Author: Bonnie Harris

content shockIt's been two years since Mark Schaefer declared that content shock is here. Since that time B2B brands have continually increased their marketing budgets while technological advances like ad blockers threaten to disrupt the industry. Still the problem of content shock remains. There’s an overwhelming amount of free content on the web -  far more than any rational human being can consume. As a result, people have become increasingly selective about the content they consume. Internet users are coping with information overload by scanning faster and reading with less intensity than before. This, in turn, makes it harder for B2B brands to reach their audience. To continue connecting with prospects, marketers will have to continually refine their niche. Yet, they face another problem.

social mediaHow to add more time to your day for social media.

Extending your social media presence beyond your company's profiles has many benefits, including direct engagement with customers, increased transparency, new interest, press coverage and gained authority in your industry. Despite the potential new business opportunities that come from having a strong personal brand, most CEOs ignore the free marketing that social media provides. The 2015 Social CEO Report found that more than 60 percent of CEOs have no social presence at all, and zero Fortune 500 CEOs have a presence on the six most popular social media channels. Small business owners have the advantage of growing their following organically as their company grows, which helps solidify strong, genuine relationships early on. But with all the challenges small business owners face and the multiple directions they're pulled in, social media may be on the bottom of the priority list. If this sounds like your business, use the following tips to create profiles that benefit your business and to spend time interacting with followers to achieve new growth.

Automate Your Accounting

B2B brandInstagram is growing and shows no sign of slowing down. There are currently over 400 million users and it’s expected to increase 15% this year, far ahead of any other social media platform. If you're a B2B brand, you might be wondering if this could be your next big customer acquisition channel? Maybe, but only if you approach it in the right manner. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, it makes more sense to take a strategic approach.

1. Understand Instagram’s Demographics

Irrespective of its increasing popularity, Instagram is an effective social media platform only if its demographics match that of your customer. According to Pew Research, Instagram is extremely popular among 18 to 29-year-olds, with 53% using the platform. Instagram reveals that 75% of its user base exists outside the U.S, with half of the last 100 million users coming from Europe and Asia. If this group makes up a small percentage of your total customers, there is still a silver lining. Your audience may be small, but it will be highly engaged. Trackmaven found that Instagram provides 20 times more engagement than LinkedIn, the standard B2B social media platform.

2. Determine Your B2B Brand Key Performance Indicators

Establishing a key performance indicator (KPI) verifies your level of success in marketing on Instagram. A KPI brings objectivity to your efforts and helps ascertain the effectiveness of your endeavours. Examples of KPIs include number of followers, engagement rate, and traffic to your website. Which KPIs you choose will be a function of your marketing objective. B2B marketing efforts are typically focused on generating quality leads and getting sales. Since sales can’t be made directly from within Instagram, it’s imperative that your Instagram audience finds their way to your website landing page. If this is the goal, there are some characteristics of Instagram of which you should be aware.

3.Work Within The Limitations of Instagram

Instagram is a platform made for socializing through the sharing of pictures. It wasn’t made specifically for B2B brand marketers. Except for paid advertising, images that are shared don’t contain links. The only way for an Instagram user to get to your site is via a link in your bio. Consequently, your profile should be treated as more of a mini landing page, with a strong call-to-action. Some posts should encourage your audience to click on that link in your profile, to help drive traffic back to your site. Paid advertising is another option worth considering as a call-to-action is allowed within the ad.

4. Extend Your Content Marketing Efforts

Instagram is a unique social media channel with its own customs and conventions. As such, your content marketing efforts must extend to incorporate the individuality of this platform. Images rule when it comes to Instagram, and this can pose a challenge for many B2B marketers. Here are a few ideas to help keep your stream interesting:
  • Provide a behind-the-scenes view. Showcase what you do by using a quality educational image, thoughtful caption and a great filter to make that picture pop.
  • Use video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Instagram now allows videos up to 1 minute in length, so you can even demo your product or service. Alternatively, you can repurpose your YouTube channel content by providing small snippets on Instagram.

by Stephen Jeske The ways and means in which consumers interact with business are becoming increasingly sophisticated. With the rapid rise in the number of digital devices and touch points, marketers are facing greater challenges in understanding the needs and wants of their customers. Although there has been a corresponding increase in the number of tools to help marketers make sense of this vast amount of information, many suffer from a common flaw. Marketing technologies are typically developed to address a particular situation such as website analytics or A/B testing, without regard to how these tools integrate into the overall decision-making process. As a result, many marketers still struggle to gain an overall picture of the value of their marketing strategies and tactics. One size does not fit all in this new environment. The increasing use of mobile devices by consumers to make informed purchasing decisions places an additional burden on marketers. Consumers are making decisions faster than ever, and marketers must not only react to events, they must predict actions in advance. They need to deliver the right content at the right time, often at a moment's notice. This level of operational excellence requires an integrated marketing platform that can rapidly measure and analyze vast amounts of data. It requires a standard set of data about customers, including transactional, behavioral and motivation data. Tracking key metrics is not enough anymore. This data needs to be analyzed to understand consumer behavior, gain insight and create tactics that improve engagement. Google recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to study how marketers are responding to this new real-time integrated marketing paradigm. Forrester surveyed 150150 marketing, analytics, and information technology decision-makers at North American companies to determine best practices. Here’s what they found: