The Wax Blog

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:

As Disney approaches its hundredth anniversary in 2023, the company is celebrating the success of its new "Star Wars" franchise. "The Force Awakens" broke the previous $760.5 million box office record held by "Avatar" early in January, and at over $2 billion internationally, it's nipping the heels of "Avatar's" global record. Four other Disney movies currently sit on the international box office top ten list: the first two "Avengers" movies, "Frozen," and "Iron Man 3." As these cinema successes illustrate, Disney's corporate face has shifted from Mickey Mouse to science fiction and fantasy, superheroes and princesses, enabling Disney to adapt to today's markets. Here are a few other brands that have stood the test of time by adapting while staying true to themsleves.

Coca-Cola

[caption id="attachment_11900" align="alignleft" width="120"]. .[/caption] One hundred thirty years after its introduction in 1886, Coca-Cola's $78.423 billion dollar business remains the third most valuable brand in the world, behind Apple and Google. Since its inception, the Coca-Cola logo has used the same trademark script, preserving the brand's identity. But Coke has also been innovative, starting by being the first soft drink company to bottle its product. Since 1916, the shape of Coke's bottle has set it apart from other brands. Coke also pioneered the use of free sample coupons. Later Coke set its mark on TV marketing with memorable ads like "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" and Mean Joe Greene tossing a towel to a young Steelers fan. In 2009, Coke's "Open Happiness" campaign brought the brand into the digital advertising age. Coke is continuing to thrive, airing Super Bowl ads every year and enjoying a strategic partnership with McDonald's, the world's ninth most valuable brand.

Ketel One

In another segment of the beverage industry, vodka producer Ketel One has been around even longer than Coca-Cola. Hailing from the historic Dutch spirits distillery center of Schiedam, Netherlands, Ketel One has remained in the Nolet family since its beginning in 1691. The Nolets' business thrived during the 1700s when the Netherlands was the world's major sea power. By the 1800s, the Dutch had lost control of the sea to the British, and the 1900s saw the invention of the column still, which drove most distilleries out of business. The Nolets' business faced a new crisis during World War II when the Rotterdam Blitz destroyed the area around the distillery. Between this devastation, technology changes and mergers, the Nolet Distillery was the only distillery left in Schiedam in the post-war years. In order to adapt, the Nolet family shifted from producing a wide range of spirits to focusing on a few high-quality spirits. Discovering that only three major vodka brands were available in America, Carolus Nolet decided to introduce a high-quality vodka to the U.S. in 1983. The Nolet family marketed Ketel One to bartenders in San Francisco through personal networking and the Youngs Market distribution network, and they soon built a strong network of bartenders, bars and restaurants. After selling over a million cases, Ketel One launched its first ad thanking its customers in 2003. By 2008, the brand sold two million cases a year. Today it continues to grow through social media, with over 18,000 Ketel One Vodka Twitter followers.

IBM

Nearly 105 years after its founding in June 1911, IBM ranks just behind Microsoft as the world's fifth most valuable brand. IBM initially grew out of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, which produced electric punched card equipment for rapidly performing tabulations and computations such as U.S. Census tallies. CTR became the International Business Machines Corporation in 1924.

celebrity spokespersonI've worked with a fair number of famous people, from Ralph Nader to guys from Duck Dynasty. Although it's really not in my wheelhouse anymore I sometimes still get calls to find out how much it would cost for a celebrity to attend their event, endorse their product or contribute to their non-profit cause.   No matter how great your product , or how important your cause, stars generally don't do anything for free unless its for their own foundation (or for George Clooney). The good news is that almost any celebrity can  be booked if you have enough money. Here are a few tips for figuring out how to find someone, how much they cost and what the process might be like.
  • Find out who represents them. The easiest way is to buy a subscription to Who Represents an online listing of virtually every celebrity agent, publicist and manager.  Although some people like to go through managers first, I always call the agent. Agents are usually straightforward, no BS types who will give you prices and explain the ins and outs of back-end deals and endorsements.
  • Know your budget.

Lego Marvel AvengersEven for the biggest brands, launching a new video game can be a significant challenge. In a market where any game competes against thousands of other titles, many with long life cycles, it’s tough to get consumers’ attention – and money. And this is not a new phenomenon. As the popularity of video games has risen over the past 40 years, so have the number of titles available at any given time. Recently, one particular marketing and advertising campaign for Lego Marvel Avengers stood out among the rest as an excellent example of integrated marketing communications at work. The game’s success earns it one more accolade, our IMC Campaign of the Month. Lego Marvel Avengers was released on January 26, 2016 by TT Games. TT Games was careful to coincide its television advertising with cartoons that targeted the key demographic – primarily younger consumers who have both an interest in Lego toys and superheroes. Cartoons presented a perfect vehicle to hitch to Lego Marvel Avengers ads. With compelling previews of game play and live action shots from the latest Avengers movie, the television spots had kids eagerly awaiting the release of the game in January.

Facebook advertisingSocial media has opened up a world of affordable, highly visible advertising. Understanding this world requires a solid grasp on marketing and computer science. Facebook advertising  offers more than one form of audience-specific advertising platforms, each of which has its own legal, fiscal and promotional considerations.

1. Custom audience advertising makes your company look big

For as low as $50 per month, Facebook will put your ad onto a viewer’s feed. Facebook advertising charges per impression, or each time the ad shows on a page, so it is important to put the ad on the page of someone who will care about it. The best place to start is with people who are already familiar with your services. Facebook’s custom audience ads let you upload your customer email list, so your ads only show on these people’s feeds. Because the users do not know that you specifically targeted their page, it gives the illusion that you have a successful business and the marketing budget to support it.

2. Lookalike audiences are the next step

After you have your base audience secured, it is time to bring in new customers.

Brand transparency is directly related to industry trust, company loyalty and long-term revenue. As an integral part of relationship marketing, transparency is foundational to creating long-lasting consumer-business relationships. Yet most small businesses confuse transparency with authenticity and have misconceptions about the uses and parameters of positive brand transparency. Understanding how transparency works to develop consumer-business relationships is essential to developing a revenue-building marketing campaign.

Transparency Mitigates Conflict

Relationship marketing is a strategy that focuses on establishing, developing and maintaining successful personal interactions. Sales are not the primary emphasis but an associated outcome of a healthy consumer-business relationship. Conflict minimization is the most important factor in relationship development, and transparency is the best way to reduce conflict. When customers feel that they are well aware of the ins and outs of a company’s policies and procedures, they are less likely to perceive conflict, even if they do not like the outcome. Most large companies have their corporate docs available on their websites, but smaller companies tend to forget this step. At the very least, make sure your mission statement and executive bios are available for everyone to see. If you can make other information available without giving away proprietary company material, do so.

eWoM Still Has Eyes

In the days before digital media, much of marketing was done by word-of-mouth (WoM). Salespeople traveled from home to home, soliciting purchases and asking for leads. There was something about looking a person in the eye that helped to develop a relationship. A handshake was more important than today’s online consent form. Consider social media a digital version of WoM marketing. As such, it relies heavily on trust. The BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey found that

Most small business owners do not start or buy a business because they were interested in becoming marketing geniuses. Yet marketing is a critical success factor for any business, small or otherwise. And it's easy to take a wrong turn where marketing is concerned. Recently we spoke to Mark Montini, Chief Results Officer for m2M Strategies, a franchise marketing firm, about the biggest mistakes most new small business owners make. Known for his ability to architect fully-integrated distributed marketing programs, Mark has helped franchises, Fortune 500 companies, startups, non-profits, and even political organizations increase revenue. His work has been featured in newspapers across the country including the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. [caption id="attachment_11811" align="alignright" width="200"]Mark Montini, m2M Strategies Mark Montini, m2M Strategies[/caption] "Small businesses can eliminate a lot of frustration by addressing the common marketing mistakes I see on a frequent basis," says Montini. "Those mistakes are usually centered around focus - on the wrong data, the wrong tactics and even the wrong message." Montini says there are three primary marketing mistakes that can cause failure for any small business right from the start. 1. Focusing on the wrong metrics