Archives For social

Just like influencers and outreach, the Electronic Press Kit is a PR-based concept that needs to be tweaked a little for social media.

Where traditional Press Kits were designed to be published, the guiding principle for socially-adept Press Kits is ‘designed to be shared’. So think about how to break the information down into shareable chunks, suitable for popular social media platforms that your influencers may be using. Microblogging services such as Weibo and Twitter require, as their names suggest, micro pieces of content: sometimes as short as 140 characters. Vine and Instagram’s video service are built on clips as short as 6 seconds duration.

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b2b, events, digital, press kit

Whatever your content, format-wise it has to be ready to go.

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So think bite-sized. A couple of lines. A 60-word summary.
A provocative question. An image, or a small photo gallery. And links, lots of links.

Speaking of links, a useful addition to the Kit is a custom shortened URL that can mask and re-direct much longer URLs. Services like bit.ly and tinyURL not only condense and customise longer links, they also provide some fairly robust tracking and reporting, so you can see where your traffic is coming from and going to.

This is the third installment of the series: 10 ways to leverage digital for better B2B eventsWe recently ran an audit of the various tactics, strategies and recommendations we’ve developed @ Ogilvy for using digital to improve the live event experience (for the audience) and performance (for the marketer) – this advice is a summary of what we found to be true and useful.

< Previously in this series: #2 How to identify influencers & manage outreach         

> Up next in this series: #4: How to create shareable pre-event content  

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About the Author: Barrie Seppings blogs about making things better – for clients, brands, agencies and humans. He is currently Regional Creative Director at Ogilvy Singapore and he likes boards surf, skate and snow. Follow him on the Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, or add him on Google+

About the images: all photographs used with the permission of Martin Ollman Photography. Contact Martin directly for rights and commissions.

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Using social media to amplify your agenda, attract influencers and encourage high-value individuals to attend & promote.

When someone says ‘social media’ we tend to jump immediately to our own experience: using Facebook or LinkedIn or something similar.

One useful approach for Social is to think about it as traditional PR, updated for the tools and platforms of the digital age. Who are the online movers and shakers in the industry or topic your event will be covering? Who gets quoted a lot? Who publishes? Who do they work for or represent?

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b2b, events, social, profiling

Find the influencers in your field: they’re worth their weight in gold.

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The reason you might want to pursue a social influencer strategy is to utilise these individuals as a de facto media channel. An influencer is described as such because they have a large or important audience. The more closely their audience maps to yours (remember, you took time to detail who your audience is when you set your objectives), the more valuable that influencer is to your event.

Your ‘influencer audit’ is simply a list of the individuals that you want to have at and talking about your event. Your ‘outreach strategy’ is really just a simple plan of how you might approach them – the channels you might go through, the things you would say and the offers you might make. It’s important to construct a benefit for the influencer first. Also important is to have someone with working knowledge of the topic (not just the event) do the outreach.

It can be time-consuming, but getting a keynote speaker or other senior, visible expert from your brand to make the first contact can be very effective. Ideally, your speakers and company experts should be influencers too, and they can use their ‘digital eminence’ to generate interest and social coverage. There really aren’t many areas of social that you can safely ‘leave to the intern’ – influencer outreach has been off that list for a very long time.

This is the second installment of the series: 10 ways to leverage digital for better B2B eventsWe recently ran an audit of the various tactics, strategies and recommendations we’ve developed @ Ogilvy for using digital to improve the live event experience (for the audience) and performance (for the marketer) – this list is a summary of what we found to be true and useful.

< Previously in this series: #1 Setting objectives

> Up nex in this seriest: #3: Electronic Press Kits

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About the Author: Barrie Seppings blogs about making things better – for clients, brands, agencies and humans. He is currently Regional Creative Director at Ogilvy Singapore and he likes boards surf, skate and snow. Follow him on the Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, or add him on Google+

About the images: all photographs used with the permission of Martin Ollman Photography. Contact Martin directly for rights and commissions.

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Re-designing Demand Gen is hard.

So, if Demand Generation is all wrong, what’s the right way to build leads for b2b? There’s no easy answer (yeah, sorry about that), but we’re starting to see plenty of experiments and some successes using the new ‘favourite sons’ of the comms world: branded content, social media and, to a lesser degree, mobile.

