Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Can You Beat the Algorithm? Take the Retweet Quiz and Find Out

Monday, July 14th, 2014

retweetWhat’s it take to get retweeted on Twitter? Three computer scientists decided to find out. They created an algorithm that sorts through flows of social media data to determine which of paired tweets (i.e., “two tweets about the same link sent by the same person”) is more likely to be retweeted. The scientists wanted to find out if certain word patterns, phrase lengths, vocabulary choices and other content variables were predictive for which of two tweets on the same subject by the same writer would be retweeted more often.

After running through some 11,000 pairs of tweets, the algorithm got pretty good at predicting which tweet is more retweetable. Pretty good, but not outstanding. According to the New York Times, the algorithm “can guess which tweet gets retweeted about 67 percent of the time, beating humans, who on average get it right only 61 percent of the time.”
The Times developed a 25-question quiz Can You Tell What Makes a Good Tweet? to measure whether humans can beat big data analytics when it comes to guessing which tweets get retweeted. Take the quiz and see how you perform against the algorithm.

Tweet this: Can you beat an algorithm at picking top retweets? nyti.ms/1pXx7zK via @m_sendhil Take the quiz and find out

So, if an algorithm can predict retweeting patterns, can we use its insights to write better tweets (assuming that retweeted tweets were better, more engagingly written)? Well, not so much.

The study found that asking for what you want is a good strategy: People are very suggestible. Using the words “retweet” and “please” in tweets resulted in more retweets. Using unusual or novel words or phrases also seemed to be predictive of retweeting. However, once you start reusing attention-grabbing language, it quickly becomes less so: “Once an algorithm finds those things that draw attention and starts exploiting them, their value erodes. When few people do something, it catches the eye; when everyone does it, it is ho-hum.”

It seems that longer tweets are more likely to be retweeted than shorter tweets. Of course, given that this is Twitter, you can push length only so far. And don’t start maximizing tweet lengths with the expectation that you’ll automatically get retweeted more often. The upshot is that longer tweets have more content, and more content is more interesting than less content, so content-rich tweets will get retweeted more often. “So the lesson is not ‘make your tweets longer’ but ‘have more content,’ which is far harder to do.”

Turns out that there’s no secret formula for writing tweets that succeed in getting retweeted. Instead, write creatively about interesting content and you’ll get retweeted more often. That may seem apparent, but writing good tweets takes time, wit, and attention to detail to get right. If you want to win at the retweeting game, then you need to bring your A-game.

Let us know how you did on the quiz – and tell us if you have advice on writing tweets that get retweeted.

What You Need to Know Now About LinkedIn Showcase Pages

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

With the recent removal of the LinkedIn Products & Services tab from Company Pages, it’s time for businesses to switch gears to the newly minted Showcase Page format. Showcase Pages are an extension of a LinkedIn Company Page that allows a business to promote specific products or services to a targeted buyer persona.  LinkedIn users can follow a Showcase Page without following the business’s Company Page. This allows business to promote for and cater to multiple audiences through up to 10 Showcase Pages.

IBM Big Data & Analytics Showcase Page shares visual content daily with an audience of 12,700 followers.

IBM Big Data & Analytics Showcase Page shares visual content daily with an audience of 12,700 followers.

Another reason for B2B brands to consider moving to LinkedIn Showcase Pages is the dwindling performance on Facebook Company Pages due to algorithm changes driving down news feed visibility. Janel Pettit, McBru’s social media manager, notes, “It’s a valid conversation to have with clients. Step back and consider your marketing objectives and how they align with Facebook as a social channel. Does the client want to build a Facebook community with an active user or affinity group? Can the client tag business partners with strong Facebook communities to grow its audience organically? If not, pay-for-play advertising on Facebook is the most legitimate option to reach a vast consumer base. The alternative is to consider reallocating your focus to a LinkedIn Showcase Page keeping in mind the platform’s lead generation features.”

IBM has a series of Showcase Pages dedicated to different market segments. You can see IBM’s list of Showcase Pages in the right hand column of its Company Page.

