers. I separated the list into three sections:

  • List of Lists on writing white papers (published today)
  • List of Lists on marketing white papers (will be published later this month)
  • List of Lists on assorted topics related to white papers (will be published later this month)

Speaking of white papers, White Paper Guru Michael Stelzner is holding an exclusive hands-on event designed to equip you with everything you need to know to create and market compelling white papers – White Paper Boot Camp in San Diego on Aug 7, 2009. Do not miss this great opportunity to learn how to create and market white papers from the Guru himself. Register today and reserve your seat.

List of Lists on writing white papers

1 Unusual Way to Find White Paper Content
Michael Stelzner says that coming up with great content is half the battle in completing a white paper and recommends that you simply pick up the phone and talk to an expert. Read his blog post on 1 Unusual Way to Find White Paper Content.

3 Simple Title Tweaks That Can Help White Paper Marketers Drive More Leads
You have created the perfect white paper.  But you can’t drive leads or close sales if your target market doesn’t notice it. Kate Headen advises that grabbing your prospect’s attention is as easy as spending some focused energy on your title. Read her blog post 3 Simple Title Tweaks That Can Help White Paper Marketers Drive More Leads.

3 Tips When Writing Benefits
When writing to persuade, some of the most powerful statements are benefits. These single sentences address the selfish desires of every reader’s question, “What’s in it for me?” Michael Stelzner shares tips to help you write your benefit statements in his blog post 3 Tips When Writing Benefits.

3 Ways to Appeal to Readers & Skimmers
Graham Strong shares his insights on how to make it easier for skimmers to pick out the main points in your white paper. Read his blog post 3 Ways to Appeal to Readers & Skimmers.

3 Red Flags That Your Writing is Losing People
How to tell if your work has bumps that are preventing reader’s from reaching the end? Read Michael Stelzner’s Three Red Flags That Your Writing is Losing People.

3 Tips for Writing Headlines
A good headline means success or failure for your white paper, blog entry or any other form of writing. Get Michael Stelzner’s insights from his blog post 3 Tips for Writing Headlines.

4 Tips to Add Personality to Your Writing
How can you spice up your writing? Michael Stelzner shares some proven ideas in his blog post 4 Tips to Add Personality to Your Writing.

5 ways to develop an objective, informative white paper
White papers too often fall short of their fundamental purpose of informing their audience with useful, in—depth information, and instead simply promote a company’s offerings and tout the solution’s benefits. Read Hoffman Marcom’s The top five ways to develop an objective, informative white paper.

5 Steps to a Great White Paper Introduction
“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” This is certainly the case with your white paper introduction. Jonathan Kantor’s shares his ideas on how to improve your white paper introductions that will garner greater reader affinity and effectiveness. Read his blog post 5 Steps to a Great White Paper Introduction.

5 Tips to Best Utilize your Sidebar White Space
How can you best utilize sidebar space to gain maximum reader attention for your key white paper messages? Read Jonathan Kantor’s blog post 5 Tips to Best Utilize your Sidebar White Space.

5 Tips for Better White Papers
High tech buyers see white papers as very influential on the buying decision. Read Alison Harrison’s article 5 Tips for Better White Papers to explore ways to improve white papers to catch the attention of those buyers.

5 White Paper Size Reduction Strategies
Which sections in your white paper draft make the most sense to reduce or eliminate without sacrificing the impact and marketability of your white paper? Read Jonathan Kantor’s blog post 5 White Paper Size Reduction Strategies.

6 Tips When Using Executive Summaries
How do you create an executive summary or an abstract. Read Michael Stelzner’s and Jonathan Kantor’s insights – 6 Tips When Using Executive Summaries.

7 Important Distinctions When Writing To Businesses
Understand the challenges of the business audience and you will increase your success when communicating to them in writing. Read Michael Stelzner’s and Bob Bly’s thoughts on how to communicate with your business audience – 7 Important Distinctions When Writing To Businesses.

10 Ways to Make Your Words Captivate
Whether you write blogs, ad copy or white papers, Michael Stelzner’s ideas will help your words grab and maintain the attention of any reader. Read his blog post on 10 Ways to Make Your Words Captivate.

10 Tips on Writing White Papers Darren Barefoot
Read Darren Barefoot’s Ten Tips on Writing White Papers for improving your white papers writing and marketing effort.

10 Words to Avoid in Your Writing
Some words spark interest and draw in readers. Other words send people running for the hills. Michael Stelzner gives the most overused words in white papers in his blog post 10 Words to Avoid in Your Writing.

10 Days to a Better White paper
Jim  Lodico has great thoughts in his series of blog posts Writing for both the Quick Read and Close Read, The Call to Action, Writing the Draft, The Power of Prewriting, Research and the Power of the Third Party Source, The Importance of Your Target Audience, Choosing a Winning Topic and Define Your Objectives.

11 Tips for Writing a Really, Really Bad White Paper
How to write a white paper that scares Google away, annoys your readers and doesn’t create any leads? Read Amanda Arthur’s article 11 Tips for Writing a Really, Really Bad White Paper

Over to you….

What is the one tip you will put to use in creating white papers?

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Tips on how B2B marketers should leverage social media

Social Media Marketing is now getting a lot of interest not only from cutting edge startups but also from mainstream B2B companies. We have invited B2B Experts to shed light on the following question: What is your one tip on how B2B marketers should leverage social media?

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest