• TheDigitalJen
    Jennifer Stalzer on November 19, 2013

    Tough Lessons to Becoming a Socially Engaged Brand

    About 18 months ago, MasterCard set out on a mission to become the most socially connected and engaged brand in the payments space. As I look back, here's a look at almost ten hard lessons we learned.
  • ChristopherCarfi
    Christopher Carfi on December 9, 2013

    Five Trends That Are Going to Affect Marketing in 2014

    Agile marketing is now a common approach, and includes a healthy loop of building, testing, measuring, learning, refining and improving. There are five trends that you need to be on the lookout for when creating your marketing plans in the coming year, a combination of focus on results and a set of new channels that can connect directly to the bottom line.
  • JeffreyDachis
    Jeffrey Dachis on December 18, 2013

    Real-Time Marketing 101: It All Starts With The Trends

    Imagine you are a marketer in 1951. Harry S. Truman is president and Milton Berle is the most famous person on T.V., raking in 80% of all television viewers every night of the week. It’s the dawn of modern mass marketing. What if you were the first marketer to figure out how to use T.V. to sell stuff? You’d probably be in pretty high demand. The potential to sell your products would be effectively limitless. Well, an innovative, new marketing channel with the potential to rival television for its importance has arrived and marketers are starting to take notice.
  • Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on April 18, 2014

    Six Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

    Content marketing is the linchpin of demand creation –the link between brand awareness and lead generation. Done well, it builds familiarity, affinity and trust with prospective and current customers by providing information that resonates – in the right format, through the right channel, at the right time.
  • IBM Social Business
    IBM Social Business on April 18, 2014

    Patterns in Achieving Social Business Success by Leading and Pioneering Organizations

    Here is an excerpt from “Patterns in Achieving Social Business Success by Leading and Pioneering Organizations,” an exclusive whitepaper brought to you by IBM. This whitepaper provides a step-by-step guide for determining your strategy to achieving social business success.
  • Spredfast
    Spredfast Business on May 1, 2014

    The Social Media Pocket Guide: Six Ways Marketers Should Use Social

    This guide walks through each of the “Big Six” objectives and provides a tactical overview of the business case, team considerations and actual content examples and templates to use for your social media initiatives. 
Download the guide now and use it as a cheat sheet on how to get started today using proven tactics and best practices.
  • Actiance
    Actiance Compliance on May 9, 2014

    The Forrester Wave: Social Risk and Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014

    Forbidding employees to use social networks because they may expose your business to risk is no longer a viable business strategy. According to its new report published today, “The Forrester Wave™: Social Risk And Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014,” Forrester Research, Inc. says “the practice of prohibiting social [is] no longer feasible.”
  • Spredfast
    Spredfast Business on June 9, 2014

    6 Blueprints for Social Network Success

    The Big 6 social networks offer tremendous marketing opportunities - but each one is very different from the next. That’s why Spredfast has assembled the 6 Blueprints for Social Network Success. In this quick-read collection, you’ll discover more than 50 constructive, actionable marketing tips and real-world examples from major brands like Hyatt, British Airways, Target, and General Mills. Let’s start building!
  • Synapsify
    Synapsify, Inc. on June 16, 2014

    Piecing Together the Story: Synapsify’s Annual Voice of Customer Industry Survey and Insight

    This eBook reveals the common practices and challenges faced today by social media managers/directors and brand insight analyst and conducted an online survey of 70 social media and content analysts professionally recruited for this survey. The survey results are presented as part of a complimentary eBook in which insight industry professionals shed light on their challenges and common practices they face in understanding the true voice of their customers.
  • A majority of Americans said they're not influenced by social media, yet marketers persist. What's the answer to the Social Word of Mouth debate?

    Social media marketers have invested a great deal of time, energy and effort in creating perfectly crafted tweets to followers — and hopefully impressions to second and third degrees of Twitter users through associations — to spread awareness and share content related to their brand. Recently, however, a Gallup Poll revealed that a majority of Americans believe social media have no effect at all on their purchasing decisions. So are all of their efforts for naught?