IBM has a series of Showcase Pages dedicated to different market segments. You can see IBM’s list of Showcase Pages in the right hand column of its Company Page.

IBM has a Showcase Page about cloud computing and another about Big Data and Analytics. By having different Showcase Pages for each business unit, brand, product, or initiative, users can chose what topics they want to follow. LinkedIn also provides dedicated analytics for each Showcase Page, which allows businesses to drill down into each of the buyer personas. By keeping content focused, personal and visual, a Showcase Page can drive high engagement and impressions.

In my next blog, I will share five easy steps for building and maintaining a LinkedIn Showcase Page. Has your business made the transition?

360 Degrees To A Kick-ass Social Media Program

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

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

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

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?

Chinese Fortune Cookies, Social Media and Tech B2B Marketing

Friday, December 27th, 2013

fortune-cookieLove them or hate them, the delivery of fortune cookies at the end of your Chinese food meal creates excitement about what’s inside.

You may not ever eat the cookie, but the fortune may earn a spot on your fridge or pinned to a bulletin board with the date scribbled in the corner.

Will your fortune allude to a possible new love interest?
Is a promotion on the horizon?
Will it finally convince you to book that tropical vacation you’ve been daydreaming about?
Or maybe it holds the winning lottery numbers on the flip side?

There is a tradition of reading them out loud and hearing others – does it fit them? Who got the best one? And who read theirs with a funny phrase at the end, causing the party to erupt in laughter?

I bet we can all agree the shared experience and commentary is the best part.

Whether you eat the cookie or not, the fortune inside, if it speaks to your life, gives you a sense of jubilation that your “fortune” was true.

You’re probably wondering why I’m going on and on about fortune cookies. For the record, I do like to eat them and read them out loud.

I see a lot of parallels between the fortune cookie “tradition” and social media for tech B2B companies.

Those who share—using social media, or any medium for that matter—to enrich the experiences of others, will progress in their goals of success and influence. A Forbes article included a few of these things in its “25 Things Influential People Do” list.

The stories and messages that humanize a person or company brand, and allow us to relate – giving us a shared experience – will be the “fortunes” that are pinned to walls and revisited for years to come.

fortune-cookie

Some of us love social media and eagerly consume, and contribute to it, all day long.
There can be anticipation of what lies within our news feed.

Or maybe that’s just me – I could be more than slightly addicted to staying connected with my network.

Is there happy news about a friend who got engaged?
Perhaps a funny annotated image of a cat pestering a dog?
Or devastating news about a tragedy unfolding in another part of the world?

And what will each you and I contribute to the conversation that day?

Just like in the physical world, the most impactful moments are those in which we are engaged and relate to others, not just passively observing and moving along to the next thing.

Can you imagine someone refusing to read his or her fortune at the table? That certainly would dampen the mood and experience.

The same is true for social media within tech B2B. The more involved a company or organization can be in social media – truly engaging, relating and sharing with others, the richer the experience and brand perception rewards will be.

Sure, there are times the fortune is totally off or just plain dumb. And that holds true for social media as well. Despite days when my feed is littered with posts, stories and videos I couldn’t care less about, I still like to be involved and participate. Perhaps a “like” here and there on those days.

So, how are you sharing your stories, and engaging with others’ stories on social media? Which platform(s) do you prefer – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram?

And don’t forget: next time you get Chinese food, be sure to share your fortunes out loud with your fellow diners. And if yours doesn’t fit, maybe you can give it to your friend.

Fortune Cookie designed by Ben Hantoot from the Noun Project

Is 2014 the Year of Social Media for B2B Marketers?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

social-mediaConventional wisdom tells us that utilizing social media for B2B marketers is not a strategic initiative. The overarching opinion is that social media is for consumers and those that market directly to that audience.

Interestingly, a recent eConsultancy survey found that 67% of marketing decision makers agreed that social media is integral to their marketing mix (and only 11% disagreed).

