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Digital Marketing Blog

In my many years as a digital citizen, few things have brought more joy to my heart than the schadenfreude of seeing companies firmly plant their feet in their mouths on social media as part of their digital marketing.

It happens so often, with such alarming regularity, I often wondered how many job openings there would be for someone to work in digital marketing without making their company or client look like, well, an uninformed doofus.

Thankfully, I found such a position at Acumen Studio, so I feel this platform is a great opportunity for me to share a few tips on how we help our clients with their social positioning. We’ll begin with an anecdote of my own (almost) failure:

October 11 is “National Coming Out Day,” and we felt it was important as an agency to support the struggle of LGBTQ individuals all over the world by sharing something on social media. Many brands and companies participate in social issue discussions throughout the year, and frankly, some are hit or miss.

Here’s what I came up with:

Pretty solid, right? Edgy, without seeming too self-serving or overly corporate. We don’t lend our voice to the discussion to simply increase our name recognition, we do so because we care.

Others, well…not so much.

You see, the Seahawks won an important football game after overcoming a significant point deficit and…well, the specifics don’t matter so much as the idea that professional football does not equal the struggle of Martin Luther King. At all.

Moving along, I wanted a quote for our National Coming Out Day post that spoke to the issue with Acumen’s unique voice, plus something that would fit in an Instagram photo. A bit of quick Google-fu landed me the following: “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You’re not scared. You’re an asshole.”

This quote was attributed on the site I found it (along with several other quotes I recognized) to one Morgan Freeman. Yes, that Morgan Freeman.

Seeing the issue yet?

Having finished the design portion of the post, I was prepping the text and getting ready to publish when that nagging public relations and journalist part of my brain piped up. “Hey, do you remember how it’s the rush to be the first to post about something, or not really having professional input, that usually causes the biggest problems?”

Thankfully, I heeded that voice; a quick check of Snopes.com told me no, Morgan Freeman had never said that. The “quote” was from a tweet from a parody Twitter account using an image of Freeman as its avatar. It had been falsely attributed around the internet ever since.

Picture me, then, wiping my brow in relief. This potential bullet flew harmlessly over Acumen’s digital shoulder and we avoided a potential public relations nightmare.

The point of this anecdote (and this entire post, really) boils down to this: one of the most underappreciated aspects of your company’s digital marketing strategy is public perception. Online communities are almost rabidly tenacious to catch corporate entities with their social pants down. If you want to arrest a ring of thieves, you hire an ex-thief because they understand the mindset of the target. If you want to avoid the harsh brand damage that can come with an ill-advised social media post, you come to me, because I understand social.

Bane meme social media Tumblr

What other digital marketing firm is going to offer that?

To finish up, here’s a nice list, because the internet abhors a vacuum:

  • Don’t be in a rush to post about a trending topic for digital marketing without doing your research first.
  • Don’t let a single person brainstorm, create and post to social, no matter how trustworthy they are.
  • Do allow your brand or company to participate in social discussions, as it builds trust with current and future customers.
  • Do incorporate social discussions into your company culture, as it builds trust with current and future employees.
  • Finally, don’t use a meme you don’t understand. If you don’t quite get it, ask an intern. Or me.

Zach is a content and digital marketing sorcerer who spent time on the high seas as a Mass Communication Specialist for the U.S. Navy before graduating from Southern Illinois University. Apart from his love of KPIs and the invention of the “Like”, good St. Louis ribs, and Cardinals baseball, he’s also got the greatest job in the world: being a dad.

 

For the 18 years that I (John Bracamontes) have done work online and in the digital marketing space, not once had I ever submitted work to be recognized as a job well done.
My opinion was that the work spoke for itself, because I drove leads, and leads meant new sales, and new sales meant higher revenue for my clients.

 

“Why Would I Need An Award To Show Greatness?”

 
Is how I thought.

I’ve seen over the years other agencies share in the successes of their teams and genuinely promote how great their clients are, which began to soften my perspective on the benefit of awards and recognition for the work outside of its result.

I realized that uniting with a sense of pride on what you do for others, recognizing the value and celebrating together is massively powerful.

So this year, Acumen submitted one entry in the St. Louis Business Marketing Association’s B2B Marketing Excellence Awards.

That night the team was recognized for the work we did (and do), we had fun and celebrated together, celebrated with others and set a precedent for the future of the agency.

No longer will we hide our wins and pride for the value we bring to those who choose to work with us!

And Thanks to Kopytek.com for being such an amazing group to work with!

At this point you should already realize that social media isn’t just a place where friends and family connect, share photos and like posts.

Social has become a repository of knowledge, similar to the search engines, but more affinity driven by relationships and trusted sources.

If you want to know who to use for internet law, who can help you with an ESOP or what company is building quality apps, then social is a great place to get real feedback and reviews from people who have ACTUALLY used those services or know their work.

A B2B Social Media Strategy

Understanding how your target customers are using social media is key to gaining visibility, providing education to and engaging with these targets.

  1. Customers are asking their network for recommendations
  2. They are qualifying your company on social media
  3. These targets are educating themselves on your products & services

Has Anyone Heard of this Company?

A go to question asked by many business owners, executives, directors, buyers, managers, etc.
This is very powerful.

If an executive reaches out to their network asking for personal feedback on a company and one of their peers responds with good things to say, then you are on your way to landing new business.

While not every business will get a personal recommendation, if you have been marketing yourself well, then someone will at least know of you and respond with something like “I’ve seen this company and they look like they know what they are doing.”.
This is the next best thing, because you have built a small amount of social capital and trust with this target.

