Brunching My Way Through Portland

April 10th, 2014 by David Shin
Meurette Benedict at Petit Provence

Meurette Benedict at Petit Provence

Here at McBru, we often host out-of-town clients for meetings and events. And since Portland has a reputation as a “foodie” capital, these visitors often ask for advice on where to eat and drink to experience the best of Portland. That’s where I come in: I eat and drink across the city so you don’t have to, then recommend the best!

One area in which Portland excels is brunches. Here, brunches are served any day of the week, with weekend lines resembling those you’d see at Disneyland. That means that the best times to go for brunch to avoid a long wait are on the weekdays. Personally, I enjoy venturing out of my neck of the woods (Northeast Portland) to try the many options in different neighborhoods—here are a few I love, listed by their geographic area!

North Portland

Sweedeedee: This restaurant, located on N. Albina, is a tiny place that packs a flavorful punch (along with a side of hipster). Expect simple brunch fare, well made, and absolutely delicious. Waiting 30 minutes may be the norm. Dish to Try: Potato Plate—fingerling potatoes, smoked trout, baked egg and salsa verde.

Equinox: This restaurant, just off the main stretch of Mississippi Ave. on Shaver, boasts an outdoor garden patio, perfect for those spring and summer outings. Dish to Try: Zander’s Craving—Crème brulée French toast.

Tasty N’ Sons: For a few years now, Tasty N’ Sons has been the place to go for brunch. The restaurant, located on Williams, showcases slightly haute cuisine at reasonable prices. Your wait time may be lengthy, however. Dish to Try: All of it!

Northeast Portland

Petite Provence: Located in the Alberta Arts district, this boulangerie and patisserie also serves brunch, with a delectable array of sweets and desserts on display. Dish to Try: Meurette Benedict—eggs benedict with a burgundy reduction in place of the hollandaise.

Screen Door: Located on Burnside, this unassuming restaurant serves up delicious Cajun fare and breakfast with a Southern twist. Caveat Emptor—the line for brunch may be extensive, but worth it. Dish to Try: Chicken and Waffles!

Grain & Gristle: This is one of my favorite brunch spots with outdoor patio seating, located on NE Prescott. Dish to Try: You can’t go wrong with their rotating seasonal menu!

Southeast Portland

Broder Café: Located in the Clinton area, this cute spot is a Scandinavian restaurant serving up items from smorrebrods to bords. Dish to Try: Baked egg skillets and bords.

Roost: For slightly upscale fare without the wait, Roost offers a quiet atmosphere on Belmont, with attentive service. Dish to Try: Steak with onion rings, horseradish mustard cream, and fried eggs.

Accanto: Located on Belmont, the sister restaurant to famed Genoa, serves Italian-influenced fare. Waits aren’t as crazy, and the food is divine. Dish to Try: Ricotta doughnuts and duck hash.

Olympic Provisions: Possessor of the infamous Portlandia “MEAT” sign and purveyor of meats and sausages, Olympic Provisions serves up a delicious brunch. Of the two locations, I am biased toward the one on SE Washington. Dish to Try: “Flapjack Attack” Benedict.

Downtown

Mother’s Bistro: Mother’s serves all around good food from its historic storefront in downtown Portland. Dish to Try: Most dishes!

Which brunch spots do you love? Did I miss any that should be featured? If so, I’ll make a date to try each one you recommend and report back on the dish to try..

Happy brunching!

Myth: Click-throughs and shares are the best proof of ad effectiveness

April 2nd, 2014 by Brandi

share-st-1aMany long-held assumptions about Web-based and social media-driven advertising go under the microscope in “What You Think You Know the Web Is Wrong,” an article at Time.com by Tony Haile. Haile is the CEO of Chartbeat, a real-time Web analytics solution provider. The article raises fascinating questions about the effectiveness of online advertising, with lessons for how tech B2B marketers can use better design and better content to reach their audience. This post is the first of two based on Haile’s research.

*           *           *

At McBru, we pay a lot of attention to the latest trends and research in digital advertising – how they impact customer behavior and customer awareness and affinity towards brands.