    According to the self-reported survey, 62% of people in the U.S. say Facebook and Twitter, among other sites, do not have any influence on their decision to purchase goods and services. Only 30% said social media have “some influence” and a much smaller 5% said they have “a great deal of influence.”

    And with age as a variable, almost half (48%) of millennials, the generation closest to the advent of social media technology and the largest percentage of social media users, still said social media had “no influence at all” on them.

    So what is the reasoning behind all of this? Science offers one explanation. The third-person effect hypothesis, a psychology theory, predicts that people tend to perceive that mass communicated messages have a greater effect on other than on themselves. Essentially, people think, “I’m too smart to be lured into the tricks of advertising and marketing.” But, data proves otherwise.

    Neilsen data showed that 92% of people trust recommendations from their networks, messages shared after interactions with a brand in the form of social word of mouth. This doesn’t mean that these people are being easily manipulated and falling prey to marketer’s “set-ups.” Rather, it means marketers are reaching and better connecting with their target influencers, who are often voluntarily sharing content on the brand’s behalf to their friends, family and co-workers. Given positive feedback through social word of mouth about a brand from a trusted source, people are then likely to at the very least form positive awareness toward the brand, if not build brand loyalty and choose to purchase a product.

    Additionally, the study revealed that 94% of users said they use social media to connect with friends and family, reminding us of the social component of social media. People are coming to these social environments to stay updated with their closest networks and hear what they have to say. Now, marketers are successfully leveraging citizen influencers in a social space to insert themselves into the discussion in a very organic way.

    Marketers interact through touch points that are subtle enough to not be annoying, but persistent enough to be noticed. While consumers may not trace the source of their purchasing decision to social media, with more than 1.73 billion users on social including brands, it is nearly impossible to separate the influence businesses have on user networks — whether Americans want to admit it or not.

    For more information, check out our Fortune 500 Social Currency Index to view the effects of subtle actions brands take toward individuals.

    LinkedIn is the social network for professionals, a place to have an online resume, connect with people from your industry or potential employers, and read relevant news. Most people only use LinkedIn's main features, but the social media platform also has very useful ones, sometimes hidden or not as much promoted to its users, who are therefore missing on very useful functionalities.

    LinkedIn is the social network for professionals, a place to have an online resume, connect with people from your industry or potential employers, and read relevant news. Most people only use LinkedIn's main features, but the social media platform also has very useful ones, sometimes hidden or not as much promoted to its users, who are therefore missing on very useful functionalities.

    Here are 5 LinkedIn features you might have missed:

    1. Profile's portfolio. A few months back, LinkedIn launched the "portfolios" that can be added to the summary, experience or education sections of the profiles. This feature is especially useful if you are an artist or are working with visuals (graphic designer, illustrator, filmmaker, architect, photographer...). You can simply add a direct link to a website/blog/video, or upload a file. It will be displayed directly on your profile. Go to "Edit your profile" and follow the prompts or see the explanation here.

    2. LinkedIn Pulse

    LinkedIn Pulse is the news page of LinkedIn where you can see articles by members in a wide range of topics. You can select the topics you are the most interested in (that you will see in "Your News"), seethe ones by top influencers and thought leaders ("Top Posts"), and also browse all influencers and channels available ("Discover"). It's a great place to read interesting articles by your peers and people from your industry, and identify and connect with influential professionals.

    3. LinkedIn Education

    This is the newest feature of LinkedIn that allows you to "follow" Universities and Colleges' pages, the same way you follow Company Pages. You can identify other alumni from your school programs or follow the news from your current university. It will also be a great tool for employers to identify graduates and potential future employees.

    4. Contacts database

    LinkedIn recently offered the possibility to sync your contacts list info with other platforms like Gmail. If you choose to do so, on your contacts page you will see the contacts you have recently interacted with, either through LinkedIn or the other platform(s) merged. You will also see those information on each contact's profile. From your "Connections" page, click on the wheel" icon at the top right to choose which email platforms you want to sync with LinkedIn.

