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Tapping Key Takeaways from Recent Research on Fortune 500 Social Media Usage

The State of Social Media Marketing for Fortune 500 Companies

The State of Social Media Marketing for Fortune 500 Companies

Blogs are booming. Instagram interest is on the rise. Facebook is forever fashionable. And LinkedIn continues to lead the pack.

These all reflect trends found among Fortune 500 companies on social media, according to recent research from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Center for Marketing Research.

We scoured UMass Dartmouth's research in search of key takeaways and surprising tidbits that would intrigue and inspire B2B and B2C brands large and small. Here’s what you need to know about how the world’s largest corporations are tackling social media, plus some helpful resources to help give your social media marketing efforts a boost.

More Than Half of F500 Companies Now Have a Blog

It’s kind of amusing to see blogging grouped into this study as a social media tactic. But hey, the research comes from an academic institution, not a marketing entity, and they started conducting it 10 years ago when the lines were more blurred. In any case, there’s still plenty of integration and overlap between blogging and social media (i.e., long-form posts on LinkedIn) so the medium is definitely fair game here.

From 2017 to 2018, Dartmouth’s data finds one of the biggest year-to-year spikes in blog usage since they started tracking in 2008. The percentage of corporate blogs on company websites among Fortune 500 companies is up to 53%, rising 11 points from a year ago.

Blog Adoption by Fortune 500 Companies

If that number still seems low to you (it does to me), keep in mind the folks compiling this report aimed to include only blogs that: a) are public-facing, and b) include content that goes beyond “newsroom” type posts such as product announcements, press releases, and philanthropic involvement.

The chart above offers a compelling visualization of the firm traction that content marketing is now seeing in the high-level business world, after failing to truly take off for several years. There’s little reason to think we won’t see this proliferation power ahead at a frantic pace.

Of particular interest, to me, is the rapid decline in number of blogs that allow comments:

Fortune 500 Companies That Allow Blog Comments

This is emblematic of a real conundrum: the internet can be a nasty place. On large and well-trafficked blogs, moderating comments can prove to a be prohibitively time-consuming task. But dialogue is crucial, and preventing readers from being able to respond on corporate blogs really deters the openness and transparency brands should be striving to project.

There’s no easy solution to this dilemma, but one way to inject the voice of your audience in a controlled yet still authentic way is via strategic user-generated content. UGC not only helps you spotlight your customers and their stories, but can also help build rapport and a sense of community, all at a relatively low cost.

In general, we believe blogging is an essential digital marketing tactic for almost any business, large or small. For more insights on driving more targeted traffic to your own corporate blog, check out these recent posts:

Twitter and Facebook are Table Stakes for Top Dogs

Dartmouth reports that 455 of the 2018 F500 companies have active Twitter accounts (91%) and 445 (89%) have Facebook pages. On each, the top 10 companies are all accounted for. Commercial banks and specialty retailers are the only industry verticals with 100% representation across both channels.

It's inexpensive to create a brand page on Facebook or Twitter, and keeping them updated requires only modest time investment, so it’s hardly surprising to see these high levels of penetration among heavy-hitters.

The great challenge, now and going forward, will be finding ways to stand out and break through on these platforms. On our blog, we make a point of keeping readers up-to-date on changing social algorithms and how marketers can gain visibility on feeds. The posts below can offer some guidance on this front:

Enterprise Instagram Adoption is Exploding

In 2013, 9% of Fortune 500 companies had an Instagram account. In 2018, that figure is up to 63%. As you can see below, the visually oriented platform has seen enormous year-to-year growth in the past half-decade:

Fortune 500 Instagram Usage

It isn’t hard to see why the corporate world is being drawn to Instagram like millennials to a group selfie – everyone’s there. Back in early 2013 the app had 100 million users; here in 2018 it just surpassed 1 billion.

With that astonishing number in mind, it feels like malpractice for any brand not to have some Instagram presence. But how can you really connect with audiences there? What are B2B brands and big companies doing successfully on this leisure-driven platform? Here are some posts that can help you see the big picture, with examples and actionable tips:

Fortune 500 Companies Are All-In on LinkedIn

While Facebook and Twitter are creeping upward, and Instagram is experiencing rapid growth, LinkedIn remains the leader in terms of F500 penetration. The Dartmouth report shows 489 of the companies (98%) with a presence on the platform, same as last year and up slightly from 97% in 2016.

Given its business-oriented context, and its audience of more than 500 million professionals, LinkedIn is clearly a no-brainer for any major company. I’m actually shocked that 100% of Fortune 500 brands aren’t linked up.  

Check out these articles for tips on tightening up your LinkedIn game:

Social Media is Big Business

Across all channels and platforms, the world’s most powerful corporations are increasingly recognizing social media marketing as a necessity rather than a nice-to-have — a trend we expect will continue into 2019.