In his article on Time.com, Haile talks about some of the myths of online advertising and our understanding of it.  The article discusses the “Attention Web” – a new way of focusing advertising based on a user’s attraction to valuable content and design – and how there are powerful new methods of capturing data that can give media sites and advertisers a second-by-second, pixel-by-pixel view of user behavior.

First though, we need to understand some of the myths of traditional Web advertising analytics. Turns out that these “measurement” methods, which purport to peak into customer behavior on the Web and gauge the success of marketing campaigns, simply aren’t accurate.

Myth 1:  Conventional knowledge suggests that publishers have been chasing page views, the metric that counts the number of times people load a web page. The more page views a site gets, the more people are reading its contents, and the more successful the site is as part of a larger marketing campaign.

Maybe not…Chartbeat looked at deep user behavior of 2 billion visits across the Web over the course of a month and found that most people who click don’t read. In fact, a stunning 55% spent fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page. There is a concept of click fraud but the real issue is that customers aren’t reading what the metrics says they are.  It goes without saying that the most valuable audience is the one that reads our content, and finds it compelling enough to come back for more.

Myth 2: The more we share, the more we read.  As page views have begun to fail as a metric, brands have embraced social shares such as Facebook likes or Twitter retweets as the new measurement and currency of success. Social sharing is public and suggests that someone has not only read the content but is actively recommending it to other people.  Obviously caring about social sharing makes sense and companies are likely to get more traffic if readers share their content as opposed to doing nothing at all: the more Facebook “likes” a story gets, the more people it reaches within Facebook and the greater the overall traffic. The same is true of Twitter, though Twitter drives less traffic to most sites.

The rub is that people who share content are a small fraction of the people who visit that content. Chartbeat tracked specific content with social activity and there was only one tweet and eight Facebook likes for every 100 visitors.

Also, conventional wisdom would hold that the more a piece of content is shared or liked, the more likely it is to be read or otherwise consumed. However, according to Haile, “We looked at 10,000 socially-shared articles and found that there is no relationship whatsoever between the amount a piece of content is shared and the amount of attention an average reader will give that content.”

In other words, using shares as a measure of marketing success ignores the behaviors of a huge portion of your audience. And in general, relying on click-throughs and social sharing as a measure of marketing success can often lead us to jump to conclusions that the data does not support.

Watch this space for Part 2 of this series on the myths of online advertising.

Don’t Bludgeon Your Audience, Nudge

March 26th, 2014 by Sam
Courtesy of Clik/Hear

Courtesy of Clik/Hear

Last summer I was fortunate to attend a presentation at Portland’s Urban Airship by Rand Fishkin, CEO of MOZ. In his talk, hosted by SEMPDX, Fishkin spoke about “The Mighty Nudge,” a method of influencing behavior that is being leveraged by everyone from policy-makers to content marketers.

Similar to Gladwell’s Blink and Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, Fishkin’s presentation was based on the book Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, which examines how people make decisions and how, as marketers and advertisers, the “nudge is mightier than the sword” when it comes to influencing behavior.

For example, Fishkin’s presentation showed how different messages about tax evasion in Minnesota—when tested—produced different reactions toward solving the same goal, which was to get more of the 7% of Minnesotans who were not paying their taxes to pay.

 

• When the message was “Tax dodging costs millions,” the main response from non-payers was “I won’t get caught.”
• When it was “Taxes go to really good works,” response was “Cry me a river; most people cheat on their taxes.”
• But when the message was “Actually, 93% of Minnesotans pay their taxes,” more non-payers paid!

Fishkin’s Marketing: Many Ways to Nudge

The Minnesota tax-dodger example introduced the first of twelve points Fishkin says marketers need to use to nudge (rather than bludgeon) their audiences.

1. Show Social Proof
Social proof is based on the human tendency to seek out kinship and commonalities with fellow human beings. Showing social proof sounds something like this: “They’re like you. They like us. You should too.”