    5. Tagging contacts

    You can give each of your contacts some "tags" or keywords in order to categorize them and find them more easily. For example, you can tag your co-workers, former classmates, organize people by industry, etc. When you are on your contacts page, hover over anyone's name and click on "Tag" to add a keyword.

    Another feature that can be useful to make new contacts is the "Who viewed your profile" option, but it is only fully accessible through LinkedIn Premium.

    Facebook have over 1 billion active users and increasing. So, it is important for all size and type of businesses to have a Facebook Business Page to reach to their target audience and promote their products/services as part of their social media marketing strategy. But why has it turned into a phenomenon? The euphoria can be very much compared to the mood at the onset of the internet era, when brick-n-mortar businesses strive to create an online presence.

    Every business - big or small - nowadays consider having a Facebook Business Page as part of their online social media marketing strategy. But why has it turned into a phenomenon? The euphoria can be very much compared to the mood at the onset of the internet era, when brick-n-mortar businesses strived to create an online presence.

    Fig: From buzz to 'Likes' - Do they convert to Sales? (Image credit: Facebook.com)

    Facebook Business Page: It's All about Creating the Right Buzz

    Well, my intention here is not to teach you guys how to 'Create a Facebook Business Page'; as I'm very sure most of you reading this post have got your FB Fan Page or Business Page, and the select few 'aspiring entrepreneurs' must have already been planning one for your dream business.

    Here we are discussing how you can create a popular Facebook Business Page that sells - one that can convert leads and generate revenue. One of the main ingredients to create a popular Facebook business page is CONTENT; because it is ultimately the content that makes your fans 'Like', 'Share' and 'Comment'.

    However, there are also other aspects of creating a popular Business Page for Facebook like: creating an interesting Username for the page and posting images more frequently - because images not only say a thousand words, it also helps initiate discussions and give reasons for people to engage.

    And, Starbucks JUST DID IT...

    Starbucks - the popular coffee retailer brand for example, absolutely implements what it says in its Company overview: "Starbucks has an unusually human approach to business. We always figured that putting people before products just made good common sense." Just check out this post below:

    And Starbucks absolutely won over its customers, when it stated in its launch announcement of the New Hazelnut Machiato that it has 'listened' to what its customers wanted and created this unique blend. And you can see the overwhelming social response in likes (199,186), shares (12,242) and comments (4394), reflecting a strong indication towards the verdict - SALES.

    How to Generate More (Organic) 'Likes' For Your Facebook Business Page

    One of the first things you need, to create the buzz on Facebook or in any social networking podium is a strong community. You should consider yourselves fortunate if your community comprises of many passionate, 'social' individuals and active customers. Identify the Influencers in your community and nurture relationships. Here are a few thumb rules as to how you can generate more 'likes' for your Facebook business page:

    Here is an illustration below from a series of posts from the McDonald's Facebook page, which reiterates that generating 'likes' for your Facebook for Business page has much to do with certain factors like consistency in posting, active participation, understanding customer sentiment and requirements and last but not the least measure, analyze and learn from post analytics.

    Fig: (A series of posts from Facebook/McDonalds): Play with posts and 'listen', you will know what works for your Brand.

    Can Facebook Business Page Success Be Measured By 'Likes'?

    The desperation and cravings for Facebook 'likes' really amuses me and makes me realize that 'LIKES' are treated nonetheless as free publicity generating tool. But do they actually convert to sales? First, let us analyze why people FOLLOW a Brand or you can say 'Like' a Facebook Business Page.

    Fig. A graphic representation of why people actually (follow) 'Like' brands on Facebook

    This graphic representation created from a research on Facebook in what influences people to follow brands gives a clear indication that even though Brands reckon the success of their social media marketing campaigns based on the number of 'likes' their pages have received; just clicking 'Like' however, DO NOT quantify or measure business success.