I’m fairly certain none of these are the answer.

At least not on their own. And that’s where the next great trick of B2B marketing will have to be performed: making this stuff work as scale and at velocity. How do you get it humming, quarter after quarter, across markets both mature and emerging, in service of a portfolio of complex, inter-related products?

This is where systems thinking starts to shine. Instead of channels, we’re thinking infrastructure. Instead of messages, we’re thinking stories.  Instead of campaigns, we’re thinking education (in both directions). Perhaps, most importantly, instead of sales & marketing functions, we’re thinking systems of engagement.

Boiling the ocean: also hard.

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The more you start to think about all this stuff, about tearing it down and re-building it, about making common sense more common across all your markets, about establishing frameworks and operating procedures, the more you want to just go and find a shady tree to lie under. Sometimes I think it’s partly the reason we wind up churning out the same tactics in the same channels to ever diminishing applause: compared to this grand, uncharted territory of systems, at least we actually know how to buy a list and pump out the emails.

But that’s kind of boring.

Actually, it’s deadly boring. So we keep sketching and tinkering and experimenting (like we’ve always done), except now we’re also keeping an eye on the grand design, thinking about how that cool idea or interesting tactic or growing social platform might function if it were designed, from the ground up, to be a replicable, scalable and tune-able component of a system.

It’s actually quite liberating to recognise that the world (both ours and the audience’s) is not going to stand still long enough that we can ‘play god’ and re-design everything, perfectly, theoretically, as a completely fresh re-boot.

Instead, it makes more sense to apply the theory of responsive design to Demand Generation as a practice: create something, observe how people react to it, make the changes their behaviours seem to demand.

I wonder what that would look like?

How social is forcing Demand Gen to evolve.

Evolution is a remarkable thing. It sharpens yesterday’s skills to help us survive in tomorrow’s world. If you look at Demand Generation as a skill, you can trace it back to Direct Marketing, which in turn came from Direct Mail, which itself was an attempt to scale and automate Direct Selling.

Just as human evolution bred out things we no longer need (gills, for example) and enhanced things we found useful (opposable thumbs, anyone?), you can still see the core DNA of Direct Selling in a lot of what we call Demand Generation. In particular, the reliance on The List, which became so fundamental, it spun off it’s own evolutionary branch in the mid 1980’s (Database Marketing) in response to the new environment of personal computing.

So what happens to Demand Gen, and The List in particular, as it responds to the seismic shifts of, say, social media? Nobody’s entirely certain, but plenty of scientists are experimenting.

Your social behavior puts you on a list.

(image courtesy Martin Ollman / BugLogic)

(image courtesy Martin Ollman / BugLogic)

The likes of Kred and Klout are analysing social data to try and attribute a numeric ‘influencer score’ to individuals, ranking them in order of their ability to influence other people within certain communities or areas of interest. The obvious next step is to use these scores to create a ‘hit list’ of individuals you might want to include in a social outreach campaign, for example, and this has been marketing’s primary use of influencer scores to date, but the leap to a prospect list is still tenuous.

The list becomes a timeline.

 What if we took the same principles and tried to use them to create other predictors? Such as a ‘Propensity to purchase’ model? Or a ‘time to purchase decision’ estimate? Instead of using social as a way to decide who to contact, there is potential to use social to tell us when to contact, by listening for data points that signal where on the ‘road to purchase’ someone might be. Can their ‘social signals’ tell us whether a prospect is browsing, researching, comparing or looking for a deal? The next step from here is to look for patterns over multiple engagements, to build a model that starts to predict actual timelines: real-time ‘GPS for the buyers journey’ that locates a buyers’ proximity to a decision.

The list becomes a network.

networks

(image courtesy Martin Ollman / BugLogic)

All this is ‘social scoring’ is fine in theory, but is based on the traditional B2C belief that purchases are made by an individual. The B2B world is more complex, particularly at the ‘big end of town’ were buying decisions are made by a group, operating within a hierarchy and often including people who aren’t the actual buyers. This is where the ‘network’ aspect of social networks comes into play: discovering and defining the membership of and connections within groups is the untapped data goldmine of platforms like LinkedIn. Several publishers in the B2B world are starting to mine their readership data to create ‘small world network’ models, which could be used to define these ‘buying cells’ and indicate which topics are on their collective agenda.