The closer social proof gets to the audience you’re trying to reach, the more effective the social proof phenomenon. Telling Minnesotans about the effects of tax dodging had limited success. Giving them social proof that “most other Minnesotans pay their taxes” made the difference. The nudge was small, without explicit threat of punishment or offer of reward, but this was the message that had a positive measurable effect.

2. Play the Name Game
aspirational-namingChances are you’ve probably seen a pricing menu that read something like this: “Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum.” However, aspirational naming conventions—names that reflect who the audience actually is—have been shown to result in higher conversion rates at higher price points than generic naming conventions such as Bronze, Silver, etc. If you are a large company, you are more likely to identify with a plan titled “Enterprise” than one called “Platinum,” and therefore be more inclined to pick that plan as the appropriate option to fit your needs. Again, a subtle difference in naming can have a significant impact in behavior.

3. Limit Choice
Fewer choices lead to more actions. As marketers many of us are already familiar with the Paradox of Choice, yet we continue to paralyze our audiences with too many options: four pricing tiers where three would do, options for sharing to ten different social channels under the assumption that if the user doesn’t see the option that is an exact fit, she won’t act. In fact, the opposite is true: when the options are too many, choosing becomes more difficult and action less likely. Which brings us to number four:

4. Don’t Make Them Think

Courtesy of Kyle Rush

Courtesy of Kyle Rush

People like quick and easy, even if it means more steps. Back in 2012, the Obama campaign did some fascinating experiments with an eye towards optimizing their webpages. After many rounds of high-volume a/b testing, they were able to show that a donation form broken up into sequential steps outperformed a similar form that was presented all-at-once. As Kyle Rush, one of the members of the optimization team put it, “turns out you can get more users to the top of the mountain if you show them a gradual incline instead of a steep slope.”

5. Tap the Power of Reciprocation
Give and ye shall receive. This powerful nudge shows up in marketing, politics, and day-to-day life. It’s the principle driving the pay-what-you-want restaurants and digital “tip jars” across the Internet. If people feel they are getting free value, in many cases they will nevertheless feel an obligation to reciprocate, often generously.

6. Use Ego and Competition to Drive Participation
A little stroke of the ego can go a long way toward nudging users into action. Not surprising, considering the degree to which social activity on the web is about self-fulfillment. Sites like iSideWith.com put this principle to work by showing users to what degree his or her social sharing resulted in action on the part of other users. Seeing the results of one’s actions, especially when presented in comparison to the results of others, is a powerful motivator and a great way to spread a message.

Fishkin went on to describe another six methods for marketing through nudges. The bottom line is that marketers are moving away from the bludgeoning tactics of the past and embracing the power of the nudge to move audiences. Tactics of begging for social shares, shouting slogans, and interrupting audiences are being replaced by subtle cues based in research and human psychology. Are you leveraging the power of the nudge?

You can  read more from Rand Fishkin at his blog.

Collective Creativity

March 14th, 2014 by Kevin
pixar

Via tuuk.me

UPDATE: Pixar’s CEO Ed Catmull is the featured cover story in the April 2014 issue of “Fast Company” magazine. The article promotes his new book, Creativity, Inc., and highlights the fact that—while the company may have pushed the release of its latest feature—Pixar also has 14 box office hits in a row, suggesting this probably won’t be much more than a blip on an otherwise amazing track record of creative excellence. 

In technology and creativity, few remember a missed deadline. Many remember a substandard product.

News in Q4 2013 about Pixar having to push back the release of The Good Dinosaur until 2015 highlights a common problem in creative and engineering work—managing the pressure to meet a committed deadline without allowing an unfinished and unready product to enter the market.

For whatever the reason, deadlines and quality seem forever at odds. Sometimes feedback doesn’t happen in a timely way. Sometimes the scope of the work changes. Sometimes vendors wander away from the project. And sometimes life intervenes. Process helps mitigate those fluctuations.

But with Pixar and its huge creative projects, process also has to have the right people to be successful.

Quality is Job #1

Cars. Ratatouille. WALL-E. Up. Toy Story 3. Brave—All are movies made by Pixar since 2006, an unbelievable string that included eight straight years with a film earning at least $191 million in revenue and five Oscars for Best Animated Feature.