    Statistics reveal that while 60 percent of Brand marketers consider success in the growing number of people liking (following) their business page on Facebook; about 39 percent people measure success by the sheer number of people sharing, liking, or commenting and discussing brand content.

    Now, the BIG question is do these convert into sales? Most of all, it is important that people who have liked your page keeps visiting and stay connected!

    How to Convert Your Facebook 'Likes' Into Sales?

    Are you obsessive towards generating Facebook 'like' for your Business page? Well, before you drain all your finances and energy accumulating 'likes' let me tell you that it is equally important for Brands to understand the equation of Facebook 'Likes' to Sale. It is true that 'likes and shares' is an endorsement of your brand visibility; BUT IS THAT FUELING SALES?

    If not, then you really need to re-work on your strategy; although there is no paved way to lead your customers from 'like' to sale. Building relationships with your customers and engaging with them is one of the initial steps towards customer engagement and laterally guiding into the selling process.

    Case Study: Analyzing the StarbucksTM Facebook Success Story

    Everyone's aware of Starbucks big brand presence online. It all began in 2008, when after a phase of disappointing sales, the coffee giant decided to revamp its offline strategies and implement them online. Starbucks is one of the most successful examples of a brand using social networking asset to turnaround sales through promotions and advertisements.

    One of its bold marketing decisions was the launch of a website MyStarbucksIdea.com that was conceptualized with an intent to help identify problems - basically a forum for consumers to make suggestions, ask questions, and even vent their frustrations as well.

    Starbucks Facebook Page indeed looks like a celebration of the brand! (Image credit: StarbucksTM)

    Then came Starbuck's Facebook page. Created in 2008 with around 200,000 fans, the FB business page of StarbucksTM now boasts of a staggering 36+ million likes. It is rightly said that no other brand engages with their customers the way StarbucksTM does. One of the key reasons being Starbuck’s social media success, especially on Facebook is its consistent engagement with their consumers and brand values.

    In short, StarbucksTM have successfully managed to create an online community for everyone who enjoys Starbucks - where fans and friends can come together on a common podium to share their comments, pictures, stories, feedback, grievances, and insider news.

    What makes Starbucks™ social media initiative (as in Facebook) a success, is the APPROACH it took to build its social media presence. It strategically uses Facebook not as a direct marketing tool but with the goal of building customer relationships. And interestingly its strategy worked, as Starbucks was consistently able to improve sales after the use of social media promotions.

    Chris Bruzzo, Starbucks' VP-brand content and online shares one instance of the brand's successful online social media initiative in the summer of 2009 - 'Free Pastry Day'. Starbucks urged consumers to visit the company website or its Facebook page and download a voucher for a free pastry. Bruzzo, who visited multiple stores later that day to assess first-hand response was amazed to see long queues outside every store, with people holding printed 'Free Pastry' voucher. This indeed made Bruzzo realize the power of social media and its impact on turning sales, if implemented strategically.

    Converting Facebook 'Like' to 'SHARE' - A Master Strategy?

    Fig: Attributes of Facebook Sharing - Why do people 'share'?

    A careful analysis of Facebook 'Shares' that usually follows 'likes' is attributed to content or images that either offers advice for common problems faced by one and all, to warn against impending danger, an unique event (a celestial occurrence happening once in 100 years) or amazing facts and pictures that amuse; or you can say inspirational quotes presented through graphics.

    And what about sharing deals? The Brands not only gain visibility through strategically posted Deals and Offers on their Facebook for Business Page, they are happily reaping the moolah too!

    Just check out this post from Starbucks™ Facebook Business Page. Its simple, harmless, doesn't send out a sales statement directly - but makes the right impact. Not only does it bring a smile on your face (who doesn't like flowers after all) but also makes you obliviously SHARE the post. Well, the job is done. Mission accomplished! Starbucks 'share' is now showing on your connection's Wall, and who knows Starbucks has gotta another 'Like' and a new follower by now.