UMass Dartmouth’s research finds that an overwhelming majority of 2018 F500 companies are present on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook; meanwhile, visually-driven networks like Instagram and YouTube are picking up steam fast in alignment with evolving user preferences.

If you want to get the full scoop on Fortune 500 social media usage, check out the full report. And if you’re hankering for more analysis of social media marketing trends in 2018, we’ve got you covered:

The post Tapping Key Takeaways from Recent Research on Fortune 500 Social Media Usage appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Webinars That Wow: 5 Tips for Create Engaging Webinars #MPB2B

Creating Engaging Webinar Experiences

Creating Engaging Webinar Experiences

Think about it. Do you enjoy being marketed to?

As marketers, we love our jobs; we love marketing. But like anyone else, it's safe to say that we don't enjoy receiving cold pitch emails, or downloading gated white papers, or spotting that “Request a Demo” ad for the 10th time.

As Mark Bornstein, Vice President of Content Marketing at ON24, said during his Keys to Engagement Driven Webinars session at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum 2018, we've a reached a tipping point.

While the channels have changed, marketers are still very much relying on passive tactics that simply don't engage. Modern audiences want to learn, but they also want to be inspired. And our professional expectations are very much evolving alongside our personal lives. With the Netflix model, we can choose to consume the content we want, when we want to.

So the question is: How can brands create content that prospects “want” to consume and engage with?

Mark says webinars are the ultimate engagement channel. And as it turns out, 66% of buyers say they prefer webinars to any other content formats, according to the 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report.

Webinars are certainly not new to marketing, but it's time to re-think how we build them and use them. With these key elements, webinars can go beyond the "talking power point" and drive interactivity, engagement, and conversion.

5 Key Elements of the Engagement Driven Webinar

#1 - Branded Experience

Yes, your webinar slides probably have your logo and use the typical  brand sanctioned fonts and color pallette. However, your webinar experience, should integrate with your emails, website, mobile apps, and the list goes on. Mark suggests including campaign images, taglines, and visuals to create a compelling and brand immersive content experience.

#2 - Multimedia Experiences

We're just beginning to duplicate TV-like experiences with marketing, and webinars are a great way to create conversations over presentations. Think about how many of us tuned in day after day to watch Oprah having conversations on stage. Would we have watched if she was flipping through slides from off camera?

An example of an innovative webinar experience is Live with Marketers from *LinkedIn, a digital talk show experience.

One tip for creating engaging conversations is to build or leverage an existing brand personality. Find someone you can put in front of the camera that the audience can connect with and wants to watch. Then build your series around that individual.

#3 - Human Engagement

In order to drive true brand engagement and affinity, the most important thing you can do is drive audience members to take action while experiencing your content. Calling or incentivizing the audience to ask questions, tweet, download content, or respond to live polls creates a more immersive experience.

Webinars don’t have to require audience members to passively listen in while checking emails. The more you can encourage engagement, the more your audience will connect with your content and brand.

#4 - Multi-Touch Content Experiences

Historically, marketers have found webinars can effectively move a prospect more quickly through the buyer's journey by creating a multi-touch content experience. But typically, the page where the webinar lives doesn't offer other types of content for people to engage with.

Creating on-page links to relevant content and via nurtures following the event allows you to engage prospects further. Don’t be afraid to distract your audience from the webinar itself; allowing them to choose the content experience they want to pursue, models the personal experience of on demand content binging.

Types of content you can link to from your webinar page includes:

  • Resources (e.g. white papers as supporting content)
  • Links to other relevant web pages, blogs, or events
  • Other upcoming webinars

#5 - Turning Webinar Engagement into Data That Converts

If you’ve engaged your audience during the webinar via polls, questions, and content downloads, you have some awesome inside info about your audience. And you can turn those webinar insights into email nurtures or they can be passed to the sales team. Knowing a prospects’ hottest questions or pain points, opens the door to a great sales experience for your internal team and the prospect.

What’s Next in Webinar Marketing

For brands where webinars are creating impact, many are already looking toward the next thing. Mark suggests we’ll start to see more brands offering: 

  • On-demand webinars for content binging: Webinar gateways allow you to get more mileage out of your content and the user to select the content that works the best for them.
  • Creating targeted experiences: Account-based marketing (ABM) efforts can be extended to your webinar marketing via recording specific webinars for target accounts or vertical, targeted on-demand landing pages, and so on.

Regardless of the form, content that drives visitors to consume for longer periods of time and meaningfully interact indicates a more enjoyable, persuasive, and ultimately impactful content experience. .

Are you using webinars to connect with your audience now? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post Webinars That Wow: 5 Tips for Create Engaging Webinars #MPB2B appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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