With a culture of success like Pixar’s, you might wonder, “What happened in 2013 to break the string?” The truth is, making creative success a reliable part of the organizational fabric is difficult to establish, and possibly even more difficult to maintain.

Ed Catmull, President of Pixar, implies that the company’s utmost loyalty has to rest with quality at the expense of everything else, including production deadlines or other business commitments.

As Catmull explains, “Nobody ever remembers the fact that you slipped a film, but they will remember a bad film. Our conclusion was that we were going to give the [dinosaur] film some more time.”

the-good-dinosaur-concept-art

Via disneymovieslist.com

Pixar’s Case Study On Creativity

But “quality” is hard to understand. Are there more parts to that puzzle than just knowing it when you see it? Catmull seems to say yes, and the “knowing it” part rests in an organization’s ability to distribute creativity across as many people at your company as possible.

In 2008 in the middle of Pixar’s amazing run of blockbusters, Catmull wrote a Harvard Business School case study about creativity as a collective effect of the people you have at your company, not a as a byproduct of great idea generation.

He seems to suggest creativity is a culture—ultimately a guiding priority, not just a process or a resource allocation.

In the study (which you can order here), Catmull highlights five points for how to sort through complex creative projects and find the tens of thousands of little ideas that add up to a coherent whole or story, including how to face the fear of failure with something new—like, say, a movie about a lovesick post-apocalyptic robot.

Catmull says you must:

1. Empower Your Creatives
Establish cross-company teams to originate and refine new ideas. Development doesn’t do “development,” so much as they find people who work well together, ensure healthy team dynamics, and help the team solve problems in the new idea proposals.

2. Create A Peer Culture
Share unfinished work early and often. Get over the embarrassment of imperfection. Encourage people throughout the company to help each other produce the best work—i.e. work you’re proud of—and raise the game of others.

3. Free Up Communication
Give everyone the freedom to communicate with anyone. Knock down hierarchies. Trust people to address difficulties and problems directly. The “proper” channel is to talk with whomever you need to talk to in order to get something done.

4. Craft A Learning Environment
Have fun and learn together. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Give workshops to the rest of the company where you teach your specialty—something that can help the skill development of your coworkers.

5. Get More Out Of Postmortems
Structure postmortems as discussions about what went right and what went wrong. List the top five things you’d do again and the top five you wouldn’t do. Bring in data and metrics. Challenge the subjective assumptions the project contained.

Again, Catmull states the key to organizational creativity is the people and the culture at the company, not just the “bigness” of the ideas, because even the great ideas often sit undeveloped or, just as tragic, get developed hastily and poorly in the service of timeframes or business objectives over work quality.

“I believe our adherence to a set of principles and practices for managing creative talent and risk is responsible,” Catmull says. “Pixar is a community in the true sense of the word. We think that lasting relationships matter, and we share some basic beliefs: Talent is rare. Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the capability to recover when failures occur.”

Yes, But You Aren’t Making Movies.

Agreed, few are. Creative projects in marketing and advertising agencies have shorter time lines, smaller budgets, and less of an imperative on the creative development process. (And according to the news, Pixar may be having its own trouble doing that in 2014, as compared to where things were five or six years ago.)

But the main point for Pixar is the same for any business, really: Creativity is a group exercise with many wrongs for every right—not a process of rare and sparkling genius limited to a few “creatives” who always hit home runs.

It just doesn’t work that way.

Creativity is a cultural oxygen that runs across the whole company involving everyone, not just a few people in one department.

Creative Changes At McBru

At McBru, we’ve been shifting to incorporate some of Catmull’s five points in our own day-to-day work practices—from sharing presentations on design and other topics at staff meetings, to elevating “proudness” as an overarching standard of measurement, to doing postmortems in a more open and honest way.

Will that help us be better at B2B, high-tech marketing? I think yes! Although we don’t have Hollywood budgets to work with (and when we push a deadline, it doesn’t make national news as a “stumble”), many of the challenges and tradeoffs to producing great creative work are largely the same to me.

