Tag Archives: Social Media

Using Social Media for Customer Service

19 Oct

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There are many ways that B2B companies are different entities than B2C companies, but social media usage is not one of them. Because the fact is that your prospects, existing customers and employees are all on social media, probably every single day. Social media has become an easy way to keep up with friends and relatives as well as business connections.

Depending on your industry, the social media sites your clients visit will vary. But there is a lot of usage overlap with B2C companies. One of the best features of social media sites is the ability to chat in real time with your contacts. This feature is used so much on Facebook that the site has a separate mobile app just for chat alone. Additionally, video sites such as YouTube offer product and service education opportunities that you can use in discussions with existing customers to help them solve problems.

B2B Customers are Not Just on LinkedIn

While it is true that many B2B professionals are active on LinkedIn, you can also find them on other social sites including Facebook, Twitter and some industry-specific sites. LinkedIn is a great site for content, connections and networking, but is it the best place for customer service? Probably not. Unless you are using LinkedIn for setting up a face-to-face customer service meeting, there are better places to interact.

Using Facebook for Customer Service

Facebook gives you several ways to conduct customer service conversations. You can set up a section of your company’s Facebook page to have questions and complaints answered. The key here is making sure someone is always available to answer these questions during the hours you specify you are open. Facebook is a great way to have direct contact with customers, but if you don’t respond quickly, they will be disappointed. You can connect with your customers via Facebook Messenger from just about anywhere in the world for free. As long as you have an internet or mobile connection, you can help customers solve their product issues or discover their service needs. You can also set up a section of your Facebook page for customers to ask questions that other customers answer with the ability for your staff to jump in when needed.

Twitter for Rapid Response

Twitter only has room for 140 characters; however this makes it ideal for rapid response to service issues. The entire platform is full of interactions that are short and to-the-point. You can set up an entire account just for customer service, and post the link on your main Twitter account and other social media sites. Customers can contact you easily and you can respond with a quick solution. The biggest drawback to Twitter is that the site is open for all to see, whereas Facebook offers you privacy on Messenger.

Customer Service Adds Value

When a customer knows that they can get the customer service they need consistently and quickly, they will be happy with your level of service. This customer confidence adds value to your company as a whole and can act as a channel to market new products or services to existing customers. At least for establishing initial contact, social media is an ideal way to interact and resolve customer service issues.

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How B2B is Using AI

7 Sep

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The commercial world has yet to give artificial intelligence (AI) the attention that it deserves. This is no reason for you to hold off on its study or implementation – AI is about to change the B2B world as we know it forever.

Below are just a few of the reasons that you should look into this burgeoning concept before it becomes the norm.

AI Gives More Effective Insights

There are some aspects of marketing that require a human touch, such as handling unique customer service problems. There are other aspects that are handled much better through computers, including data collection, trend analysis and certain customer acquisition tactics. One of the best uses of AI is anticipating the needs of new customers.

Prospects are constantly leaving bread crumb trails of their behaviors everywhere, especially on social media. One may think that collecting and analyzing data on social media is a strictly human endeavor. In reality, the opposite is true. Predictive analysis is actually a discipline that is handled more accurately through AI. Technology has improved to the point that AI can tell the difference between a positive and negative comment. AI can interpret the connotations of words and connect those connotations to a prospect’s behavior. Because it can collect more information than a human, it has more data to analyze. AI also relieves your analysis of the personal biases that humans bring to the process.

AI Creates More Room for Specialization

Prospecting from trend analysis is a tedious job that no one goes to college for. Why not let the AI handle the entry level data collection and input functions, leaving your human capital available for more creative pursuits? You save both time and morale, which eventually leads to saving a great deal of money.

Successful salespeople need to specialize, and they need time to specialize. It is also easier for your people to sell if you empower your sales team with information that basically puts them in the middle of the sales funnel rather than cold calling all day. You also protect your company against employee turnover. If your AI holds prospect data, then it does not leave when an individual leaves. Your sales are no longer contingent on the individuals that you employ, which is a great advantage to have.

Deeper Learning

Believe it or not, you can actually meet your prospects at a deeper level by letting AI do its job. Machine learning tech speeds up the creation of your buyer personas as well as your data sorting/cleaning functions. Your human capital should be spent on learning the individual nuances within the segments that your AI sorts for you.

Each of your prospects is unique, but you might be surprised at the trends that you can uncover with a bit of unbiased AI. With machine learning technology, you also improve the intelligence of your AI as it collects data for you.

