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5 stats for social media marketers in the software industry

In our internet-driven world, using social media to promote your brand is not just a good idea, it’s essential. For internet and software companies with products and services they’re proud of, social media provides a platform to reach new customers, show off those products and establish your share of voice in the industry. 

Beyond the saturation of beauty bloggers, retailers, foodies and entertainers, there’s plenty of space for marketers to achieve impactful marketing goals for their software businesses. Not convinced? Here’s five stats to get you fired up about social media marketing for your software company. 

1. 86% of consumers buying IT products use social media to help them decide on a purchase

Social media has become a stepping stone on the path to purchase for industries across the board. The software and tech industry is no exception, as 86% of consumers buying IT products use social media to help them make purchasing decisions. A strong brand identity and relevant, exciting and educational social content can turn leads into conversions. 

Beyond your shared content, savvy B2B software buyers dig through discussions surrounding your brand on social, blogs and review sites, where trusted peers share their insights. Take control of the narrative by sharing customer feedback as marketing content. Testimonials and case studies that highlight customer success build trust and favorability among new leads.

Land O' Lakes Reviews Example

2. One in every three customers turns to social media to seek advice or communicate with a business

Not only is social media a place for your content to shine, it’s an important customer service tool. Gone are the days of being placed on hold for hours as you wait to voice your concerns and feedback. Customers want prompt, personalized communication with businesses and one in every three customers turn to social to get it.

Software companies with intricate and complex products will face complaints about bugs and potential product flaws; that’s just the nature of the beast. How you react and respond is what matters most. In the Sprout Social Index, Edition XII: Call-out Culture, we found that about 50% of consumers stated they would boycott a brand due to a poor response on social. 

Index: Consumer Reactions Brand ResponsesResponsive, timely customer care does wonders to keep users happy, and even turn temporarily dissatisfied clients into brand advocates. Through social monitoring, companies can uncover potential problems before they occur, or take steps to prevent small issues from turning into major headaches. The product insights you gather from monitoring could translate into content that addresses some of the most common complaints and questions from your customers. 3. 72% of business buyers expect vendor companies to personalize communications to their needs

While there are a lot of stakeholders involved in purchasing software for a business, most buyers still look for personalized communications and experiences when choosing a software vendor. Human-to-human connection matters and your marketing efforts should reflect that. Continue to monitor social conversations to hone in on your target audience’s specific needs, deliver relevant content and give thoughtful recommendations. Business buyers are more likely than regular consumers to value product recommendations, so reaching them at the right moments with genuine guidance could turn into a big win for your business. That outreach doesn’t always have to come directly from your brand—encourage individuals from your team to get involved and start responding to customers, asking for feedback and making product recommendations on social.

4. 56% of customers (including 66% of business buyers) actively seek to buy from the most innovative companies

Innovation is more than a marketing buzz word in the software industry, it’s a necessity—and 66% of business buyers actively seek to buy from the most innovative companies. In a space where innovation and disruption is the norm, tracking and staying ahead of industry trends may seem daunting. However, through social listening, internet and software companies can track shifts in consumer behavior and proactively cater to trends. With the right platform, organizations can both improve their social strategies and uncover valuable information that can be applied to development of products and services. 

It’s not enough to just tell customers your company is innovative, show them! Work with your product marketing team to create content that highlights key features, separates you from your competition and demonstrates the power of your software.

5. By 2022, videos will account for 82% of all online traffic

For the last few years, video marketing has been on the rise. The visually engaging medium captivates audiences more than any other kind of social content. By 2022, video content is projected to account for 82% of all online traffic, so if you’re not already producing video content to promote your software, it’s time to start. 

For software companies whose product explanations often veer into jargon and complex technicalities (emphasis on the tech), video is a great way to spice things up. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it on video, compared to 10% when reading it in a text. So whether you’re launching new product features, highlighting how-to tips like the example above or simply introducing your brand to the world, you can make a lasting impression with video. 

Armed with these stats and findings, refine your social strategy, go out there and let your software shine. We want to hear from you, though. How does your software business use social media? What aspect of social results in the highest ROI for your company? Sound off in the comments below!

This post 5 stats for social media marketers in the software industry originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Traits B2B Influencers

Marketers are still asking, what is B2B influencer marketing? Here’s a definition I’ve been using over the past 5 years or so:

B2B influencer marketing is activating internal and external subject matter experts with engaged networks to advocate and co-create content of mutual value that drives measurable business goals.

As the groundswell around influencer marketing rises and becomes a normal part of the B2B marketing mix, the volume of information and misinformation on the topic also increases.

