Home / 2018 / October (page 5)

Monthly Archives: October 2018

How to Split Test Facebook Link Preview Images for More Organic Traffic to Your Website

Wondering how to split test Facebook link preview images without using Facebook ads? Looking for affordable tools to help? In this article, you’ll learn how to use three tools to create, test, and optimize blog post images for better performance in the Facebook news feed. #1: Design 3 to 5 Test Images Using Crello The [...]

The post How to Split Test Facebook Link Preview Images for More Organic Traffic to Your Website appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

Read More »

What You Need to Know About Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing

Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing

Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing

Why would B2B brands be interested in using Instagram Stories as a marketing channel?

It starts with a very simple premise: B2B customers are people, and people use Instagram, which eclipsed 1 billion active monthly users over the summer. And when it comes to the platform’s “Stories” format, it surpassed the similarly oriented Snapchat in users within a year of its 2016 launch.

Instagram Active Users

Of course, the issue here is more one of context. Can business-focused content really succeed on a social network that slants so strongly toward casual, leisure surfing?

As we’ll see, B2B companies are showing that yes, it can. And there’s plenty of opportunity to take it a step further.

Businesses Are Taking Interest in Instagram Stories

As Digiday noted last month, the popularity and versatile functionality of Instagram Stories have prompted advertisers to shift more of their ad spend to the platform. In the same piece, we learn that completion rates for Instagram Stories are on the rise, and younger age groups have been gravitating toward them.

With these insights in mind, it’s easy to see why Instagram Stories are attracting a larger share of commercial consciousness.

There’s also one feature in particular that makes this format appealing for marketers, even compared to standard Instagram advertising:

The ability to integrate links and calls to action.

Typically, Instagram only allows you to include an external hyperlink in your user bio. But with Stories, you can drop a CTA into each individual piece of content. For B2B brands, which are often more focused on measurable marketing outcomes than their B2C counterparts, this is huge.

This turns each piece of content into its own referral opportunity, and it allows connected pieces of content to be organized into a living content funnel,” writes Jonathan Crowl at the Content Standard. “While the experience of watching multiple pieces of connected content can function as a content funnel, qualifying users and leading them toward a conversion, each individual piece of content can potentially serve as its own CTA, leading users to a corresponding external destination relevant to their position in the content funnel.”

Reports suggest that links in Instagram Stories were generating “swipe-through rates” of 15%-25% within a month of the functionality being rolled out.

Why Instagram Stories Are Gaining B2B Buzz

In his aforementioned article, Crowl cites examples of IBM leveraging Instagram Stories for thought leadership, and MailChimp using it to showcase company culture. These are mainstays for B2B content marketing, and Instagram is well suited for them as a platform.

“Stories is the one place where brands are able to actually give people a peek behind the curtain in terms of who they are and what they’re all about,” said Instagram’s Morgan Cornelius in a recent interview with Fast Company. “This allows them to establish authenticity with their customers.”

As we frequently emphasize here on the TopRank Blog, authenticity is a critical differentiator for B2B brands, albeit a difficult one to nail down.

The other big advantage of Instagram Stories lies in serialized storytelling. This style of content delivery can drive much greater engagement and build trust with storytelling — both top B2B priorities.

Clever use of narrative in combination with the CTA functionality enables marketers to “create a mini-funnel to drive viewers toward a conversion,” suggests Nina Zoukelman of Oktopost, pointing to a campaign where Cisco strung together interactive visual insights from its Annual Cybersecurity Report before inviting viewers to click and download the PDF:

Instagram Stories Tutorial

[bctt tweet="The other big advantage of #InstagramStories lies in serialized #storytelling. - @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

Why Many B2B Brands Remain Reluctant

As we alluded earlier, there are some lingering hold-ups when it comes to using Instagram for B2B marketing. One is the mindset and demographics of its users, who tend to skew younger and more casual.

There’s also the makeup of Instagram’s content, which is primarily visual. This often works well for B2C companies marketing products, but not necessarily as well for B2B companies marketing solutions or services.

