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Monthly Archives: March 2020

Social media crisis plan: What to do when things go wrong

If you’ve never had to respond to a social media crisis, consider yourself lucky. The reality, though? Businesses both big and small need a Read more...

This post Social media crisis plan: What to do when things go wrong originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely

Remote Team Rhythm Image

In these unconventional times, many work teams are grappling with an unconventional dynamic: fully distributed personnel and remote collaboration. This setup presents a number of challenges, but thankfully we live in a time where technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected and tightly aligned on our work.

For B2B agencies like TopRank Marketing, this has always been a point of emphasis. In servicing clients from around the globe, we’re accustomed to communicating across distances, borders, and time zones. We occasionally have our own team members work from home, and in fact, we have a few who do so full-time.

While having everyone in the organization work remotely is uncharted territory for us, our built-in comfort with digital collaboration gives us a head-start, and has allowed us to hit the ground running with minimal disruption to our programs and workflows.

To help other remote teams that might be trying to find the right rhythm and maximize their collective productivity, I thought I’d share a few practices and discoveries that are helping us stay close virtually, even as the circumstances of life push us apart.

How Team TopRank Maintains Tight Collaboration Remotely

Tailor Your Toolset to Your Team

As mentioned, there is a wide range of different tools and software available to power remote collaboration. Some of the common mainstays, like Slack* and Zoom, need no introduction. There are plenty of others out there with specific capabilities that might be suited to your team’s needs. Here’s a list from ProofHub arranged into several different functional categories.

Above all, I encourage business leaders to solicit input and feedback in making these selections. The biggest key is identifying tools that people actually like using. Review the usage rates for your existing tech stack. If certain software isn’t being uniformly engaged with, or is surfacing a lot of frustration, there’s no better time to step back and reevaluate.

Unsolicited plugs for a couple of our clients, whose offerings can be very useful at a time like this:

  • Sococo provides a “virtual office” platform that recreates the dynamic of happenstance workplace encounters and productive chats at the water cooler.
  • monday.com is a highly visual and intuitive work operating system, which employees tend to really enjoy using. As mentioned, that’s critical.

[bctt tweet="“Review the usage rates for your existing tech stack. If certain software isn’t being uniformly engaged with, or is surfacing a lot of frustration, there’s no better time to step back and reevaluate.” @NickNelsonMN" username="toprank"]

Focus on Details and Documentation

Not only is it important that your tools get used, but right now it’s vital they get used to the fullest. At TopRank, our work runs through a project management system, and I’ve noticed teammates making concerted efforts to attach client docs, source materials, and comprehensive information into the tasks themselves. As a content writer, it makes a big difference when I can find everything I need in one place, because it’s no longer as simple as walking to an account manager’s desk 10 feet away to ask a question.

Jump on the Phone Post-Meeting

While technology makes it easier to communicate and collaborate from afar, there are certain subtleties and productive habits that can be overlooked in the transition. As one example, when teammates and I hold a client meeting in the office, we’ll almost always stay in the room to debrief afterward, discussing takeaways and next steps.

One way we’ve replicated this action remotely is by using the Slack Call functionality, which enables you to quickly spark an impromptu conference call straight out of the Slack app. Since we already have our client teams arranged into channels on Slack, all it takes is one click to get all relevant parties on the line for a quick post-meeting rundown.

Rely On One Another for Knowledge-Sharing and News Updates

If you find yourself constantly distracted by scanning headlines and refreshing your preferred news websites, you are not alone. Being in the midst of an ongoing global health crisis adds a unique disruption factor to the situation at hand.

One way we’ve countered this at TopRank is by creating a #covid-news channel in Slack, where teammates can share updates they come across about the pandemic and its ripples that might impact our lives, our clients, or the business world at large. Knowing that I’ll get a notification whenever something new gets posted on that channel makes it easier for me to unplug from the Google News feed and stay focused on my work.

Get Faces On-Screen

It’s easy enough to hold conference calls when people are working remotely, but I highly recommend using apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts with video-conferencing capabilities, and urging everyone on the team to turn on their cameras. Seeing the faces of my coworkers really helps diminish feelings of isolation and disconnection that can be inherent in a scenario such as this.

Don’t Forget About Team-Building and Socialization

I’ve talked a lot here about ways we stay centered on our work, and that’s of course very important. But don’t let recreational team experiences fall by the wayside. Strengthening the overall cohesiveness of your various people through bonding exercises is maybe more essential than ever.

Virtual happy hours are gaining a lot of popularity as a way for folks to ramp down and relax together after working all day. Consider also scheduling some fun and leisurely team activities during work hours here and there. There are plenty of games that can be played remotely while creating a feeling of togetherness. I recommend the Jackbox Party Pack series, which features all sorts of fun mini-games and allows everyone to participate from their own device. Our team delved into a round of Quiplash during a recent Friday meeting, and we all enjoyed several laughs while getting a chance to appreciate the creativity and cleverness our colleagues bring to the table.

Go the Distance with Remote Collaboration

It’s all too natural to get caught up in the stress, anxiety, and overall downside of what’s taking place in the world right now. Because of this, I find myself striving to find positives and silver linings. They really do exist. If we can all find ways to stay connected and collaborative during these challenging times, I know we’ll be able work together -- with clients, colleagues, and peers -- more effectively than ever once things return to a state of normalcy. We might even find ourselves with a few newfound efficiencies that stick.

TopRank Marketing’s Social & Content Manager, Lane R. Ellis, is one of the aforementioned agency team members who works remote full-time, hailing from the northern reaches of Minnesota. He shared with me this sentiment that, I think, encapsulates the upside of a tough situation:

"I think if we're open to it, our shared pandemic experience offers up a sizable opportunity in our lives — to reflect on what is truly important to us and how we work, to make positive changes that may until now have been perennially postponed, and to grow both our capabilities and our compassion in business and in personal life. It's also a time to listen, and to be especially sensitive to your professional associates, your business teammates, and most of all to your family and friends.”

Well said, sir.

For more insight about navigating this unprecedented event as a marketer, check out my recent post on how authentic content can build brand trust during uncertain times.

The post 6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Guide Your Employees to Post More on Social Media

Want your employees to share more about your business on social media? Wondering how best to guide their social media posts? In this article, you’ll discover how to develop guidelines to help employees post more on social media and find examples of types of posts employees can model. #1: Create Clear Social Media Guidelines for […]

The post How to Guide Your Employees to Post More on Social Media appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Headline writing: 10 ways to get more eyes on your content

Looking to master the art of headline writing? Good! Because conventional wisdom tells us what we already know: most people read and share posts Read more...

This post Headline writing: 10 ways to get more eyes on your content originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Four Opportunities for Focus to Improve B2B Marketing

Opportunities to Improve B2B Marketing

Opportunities to Improve B2B Marketing

While uncertainty can be distraction, now is a time for focus in the B2B marketing world. Beyond figuring out the new logistics and operations of remote work, paused marketing efforts and the urgent need to keep employees, customers and community safe and healthy, there's still a need for marketing. In fact, the areas of focus below are relevant in any time but are worth considering over the coming weeks and months.

Align content strategy with the entire marketing funnel.  
Successful business marketers are doing more than ever to understand the customer journey and realize that in today’s environment, buyers are pulling themselves through 60-80% of the funnel with information they find on their own before ever contacting a vendor. Without real-world events and interactions, the current focus on digital engagement pushes that percentage even higher.

During that self directed information gathering process, marketers have an opportunity to create content experiences that engages with prospects and earns their trust. Providing what we call best answer content to questions buyers have at each stage of the funnel builds a connection early and can last all the way to the decision making stage.

B2B marketing likes acronyms so here are a few that represent how B2B companies are focusing on each buyer stage:

  • TOFU - Top of funnel content emphasizes broad topics, empathy with understanding the problem and building credibility
  • MOFU - Middle of funnel content helps provide answers to more practical questions about how solutions can solve the problem specifically for a company in a given industry. Case studies and testimonials build confidence in the solution.
  • BOFU - Bottom of funnel content provides even more specific information about implementation, support, costs and gives evidence of success. Scoping tools and calculators are helpful for prospects to scope the solution.

