Monthly Archives: November 2019
Are you using Instagram to connect with new prospects? Wondering how to generate leads without using Instagram ads? To explore how to use Instagram for organic lead generation, I interview Jenn Herman on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Jenn is an Instagram marketing expert and co-author of Instagram For Dummies. Her live course is called […]Read More »
For centuries, American families and friends have come together on Thanksgiving Day to feast and give thanks for all of life’s beautiful gifts.
But I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again—Thanksgiving isn’t limited to one day in the TopRank Marketing realm. Every day, I see attitudes of gratitude.
To date in 2019, our team has typed the words “thank you” in Slack communications a whopping 7,737 times, and “thanks” 4,113 times.
As is TopRank Marketing tradition, I’ve asked team members to share what they’re most thankful for in work and in life. Here’s what many had to say.
What the TopRank Marketing Team is Most Thankful for in 2019
The B2B marketing industry brings together an amazing collection of disciplines, technologies and people from the analytical to the creative. When marketing works to connect people with the right solutions, it really can have a positive impact on the world.
I am very thankful to be a part of that industry and especially to be a part of the team at TopRank Marketing. The level of talent, focus and professionalism as well as awareness, empathy and curiosity amongst our team is something I am truly privileged to experience. The frequent kudos from our clients, influencers and community I hear about the work that our content, influence and search marketing teams are doing is a constant source of pride.
I appreciate the opportunity we have as a team to create meaningful experiences that inspire others in so many ways and look forward to our focus on creating impact in 2020.
Content Strategist and Project Manager
I feel very thankful to work with amazing colleagues, clients, and mentors. I truly believe I work with and for some of the best marketers in the game, and we're constantly elevating our skills.
Whether it's learning from each other or learning from experience, we're growing our agency into a hyper-specialized team of marketers and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. I'm also thankful to TopRank for allowing me to spread my wings and take on new responsibilities. We've learned and grown a lot together in this past year and I can't wait to see where we go in 2020.
I’m very thankful to be surrounded by the brightest minds in influencer and B2B marketing – and learning from these folks every single day. We have such an incredible team here at TopRank and I consider myself very fortunate to be a part of it. I cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store!
Senior Content Marketing Manager
I'm thankful for the team that makes sure the work gets done: All our project managers, Annie on task management, and Caitlin on team management. There's nothing more draining at work than a pile of unprioritized, vague tasks. I love having order, organization and direction in my workday, and that's all due to their hard work.
On a personal note, I'm thankful for my wife, Jess. My best friend, best co-parent, and best partner in crime.
Senior Director of Digital Strategy
I’m thankful for many things, both big and small.
Professionally, I’m incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to walk in the doors of TopRank Marketing each morning, where I’m given the space to learn, challenge the status quo, and collaborate with an amazing team to create meaningful experiences for our clients, their customers, and our stellar group of influencers.
I’d also like to give a special shout out to my mentors, clients and marketing friends, who have always given me something to aspire to, and provided me with so much more wisdom and direction than I would have ever been able to manage on my own. Thank you especially to Lee Odden, Ann Handley, Judy Tian, Garnor Morantes, Chris Penn, Tim Washer, Robert Rose, Michael Brenner, Cathy McPhillips, and Katie Martell. You’re all amazing.
Lastly, I’m thankful for my amazing boyfriend who is always my number one supporter and my misfit troop of naughty dogs (and cat) that always keep life interesting.
I am thankful to have joined the TopRank Marketing team in early 2019. I get the opportunity to work with so many amazing clients. I couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome to the Midwest.
Influencer Marketing Strategist
I’m thankful for Instagram phasing out “likes”. I’ve had my fair share of “like-envy” in the past, and it is never a great feeling. It was a bold decision of their leadership to remove such an integral feature, and I’m interested to see if it fosters a healthier culture on the platform.
I’m also thankful for my newfound hobby of making bread. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but the bread-making process, in particular, makes me feel more in touch with nature and the food I create.
Associate Director of Search & Analytics
I’m especially thankful for the search team at TopRank Marketing. We have such amazing opportunities to work with awesome clients, and really push the boundaries when it comes to strategic search marketing that gets serious results.
But, of course, we couldn’t do any of it without the support of the entire TopRank team; a team of super smart marketers that we have the privilege of working with are a constant source of support and inspiration!
Senior Account Manager
I couldn't ask for more from a workplace. I've been surrounded by such amazing mentors who have supported me and helped me stretch myself professionally. I think 2019 has been one of my biggest years for professional growth. Thank you!
In my personal life, I am most thankful this year for the lifestyle transformation our family has made. From prescriptions to essential oils and homemade tinctures, and from hefty meat-eaters, to organic, to vegetarians—and onward to veganism! I'm so thankful for the improved health and energy we've all gained!