The Instagram Stories format itself has some drawbacks as well. For instance, Digiday points out that these are not great for increasing your overall footprint on the platform: “Posts that aren’t Instagram Stories generate three times more reach on average compared to those that are.” This is offset by the highly engaging nature of this content, but if you don’t have much of a following on the ‘Gram yet, your brand may not find a ton of value in this approach.

The Untapped B2B Opportunity in Instagram Stories

According to annual benchmarking research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, Instagram adoption hasn’t increased all that much for B2B. In 2015 the percentage checked in at 24%, and here in 2018 it’s only up to 30%.

So clearly, despite its dramatic user base growth, Instagram still hasn’t caught on with the B2B marketing community at large, in part because of the downsides mentioned above.

While Instagram may always be a more B2C-friendly social channel, I have little doubt that it’s going to start gaining more B2B traction, with the business-friendly nature of Instagram Stories helping foster this growth. And since advertisers are still finding their way with Instagram Stories, the cost of placing ads within them remains relatively low compared to the main mobile feed format.

Creative and ambitious B2B marketers can get ahead of the curve by using this feature to:

  • Showcase thought leadership and behind-the-scenes company culture
  • Increase authenticity with audiences
  • Create content funnels leading to strategic CTAs
  • Craft compelling serialized stories that engage and inspire

Much like Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories offer a nascent playground for B2B marketing. If you’re looking to experiment with new channels as you peer ahead to 2019, these both stand out as great opportunities.

To learn more about the current social media marketing landscape from a B2B-centric perspective, check out these other posts from the TopRank Marketing Blog:

[bctt tweet="Much like #FacebookStories, #InstagramStories offer a nascent playground for #B2BMarketing. If you’re looking to experiment with new channels as you peer ahead to 2019, these both stand out as great opportunities. - @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

The post What You Need to Know About Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Read More »

3 Mobile Apps to Improve the Quality of Your Photos

Do you post photos from your mobile phone? Looking for expert-level mobile photo editing solutions? In this article, you’ll discover three mobile apps that help you edit and deliver professional-looking photographs. #1: Make Complex Edits Using Mendr Even if you’re a pro at using DIY photo editing apps, getting the perfect image can be a [...]

The post 3 Mobile Apps to Improve the Quality of Your Photos appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

Read More »

5 fitness brands winning social media

Workout gurus and yoga influencers are found in all corners of Instagram. While individuals build up followings and influence their audience, what are brands Read more...

This post 5 fitness brands winning social media originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Read More »

Enterprise B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Amisha Gandhi, SAP Ariba

Amish Gandhi Influencer Marketing Interview

Amish Gandhi Influencer Marketing Interview

One of the pioneers in the enterprise B2B influencer marketing space that I've been most fortunate to collaborate with most is Amisha Gandhi, (AmishaGandhi) Vice President of Influencer Marketing at SAP Ariba.

Whether it was the SAP Leonardo launch microsite with interactive content and 30+ influencers sharing their expertise reaching 21 million views or campaigns like this one with Arianna Huffington plus internal and external influencers for SAP SuccessFactors, there's a lot of success in the momentum Amisha has created in the B2B influencer marketing world.

As the creator of SAP's Global Influencer Program, Amisha has numerous B2B influencer marketing case studies being used in articles and presentations all over the industry. Now her focus is specifically with the Ariba global program that also includes working with analysts, communities and brand partners.

In this interview, Amisha talks about going beyond creating awareness to working with influencers to engage specific customer personas across the entire customer journey. She also shares her favorite tools and her vision of what influencer marketing will be in 2020.

Many B2B companies focus on their influencer partnerships to raise brand awareness and engagement. How does working with influencers in B2B help drive leads, sales and revenue?

A lot of companies focus on the awareness piece of influencer marketing and that would be called influencer relations.

Influencer marketing focuses on the entire customer journey, driving demand, leads and to help with nurture. @AmishaGandhi @SAPAriba

Influencer marketing focuses on the entire customer journey, driving demand, leads and to help with nurture. This includes co-creating content for demand generation with influencers, having them as speakers on your lead generation activities such as webinars and involved with your high value, high touch customer activities.

With influencer marketing, you’re looking to offer a better experience to your customers and deliver knowledge-based educational content with a third-party voice. These experiences can be achieved through content, influencers speaking directly to customers, nurturing them through digital and high value assets. This is the approach with influencers will help you to drive sales journey and demonstrate pipeline touch.