Doing work your company is “proud of” is a relative measure, scalable from the big screen all the way to the small screen, from the next blockbuster motion picture, to the next campaign of banner ads and blog videos.

In theory, we should approach them all the same.

So which of Catmull’s five points do you think is most important? Is a tradeoff between deadlines, budget and quality inevitable in any business? Or do you think Pixar’s approach to creativity has little relevance to how other businesses operate?

Interested to hear some opinions out there in the B2B communications world!

A Team of Writers

March 5th, 2014 by Erica

content-treeAt McBru, we have an excellent technical writer on staff. You’ve probably heard of him: Bill McRae. Yes, he’s quite the celebrity among our deep tech clients. He whips and wrangles their content into easy-to-digest and highly credible technical pieces. Anyone who has worked with him can appreciate he knows his craft, and he knows technology. It’s impressive.

We also have Kevin Fann, our Creative Director. But in him, we not only have a spark plug of a creative mind (or maybe it’s a bon fire?), but also a Cracker Jack copywriter. To someone outside the field of marketing, being a copywriter may seem like a grunt task. Kevin loves to write and proves to anyone who reads his work that it is in no way “grunt” work; it’s masterful and poetic.

These two may hold the titles of “writer” in the firm, but we all are here and drawn to McBru because at our core, we love to communicate with technical people – and do it in creative ways.

Writing is one of the most fun – and challenging ways to do so. And always cut out the fluff and stuff – we know our clients’ technical audiences don’t want to hear it.

One of the ways we enjoy writing is through this blog. It allows each person at the firm to share why they love the work here, cool projects they’ve been a part of, quiet think time to reflect on an industry trend or piece of insight or put forward a bold point of view about where tech B2B marketing is heading.

Just like our secret sauce when trying to speak to deep tech audiences, some of the things we believe are important in our writing for this blog include:

  1. Educate. We all read this, and our clients do too. If you aren’t a client presently, we’re so glad you’re tuning in. We hope you learn something about us and how we think differently. For us, we love to see our colleagues’ smarts come through on the screen. We are a unique group who holds tremendous respect for each member of the team.
  2. Arm. We arm our readers with resources that help them get their jobs done. We love to talk about tips and best practices for our “Great Eight” disciplines.
  3. Inspire. This comes from being truly inspired by what our clients and their customers do; genuinely and authentically appreciating their work. Yes it’s cheesy but we get our cups filled seeing our technology clients succeed. We are glad we get to help.
  4. Have fun. We never take ourselves seriously. Ever. We’re always open to new ideas, a good laugh, and being stretched and challenged. Yes, to us, a challenge is fun.

What topics do you love reading on our blog? What could you use more of in the future?

Introducing Sam Templeman, McBru’s New Designer

February 26th, 2014 by Hannah

Congratulations to Sam Templeman, our talented new designer for web and creative content, who recently became a full-time member of the McBru team! Sam has moved from behind-the-scenes intern at McBru to an integral member of our Creative Department, and we could not be more excited.

sam-1

Sam started at McBru in October, 2012, as an intern working toward his Bachelor of Science in Web and Interactive Design at the Art Institute of Portland. His journey with McBru continued when he was hired in March 2013 as a part-time employee. With a growing need for fresh design work at the agency, Sam became a full time McBruvian at the beginning of 2014!

Sam recently played a major role in the development of a website for one of our healthcare technology clients, Essia Health. The creative team’s job was to create a complete website, from start to finish, building the website UX, code base and graphic design to embody the client’s new name and new brand.

The back-and-forth reviews with the client—discovering how to best portray the brand and then successfully rendering it on a responsive website—was a major accomplishment for the team, because everything was new for this project.

As Sam said, “It was a luxury, because you could do anything, but it was also a challenge, because you could do anything.” Sam and the team took the challenge and ran with it, crafting an identity and website that both they and the client are proud of.

On a personal level, Sam got a great deal of satisfaction working on a project of this scale. “The web industry is constantly evolving,” he said, “and you have to continuously keep learning in order to keep up with new needs and changes. Creating a website is different from designing a static print ad or a banner ad, because it is a living thing that has the potential to change dynamically.”