One of the most popular questions people also ask about B2B influencer marketing focuses on what makes a good business influencer? By now we all know that popularity alone does not make someone influential. It’s certainly important, it's just not the only thing.

As B2B marketers mature in their understanding of the role influence plays and how the dynamic of brand content co-created with industry experts plays out with customers, they begin to realize that other factors matter. Topical relevance matters of course as well as resonance of the topic amongst an influencer’s community.

B2B Marketing Influencers

The intersection of individual expertise, how well that expertise resonates with followers and the size of network creates a baseline of characteristics when evaluating whether a certain influencer might be a match.

But there’s more than that. Understanding what makes a great influencer is both art and science, soft and hard skills. The success of identifying, qualifying and engaging influencers is also directly tied to how they will be engaged and to what end.

Some people reading this might think that influencer marketing isn’t the magic pill some are playing it up to be. There’s a reason for that, because it’s not magic. It’s more like alchemy.

The reality is, there’s no one formula for the perfect B2B influencer, but there are some common characteristics that B2B brands should look for in varying proportions according to what’s important to a program or activation. I call those characteristics:

The 5 Ps of B2B Influence

Proficiency - In B2B marketing, the vast majority of those considered influential possess deep expertise in the field they work in. This is a significant difference from many B2C influencers who are often self proclaimed as influential with clever media creation skills.

As B2C influencer content and engagement tactics evolve, some are crossing over into B2B with a trickle of opportunists successfully creating influence amongst B2B audiences not solely for their expertise, but for a combination of adept social media content creation skills and some expertise. B2B marketers who do their due diligence will be able to filter accordingly.

Popularity - While network size is not the only thing, nor is it the most important thing, it is definitely a metric to consider. Some marketers swing in the direction of ignoring audience size altogether because of lower engagement rates with popular influencers. This is simply foolish. All things being the same, I’ll take 2% engagement of an influencer with a million followers over 2% from someone that has 1,000 followers.

What matters is how network size factors in with the type of influencer you need. For example, popular influencers aka “brandividuals” are often best for top of funnel content. Niche domain expert influencers are better for middle and end of funnel content. Engaging a brandividual and expecting conversions is just naive.

Personality - If you’ve worked in B2C influencer marketing and been exposed to all the characters there, B2B is going to seem a bit dry. Now there are some colorful characters in the B2B influencer community, no doubt. But personality is often a trait that needs to be uncovered when you’re working with some types of business influencers.

The good news is that savvy influencer marketing practitioners know how to plant the seeds that can grow and blossom within an otherwise introverted influencer. You don’t need them to be a colorful character, ripe with personality per se, but you do want them to connect with the passion they have with their craft and how their expertise can help others be successful.

Publishing - Content is the media that conveys the ideas of influence and while B2B influencers are not expected to produce the same types and quantity of content as in B2C, it is ideal when there’s a platform where the influencer publishes. At a minimum, that would be social networks but to be a B2B influencer, it’s most likely that also includes articles contributed to publications if not research, books and presentations.

Promotion - The value a B2B influencer brings beyond adding expertise and credibility to brand content is the ability to share what they helped create with their network. Trust of brand content is at a low, especially with advertising. Customers yearn for authentic content and the right kind of influencer collaboration can give them that, delivered via the influencer’s own distribution channels. That means social networks for course but also potentially blogs, email newsletters, podcast, LinkedIn Live, contributed articles or columns in industry publications.

I know some people reading this are thinking there could be even more P’s like being Prolific, Persuasive or Passion. Yes, there could be so many more but we have to draw the line somewhere! It's important to be able to manage the data and insights necessary to factor these characteristics into selection, qualification and engagement.

Some of these traits will not fully reveal themselves until you work with an influencer on a few content activations. Others will fluctuate over time and that is normal. It's important to understand that influence is a temporal thing. It is not fixed or permanent. It’s important marketers realize that before they disengage an influencer in the short term due to lower performance. The same goes for high expectations after great performance.

Organic influencer engagement is a little dynamic and what you don’t spend on paid influencers like an ad buy you will (in part) need to invest in relationship management, education and even tips that will help the influencers be more effective.

B2B brands with high influencer churn or low performance often apply “ad buy” perspectives to a what is actually a relationship driven effort. Mismatched expectations are not helpful for anyone, so think about the 5Ps as you evaluate and nurture your influencer community. Consider where of each your ideal influencers need to score on the 5 Ps in order to be a good match for the kind of activation you have in mind.

When there’s 5P alignment, there's happiness: for customers, influencers and your B2B brand.

The post 5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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