    Checklist: Have You Done Your Facebook Business Page Right?

    Fig. The right content and image can help you CONNECT with your audience. (Image Credit: facebook.com/starbucks)

    • Should all businesses have a Facebook page?

      While it is trivial whether every business should have a Facebook for Business page or not, what is required is understanding the socioeconomics of integrating Facebook and social media experience for your consumers into the brand. One has to remember that Facebook for Business success is much more than the 'Likes', 'Shares' and 'Comments' - not to forget Facebook advertising. In fact, your social media strategy or here you can say Facebook strategy does not end with your Business page creation, but starts with it.

    • Can my popular personal Facebook (FB) Page be a substitute for my Business Page?

      You might be personally popular in your Facebook circuit, but that does not ensure business success for your brand in a personal Profile page. Even though your popularity might fuel integrity in the nascent stages of social growth, it is ultimately your customers who make your Brand.

      Moreover, the fans associated with both profiles when juxtaposed are absolutely different characters - you will not like to share your personal conversations or photos with your business connections and your personal connections (family, friends, etc.) would not appreciate brand promotions in their personal space. Time to move over to Facebook for Business!

    • What (content or images) should I post on my Facebook business page?

      Facebook business page is not just about creating buzz but the 'right buzz' (productive and conversion-friendly content, images and videos) and to the 'right audience' i.e. your brand's target audience. Statistics has revealed that hardly 1 to 5 percent of people who have 'liked' your Facebook Business Page actually read your post updates. So, it is important that you give your audience interesting social feed to connect, engage and initiate sales.

    • Should I spread the buzz and intimate my email contacts as soon as I create my Business Page on Facebook?

      Experts say 'No' till you make some relevant contributions to 'building' the Business Page. Post some great content, product images and videos that will introduce your Brand to your audience and make then 'like' and 'share' posts to a larger client base. Anyways, your email contacts are a ready resource and you may invite them anytime to 'Like' your business page.

    10 Highly Effective Facebook Business Page

    1. Facebook

    With 152 million likes, the 'social real estate property owner' it naturally leads the pack with the highest number of admirers in Facebook Business Page.

    2. Coca-Cola

    Coca Cola Inc. the largest global beverage brand is also the most popular with 83 million likes to its credit. What makes Coca-Cola Facebook Page interesting is its ode to real people, where it presents a collection of stories presenting how people from around the world have helped create the Brand Coke.

    3. Disney

    Popularity is synonymous to the brand Disney, and it has maintained its dominance in Facebook Business page too with popular and loveable update to its movies, cartoon characters and highly popular Disney merchandise. Its 48 million Facebook 'like' speaks for it.

    4. Red Bull

    The popular beverage brand Red Bull Energy Drink made famous through its association with top athletes, besides professionals, students and travelers alike; manages to engross its fans in its Facebook Page. It too has a fairly successful social media strategy attributing to 43 million Facebook likes.

    5. Starbucks

    Starbucks - the popular coffee retailer brand, (besides being my personal FB Business page favorite) is emerging as one of the most engaging of most brands. With a burgeoning 36 million likes from fans, Starbucks's Facebook team consistently posts interesting content in its Business Page generating overwhelming response. And most importantly, it just does not 'listen' it 'engages' too.

    Fig: Effective Facebook business pages - a comparative study (the logos used in the image are trademarks of respective brands)

    6. Oreo

    Oreo, the classic cookie brand that was founded in 1912; has found 36 million (fans) 'likes' reiterating its popularity even in its social media venture. The posts in Oreo's Business Page are smart representations of concepts - mostly using the cookie as their muse.

    7. Walmart

    Walmart, the retail giant since its inception in 1962 has been a trendsetter that promises to lower the 'cost of living'. Not only has that concept helped the brand create an instant connect with its customers, it also continues to create trends in the social media circle. Its recent endorsing and promoting of 'Buy American' (products) has proved to be a winning formula, with Walmart’s Facebook Business Page garnering 34 million followers who engage and promote sales as well.

