22 October – A social media checklist – How do you compare against competitors?

check list


In the world of social media, staying on top and being the best are the main aims I’m sure you all have. Easier said than done, right? In an ever changing arena, with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn regularly updating and adding new features to their networks, keeping up to date with these changes can be a little tricky to say the least. And that’s not even taking into account the thousands of best practices released every day.


So instead of providing you with a best practice, I thought I’d try something slightly different and share a social media checklist. See how this compares to your current efforts. And when you’re done with that I would suggest completing this social media survey to see for yourself how you compare against competitors. Let’s begin…


I have a personal social media account – check

Why it’s important: I’ve started with an easy one here, but to really stay on top of the ever changing social media space, I would highly recommend signing up to the social networks which specifically are appropriate to your industry. Not only will this ensure you are always monitoring the latest changes, but it also means you can examine what works and what doesn’t. There’s no better way to learn than to try it yourself.


Also if you are sharing industry content, by having your own account you can become a recognised thought leader, and you honestly will be surprised with the amount of interest you will receive.


I share content at certain times – check

Why it’s important: I’m not going to start suggesting appropriate times, days or even how many times you should share your content, because it all depends on your industry. But what I will say is ‘post the least to LinkedIn and the most to Twitter’ (posts are easily lost on Twitter). My best advice for you is to test when the best time is for you. Only then will you know what works and what doesn’t.


Social selling is implemented into my organisation – check

Why it’s important: If you’re not already doing this, well it’s about time you started. It’s a trend many brands have radically benefited from. Whether that be because your sales team can be accountable for the leads they generate through social media or because you have dramatically increased your reach.


There are numerous ways to achieve this, but firstly you need to work on sharing relevant content your audience is going to be interested in. This will increase your potential reach and also drive brand awareness. Many organisations such as Westcon have taken this one step further, and are promoting their offerings through their partners, generating 63,000 clicks on social media. This is through using a social media collaboration software, socialondemand® to share their content. This has allowed their message to remain consistent and also simplifies the task for their partners.


I would highly recommend investing in a social selling program to ensure this transition process is configured in the best possible way. Still not convinced? Register for this webinar to learn the real ROI from social selling, plus tips on how to successfully set this up.


Employee advocacy is encouraged – check
Why it’s important: This is another fantastic way to increase your potential reach. Just have a think about it for a second… nearly all of your employees I am sure will have their own social media account right? Depending on the network, they will probably have a mixture of both personal and professional relationships with their connections.


Just think if your message could be shared with all of these, your content would resonate so much further. This is exactly what another one of our clients F5 successfully implemented. Their posts now reach 2.4 million connections every day. This is just from the simple act of sharing content through employees. Unbelievable, I know!


It’s all very well and good sharing content to your employees, but it’s not as easy as that I can assure you. Training and incentives are pivotal to allow successful adoption to occur.


I localise all my content – check

Why it’s important: If you’re planning to attract consumers in geographical locations other than your own, I would highly recommend you translate all of your content, as well as schedule social media posts to appeal to their time zone. Yes it may be expensive translating all of your content, but it is unlikely they will truly engage with your brand if you don’t. Consumers are also more drawn to companies in the same country as them. It makes them feel more secure with their purchase. If you want to compete in this market and are expecting great results this is just something you will have to do.


So are you up to speed with the latest social media gems, or has this list outlined areas to improve your efforts? There is no better way to really determine how well you are doing against your competitors, than by completing a survey, where the results will be sent to you. Ta dah! Enjoy! Complete now.

16 October – Make social media work for you: a few tips from us!

16101511


Now I’m pretty sure you probably feel adept at giving advice about what works on social media and what doesn’t. But with social media now being bombarded with fresh content every second, it’s no longer enough to just understand what works. It’s essential you understand how to stand out from the crowd and exactly what content will be shared by your target audience.


A recent study suggests…
I imagine you’ve realised the importance of sharing visual content, but do you know to what extent this will make a difference? When asking senior marketers how critical the following imagery is to their marketing strategy, they rated photography at 46%, videos at 36%, infographics at 19% and illustrations at 15%.