With a shift from demand gen to branding during COVID-19, lead gen is still needed, but how?  
In a time when push marketing and advertising can be seen as tone-deaf and opportunistic, pull marketing methods like SEO enables B2B brands to attract customers on their own terms. While building brand credibility through thought leadership is very different than most SEO efforts, prominent search visibility adds credibility to a brand, especially for category level search topics.

Branding content should focus on articulating the unique value of the business and build credibility with support from internal and industry experts, industry media and credible content like research. Brand content can and should also be optimized for search visibility.

There are many specialist articles on SEO and experts who can help with this (including TopRank Marketing), but at a high level, B2B content marketers can optimize for better organic search visibility through a mix of technical optimization (page speed, markup and structured data, mobile friendly, etc), on page content quality and ability to engage, as well as 3rd party references to brand content. Check out this video from Moz's Britney Muller for where to focus on SEO in 2020.

B2B Needs to Learn Communication Lessons from B2C
You may be familiar with the expression that the B’s in B2B are people too. That means empathizing with business buyers as people, not just as corporations can result in content that is more consumer friendly, yet topically relevant for business.

Over the past few years there’s been a trend in the consumerization of business software where business users expect a consumer like experience when using enterprise software. That same set of expectations is showing up for business solution buyers and the content experiences that B2B marketers create to attract and engage them.

An example would be an unboxing video featuring a commercial class server that is done somewhat in the style of consumer electronics unboxing videos which get incredible traffic. A 4 hour server unboxing and configuration video in the style of the latest iphone unboxing my not appeal to a consumer, but the details, questions and actual example is very appealing to those in the market to purchase that kind of hardware. Plus it can be infotaining.

Take a look at top consumer video channels from influencers and brands alike for inspiration to create more entertaining, yet informative content for B2B audiences.

Creating experiential content is a key differentiator for B2B brands and podcasts are a great place to start.
Podcasts are hot and the reason is, they are a format that is easy for customers to subscribe to and consume during their commutes or even listen to during work. Well-done podcasts can feel like a one to one communication and build a connection with the audience in a way that text does not.

In the current environment without real world conferences, alternative formats like virtual events, webinars, video livestreaming and podcasts can serve as an effective format to deliver useful content in a way that feels personal.

Ultimately, a focus on the customer will drive the relevant areas of focus for B2B marketers. That opportunity for focus is true whether it means full funnel alignment with content strategy, creating more engaging content experiences like video or audio, or optimizing brand and lead gen content for questions buyers want answered vs. pushing tone-deaf brand messages.

The post Four Opportunities for Focus to Improve B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Choose the Right Facebook Attribution Model

Are you struggling to track the impact of your Facebook ads? Wondering which Facebook attribution model to use? In this article, you’ll discover seven different Facebook ad attribution models to assess your campaigns’ performance. About Facebook Attribution Models The Facebook attribution tool gives you insights into your customers’ purchasing journey and the roles of different […]

The post How to Choose the Right Facebook Attribution Model appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Social Media Use Surges: How Marketers Should Respond

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 what global spikes in social media usage mean for marketing strategies and LinkedIn’s new conversation ads format […]

The post Social Media Use Surges: How Marketers Should Respond appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Digital Marketing News: Coronavirus’ Impact on Marketing Budgets & Social Media Usage, LinkedIn’s New Conversation Ads, & Instagram Story Changes

2020 March 27 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 March 27 MarketingCharts Chart

LinkedIn rolls out Conversation Ads, aimed at improving personalization in messaging
LinkedIn has begun launching its new Conversation Ads, with real-time engagement ad options that include multiple calls-to-action. Conversation Ads are rolling out to all LinkedIn (client) advertisers over the next several weeks, the firm recently announced. Marketing Land