    8. McDonalds

    McDonalds, is unarguably one of the most 'loved' brand. Starting from its popular tagline "I'm lovin' it", the brand promises no health benefits, no great attributes for selling its products. All that it says is that you are going to love what it has to offer for you. And it’s 31 million 'likes' in its business page is an indication of how much McDonalds is loved worldwide. More so, its Facebook for business page is an alluring mix of fun and intelligently conceptualized content.

    9. Pringles

    The global snack brand Pringles, made popular through its potato wafers considers itself 'not just a snack, but a way of life'. The Pringles Facebook page clearly sets the mood for its 27 million strong followers that - this platform is meant to be nothing else but a fun environment for its fans to discuss the Brand products and promotions.

    10. Angry Birds

    Are you an Angry Birds fan? Well, its Facebook business page says 'Hit LIKE if want to become a fan of the birds!' Cool branding of the popular mobile app that broke all records and gave a new dimension to app 'inspired' merchandizes. With the brand just touching the 26 million fans mark, it has indeed been an incredible 'app' journey for Angry Bird - the Brand.

    At the end, it is ROI that Matters!

    Well, businesses need to understand that considering Facebook 'likes' as directly proportional to customers or directs sales will be a HUGE mistake. It is quite a difficult proposition to measure the investment that goes into creating a 'social media brand', as it requires consistent man-hours of active engagement and smart implementation of social media marketing strategy to facilitate conversion of Facebook 'likes' into C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R-S.

    After all, what matter for you at the end is the ROI or Return-On-Investment; and an insightful Facebook Business Page Strategy can help transcend your business to the next level.

    WHAT IS YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY FOR BUSINESS?

    Facebook announced late last week that they are testing a new method for people to discover and buy products directly on the platform, and there’s good reason to be excited for this potential new feature.

    Facebook announced late last week that they are testing a new method for people to discover and buy products directly on the platform.

    Straight from Facebook:

    "With this feature, people on desktop or mobile can click the “Buy” call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook."

    Further to the call-to-action button, it also appears that Facebook is integrating payment for a streamlined purchasing experience, all directly within the Facebook ecosystem.

    Based on the 47 comments left on the announcement post at the time of writing, response seems to be overwhelmingly positive. Comments do appear to be from small to medium sized business owners, so that’s to be expected, but there certainly is reason to be excited at the prospect of this new feature in testing:

    A TRULY SOCIAL DIGITAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

    An exciting prospect about this potential feature is that it will transform the online shopping experience – on Facebook anyway – to mirror the live shopping experience, which for many is best enjoyed with others. Our friends, family members, and in some cases complete strangers can have tremendous influence over our shopping behaviour and purchase decisions, and to date, this might be the closest way for social media to facilitate this shopping experience.

    SIMPLIFIED ROI MEASUREMENT

    Accurately and confidently measuring the ROI of social media marketing efforts is something that continues to elude many marketers and business owners. The introduction of a transaction model, such as the one Facebook is testing, will make this easier than ever. No need to track pixels, click paths or make hypotheses, simply compare your social media marketing inputs to social media sales, and you’ll have an ROI measurement that historically has proven difficult to calculate with accuracy.

    TARGETING SHOPPERS WITH FACEBOOK ADS

    When thinking about what may be motivating Facebook to test this feature, it seems a pretty safe bet to think that Facebook advertisers will pump some serious budget into promoting their ‘Buy’ posts amongst their targeted audience. And with the ability to target advertising with the precision that Facebook allows, I would imagine that it will be possible for some to see pretty amazing sales as a result.

    INTEGRATED ANALYTICS

    Making the assumption that analytics from this new feature would be included in Facebook Insights and downloadable analytics that the platform offers, having ready access to analytics that include social activity integrated with social sales data would be hugely valuable and –ahem – insightful.

    _

    Do you hope this feature is introduced for use by all businesses and brands on Facebook?