80% of your competitors are expecting to incorporate AI into their marketing by 2020, according to Demandbase. Are you prepared to keep up? Ensure the longevity of your company by creating room in your marketing for AI today rather than later. As a matter of fact, start today and get ahead of the curve.

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Do B2B Industries Need to Worry About Social Media in 2017?

5 Sep

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In the United States, it is no longer socially acceptable for a viable business to consider email as a primary source of outreach. This is especially true in a niche industry such as building materials – make one person angry, and it could affect business with many partners. Countries outside of the United States are actually drawing the curtains on traditional outreach methods in a legal way. Canada and the EU define hard penalties for companies who are found to be in defiance of this new social norm.

With traditional outreach and mass platforms on the decline, at least for businesses, social outreach will certainly continue to experience growth in the near future. Social media has been identified as a core hub for big data and cost-effective trend analysis, even without the clamps being placed on other sources of outreach.

Do B2B industries need to worry about social media in 2017? The short answer is yes. Here are the specific reasons why:

Opportunities to Improve the Customer Experience

CX (the customer experience) is the new UI. CX is now the centerpiece of most successful social media initiatives from B2B companies. The best part – if you are highly focused on CX, you will be ahead of the curve, especially in the building materials industry.

Customers, especially large clients, love personalized service. They demand it. They are also looking for highly intuitive communications with you, even if that communication is knowingly automated. Your brand messaging must be consistent, especially if the customer is sitting at the beginning of the sales funnel.

If you have yet to solidify the connection between your major social media accounts, do so right away. Your landing page should move nicely into your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. NOTE: If one of the major social media hubs does not work for your company for some reason, it is better to get rid of it completely rather than have a dead channel on your hands.

Investments in More Interactive Content

Modern marketing is more visual than ever, and most of these visuals are not as static or 2D as they used to be. More B2B companies are investing in interactive content than ever before. Content that reaches out and grabs the viewer obviously has a positive impact on engagement. The overall result is a heightened priority on indirect marketing vehicles such as livestreams, blogs and interactive product demos over webinars.

The overwhelming majority of customers enjoy interactive content at all levels of the sales funnel. However, interactive content can be expensive to produce, and its rollout is usually slower. You will need to focus on social media to find the best opportunities to employ strong visuals and interactivity. You can also focus your efforts on your best customers through social media, ensuring that your ROI for more expensive marketing remains high.

Qualifying Better Leads

Customers basically give away their souls on social media. If your CMO knows how to collect and interpret data, you will be able to screen for qualified customers more diligently than ever. Converting your social leads will only become more important as email and other mass forms of outreach become less effective.

The most successful companies in the next five years will understand intimately how social media marketing translates into new leads, legacy customers and the bottom line. Get ready for increased investments in social as time goes on.

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Businesses of Every Type Must Tap Into the Power of Social Media

22 Aug

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Though it is hard to believe, at one point in time social media was considered to be a fad that would eventually pass like other trends. The exact opposite occurred. Social media has exploded in popularity year-by-year. If you own or manage a business and are not on social media, you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to connect with clients as well as business partners.

Social Media Provides Client Insights

Social media is essential to establishing client personas, determining what clients desire and discovering how they feel about your brand. People tend to be brutally honest on the internet. Though some people use their real names on social media, they are inclined to tell the truth as communication occurs from behind the comfort of a computer screen. So establish a profile on the top social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Gauge how your clients respond to particular posts. Do some digging into the information provided by your company’s followers. You will gradually uncover important information that helps you better understand the people and companies you provide products and services to. Armed with this information, you will be able to make sound business decisions.

Social Media Boosts Brand Awareness

Social media outlets are free to use. All you have to invest is money in a social media manager’s wage or salary and possibly the cost of a freelance content creator. The return on this minimal investment is astounding. People who follow your company on social media, read your posts, share your content and subsequently visit your website will have a heightened awareness of your brand. Customers who are aware of your brand are more inclined to be loyal across posterity. According to a study recently conducted by The Social Habit, more than half of Americans who follow businesses on social media are more loyal to those companies.

Social Media Content Improves Web Traffic and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Post high-quality, keyword and key phrase-laden content to your social media platforms on a regular basis and it will spur traffic to your website. This content will also enhance your search engine ranking. The key is to provide helpful, insightful content on your social media platforms that inspires people to share with others. This style of content will prove intriguing enough to inspire visits to your website and generate legitimate interest in your company’s offerings.

