Understanding the Real Meaning of “Community” for B2B Digital Marketing

B2B businesses often approach social media marketing with an attitude that “bigger is better.” They eagerly believe that the more followers, the better. The more likes, the better. The more tweets at more times in the day, the better.

However, effective B2B digital marketing is not a clear-cut numbers game. In fact, smaller numbers are sometimes better because that means you’re targeting the right attention for your blog and social media. Why? The reason that smaller is better comes down to a hot digital marketing topic for social 2015: community.

What Is Community?

The standard definition of a community is a group of people with similar backgrounds and goals. In digital marketing, however, community refers to the small but potent group of fans and peers that make up your client base and B2B business network. Infamous marketing thinker Seth Godin refers to this kind of community as a tribe, or a group of people who connect with each other because they share an idea and a leader.

Successful B2B digital marketing doesn’t strive to add zeroes to your follower counts. Instead, its goal is to attract and engage your tribe — the people who are actually paying attention and actively seeking information. And if you do it right, you might find yourself adding zeroes to your follower counts anyway… except this time these followers will represent targeted prospective customers rather than empty seats.

The Social Media Marketing Podcast recently interviewed Jared Easley, co-founder of the industry-leading podcasting conference Podcast Movement, about creating a community. In the interview, Jared talked about how he used Facebook to build a community of followers who eventually funded his $11,000 Kickstarter campaign. This may not be the best way to raise money for your B2B business, but it does go to show the power of uniting your tribe to achieve a specific goal.

How to Identify Your Community

Building your community starts with understanding who makes up your community. Take a look at your customers and the customers of your competitors. Where do they spend their time online? When you’ve identified these demographics, it’s a simple matter of researching their social usage by income, age and gender, or medium preference. Armed with the knowledge of where people spend time online, you can target people who are most likely to be a good fit for your community.

Another great way to build your community is to use your personal network and your established customers. When you speak to them in person or by phone, ask them where they spend time online. Carefully monitor which links they share on their LinkedIn profiles. Keep a list of brands, publications, and sites they mention to paint a comprehensive picture of how your tribe prefers to spend time online.

How to Connect With Your Community

As the members of your community start to become more obvious, connect with them strategically. Some of these strategies may entail a large initial time investment, but building your community will pay off in the long term.

Then consider your customer’s day-to-day life and technology usage. How many tweets or LinkedIn posts will they see and engage with in a meaningful way? How much content do they want from you? How much content is too much for them? Make note of the best times to post and plan your B2B digital marketing strategy accordingly.

In B2B digital marketing, quality trumps quantity. Even a modest social media following can help you reach your sales goals if they represent a dedicated, engaged population. Find your community first, then guide your digital marketing efforts according to what they need.

For more up to date industry news, follow our blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin.

H/T: Business2Community.

3 Digital Marketing Blunders Small Businesses Make Right off the Bat

You’re busy supporting your customers and running your business. Taking even 10 minutes out of your day to devote to a blog post or social media updates is a challenge.  The new, holistic approaches to internet marketing–thanks to changes by Google and other search engines in the last 12 months–are enough to make anyone’s head spin, let alone a small business owner or manager who wears many different “business” hats everyday.  No matter your goals for your website and social media profiles, avoid these common pitfalls when repositioning or establishing your company’s digital presence.

1. Overpaying for a Website

A problem plaguing so many companies in the early 2000s has seen a resurgence as more and more small to medium-sized businesses have upped their online game, web designers are taking advantage of a business owners’ lack of know-how to cash in big for a minimal amount of work. Business and networking are breeding grounds for this practice and it’s taking a toll on business’ search engine visibility and the basic functionality of their websites. With so many easy-to-use, cost-effective methods of creating beautiful, functional websites, there’s no reason for nail salons and painting companies to drop $3,000-$10,000 on a website in 2015. Don’t fall for a sales pitch and a smile.

2. Quitting Early on Social

Everyone who’s tried to create a social media profile has experienced the frustration that comes with a stunted or non-existent following. As with many endeavors, people tend to approach a new project with enthusiasm and then give up when they don’t get the feedback they want. Try searching YouTube for “My First Video” and you’ll see what I mean. However, for better or worse, Facebook is becoming a major player in small business marketing and even if people aren’t finding you via the social network, your potential customers will certainly check to see if you’re keeping up with your profile. There’s no magic formula to success on social media, but there are a few Facebook tips and tricks for small business owners to gain traction and establish themselves without dedicating too many resources to your efforts.