How is influencer marketing positioned within your company? Ex: independent department that serves the brand and departments / business unites or is it more decentralized? What are the advantages of that structure?

Influencer marketing sits within global marketing at Ariba under corporate marketing. Ours is somewhat of an unconventional model with an influencer marketing team comprised of analyst relations, third party communities, external business influencers, and advocacy.

The advantage of this structure is that it allows us to bring communities of influence together to help drive real business outcomes across the entire customer journey.

What tips can you share about being more effective about influencer identification, qualification or recruitment?

The biggest piece of advice I can share is don’t just look at popularity metrics and social media following. Go beyond what the numbers are and see what that data really means. Don’t just look at followers, look at engagement. at who influencers are engaging with, how many comments they receive and how long they’ve been engaging.

Also, don’t just rely on social media. Look at which influencers are speaking at conferences and who else they are connected to. Often times influencers on a specific topic are at similar conferences and engaging on social with each other. Start seeing those connections because that’s going to help you create a more effective program.

Look at the conversations influencers are driving and take a deep dive across all their channels. @AmishaGandhi @SAPAriba

Look at the conversations influencers are driving and take a deep dive across all their channels. Discover what they are writing about and where and if it fits with what you are doing and the audience you are trying to reach.

When recruiting an influencer, make sure that it’s clear you’ve spent quality time getting to know what they care about and why they should care about you. Make it really clear what’s in it for them, not just what’s in it for you.

When recruiting an influencer, make sue that it’s clear you’ve spent quality time getting to know what they care about and why they should care about you. Make it really clear what’s in it for them, not just what’s in it for you.

What characteristics make for a successful influencer / B2B brand relationship?

The biggest misconception about influencer marketing is that it’s all about social media and that you should buy influence to shout out marketing messages. Companies should approach influencers as partners, not just as people that they can use for their marketing efforts and launches.

Companies should approach influencers as partners, not just as people that they can use for their marketing efforts and launches. @AmishaGandhi @SAPAriba

It’s really about building a relationship that brings value to both parties.

When you look at the characteristics for a successful B2B brand relationship you are:

  1. Looking at creating value for both parties
  2. Creating a long term and lasting relationship that is a two way street
  3. Setting up your influencers for success and arm them with knowledge before they walk into any kind of engagement
  4. Arming your brand stakeholders with information as well so interactions are high value between the company and the influencers
  5. Being clear with the influencers on what it is that you’re trying to achieve

Often times the influencers will share their view of the market bringing in insights that you don’t have, and you need to be open to this as well. You may not like what you always hear, but it can bring an outside-in perspective that can inform the business.

What advice can you share about measuring success with influencer marketing?

When you are implementing an influencer marketing campaign understand the business outcome that you are helping to achieve. Once you know the specific business outcome, put the metrics you want to track in a dashboard.

For example, with a campaign that involves an eBook, your metrics might include social media shares, social impressions to see how it was promoted by influencers, views or downloads depending on how it’s set up.

If you set up measurement correctly with the right tagging you can see how much touch the asset had. If you have Marketo you can see when people come to the asset and where they go after, which helps inform your customer journey and how the influencer marketing pieces are working within your entire marketing landscape.

Once you have those metrics in place you can use them as a benchmarks so the next time you have a program you can go back and see what your baseline measurements are.

A lot of marketers look at social media impressions and social engagement. In B2B influencer marketing, there’s a lot of focus on engagement with assets and the customer journey, so you will want to make sure you have like minded metrics that fit into your marketing landscape that people will understand.

Make sure that you have quantifiable metrics – but also don’t be afraid to bring up qualitative metrics as well. @AmishaGandhi @SAPAriba

For example, if you did a webinar with influencers, you might say you saw 2X leads and 4X engagement which is going to be important way to report performance. Even if you don’t have hard numbers, you should be able to share comparative metrics so that people understand the value of using influencer marketing versus not .

It is important to have both quantitative and qualitative metrics. It’s important to show both the art and science of influencer marketing.

Speaking of technologies, any favorite tools or platforms you can share?

Some of our favorite tools are Traackr, Marketo & Sprinkler.