    Would you use this feature for your business?

    How do you see this impacting the traditional e-commerce site?

    It would be great to hear your thoughts, and chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial

    Is your company new to the B2B social media game – or are you revamping your strategy? Get your platform going in five steps.

    Is your company new to the B2B social media game – or are you revamping your strategy? Get your platform going in five steps.

    B2B companies shouldn’t consider social media as one part of their marketing strategy, rather they should look at it as an integrated part of the whole strategy. Social media incorporates your content marketing strategy, your SEO and digital marketing strategy as well as your email marketing strategy. Therefore, when building your social media platform (and by platform I mean “structure” – what tools are you going to use and how) to sell your products/services in a B2B environment, build it knowing you will have to pull pieces from these other strategies like sharing content, driving customers from email to social media interactions and driving business from social media to your website.

    1. Do a brand mapping exercise

    Brand mapping is crucial for your strategy and allows you to plan what social media tools you will use and how. The classic brand mapping exercise includes a price vs. quality analysis in a quadrant that allows a company to know where they stand against the competition in terms of costs and quality (high end, high quality, low end, cheap). You can take brand mapping one step further and list all of the attributes associated with your company, for example: experts in the industry, outstanding customer service, industry award winners. I always perform brand analysis using three levels: our brand’s strongest attributes, attributes we can work on to become strong attributes, our areas of weakness. This allows me to build my social media strategy around these points and learn how to differentiate ourselves from competitors.

    Attributes can be anything from price to performance to the brand’s physical presence like logo colors.

    1. Make a social media checklist

    Now that you know how you need to sell your brand on social media, make a list of which tools/sites will work the best. For B2B marketing, LinkedIn and Twitter are practically a must. But consider other sites as well. For example, if your company’s strength is its expertise and expert content, consider building an account on Slideshare to share your expertise. Don’t rule out sites like YouTube for B2B – you can create a channel with expert videos on your products/services, conduct interviews with your CEO and other experts or demonstrate your products. If your B2B business focuses on visual content, consider how to use sites like Instagram to showcase your work. Make a short list and then narrow it down.

    Don’t forget to consider social media management tools on your list such as Hootsuite and Hubspot. Some versions are free, others require a budget. Again, looking at your brand mapping you’ll know what you want to get out of social media and whether it’s worth a financial investment. If you’re starting out, use Hootsuite to manage your social media accounts.

    1. Create your accounts and build profiles

    You know your strategy and which tools you’re going to use. Create your account, keeping in mind some basic points.

    • Keep your company name simple – drop the LLC, Ltd, etc after the name and avoid symbols on Twitter like hyphens, underscores, etc. Make sure people can find you.
    • Make your company website and contact details evident
    • Choose images that reflect your branding attributes
    • Consider building an individual employee profile on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to give a face to the brand.

    You can start building your profile immediately by following others in your industry and connecting your various social media pages to each other.

    1. Create content that matches your brand mapping analysis

    Once you’ve created your account, it’s time to start interacting. Start creating content – articles, blog posts, status updates – that reflect your strongest brand attributes. In the B2B environment, customers generally want to see information related to their industry, whether it’s growing or shrinking and why. Share content that triggers a call to action like visiting the website or contacting the company for more info. Start discussions in LinkedIn groups with fellow experts.

    Don’t forget the important use of hashtags. Search the key hashtags in your industry, Twitter provides a status report on how certain hashtags perform, and reach out your main audience. Before posting any content, you should be able to answer: which brand attribute am I promoting here?

    1. Analyze and repeat steps 1-4

    As any good marketer knows, the analytics don’t lie. Analyze your social media performance quantitatively (how many new followers and leads generated) and qualitatively (what is the quality of my social media presence?).

    Your analysis will allow you to repeat the social media marketing process. Do you need to review your brand mapping or is it working? Should you be using different social media tools? Is your profile accurately reflecting your brand? Does my content match my brand mapping?

    Strategize. Create. Analyze. Repeat.