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Seemingly no aspect of business these days is untouched by social media; Steve Ward of Cloud Nine Recruitment, who specialises in placing social media and digital talent, talks here about the growing demand for social media skills in all areas of business.
Can we talk about the changing roles and responsibilities in today’s workplace and focus on some of the skills that are increasingly being required by employers. Have you seen a rise in the requirement for social media skills?
In May 2013, LinkedIn reported that it had 1.5 million Groups. LinkedIn insiders now put the figure at over 2 million. There are Groups for just about every brand, business discipline and professional interest under the sun, and any LinkedIn member – including you - can start one.
But what's the key to effectively managing these communities in order to ensure that dialogue within them is interesting, influential and informative? Light touch or firm hand on the tiller? High visibility or strictly background presence? Proactive intervention or a “keep your distance” philosophy? We explored the views of LinkedIn Group managers to give you some helpful guidance.
When we hear the term “social media”, many tend to think instinctively of the giants that deliver and dominate the world's everyday online conversations – Facebook, Twitter and now Google+. After all, we make extensive use of these platforms in our personal and our professional lives, both as consumers and publishers.
But, the frontrunner in the B2B social media space isn't any of the sites mentioned above. Instead, it's the rather more serious and business-like LinkedIn. And when you look into its killer demographics, you see why. Steve Rayson's recent slideshare puts LinkedIn's membership at 250 million, 69% of whom are in the higher-income decision-making bracket, and 79% of whom are 35 or older. It's hardly Facebook, is it?
So what, then, are the dos and don'ts of effective B2B content marketing in a social media environment where work is the thing and inexpert youth is largely absent?
In part two of his interview (see part one), Mark Jennings tells us to watch out for clueless agencies masquerading as social media specialists, that campaigns work best in social media when you involve your community before and afterwards, and how the best agencies help their clients learn to do things for themselves.
Mark, do you have a view on traditional marketing or advertising agencies calling themselves social business agencies?
If you are running an SME in the UK today you can’t have failed to notice the growing importance of blogging, as part of your online presence. Indeed, the reach and impact of business blogs is expanding all the time as potential customers look to source interesting, educative or entertaining insights into their industry sector. According to Hubspot’s very latest analysis of the State of Inbound Marketing 2013, for example, almost 40% of European marketers reported acquiring customer leads directly from their company blog.
But, where to start? One thing to do, first off, is to look at who else in your industry is blogging; read what they are saying, and look at whether they are being listened to, shared, etc. If your sector is already very crowded with businesses talking about the same sorts of things, then maybe blogging is not the channel to consider for you. However, if it seems that your competitors aren’t yet blogging – i.e. that there isn’t a great deal of noise in your specific field – then perhaps there is an opportunity to lead the charge in this dynamic area of content writing, to gain a new online audience and to steer the conversation in your field.
Our own Eric Swain is the co-host (with Ann Hawkins) of a weekly podcast called The Social Media Show. We are providing transcripts of select shows.
Here, Mark Jennings joins Eric and Ann for one of the most listened to episodes of the show, Show 27, to answer questions about how businesses large and small engage an agency and run a social media campaign. This is part one of the interview. Find part two here.
So Mark, is it only big brands that use agencies or is it something that a small company could do?
I think that companies of any size could benefit from working with an agency but, of course, many agencies work best when there is a certain threshold of money involved, because they need a certain spend. I guess it would depend very much on the specific thing you needed to do. The simple test for that is: do you have the skills in-house to do it? If not, then it’s worth looking externally.
Concerns over the NSA and GCHQ allegedly passing themselves off as Google in order to intercept private Internet communications have been mooted as motivation for the search giants dramatic stepping up recently of ‘encrypted search’, as it purportedly moves to “increase privacy for its users”. The fact that unencrypted data will still be accessible to AdWords customers however (albeit to a lesser extent), has left some questioning the full extent of those motivations.
Many marketers believed there was an unspoken contract between search engines and the sites they were crawling -- “we’ll let you crawl our sites and you show us how visitors arrived”. It appears this was not the case, with Google at least (as yet Bing and Yahoo have not followed suit, but they represent less than 30% of total searches).
Doug Kessler tells us that in order to rise above the content marketing floodwaters we should aim to create outstanding pieces of content and to tap into emotion (yes, even in B2B marketing!). And he explains why marketers should be the most important people in the company!
So, Doug, you started off (in part one) by saying that so much content is created these days that it’s hard to stand out. Have you got a view on what’s coming next? Are we just going to get more and more inundated or will somebody find a way to cut through this or filter it to get to the stuff we’re interested in?
I feel that very soon content marketing is going to become a “home run” game. I know that’s an American metaphor but what I mean is it will be about the big hits, the pieces that actually move markets as opposed to the background stuff that keeps you in the game.
Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners wrote an ebook earlier this year that hit home for many of us. In it he alerts us to the tidal wave of content that is drowning our audience and make our marketing irrelevant.
Doug, your ebook, Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge, addressed the flood of marketing content that is threatening to overwhelm us. Is this a problem?
It really is a problem. It’s also an opportunity. When digital-age content marketing was a fairly new trick, the early people had an advantage by being involved in it. So for our clients to do an e-book back then was a special thing; it was like, “Wow, they’ve published something about an issue that their prospects care about, without even pushing their products. And people came to them for it, and wasn’t that great?”
This time last week I attended the exciting and inspiring Inbound Marketing UK (IMUK) 2013 conference in London, to hear some of the brightest minds in the industry, both here and in the States, talk about the best approaches to marketing now.
One of the over-riding messages from the day’s speakers for me, was the absolute importance of good listening; the art of learning from the wisdom, experience, thoughts and needs of others, of paying attention to what you are being told and what you are telling yourself. Because this is how we learn to do better, to improve what we’re already doing, and to bring others with us along the way.
Here’s what I learnt from my good listening on the day.
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