Sam built the website to be fully responsive, so you can look at it on a phone, tablet, or desktop, and it automatically optimizes for viewing on all device sizes.

“It’s like creating multiple websites instead of just one. You have to design the site to work and adjust properly. Seeing the brand, idea and storyline evolve and translate was one of the highlights.”

Sam’s passion for this type of work was very apparent, and he was very happy to be a part of this project, as it gave him a great opportunity to use his education and to pursue his goals of growing his web development and design skills.

Congratulations on the success of the client website project, and to Sam for his promotion!

Check out his work here.

Is Emotion Relevant in Tech B2B Marketing?

February 18th, 2014 by Kerry

For those of us who spend our days trying to solve the riddle of successfully marketing to audiences who hate being marketed to, it can be easy to fall into the trap of “just the facts, ma’am” content and messaging.  But that approach is almost certainly not a winner.

Just because engineers and developers mistrust marketing doesn’t mean they are robots. It sounds corny to say “technologists are people too” but, well, they are. And all humans have a left brain and a right brain; most of us even use both sides.

orange

This image appears in an ad we created for a client in the e-learning space. The target audience: chief learning officers. We were playing around with the idea of “knowledge” and how knowledge is attained; the notion of the tree of knowledge (think Eve, apples and serpents) was tossed into the creative mix. But our client is a very innovative company delivering e-learning in a fresh new way (they’ve been called the iTunes of e-learning, for good reason).

What’s fresher than a just-picked orange? And thus, the “orange of knowledge” was born. He’s friendly, eye catching and makes you want to know more. That emotional appeal breaks through the clutter and allows us to tell the serious story, backed with data, that our client needs to tell. Both sides of the brain are stimulated: the part that makes you smile back at the cute little orange guy, and the part that takes the facts and figures in, and makes an assessment.

The fact that the emotional tug is a little quirky helps. Even as tech B2B audiences resist being marketed to, they would resist overt manipulation of emotions even more. So yes, emotion is relevant in tech B2B marketing… as long as it is delivered with a dose of affection, respect and admiration for the audience.

Going Native: The Rise (Again) of Native Advertising

February 11th, 2014 by Jessica

your-ad-hereWhat is native advertising, and how is it different from contextual advertising? These are the questions keeping me, and other tech B2B marketers, up at night in 2014. Thanks to a great webinar hosted by our friends over at Vocus, I recently got a little more clarity. Turns out, native advertising is really just a form of contextual advertising, but with more layers. It’s a response to increased available content, but no increase in space for earned content.

In other words, the available space for earned media has not expanded at the rate in which new content is being created.  As a response, more publications are offering paid forms of content coverage. Paid, earned and owned media are now starting to overlap. That, coupled with the success marketers have seen with contextual ads (think Twitter and Facebook), is driving the demand for more contextual options.

Native advertising is essentially a modern form of the advertorial, but its increased availability has lead to the development of three different forms. First is paid syndication. This is what we’ve referred to as contextual marketing in the past. A line or two of text, followed by a link on a targeted site. This is accompanied with a clear call out to the content as sponsored. Next is paid integration. Our most prevalent example here is Buzzfeed. If you visit this site as frequently as I do, you’re familiar with the stories that are presented by a specific company. These companies paid for the piece of coverage appearing in the editorial feed. The third version of native advertising, and the one I’d bet most tech B2B marketers are most familiar with, is paid co-creation. In this instance, advertisers work with publications to generate the content housed on their site. This reminds me most of the eBooks and webinars we’ve used in the past, just served up a little differently.

Now that we know a little more about native advertising, the next logical question is: what’s the impact on earned coverage? If everyone is paying for coverage, will earned suffer? Is it still viable? Will there be any editorial content left that’s not sponsored? It’s enough to give us PR pros serious anxiety. But don’t worry! Our beloved earned media is still alive and well. However, this may lead to a shift that sees paid content and earned content more closely aligned. Combining PR and advertising into one program making your head spin? Makes me think you’d better work with an agency who can offer both. And yes, that was a little shameless self-promotion.

