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B2B Social Media Shakeup: 4 Developments That Have Caught Our Eye

B2B Social Media Shakeup

B2B Social Media Shakeup Following scandal, criticism, and calls for more privacy and relevancy, social media giants are working hard to recapture their original allure as safe communities and conversation destinations. And while platforms are ardently focused on heightening the everyday user’s experience, the movements we’ve seen so far in 2019 signals that B2B brands will still have some things to look forward to. This is a teeny sampling of the social media headlines we saw in the first quarter of 2019 alone:

Now just 6 weeks into Q2, important announcements and shifts abound—which of course present opportunities and challenges for B2B marketers. Below we dive into a handful of the latest and greatest changes that have caught our attention.

#1 – Twitter’s Jack Dorsey Alludes to a Potential Platform Overhaul

In April, Twitter Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sat down with Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers of TED for a roundtable discussion on the state of his company, with much of the discussion centering on Twitter’s conversation health and how to improve it.

As TopRank Marketing’s Senior Content Strategist Nick Nelson reported: “Some of the possible changes hinted by Dorsey are relatively minor and uncontroversial … But the bombshell of the interview came with Dorsey’s allusion to an entirely new structural underpinning for Twitter.” Dorsey said that he believed Twitter is “best as an interest-based network,” suggesting that a shift from following accounts to following topics could be part of Twitter’s future. While only time will tell whether Twitter actually follows through on any of its hopes and dreams for improving conversation health, even a small shift in making it easier for users to find and engage with topics they care about is good news for B2B brands and marketers. “Brands need to be speaking the language of their customers and reaching them in the right context,” Nick wrote. “Fewer trolls and more substantive, expert content organized around topics would make the platform a stronger piece in any B2B digital marketing strategy.” Read: The Impact of Twitter’s Proposed Shakeup on Marketers and Influencers

#2 – LinkedIn Releases New Post Reactions

In mid-April, LinkedIn announced new post reactions were starting to roll out, which would allow users to express themselves beyond the “like.” Within the last week, reactions have gone mainstream. As LinkedIn’s Cissy Chen wrote: “You can use Celebrate to praise an accomplishment or milestone like landing a new job or speaking at an event, or Love to express deep resonance and support, like a conversation about work life balance or the impact of mentorship. Insightful can help you recognize a great point or interesting idea, while Curious lets you show your desire to learn more or react to a thought-provoking topic.” LinkedIn Post Reactions Image Credit: LinkedIn This isn’t an earth shattering development by any means. I’d say it’s a natural evolution of the platform. However, it’s still great news for B2B marketers: An array of reaction options will help you better understand the impact of your posts. Naturally, this kind of qualitative data can guide your messaging strategy on the platform, helping you share content to pique interest and engagement. The interesting thing moving forward will be whether LinkedIn refines the emotional mix. Currently, reaction options don’t allow for expressing anger, disappointment, or sadness. And as all social networks strive to bolster safe, positive spaces for communication and interaction, this could be a slippery slope.

#3 – Facebook Reveals Redesign with Privacy in Mind

Thousands of developers, creators, and entrepreneurs descended on San Jose, CA for Facebook’s 2019 F8 conference, an event dedicated to discussing the future of technology. During his opening keynote, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a long list of coming changes—including a redesign. But this is no run-of-the-mill refresh, rather one that “puts your communities” at the center. Facebook Stories still appears to have a prominent top spot, but the News Feed—the product of a historic past redesign itself—will be taking a backseat to Facebook Groups and event listings. “There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook,” Facebook said following the first day of F8. “When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook.” New Facebook Design Image Credit: Facebook Last year, we explored the growing interest in and adoption of Facebook Groups among brands. With increasing engagement as a top priority, Groups are mini-communities that can foster direct communications with prospects and customers, and build brand affinity without hard-sell marketing messages. Today, it appears that is the future of “organic” marketing on Facebook. As our Nick Nelson so eloquently said months ago:

“Some marketers have understandably been reluctant to dive into this functionality over concerns that Facebook will change gears and renew its focus six months from now, but I believe it’s safe to say — based on the social network’s clear commitment to elevating active participation and ‘meaningful communities’ — that groups are going to be a mainstay feature going forward.”

For many B2B brands, Facebook marketing has traditionally focused more on highlighting company culture, news, and events rather than straight content promotion. But with what’s to come, it’s worth exploring whether Facebook should be more (or less) of a focus moving forward. Read: The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group?

#4 – Instagram Announces That Anyone Will Be Able to Create Stories Filters

Instagram has been gaining prominence within B2B marketing strategies, representing an opportunity to establish a brand’s visual identity—something that can be hard to capture when physical products don’t exist. With the launch of Instagram Stories, B2B interest in the platform reached a new level, allowing for serialized storytelling as well as the implementation of links and calls to action. Of course, augmented reality (AR) filters are a signature feature within the Stories platform—and now any developer or brand can create them through the Spark AR Studio. Facebook's Spark VR “Over the past year, more than 1 billion people have used AR experiences powered by Facebook’s Spark AR platform, with hundreds of millions using AR each month across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram,” Facebook reported. “They’re expanding the language of expression, transforming the way we shop, and adding meaning to real-world objects in fun and interesting ways.” Under the right circumstances, creating a custom filter could be an opportunity to foster awareness or engagement at a major B2B industry event, encourage advocacy among employees or help with recruiting efforts, or promote the release of a new asset or product. In addition, this could be a great influencer activation tool. If Instagram is going to be a core focus of your B2B marketing efforts going forward, this new development for Stories is at least worth reading up on. Read: What You Need to Know About Instagram Stories for B2B Marketing

Keeping Up with the Changing Social Media Landscape

For a steady stream of social media and digital marketing news, tune into the TopRank Marketing Blog every Friday for our weekly news roundup, featuring video commentary from Senior Content Marketing Manager Joshua Nite and Associate Director of Search & Analytics Tiffani Allen. What social media news item has got your attention? Tell us in the comments section below. *Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post B2B Social Media Shakeup: 4 Developments That Have Caught Our Eye appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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