Influencer Marketing Strategist
I’m thankful I have I fully embraced emojis this year, because they make my writing pop with visuals, which also makes me thankful that we have a fabulous design team at TopRank Marketing (because I would be an awful designer).
As I reflect back on the year, I am reminded how important it is to stop and smell the roses, and take time for work-life balance and professional development. I’m thankful for an organization that realizes this is a priority.
Social and Content Marketing Manager
In 2019, I'm especially thankful for my wonderful family, friends, and associates.
Celebrating 18 years of marriage with my amazing wife Julie Ahasay tops my thankfulness list, along with the joy of having my parents Konnie and Bob in my life, as well as my astounding and always-inspiring 102-year-old grandma Lilly Haldorsen.
I’m thankful for over 35 years of using the Internet, which recently turned 50 as I wrote about here. I’m thankful to still be able to run, mountain bike, and ski the beautiful trails of Duluth, and for our three kind cats — ZuSu Pitts, Phineas Faustus, and Kukla Francis Oliver.
Now is the time to reach out and give the world and its endless opportunities a warm autumnal embrace, so here’s a big virtual hug to all of you I’m lucky enough to know, lovely family and friends. Thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving From the TopRank Marketing Team
Thank you clients, influencers, followers, and team members for coming together to drive personal, professional, and brand success.
The TopRank Marketing Team
The post Grateful and Glad: What the TopRank Marketing Team is Most Thankful For appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.Read More »
B2B marketing is swiftly embracing techniques that were once only for B2C, and we’ve got five smart B2C tactics to add to your B2B plans for 2020 and well beyond.
Influencer marketing, engaging interactive content, awards events, chatbots, and podcasting are just some of the ways that today's savvy B2B marketers can add a healthy dose of the B2C experience to your business marketing efforts.
#1 - Influencer Marketing
Even though influencer marketing is still largely associated with the B2C world, you’ve likely noticed that it’s being increasingly used by smart marketers as a highly successful go-to B2B tactic.
Influencer marketing has already accounted for over $2 billion in annual marketing spending in the U.S. alone, and annual growth rates are predicted to from 41 percent all the way to 95 percent. (AdAge)
B2C influencer marketing has relied heavily on celebrity influencers, a combination that has faced a growing backlash and played a part in diminishing trust in marketing.
B2B influencer marketing, on the other hand, incorporates industry experts who have a genuine two-way relationship with a brand, a partnership that respectfully serves both parties equally well, and boosts trust.
While influencer marketing may have had its ups and downs in the B2C landscape, influencers in the B2B world may just be a perfect match.
[bctt tweet="“Invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.” @AmishaGandhi" username="toprank"]
Amisha Gandhi is vice president of influencer marketing and communications at SAP*, and she recently shared her B2B influencer marketing insights in one of our new Break Free B2B video interviews, including creative and fun ways that add sizzle and build brand credibility.
Watch and learn from Amisha in “Break Free B2B Series: Amisha Gandhi on Global B2B Influencer Marketing.”
[bctt tweet="If you don’t tie your influencer marketing to business objectives, you can quickly lose track of what you’re trying to accomplish. @Konstanze" username="toprank"]
Konstanze Alex of Dell* is another leader in B2B influencer marketing, and along with Amisha and Dell's Janine Wegner at the most recent MarketingProfs B2B Forum conference, she explored some of the latest trends shaping influencer marketing, in "Tales from the B2B Influencer Marketing Trenches with Leaders from Dell & SAP #MPB2B."
[bctt tweet="“Influencer marketing presents an opportunity to tap into the established credibility and connections that people in your industry or niche already have with their own audiences.” @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]
Our own senior content strategist Nick Nelson and senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman have also explored the subtle nuances of B2B influencer marketing, taking "A Journey Through Always-On Influencer Marketing with Ashley Zeckman #MPB2B."
[bctt tweet="We pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long-term relationships with our influencers … which means we are always looking to establish a ‘give to get’ exchange where all parties come out ahead. @ranimani0707 @adobe" username="toprank"]
Rani Mani, head of social influencer enablement at Adobe* is another leading B2B influencer marketing expert, and she has shared a number of her unique insights in "B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Rani Mani, Adobe."
Trust in marketing has been a growing concern among marketers — one that B2B influencer marketing is squarely seeking to improve — and here are five of our most recent articles that explore how marketers can build greater trust:
- Trust Begins Within: The Vital Importance of Building Internal Trust in Marketing
- Trust Factors: Why Your Brand Should Take a Stand with Its Marketing Strategy
- TopRank Marketing’s Ashley Zeckman Shares How to Build Consumer Trust with Influencers #DSMPLS
- The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel
- Trust Fractures: How to Avoid Accidentally Eroding Your Brand’s Credibility
#2 - Engaging Interactive Content
B2C brands have spent heavily on bringing consumers engaging interactive online content as a major part of many marketing campaigns.