360 Degrees To A Kick-ass Social Media Program

January 28th, 2014 by Janel

kickHave you done a 360 lately? That is, a comprehensive macro view of your social media program. Whether for your own tech B2B business or a client’s, a Social Media 360 can help lift your head up to analyze morphing goals and find out how they line up with a program that drives results.

You may have noticed that social media changes quickly. Where do you and your competitors, and especially your customers and prospects, live in that mix? Are you leveraging emerging channel features? Does your social media program have a direct line to ROI with concrete measurements to track KPIs?

McBru can help you answer these questions with a Social Media 360, a deep analysis uncovering insights that set the foundation for a results-oriented social media program. We zero in on key influencers and conversations that can move your business objectives, and bubble it up to a customized social media marketing playbook.

Social media moves fast, and keeping your program ahead of the curve can be a challenge. Here are three things you can to do bolster your program in 2014:

1. Where do you and your competitors, and especially your customers and prospects, live?

Find or validate the conversations you want to be in to build long-term authenticity. Use your hashtag and influencer search tools. Don’t forget about Google’s Keyword Planner – it does have utility. Discover new or ancillary communities to broaden your reach and influence.

Tweet this: Where are your customers and competitors on #socialmedia? Freshen up your program insights.

2. Are you leveraging emerging channel features? 

It’s no secret that channels are continually evolving, especially with monetization, which is a good thing for B2B marketers—and for customers who want access to products and services. Scan channels for demand gen and CRM options; what mix is the best for achieving your goals? Have you checked out StumbleUpon?

Tweet this: Are you leveraging emerging #socialmedia channel features? Amp up your program and results.

3. Does your social media program have a direct line to ROI with concrete measurements to track KPIs?

This is consistently a leading question and challenge, but it doesn’t need to be difficult if you are deliberate. One key is to determine, right off the top, the metrics that tie back to your business roadmap. Then, find what repeatable and sustainable measurement tools are readily available that accurately report on identified metrics. They’re out there, it’s just harder to plug them in if a results reporting plan is developed after or independent of the program launch. Download this free Social Media ROI Calculator.

Tweet this: Does your #socialmedia program link to #ROI? Download this free Social Media ROI Calculator.

At McBru we love Social Media 360s! 2013 was a great momentum year for building out highly customized social media programs for clients based on their business needs. We’re happy to do the same for you. Let me know how McBru can help at @janelpettit.

LinkedIn Ranked #1 Social Platform for B2B Marketers

January 23rd, 2014 by Taylor

LinkedIn Surpasses YouTubeLinkedIn reigned supreme in 2013. According to Holger Schulze, a B2B content marketing executive, LinkedIn surpassed YouTube as the most influential social media platform. It also saw the highest adoption rate among content marketers this year according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Two factors leading to this development include LinkedIn’s new layout: the site’s professional audience and atmosphere, and targeted advertising options. Company pages are not only a great place to consolidate your company’s information, but a company profile with many followers helps expand the reach of your B2B content.

If your business is thinking about jumping on the LinkedIn bandwagon, follow these steps to create a comprehensive company page:

  1. Company information: Add your company’s description, address and specialties. This section also functions like keyword tags for search purposes.
  2. Cover photo: A cover photo that represents your company is an opportunity to grab your audience’s attention and get more clicks to your page.
  3. Products and services tab: This section gives viewers a snapshot of your company’s offerings. You can also gather recommendations for your products or services to help establish trust and build a strong brand reputation.
  4. Page updates: Create an editorial calendar for updates about your company, industry news, customer testimonials, and other relevant material. Post content on a regular basis to stay top of mind with your followers.
  5. Customer engagement: As with other social media profiles, the key to LinkedIn is to build relationships. Be sure to foster two-way communication with your followers.

If your company has a budget for social media campaigns, LinkedIn offers a compelling advertising program. You can target ads based on job function, which Hewlett Packard used to encourage followers to recommend the company’s products.  In the first two weeks of the campaign, HP gained 2,000 recommendations and later became the first company to reach 1 million followers on the platform.
What B2B marketing strategies have you found successful on LinkedIn?