  • Traackr is for influencer marketing
  • Sprinklr is for scheduling and putting content out on social media networks
  • Marketo is what can help you analyze the journey.

These are all tools that can help you show the measurability of influencer marketing and to quantify the program.

How do you think influencer marketing will have evolved in the next year or two? What will it look like in 2020?

I think influencer marketers will start to look beyond influencer relations. Today you see a lot of influencers at events and I think in the next few years you’ll see a lot more influencers during the demand cycle and involved with more content and activities deeper in the sales funnel.

In the next few years you’ll see a lot more influencers during the demand cycle and involved with more content and activities deeper in the sales funnel. @amishagandhi @sapariba

There is also a growing importance around micro-influencers in industries where macro influencers are covering wide ranging topics like artificial intelligence. There will be more micro-influencers involved with industry specific content (I.e, AI within manufacturing).

In the next few years I think we’re going to go away from influencer marketing and start thinking about what influences the customer journey. B2B companies will move more into influence marketing versus influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing will be seen more as a strategic function if you can stretch it across the customer journey.

In two years, I think we’ll go beyond influencer marketing. It will be about the intrinsic value of influence.

Thank you Amisha! 

B2B Forum 2018

If you would like to learn more about B2B influencer marketing from a panel of brand experts, be sure to check out our sesssion at MarketingProfs B2B Forum November 13-15th featuring Konstanze Brown from Dell, Amisha Gandhi from SAP Ariba and Lucianna Moran from Dun & Bradstreet.

Here are the details:

The Confluence Equation: How Content & Influencers Drive B2B Marketing Success

Content and influencer marketing are hot topics for B2B marketers all over the world as two of the most promising strategies for attracting, engaging and converting ideal customers. What many marketers don’t realize is how collaborating with influencers can create even more credible, relevant, and optimized experiences for target accounts. Join moderator Lee Odden and an expert panel of B2B brand influencer marketing executives from SAP, Dell and Dun & Bradstreet to learn how working with influencers and their communities can help scale quality B2B content that gets results.  You'll learn:

  • The variety of benefits from B2B influencer collaboration
  • How major B2B brands plan, implement and measure influencer content
  • About processes and technologies that support influencer marketing success

We hope to see you there!

Be sure to check out the other Enterprise B2B Influencer Marketing interviews in this series:

Another resource that you might find interesting is this presentation on Big Brand Influencer Marketing:

The post Enterprise B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Amisha Gandhi, SAP Ariba appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Read More »

How to Grow Your Email List With a Facebook Messenger Bot

Are you using a Facebook Messenger bot to talk with customers? Wondering how to build an email list using your bot? In this article, you’ll learn how to automate the capture of email addresses (and other user information) into the email marketing service of your choice. #1: Set Up a List and Welcome Message in [...]

The post How to Grow Your Email List With a Facebook Messenger Bot appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

Read More »

Instagram Founders Leave Facebook

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore the Instagram co-founders’ departure from Facebook and updates from the fifth-annual Oculus Connect Conference. Our special guests [...]

The post Instagram Founders Leave Facebook appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

Read More »

Digital Marketing News: Search & Social’s Strong Ad Growth, Facebook’s Breach Fallout, & Reddit Tops 1B Native Video Views

Social and Search Forecast to Contribute Two-Thirds of Global Ad Growth Through 2020 By 2020 search and social are expected to account for 66 percent of global ad spend growth, according to new research data by Zenith. Video ad spend growth has also surpassed that of static images. Spending for online video ads is forecast [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: Search & Social’s Strong Ad Growth, Facebook’s Breach Fallout, & Reddit Tops 1B Native Video Views appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Read More »

How to Get Customers to Evangelize Your Business

Want to increase your business’s exposure in social media feeds? Curious how word of mouth can help you overcome algorithm changes? To explore how talk triggers encourage customers to evangelize your business, I interview Jay Baer. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators [...]

The post How to Get Customers to Evangelize Your Business appeared first on Social Media Examiner.

Read More »

#SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for October 2018

It’s hard to believe that we’re getting closer to the end of 2018. As the year progresses, we hope that you’re reaching (and maybe Read more...

This post #SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for October 2018 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Read More »
css.php