As the B2B landscape continues to speedily depart from its dusty Boring-To-Boring roots, business customers are expecting content and experiences that are increasingly similar to what B2C efforts have long provided, and engaging interactive experiences exemplify the type of content B2B firms need to offer if they wish to successfully compete.
What could be less interactive or engaging than a hundred-plus page purely text industry white paper?
Today’s B2B customers expect to have access to all of the relevant information that white paper contained, but brought to life through an online interface that’s not only easy to search and navigate, but also chock full of user experience features that make interacting an entertaining experience.
[bctt tweet="“You may need to take baby steps with your audience to get them warmed up to the idea of interactivity.” — Caitlin Burgess @CaitlinMBurgess" username="toprank"]
Engaging and interactive content marketing is a subject near and dear to our hearts at TopRank Marketing, and here are five of the most recent pieces we’ve published to help you learn more about building your own:
- How B2B Brands Can Break Into Interactive Content
- The Future of B2B Content: Data-Informed, Interactive, and Influential
- How B2B Marketers Can Make the Most of Interactive Content Tools
- 5 Top B2B Brands Mastering Facebook Engagement
- 5 Top B2B Brands Delivering Exemplary Twitter Engagement
#3 - Awards & Best-Of Pages
As B2B efforts become more like those in B2C, business marketers are increasingly looking for places to showcase their best work, and industry awards events can be a powerful way to share and celebrate cutting-edge work.
Whether it’s physical red carpet award programs where industry professionals gather to honor the top B2B marketing work, or purely digital events that show off lists of winning campaigns, the benefits of highlighting great B2B marketing efforts can be far-reaching.
LinkedIn* recently announced the winners of its "Best of LinkedIn Pages 2019," taken from submissions to its annual contest — a list that shows how building great content can lead to widespread industry recognition.
We’ve examined the power of award-winning content in the following articles, including several examples from the Cannes Lions event:
- 6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020
- 5 Content Promotion Tactics To Make You (Almost) Famous
- 4 Ways Brands Can Use Creativity & Comedy to Create Award-Winning Content Marketing
- Content Marketing Gold Rush: How to Unearth Content Gold at Marketing Industry Events
- Content Marketing Lessons from Music Icon Lizzo
#4 - Chatbots & AI-Infused Customer Interaction
B2C companies were some of the first to actively offer chatbots to consumers, however there’s been swift adoption in the B2B world, and with studies showing that people like interacting with powerful chatbots when they can quickly get the answers they seek, more B2B organizations are likely to begin using chatbot technology in 2020 and beyond.
For a deeper look at how chatbots, artificial intelligence, plus augmented and virtual reality can work to your B2B marketing advantage, here are five recent articles we’ve published:
- 5 B2B Brands Innovating with AR & AI Marketing
- Augmented Reality: How to Leverage AR in Marketing With Cathy Hackl
- How to Optimize Customer Experience with AI – Top Tips from Microsoft’s Purna Virji
#5 - Podcasting
Just a few years ago the idea of podcasting in a B2B context would likely have been seen as preposterous by most business consumers.
Now however, as podcasting’s popularity has skyrocketed in general — over 62 percent of podcast listeners say they listen to more now than a year ago — more B2B firms than ever are either starting their own or studying how to do so in the near future.
B2B podcasting is ripe for business marketers, with some 13 million households already including avid fans of business podcasts, and 52 million households including casual fans of business podcasts, according to Nielsen podcasting data.
Our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite recently made the case for B2B marketers to take a serious look at podcasting, and presented “B2B Podcasting: 20 Stats that Make the Marketing Case.”
[bctt tweet="“B2B marketers who are creating any kind of audio content should consider podcasting as a channel to earn attention, deeply engage an audience, and ultimately drive measurable business results.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]
When it comes to B2B podcasting, making the leap from consideration to implementation can be a hurdle, however Josh has written an insightful guide to help marketers with the process, in “10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild.”
More B2B podcasting help and examples of top marketing podcasts can be found here:
- How to Promote Your B2B Podcast
- 20 Podcasts To Elevate Your B2B Marketing
- 10 More Marketing Podcasts To Boost Your Business
- 5 Unexpected Content Marketing Benefits of B2B Podcasting
A Brighter B2B Future For 2020 and Beyond
As we’ve explored, by using influencer marketing, engaging interactive content, awards events, chatbots, and podcasting, B2B marketers can add new life to once-stale campaigns, and we hope that 2020 brings you an abundance of B2B marketing advancements to be thankful for.
* Dell, SAP, Adobe, and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing client.