This stage of discovery is very important and completes the infinite loop of growth through marketing, which you can see clearly in our content marketing funnel (which is more of an hourglass), where past customers become salesmen for your business.

Who Are You Really?

Once a customer has been made aware of your business, whether it was from a referral on social media or they got nothing on social and asked the wise search engine Google, they will absolutely look your company up on social media.
Again this is a critical B2B Social Media step.

While the majority of B2B product & services companies are served well on LinkedIn, it is important to understand that these same customer targets have social profiles on many platforms and will look to find you where they are at in the moment (this could be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest in addition to LinkedIn).
Plus, you will have a more diverse result in the search engines with a cross-platform social media presence. More results, Knowledgegraph inclusions, image results, Twitter feed, etc.

These customers will look to see if you are a legitimate business and size you up to see if you are a good fit.
Questions like “Are they too big?”, “Are they too small?”, “Do they think like I think?”, and many more. This is where being clear on your own brand and business is important, because it will qualify buyers for you in a very efficient way, driving better leads into your sales funnel.

At this point two main things will happen.
A customer will contact you via phone, form submission or email (they will find this info on your social profiles, if you have built them out completely).
Or the customer will educate themselves more on a specific product or service.

How Will Your Product or Service Help Me?

This is what most businesses think of as soon as they hear B2B Social Media or Social Media Strategy.
And rightfully so, because it is so critical.

Customers need to understand:

  • What problem you solve
  • What you sell / solution you provide
  • How it works
  • Why it fits their needs
  • Why you are better or different
  • Your process

Social Media is a great place to get this clarifying, compelling and enlightening content in front of prospective buyers.
These customers are comparing you to your competitors and the more you can educate them, the better chance you have of winning that business.

While you will want this content to primarily live on your website, social is the channel you will distribute this educational material to ensure it gets seen and gets the buyer back to your site where you can convert them or reach back out and communicate in other ways.

Types of B2B Content for Social Media

  • Blog Posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Ebooks
  • One Sheeters
  • Video
  • Infographics
  • Research Papers
  • Webinars
  • Case Studies
  • Podcasts

Depending on your product or service the mix of B2B content types will differ and the tactical strategy for each channel can be tailored as well.

B2B Social Media Research & Tactics

As with any marketing you should conduct research to identify key information to that will guide the marketing efforts. B2B Social Media is no different.

Our recommendation is to take the research beyond social as well by using Google search query data (the keywords) and pair it with social media research on your target customers social platforms, including the less thought about forums and groups such as Quora and LinkedIn groups.

Creating an inventory of who your target prospects is very important and taking this even further by identifying the stakeholders in those companies and engaging with their personal accounts on social will drive massive results.

This leads us to a few specific tactics that we recommend for a superior B2B Social Media Strategy.

Following and engaging with the business accounts of your prospective customers, the individual accounts of the decision makers of those businesses and the same for your current customers will create much-needed visibility, awareness, affinity and trust with the organizations that you want to do business with.

  • Like, Comment & Share Posts
  • Favorite, Reply & Retweet
  • Like & Comment using Video

This exposes you to the businesses you want to work with and gets your customers talking about you more, while at the same time you are indirectly getting in front of other potential customers who also engage with the same companies you are targeting.

This works like a charm and very few businesses are doing this!

You can learn more about our approach to social media here: http://acumenstudio.com/social-media-marketing-agency/

How Do I Know If It’s Working?

To be 100% Honest, this isn’t easy for most businesses.
Tracking, monitoring, analyzing, measuring and reporting to identify an ROI on your B2B marketing and social media efforts takes using platforms that can help you measure impact, attribution, and sales.
Most businesses are not equipped to do this (as are most marketers!).

You will either need to educate yourself on using platform specific social media analytics, social media tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial, etc. or hire an agency to help you with this.

What we can tell you is that social media for B2B companies Pays Off BIG!

 

Download a Social Media Case Study Below to Learn More

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Not really, a Creative Director will still be needed, just not in the same way it is today.

A recent article on AdAge.com spoke on how most ad & creative agencies are 5 – 10 years behind the current state of marketing’s capabilities. And the Creative Director works as it did back then where they create a few ideas, hand off the ideas and comps, then call it a day.

Guess what? That’s Dead!

Here’s the deal.
Whether creative agencies want to admit it or not, their decisions on what to create are driven by data. They ask the client questions and create something they feel meets the client’s expectations.
We get it, they want to please their client.

Here’s what’s missing, The Customer!

Best case scenario is that the client knows their customer so well that the data they give you is solid. Much of the time it needs to be supplemented with current customer behavioral & search data.
It is important to look at what customers are searching for online and find out where & how they qualify products or services they are looking to buy.
This will inform you on how to engage and what content to create for maximum exposure and conversion.

Back to the Creative Director role

Not only will the Creative Director need 3rd party customer data to inform creative decisions, but they also need to consider more technical aspects of design such as UX and UI as it relates to a customer’s motivations, needs, use of the medium and conversion optimization.

Even more, this Director will need to be aware of how to integrate all 3rd party data into their design process.
For example, variables in ads that are dynamic and will modify based on weather conditions in any given geography. Imagine a Starbucks ad that changes once it starts raining in St. Louis to show someone having fun in the rain with a cool umbrella and holding their favorite venti-sized drink as they smile & splash a small puddle. But it is totally different when it is dry and overly windy.
I’m weeping as a write this at how beautiful this level of personalization is 😉

We are advocates of moving towards a more informed creative process (see our Digital Marketing Audit), do this ourselves and want everyone to follow suit.

Follow the leader (we like it at the front of the pack)!

*Ad Age Article Here: http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/creative-director-role-exist-10-years/305623/