 So, social is the new list, then?

Social is getting a lot of airplay play right now. That’s partly because it’s a shiny new toy in the marketing playpen (I wrote about this in a recent post) but mostly because it’s where your audience is spending a lot of their time and energy, in a very visible, reachable and trackable way. That fact alone should stir something in the limbic system of most marketers: you fish where the fish are.

But it doesn’t mean The List is dead. Quite the opposite: The List is evolving. There are an increasing number of increasingly sophisticated ways to build, manage, mine and generate demand from The List. And a lot of those ways are yet to be discovered, let alone perfected, which I can’t help but find exciting.

Why are some brands and agencies struggling with social, despite (or perhaps because of) a visible enthusiasm for it as a marketing approach? Even once they master the jargon and the etiquette and the technical wizardry required to ‘go social’, and then resource it properly and secure executive sponsorship – social seems to, well, just…

It could be the curse of the newly-converted, or perhaps it’s FOMO*, but whatever the motivation, it manifests itself similarly each time: the team becomes overly-focused on social. Not as a tool, or as a channel or as a technique, but as a ‘thing’ in and of itself, with it’s own raison d’être. It’s dangerous, but not uncommon.

When social becomes the objective.

It tends to happen with most shiny new technologies, usually once the technology gets enough media coverage and certainly once the Vice-President’s kids start using it on a regular basis. Happened with digital. It’s been kind of happening with mobile, in fits and starts, for a while now. It’s about to happen full-throttle with ‘content’. And it’s in full swing with social. We’re all doing it, but we’re not always entirely sure why.

Here’s a simple test: replace the shiny new technology (social) with a trusted, reliable, commonplace technology (say, telephone). Would some of the briefs or programs or even job titles we’re pursuing make as much sense? Would you consider hiring a Vice-President of Telephone? Would we build up a Telephone Team, with dedicated Telephone Experts? Would we unleash a 65-page deck detailing our Telephone strategy? Prolly not.

Make social behave like a channel.

(image courtesy Martin Ollman / BugLogic)

(image courtesy Martin Ollman / BugLogic)

I’m not suggesting we don’t need expertise in new technologies. In fact, we need expertise in all of our technologies – that’s how we get good at profiting from them. But what we need, most of all, is purpose: a reason to put these technologies and expertise and resources to use.

Here’s how you find one for social in your business, or brand or agency:

  1. Find a business objective.  Or even a business unit or a department, because they will usually (not always) have an objective, or at least a role to play within a business.
  2. Describe how that objective is being tackled right now. Who is working on it? What resources do they have? What are the results like? Are they getting better at it over time, or less-better**?
  3. Ask ‘social’ how they would do that tackling. Does it sound like they could support it? Augment it? Improve it? Replace it altogether? Make social ‘play its way’ on to your marketing team and earn its position through performance. (BTW, does anyone know why I, of all people, am using a sports analogy? Really, I’d like to know what’s gotten into me.)
  4. Give social a run. But not on its own. Invite it to meetings, let it join existing teams and projects and departments, either as resource or skills or training. Make sure it has a defined role, a position to play and results to deliver.
  5. Rinse (the data) and repeat. It’s the fastest way to get better at discovering what social can do for you.

In a nutshell: social can’t be an objective, it has to have one.

Placing bets vs making investments.

The reason I used ‘Telephone’ to replace ‘Social’ is because it’s also a good way to think about the investment we make in social – and not about the size of the investment, but rather its consistency. If we set up a phone number for our audience to reach us on, we wouldn’t follow that decision with a series of quarterly meetings to decide whether we’re going to pay to keep that number connected, or to have someone pick it up when it rings. As the use of social normalises (just like it did with phones) we’ll have to normalise our investment in it, too.

* Fear Of Missing Out.  It’s a real thing, apparently.

** A polite way of saying “Starting to suck”