It’s like everything though, it depends how you deploy your imagery. Here are a few tips.


Why not take it to the next level and create a short video? You can do this on most social networking sites now. Have a look at this example, by B2B Marketing which they featured on Twitter. It certainly grabbed my attention!



Or how about a GIF for your imagery? Another report suggests the average brain takes a ¼ second to process visual cues, and that you will lose interest within 8 seconds, so utilise GIF’s to tell your story.


Take a look at this one, it tells you all about the webinar, using very little text.


webinar_banners_3


Do you post yesterday’s news?
Sharing industry content is key to showing your audience that you are a valuable source for finding interesting industry relevant news. It is equally important however that the news you share is up to date, to keep them in tune with your brand. That said, I realise this is easier said than done.


Research your industry
I would highly suggest spending a little time examining useful websites which post only the latest news, and creating relevant RSS feeds. Here you will be able to view all the news updates from these sites in one place. You need to keep your target audience’s attention or they will look elsewhere.


Pay special attention to post titles
It’s annoying but your subject line is quite frankly the be-all-and-end-all of your content being clicked. Research by Chadwick Martin Bailey suggests that subject lines affect open rates by 47%. So don’t ignore the importance of it. I am not going to stand here and come up with a killer recipe as to what post titles work and what don’t, as it can depend on your industry you are aiming to attract. Let’s face it, the recipe is changing all the time.


But to give you a quick start; questions, quotes, adding statistics, as well as writing an informative phrase are all techniques I use. My best advice here though is, test for yourself, and see which method receives the best engagement for your brand.


Socially sell your brand, but not too much
Promoting your brand is highly recommended, but not all the time. Variety is the spice of life. Apply the 70/30 rule here. 70% should be industry content, and 30% should be your content, no one likes to be pitched to all the time. It gets boring.


Reach the widest audience possible
Sharing content through advocates is a great way to reach a much wider audience, but not if they are diluting the particular message you are trying to portray. I would strongly recommend using a social media collaboration platform, such as our own socialondemand®. Here you can control how your content is being pushed out, and deliver a consistent brand message. Everything you are aiming to achieve.


It’s like everything, it takes time to formulate the perfect recipe when generating content. But remember times are changing all the time, so what maybe right now, may change before you know it. These tips are what I currently take into consideration when generating content, so give them a go, and let me know if they work for you. Good Luck!

14 October – Since 2014, WestconGroup have generated 63,000 clicks on social media, but how?

Westcon
We all know the importance of social media in promoting and amplifying our brand messages. Our customers, who are all selling through large networks of third-party channel/ sales partners, understand the value and potential of leveraging the social presence of these partners. The trouble is, do these partners really have the time, resources or understanding of the importance of social media? Here we look at WestconGroup’s story to discover how their partners are now successfully engaging with their supplier’s brand.

Introducing WestconGroup
With a global network of partners, WestconGroup is a value-added distributor of leading unified communications, network infrastructure, data center and security solutions. They work with Avaya, Extreme Networking, Polycom, Juniper, Microsoft and Cisco to name a few.

What vendors want is not always what they get
Standing out from your competitors is a challenge that many brands face, and WestconGroup was no different.

They clearly understood the importance and power of social media for supporting the promotion of their own products and services, as well as those of their suppliers. At the same time, they saw their partners as the perfect way for them to increase their brand awareness and potential reach.

They wanted to enable their partners to share content from WestconGroup (and their suppliers) on the huge social networks of the partners. But when partners communicate to a variety of vendors (your competitors), it’s not surprising that challenges can emerge.

After conducting a survey Westcon discovered that their channel partners also face high demands from other vendors, and often lack the resources, or the time to perform these tasks effectively.

How WestconGroup solved this
WestconGroup decided to make the sharing of content as easy as possible for their partners, so they were much more likely to get behind it. They launched a new value-added service, called ‘WestconGroup SocialonDemand’, based on socialondemand® offered by purechannelapps. This platform lets them socially enable their partners to share their content. This in turn allows them to amplify a consistent brand message and reach a much wider audience than ever before.