3. Demanding Instant Gratification

The “give it to me now!” mentality of the online world does not apply when marketing a small business – sorry. As with any marketing effort, the work takes time and results aren’t immediate. Instead of focusing on “going viral” or getting 100,000 viewers to your website, redirecting your digital marketing team to establish your authority on search results in your industry and generating viable leads will show dividends in the long run. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you have the right team.

One thing about digital marketing is that it’s always changing and developing as technology and consumer behavior changes. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage to any business owner. An advantage because everyone needs to constantly educate themselves on new marketing trends. When something new arises, everyone starts at the same level. On the opposite end, it can be a disadvantage to those who don’t care to learn. Business owners who are content with their existing methods and plan to steadily run things will end up falling far behind. Sticking to what you always do, will get you what you’ve always gotten.

For expert advice on how to increase your online reach, strengthen your brand equity, help achieve stronger business results and generate greater profitability, contact Onimod Global today.

How Your e-Commerce Businesses can get the Most out of Facebook

Sites like Etsy, Amazon and eBay have made it easier than ever to open an online store and jump on the e-commerce bandwagon. Now advertising on Facebook is essential for success in today’s e-commerce market. For many online merchants, Facebook is more than a tool to drive sales, it’s a platform to market and sell products, build brand identity and interact with customers. But where and when do you start to place your ads? Who are you targeting and how do you succeed in reaching them successfully? Read more

Want Digital Marketing to Work For You? Integrate Some Analog Thinking.

As buyers look for new ways to engage with and purchase their preferred brands, those brands are bringing the sales process to them nonstop through digital and mobile interactions.

Given this push to be present everywhere the buyers are, brands — to no one’s surprise — are hiking their digital marketing budgets. One estimate is for a 14 percent increase in 2015.

That sounds pricey, but brands are finding this level of increase worthwhile because one of the big advantages with digital marketing is its ability to cost-effectively reach customers across different platforms.

Leveraging this advantage, in turn, is the secret sauce for online marketing efforts. Emails driving viewers to landing pages that offer relevant and attractive content downloads, for example, are a staple of today’s marketer. Add in social-media touch points, SEO and pay-per-click ads — all of which reinforce the brand’s offer — and the result is a powerhouse campaign that should deliver what the brand is hoping for.

So why doesn’t this digital approach work for everyone? The upside and downside of digital marketing is that anyone can do it, but the sheer volume muddies the waters. For your particular programs to deliver strong returns on your investments, they need to stand out from the pack. Here are two key points to keep in mind.

1. Relevancy rules.

Longtime direct marketing experts are disciplined about optimizing the two critical components of any outbound marketing effort. They are: the target audience, the offer and the accompanying supporting, creative content.

For digital marketing these components are even more important. Analysts in 2014 estimated that close to 200 billion emails were sent and received each day, with almost half of those originating within the business sector. You don’t need anyone to tell you that this translates into a lot of crowded inboxes.

Of course, your audience may be unwilling to sift through those jam-packed inboxes, and instead simply delete anything remotely promotional without so much as a second glance. So, it’s very important to create a high-quality, targeted email contact list for your marketing campaigns as well as a strong offer, and strong creative content, that stand out. Otherwise, you’re simply wasting money.

2. Think ‘integrated,’ not ‘isolated.’

While you can implement pure online and offline programs separately, both are far more influential when they’re part of a unified strategy in which each complements the other. Think of the project as teamwork.

Online marketing can be golden for prospecting, lead-qualifying and lead-scoring. Then, once you get a lead to a level where he or she is ready to be engaged from a sales perspective, pass the relay wand to the offline approaches. Using both methods, hand-in-hand and driven by a central strategy, will yield far greater results than using either part, doled out piecemeal.

The thinking of days past was that seven exposures to a brand were what it took to make a sale. But with the myriad ways customers are barraged from all angles today, it’s arguable that twice as many exposures are actually needed.

The lesson here is to work toward fueling your marketing with a strategy that incorporates both online and offline marketing, in order to identify prospects, convert them into customers and keep them for years to come. That’s the real winning formula.

R/T Entrepreneur.com

Digital Marketing Faux Pas

Having an Online Marketing strategy has become absolutely essential for any business. Just getting a website commissioned is not good enough. You need to find and continually work to attract targeted users to your site, in order to convert those browsers into paying clients of your business. Read more