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What Makes Engaging B2B Social Content

Why do you login to your various social media accounts? Is it to be entertained by videos and images? Catch up on the latest news in your industry? Engage with colleagues? My hunch says you do all of the above.

Nobody has time to sift through every piece of content on social media though. We quickly scroll through our feeds, bypassing updates that do not grab our attention. So how do we as social marketers create content that is not ignored? Here are some absolute musts for creating engaging B2B social content.

The content must be a balance between entertainment and education

Let’s look at marketing content as a spectrum. On the left we have lengthy and boring technical data sheets and white papers. On the right, we have funny videos, memes, and other amusing pieces. While we all need to push the left content to our audiences, we need to incorporate aspects from the content on the right to grab our audience’s attention. The middle of the spectrum is where we as B2B social marketers need to be.

Gary Vaynerchuck writes in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, “If we want to talk to people while they consume their entertainment, we have to actually be their entertainment.” But not only is our B2B audience looking for entertainment, they are also seeking information and new insights so they can be ahead in their industry. Some examples of good content for this include infographics, informational short videos, and visual SlideShare decks of key highlights. We must strike a balance between informative and entertaining content, such as the examples below.

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Are you Ready for Social Video?

Are you considering using video in your digital marketing strategy?  Here are a few statistics on the topic:

  • Visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not. (Internet Retailer)
  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month. (YouTube)
  • 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. (Invodo)
  • Video promotion is 6 times more effective than print and online ads. (Atlas)
  • More than 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute. (The Telegraph)

But most importantly:

As a digital marketer, it is crucial to plan for video in your marketing efforts. Moreover, you must understand which social media platform is correct for your target audience and what type of social video you need to create. Read More »

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Networking Goes Social

As you probably know, networking can bring your career to a new level. Who you meet can open a variety of doors – you’re able to meet new clients, gain referrals, meet future peers, find a mentor, or begin a new partnership. The possibilities are endless.

Gone are the days where you would print out a stack of business cards and keep them in your wallet to hand out wherever you go. Now, with the digital age, your business card is your social presence. Interacting with someone digitally is the new norm; connecting with a colleague on LinkedIn, tweeting at your favorite brand or company, sharing your favorite articles on Facebook – these are all ways to network from right behind the keyboard.

Networking Goes Social

So, what’s the benefit of getting active on social networks? Here are my top three benefits for taking your networking skills to the computer:

Reach Brands Directly. Many brands are active on social media and are curious about how their customers and partners are using their products. Use this to your advantage and start a conversation about their latest launch, an article they posted, or good customer service. They’ll likely respond back with a follow-up question or a kind note as a way to thank you for reaching out.

Save Time and Money. While you should continue to go to live events when possible, you can network through social channels whenever and wherever you go. You can reach out to brands on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn through your phone or desktop without the hefty price tag that comes with traveling.

Interact with Industry Leaders. If you refer to an article written by an industry leader, tag them by using @[their handle]. On Twitter, for example, many company executives and brands will favorite or retweet your post as a way of engaging back. It’s a way of interacting with people you might otherwise not get the chance to.

Have you started networking online? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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The Power of Hashtags

Log on to most social media platforms and you’ll likely see a bunch of # signs floating around. No, they do not designate a phone number; instead, they’re an easy and useful way to grow your products and brand in a way that consumers are familiar with. Not sure what they mean or how they work? Stick with me. I’ll explain what hashtags are, why they’re useful and how to use them in your marketing practice.

The Power of Hashtags

What are hashtags?

According to Twitter, “The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.”

Now, they’ve expanded beyond Twitter to many other social sharing sites—namely Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest—as a way to group like items into one. You simply put a # with a single word or phrase (make sure not to use punctuation or spaces) in your post, and it automatically turns into a clickable link.

It’s common to use hashtags for a big event, promotion, or product launch. For example, say you’re going to one of Cisco’s largest events, Cisco Live! You document your days by sharing your pictures on Instagram and stay updated with regular tweets, but add in the #CiscoLive hashtag and boom – you’re suddenly synced up with others who are also talking about Cisco Live!  You instantly have a connection to others in the industry, thanks to this little symbol.

Why do hashtags matter?

  1. Networking. Using hashtags allows you to reach a new audience you might not have interacted with.
  2. Advertising. If people start hashtagging their photos or tweets with something related to your company or a campaign you’re running, their followers will also see this, possibly driving them to your site and, fingers crossed, becoming a new partner or customer.
  3. Building relationships. Click on a hashtag related to your product or industry and you’ll see not only what customers are interested in, but also what they’re saying. You can then start a conversation with these folks, leading to an introduction about your company or a solution to a problem they might be having.
  4. Relevance. By clicking on a hashtag, you’ll find tons of other tweets, images, and posts that are related. Try it: head to Twitter, search #CloudComputing and you’ll see hundreds of comments, articles, and photos related to the subject. It’s worthwhile to take some time to search for hashtags relevant to your company and industry to see what other products or information comes up.

There are a number of benefits to start adding that # sign to your posts. Does your company use them? Have you tried using hashtags in a marketing campaign? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Sports + Social Media = Massive Opportunities

I was at the SEAT Conference in Miami last week, and people are still abuzz about the recent World Cup. Attendees of the conference see engagement with sports fans as a top priority, and they know that Cisco has the most open, tailored and successful solutions to make that possible in venues around the world. The data below from Facebook and Twitter shows just how voraciously fans engaged on social media with regards to the World Cup.

Facebook

 

Twitter

As the world continues to become more “social” than ever before, teams, venues, leagues, and companies are working more feverishly than ever to capture the massive opportunity these sports fans present in the digital world.

Every conversation I had during the SEAT Conference validated that Cisco’s investments in Sports & Entertainment have positioned us to aid our customers to capture these digital fans. Over the past few years we have solved the problem of reliable and efficient high-density Wi-Fi, and live video streaming with minimal delay, and that is why our solutions are in more than 225 venues, and 30 plus countries, and have impacted hundreds of millions of fans. And with a proven platform in place, we are working with our customers to convert these more connected and immersive experiences into deeper levels of insight and engagement that drive impact, both on a personal level with fans and on the business side with sponsors and other associated partners looking to generate a return on their investments.

While many are looking at capturing the opportunities of the here and now, this is only the beginning.  The rapid pace of technology innovation mandates preparing for the future and as we visualize a world where everything is connected (Internet of Everything – IoE). This video series shows how Cisco and the NBA are already deep into this process. Check out the “One Bounce” video here.

As big data fuels deeper levels of fan insights, the future experience will be richer, and ultimately feed the insatiable hunger for information that these fans have already shown. Being a sports fan will be better than ever before, and Cisco will be right in the middle of making that happen.

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