How it works
WestconGroup simply share vendor-led content to their partners, which in turn is published as their own onto their partners social networks, allowing them to become thought leaders and trusted advisors on social media.

‘socialondemand from purechannelapps is a platform which is really easy to use. Every vendor and partner is challenged with resources and this eradicates this issue,’ states Emma Shaw, Westcon’s Marketing Programme Manager.

The all-important results
Just like most brands, WestconGroup wanted to keep in control of the content they shared. They wanted to see which partners shared their content and what posts were changed, to ensure it enabled their brand message to remain consistent. Tracking is hugely important, so WestconGroup appreciated this feature on socialondemand.

Since 2014, WestconGroup has generated over 63,000 clicks, downloads, likes and retweets. It now has over 99 active users posting to a total of 188 social media accounts, equating to 3.1 million connections (LinkedIn contacts, Facebook friends and Twitter followers).

In January 2015 alone, their posts generated 8,559 clicks/downloads, showing just how effective this platform has been, and how partner advocacy programmes really can work.

Why stop with channel partners
Since discovering the power of socialondemand for their partners, WestconGroup are now looking to increase their reach even further by allowing their employees to share their content as well.

Want to learn more? Read our full case study on WestconGroup.

05 October – Why your marketing team should not be the only one promoting your brand

05101511

Traditional marketing, as we all know, often involves organisations enlisting their marketing department to solely promote their brands offerings. This is all well and good for; email marketing, channel marketing, PR news, SEO, etc. But are you missing out on an opportunity by not involving other employees and advocates when sharing your brand messages and content on social media?

With the increased prominence of social media in today’s world, I am sure some of your marketing efforts involve using this channel to promote your brand. Let’s face it, your target audience are on social media, so why would you not want to use it to attract potential consumers’ attention? The tricky bit however, is cutting through the noise of your competitors, and being highly visible for all to see. But when your brand content only appears on your company page it can be extremely difficult to achieve. This means your potential reach could be rather limited.

Employees have a voice too…and feet on the street!

This is where your employees come in, and I don’t mean solely your marketing department. What about your technical employees, or your sales staff? They have Twitter and LinkedIn accounts too!

To put this into perspective, by enabling your sales staff to share your content on their social networks, they can enhance their social relationships with potential customers and buyers. Many brands such as F5 Networks, count this as the first stage of the buying cycle. Your sales employees are influencing potential customers’ buying decisions. This will be beneficial for your brand from an increased revenue standpoint and for your employees from an increased visibility and recognition point of view. Win, win for all!

And what’s more you can increase your brand’s potential reach dramatically. Your techy employees will also benefit from becoming trusted advisors in their field, benefiting the status of your company. With so many brands now enabling their employees to share their content, unfortunately, if you are not one of them you soon will be left far behind the others.

Don’t forget your other brand advocates too!

For those who sell through channel partners, i.e. resellers, dealers, retailers, the same applies to these advocates. They too have huge social networks of followers, all avid for news about your brand.

Make sure you involve them in your marketing. Make sure you share your rich content with them and enable them to leverage this to drive customer demand. As for many of our customers such as Microsoft and Adobe, syndicating content via social media to these partners can dramatically influence buyers and generate clicks to your website; it can also can bring huge rewards in terms of partner satisfaction and engagement.

How to share your content with employees and other advocates?

The trick here is to make it really easy for your partners and employees to find and share your content. By investing in a social media collaboration platform, your advocates will receive a notification email informing them of your news/ social media posts.

All they need to decide is whether to edit or use the pre-selected posts you have created as they are. You will have already selected the time and date you wish the post to be sent out to. You can also discontinue posts to ensure you don’t run out-of-date promotions. Why make it more difficult than it needs to be for your advocates?

Another benefit of using a social media collaboration platform is, you have full control of the content shared to your advocates. This ensures consistency and compliance is maintained.

So if you are not yet doing this, it’s about time you started, or you’ll never reach a wide audience, or receive the recognition you deserve.