Social Media Consumption Grows Amid Coronavirus
Social media usage has sharply increased in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain Instagram #ad campaign post likes have seen an increase of up to 76 percent during the past two weeks, as the majority of workers have shifted to temporary remote work. AList

CX in B2B Marketing: Top-of-Mind Strategy in 2020
54 percent of B2B marketers say their organizations are focusing most on customer experience and loyalty in their marketing efforts, according to newly-released report data examining global B2B customer experience priorities. MarketingProfs

Coronavirus: Emarketer lowers global ad spend projections for 2020
Worldwide ad spending will decrease due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a previously expected $712 billion total being revised to $691 billion for 2020, a 3 percent decrease, according to newly-released forecast data, with many expecting even sharper forthcoming ad spend decreases. Marketing Land

B2B Senior Marketer Survey: The Most Effective Approaches for 2020 [Infographic]
LinkedIn (client) is tops among senior B2B marketers for nurturing leads, with some 84 percent saying the Microsoft-owned platform is the most effective social media channel, followed by Facebook at 43 percent and YouTube at 25 percent, according to recently-released survey data of interest to B2B marketers. MarketingProfs

Facebook Warns of Ad Approval Delays Amid Staff Changes Due to COVID-19 Impacts
Facebook was among the first social media platform to announce that the COVID-19 pandemic would affect how it reviews and approves certain content including ads, with a full slate of Facebook monetized content options being impacted. Social Media Today

2020 March 27 Statistics Image

Sales And Marketing Are Misaligned As Email Lags In B2B Nurture Mix: Study
While some 64 percent of marketing teams said that their organizations use account based marketing (ABM) for at least half of their marketing, 90 percent consider it challenging to successfully use it across multiple channels including sales — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

Instagram's Testing the Capability to Add Hashtags and Location to Stories Highlights
Marketers may soon be able to add location information and up to four hashtags to the Highlights option of Instagram Stories, which stay active beyond the usual 24-hour active period, according to recent test observations — changes that could eventually bring an array of new targeting options to digital marketers' toolkits. Social Media Today

Amazon could win big in the post-coronavirus retail economy
Marketers may swivel more ad dollars to Amazon, which has seen sizable demand increases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The firm announced that it was hiring more than 100,000 new workers, and a jump in ad revenue also appeared likely as some marketers have shifted more spend to the e-commerce giant. Marketing Land

Data Hub: Coronavirus and Marketing
28 percent of industrial marketers plan to shift marketing budgets from trade shows cancelled due to COVID-19 to digital advertising instead, while 14 percent will allot that spending to content marketing — one of several statistics of interest to digital marketers contained in newly-released report data from MarketingCharts. MarketingCharts


2020 March 27 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at how not to communicate right now by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Diabolical Mailing List Admin Twirling Mustache and Cackling at Dead “Unsubscribe” Link — The Hard Times


  • SAP, Dell Technologies — 3 Tips For B2B Marketers When Your Big Trade Show Is Cancelled Due To Coronavirus — Forbes
  • SAP — Event industry and COVID-19: An insider’s point of view — The Future of Commerce
  • Lee Odden — Marketing During a Pandemic – Resources for Small Businesses in the Coronavirus Crisis [Roundup] — Simple Machines

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to join us, and please return again next Friday for a new selection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don't miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Coronavirus’ Impact on Marketing Budgets & Social Media Usage, LinkedIn’s New Conversation Ads, & Instagram Story Changes appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Creating Social Videos That Grow Strong Connections

Wondering how to use video to build stronger connections with your customers and prospects? Looking for a process to follow for your next video? To explore how to create emotional connections with video, I interview Matt Johnston on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Matt is a former journalist turned video marketing expert and founder of […]

The post Creating Social Videos That Grow Strong Connections appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Social Spotlight: Four brands that shine through dark times

Welcome to the Social Spotlight, where we dive deep into what we love about a brand’s approach to a specific social campaign. From strategy Read more...

This post Social Spotlight: Four brands that shine through dark times originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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