Jul 5 2010

Using Online Marketing for Business Growth

by Andrew DiFiore

According to a recent survey by The NY Enterprise Report 71% of their readers are using social media to increase business with 41% blogging regularly.

Of the social networking sites, 60% find LinkedIn to be the most effective for increasing business, followed by a Facebook at 31%.

Of the variety of online marketing venues, e-newsletters top the list with 76% saying they are Very Effective or Somewhat Effective.

One insight noted by publisher Robert Levin is the surprising number of small businesses that do not have websites but are still participating in social media. This may just be a reflection of the type of businesses that make up the Report’s readership but more likely has to do with a misunderstanding on how to best leverage social media to drive business.

Have you ever had a salesman come to the door trying to sell power washing or gutter guards? They give their pitch but when asked for a business card they don’t have one. It is like that.

Every business should have a website even if it is just to be listed on Google.

Think of it this way: Participating in a social community is like attending a cocktail party. Having guests visit your website is like hosting a cocktail party.

Aug 31 2009

Social Media Revolution (Video Summary)

by Andrew DiFiore

If you still think that Social Media is a fad then you’re not only missing the boat, you can’t even find the ocean.  But hey, not all is lost. Here is a nice video summary from Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics. Lots of stats presented in the same vein as the “Did You Know” videos.

Aug 20 2009

The New World of Public Relations: The Tweet Heard ‘Round the World

by Wendy Marx

I blogged today on Fast Company about How to Go from Anonymity to Fame with Just One Tweet.

The post tells the amazing story of how marketing insights and analytics company Pear Analtyics, a self-proclaimed geeky company with no knowledge of public relations, went from virtual nobody to media darling with just one judicious tweet.

Google Pear Analytics and you’ll see how Pears’ Twitter study is now the talk of the Internet.

As interesting as its study, which found that 40% of Twitter messages are “pointless babble,” is how the company shrewdly tapped into the world’s psyche and got its message to reverberate around the world. In this case, Pear’s study went from Twitter, to Mashable,  to then being picked up by mainstream media and bloggers around the world from the BBC to CNet to NBC.com… to you name it.

Twitter-LogoThe fact is that faster than we can write this, the PR world is evolving. Where once a company like Pear would have issued a press release and contacted the media, Pear did not do anything of the sort.  Instead all it took was one tweet.  One person who saw the tweet about Pear’s new Internet study, sent a link to the study to Mashable.  From there, Robert Scoble, formerly of Fast Company and now an evangelist for Rackspace picked up on it. And it went viral.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about what this says about the practice of public relations and how it is changing.

Jun 30 2009

How B2B Can Profit from Social Media

by Andrew DiFiore

Given the global economy, it comes as no surprise that C-level executives are demanding more financial accountability from their marketing departments. This is not really a new “demand” but job cuts and bankruptcies have forced business leaders to reexamine (perhaps harshly) the efficiency of marketing spend. If you’re spending more than you’re making, it is time for a new plan.

This has led to a lot (and I do mean a lot) of talk about the virtues of online marketing, more specifically, Social Media. Not only does it seem like everyone is doing it but they are all six sigma black belt masters! So let me see if I can separate the wheat from the chaff and summarize what every B2B marketer needs to know about Social Media.

First, let me say that the only financial cost of Social Media is the time it takes to gain success. What most experts fail to explain is that it really is a lifestyle change. 10 to 20 hours a week is a reasonable amount of time to invest. If you think of Social Media as an intimate form of PR then it is easy to understand the time it takes to build meaningful relationships with key influencers in a given target market. You have to bring value to the conversation.

Think of the wealth of customer insight you can collect just by participating on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, not to mention industry-specific blogs.

According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Michael A. Stelzner (March 2009), 81% of all marketers indicated that their Social Media efforts generated greater exposure, significantly increasing site traffic, subscribers, and opt-in lists. More than half claimed Social Media helped generate qualified sales leads with 35% claiming it actually helped close business.

In addition to participating in blogs and social networks, you can have your own. For example, Del Monte created a private community for dog lovers to serve as a virtual focus group, resulting in a new product called Snausages Breakfast Bites Bacon & Egg Dog Treats. Not only did Del Monte have immediate sales from the product launch, they had over 400 brand advocates built-in.

Another big perk of Social Media: everything is measurable. I’m not just talking about Web Analytics but rather Behavioral Metrics. There are tools and tactics for tracking what people are saying and how they are interacting with your content. In addition, every web property (blog posts, Facebook Application, Tweet Ad, etc.) can be and should be monetized. What is a visit to your web site worth? What is a blog subscriber worth? A good Social Media strategy includes estimated value for each success criterion.

Getting It Right the First Time

  1. Start with a plan (we can help). Ask and answer the same questions you would of traditional media. Lay out an integrated marketing strategy that defines the expected ROI for both short- and long-term goals.
  2. Make sure you include ways to measure effectiveness real-time (again, we can help). There are some great tools available, some are even free.
  3. Get social! Participate in blogs and social communities in your target market. Sponsor an event or competition, start an online interest group, write whitepapers or ebooks, create podcasts and/or videos (yes, you guessed it, we can help here too).
  4. Do something really different. Marketing, especially online marketing, is largely experimental by nature. For the really cool stuff — the stuff that makes ‘em go WOW and generates a lot of buzz — you have to be willing to take risks. If you wait for your competition to do it first then you’ve already missed the boat. Historically, it is during an economic downturn that you have the best chance of capturing market share (this is where we really shine).

Have you been using Social Media for your B2B Marketing?

What are your experiences with Social Media?