The post 5 Smart B2C Marketing Tactics To Boost Your B2B Brand appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.Read More »
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Break Free B2B Series: Janine Wegner on Building Brand Thought Leadership With the Help of Influencers
Influencer marketing is in a state of flux. In the past 10 days alone, I’ve seen suggestions that paid influencers are out, and that “influencer marketing — in the traditional sense — is in the midst of an irreversible fail from grace.”
Neither of these arguments is off the mark, per se, but they both frame the concept in outdated B2C-centric terms (the authors more or less acknowledge this with their qualifiers). No one can deny that the impact of hired celebrity influencers, transparently shilling products or services, is waning. It’s not an approach that builds trust or credibility.
However, strategic B2B influencer marketing is still very much on the rise, and nowhere near its peak yet. When done right, this practice isn’t about celebrity status, nor solely about paying for influence (although that can be part of the equation). It’s about building mutually beneficial relationships with established thought leaders in your space, founded on the focus of delivering value to your audience first and foremost.
In this growing field, Janine Wegner and her team at Dell Technologies* are blazing trails. Few other B2B organizations have developed a level of influencer sophistication that matches Dell, and we’ve been fortunate to partner with them on several projects.
[bctt tweet="Influencer marketing comes back those voices telling the story, helping our customers understand what the future looks like, and how they can get there. @JanineWegner #InfluencerMarketing #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]
TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis recently sat down with Janine, who is in charge of global thought leadership at Dell, for a lengthy interview on the path forward for influencer marketing in the B2B space, as propelled by her area of specialization.
Join us for a fun conversation that touches on the serious side of B2B influencer marketing while also incorporating lighter themes of “dating and fun games.”
Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Janine Wegner
If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.
- 0:30 — Definition of thought leadership
- 2:15 — Activating internal subject matter experts
- 4:00 — Identifying B2B influencers
- 6:45 — Democratization of influence
- 8:30 — Building relationships with macro vs. nano influencers
- 10:30 — Influencers at different stages of the funnel
- 11:45 — Challenges of getting started with influencer programs
- 16:30 — The future of thought leadership and influencer marketing
- 18:30 — How can marketers break free?
Susan: What do you think are the big gains or advancements in thought leadership and influencer marketing?
Janine: What I'm really excited about and what I've been seeing over the past years is that there's this kind of democratization of influence, right? Social media provided us the tools to share our opinions, but now we advance to a stage where people are very passionate and have an incredible reach to — maybe a small subset of community — but their authenticity and their integrity are so valued that people listen to them. And I find this fascinating for society overall, let alone for us from a marketing perspective. So it's all coming back to: what do you want to achieve as a marketer and what type of influencer is the right one?
[bctt tweet="There’s been a democratization of influence... Now we’re at a stage where passionate people’s authenticity and integrity are so valued that people listen to them. @JanineWegner #InfluencerMarketing #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]
Susan: How are the activations and partnerships different at the nano vs. macro influencer levels?
Janine: Again, it goes back to your business objectives and what you want to achieve. What we're trying to do is map out throughout our campaign, what's the customer journey? And what are the content pieces we want to develop? And what are the voices we want to have in each of them, and how to then activate and amplify those? So it might be that you take into account people that don't have as much reach, but that have incredible subject matter expertise and credibility on a certain topic, that you engage in something like an eBook, or a report, or getting some quotes from them very early on a key pillar asset. But then you want people to talk about it and actually know that this exists, right? So you might want to leverage social amplifiers that are talking about this topic and are using this eBook as a resource that they recommend to their community, and really getting that reach and spreading it far and wide. And then there might be tactics when you then invite them to a webinar, or maybe a face-to-face event, to participate as part of a panel, and so forth. So there are all of those different tactics. And we usually are, what I would recommend is like, look at your business objectives.
Susan: For someone thinking about digging deeper into influencer marketing, what might a pilot program look like for example?
Janine: So right now, for instance, although we are already a little bit advanced, we're still testing and piloting, because we want to be smarter. We want to get better, we want to spend our resources a little bit more wisely. Right? So one area that we're testing is really leveraging the power of those social amplifiers. When we launch a certain research study, product news, or so forth, how can we then brief those influencers, give them everything that they need, you know, for the day X, the day that it launches? And then ask them to amplify and what does this look like what does a good kind of social media amplification kit and like cadence look like for these influencers? Because we need to think about the fact that most of them also serve other companies, so you don’t want to overdo it, but you also want a certain share of words.
Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:
- Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics
- Break Free B2B Series: Clare Carr on Using Data to Drive Content Marketing Success
- Break Free B2B Series: Brody Dorland on Creating Long-Lasting Content Marketing Strategy
- Break Free B2B Series: Amisha Gandhi on Global B2B Influencer Marketing
- Break Free B2B Series: Amanda Todorovich on Creating Content that Pays Off
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