A Look at the Competition

Take advantage of social media for more than connecting with prospective clients. This important platform also clues you in to what your competitors are doing. Use this information to make prudent business decisions. Perhaps you will find out your competitors are using keywords or key phrases that will also benefit your SEO push. Maybe you will spot a new offering or price point on a competitor’s social media page that you can implement.

Social Media is a Tool to Establish Legitimacy

Businesses that use social media to provide meaningful information that helps customers solve problems, save money or improves their lives in another manner garner widespread respect. People will view your business as legitimate and worthy of their business if you provide insight or assistance with your social media posts. Customers who consider a business to be legitimate are inclined to purchase its goods and services. So post with care. Do not hesitate to outsource content creation to specialists who can provide intriguing content that positions your business as a legitimate industry authority.

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Get Social at Your Next Trade Show: How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Event Marketing

10 Aug

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Even in an increasingly digitized marketing world, a well-executed trade show presence is an indispensable part of a solid marketing strategy for any B2B company. And just because trade shows are a more traditional way of getting the word out about your product or brand doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the benefits of real-time communication and instant exposure made possible through social media.

Social Media Plays a Key Role in B2B Marketing

According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 B2B report, 68% of B2B marketers incorporate trade shows and similar in-person events as part of their marketing plan—but just 36% report that their events are effective.

A well-executed social media campaign can dramatically change that.

When done with a bit of planning and creativity, social media can help maximize visibility and attendance at your next big event. As an added bonus, it offers a convenient platform for repurposing your content and leveraging your trade show investment long after the event wraps up.

Check out a few of our favorite tips on getting the most out of your trade show through social media:

Customize Twitter Hashtags, Livestream to Engage Event Attendees, and Follow Up with LinkedIn Connections 

Depending on your level of participation in your trade show, you may have access to a list of contacts for partners, key speakers, and potential attendees. Leverage your contact list with these steps:

  • Follow them on Twitter and add them to a Twitter List
  • Create a company-specific hashtag and use it alongside the event’s official hashtag to tweet about your upcoming event
  • Start tweeting early—even as early as a few months before the event—to build relationships with partners, key players, and attendees and to increase the visibility of your event.

During set-up and while the event is taking place, engage employees and booth visitors with photos and video—and then use your hashtags to get your content where you want it via live tweets.

Twitter Tip:

If you think you’ll be too busy to manage social media at the event, consider using a social media management platform or hiring a social media partner to schedule bulk tweets beforehand. Then, add to those with live tweets as often as possible during the show.

Leverage Live Streaming: Offer Contests, Product Demos, and Giveaways to Engage Your Followers

Take some time to learn how livestream works in advance of the event. Whether you’re using Instagram Live, Facebook Live, or YouTube, do a few livestream trial runs beforehand: stream a production run, a project completion, or a customer testimonial to liven up your social feed on a regular workday.

By the time the event rolls around, livestreaming will be second nature!

At the Trade Show

Take advantage of the real-time opportunities for livestreaming during the event. Ask customers for testimonials, interview employees about their trade show activities, and engage partners in conversations about the benefits of your product and your company.

Livestreaming offers a great way to bring the trade show to those that couldn’t be there in person, and allows you to add some action and authenticity to your social presence.

After the Trade Show

Repurpose your livestream content to create a trade show recap that highlights your customers’ experience with your product and your company. Clip short snippets from the stream for future posts when you’re looking to show off your company’s personality.

LinkedIn for Long-Lasting Trade Show Connections

LinkedIn can be a bit cumbersome to use in real-time at the event, but it makes a great follow-up tool to reconnect with key players and potential clients long after the event shuts its doors.

If your contact is already a LinkedIn connection (and in limited cases even when they aren’t), you can use the “InMail” feature for direct messaging. Shoot your contacts a brief note thanking them for their time and interest, or simply to say that you’re glad you had a chance to talk and you’d like to keep in touch. You can also use the message as to segue way to offer access to a white paper or an invitation to an upcoming networking event.

If your contact is not yet a LinkedIn connection, go to their profile and click on the ellipsis at the top right. Click “Personalize Invitation” and write a brief message in the text box before sending your connection request.

Follow the above tips to integrate traditional in-person marketing strategies with the far-reaching capabilities of social media. If you need help designing and deploying your social media strategy, reach out to us for advice!

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