That being said, social media marketing has had a tremendous impact on many aspects of our lives, from daily relations to our business practices. And as the lines between personal and professional lives blur, social media marketing can add to the client relationship. At the end of the day, it is still important for any marketer to be listening to the digital conversations that are taking place about a company’s brand, service and competitors. The real value, however, comes with going beyond listening to engaging with customers. There are three tactics that really underscore the need for B2B marketers to implement social media as part of their integrated marketing plan.

  1. Responsiveness.  In order to retain customer loyalty and retention, it is critical for a company to monitor and respond to customer questions.
  2. 3rd Party Validation.  Social media can turn good customer service and listening into great marketing. It can also create authentic customer referrals and testimonials on your company’s behalf.
  3. ROI.  Running an efficient social media program can impact the bottom line.  Seventy percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated, according to an ExactTarget report.

2014 could be the year that B2B social media will start to see its potential. With B2B social media marketing, you have to remember that the universe is smaller and success in B2B looks different. It’s also important to remember the purchasing lifecycles are much longer. Rolling out new accounting software to 20 countries is much different than purchasing a new smartphone. It means you need to build trust in the social media channels beyond the face-to-face time you have with customers.

What social media channel do you think gets the most B2B play?

Chirp Loud, Chirp Proud: Strategically Tweeting

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

birdSocial media has become a substantial part of marketing in today’s world. Social media can provide many beneficial outcomes from a marketing standpoint, anywhere from increasing brand awareness to building key relationships needed for the success of the company. According to All Twitter, 87 percent of B2B marketers now are strategically using social media, with 85 percent using Twitter. With that being said, just because a business has a Twitter account does not ensure that it is an aid to its marketing efforts. Here are some tips to more effectively utilize Twitter and to generate more strategic Tweets.

It isn’t all about you. It is very easy to get caught up in self-promotion, but posting content other than “Me Tweets” can be wildly beneficial. Reading tweet after tweet by a handle who’s writing about themselves and nothing else doesn’t hold the interest of followers. That does not mean you need to avoid writing tweets entirely about yourself, but engaging in what others are saying helps to build and nurture relationships. Follow your followers, connect with key influencers in the industry, and engage with them. Additionally, this is a place where you can be a thought leader, starting conversations or introducing topics that get others talking. This will keep users interested in what you have to say.

Be proactive. On the other hand, one can easily form a tendency towards reactive tweeting, only tweeting in response to a complaint, comment, or question from another. Don’t get me wrong, responding to others is part of the active engagement that helps build relationships. Think about it this way, how would you feel about looking at a Twitter user’s account, and seeing that he or she only responds to others, without ever posting original content? This may be rather boring, therefore you probably aren’t going to go look at that handle’s content regularly. Instead, be proactive. Be bold. Be a leader. Make others react to what you’re saying. This will bring much more attention to you than if you were solely the reactor all of the time, and will keep people wondering what you will talk about next.

Be in the know. You can tweet all day and all night, but if it is on content that no one is interested in, it won’t necessarily be helpful. This is where a bit of research can help. Search to discover what is trending, and what hot topics people are really talking about. This will help you to build content that will gain attention, and be current and in real time. Going hand in hand with knowing what’s trending is using rich and appropriate hash tags in your posts. Hash tags are meant to help broaden your reach, and help your post to be more searchable. Therefore, hash tagging something such as #ournetworkrocks won’t help much, as most people aren’t going to search that phrase. If you hash tag something more specific or relevant to what people are talking about or the content you are posting, this will increase your reach and the number of people who will see your tweet.

Tweeting smartly can greatly benefit your marketing efforts. As B2B marketers, we see the copious amounts of social media resources that we can harness. With that being said, if we don’t approach these social media platforms strategically, their impact will be minimal. So even as tweeting may seem simple and straightforward, being engaging, proactive, and putting a little legwork into research will go a long way to help to utilize Twitter to your benefit.

Bird designed by Jennifer Gamboa from The Noun Project

The Social Trade Show

Friday, September 27th, 2013

trade-showI recently finished reading The Social Trade Show by Traci Browne to share learnings with our client in our quarterly planning and review meeting. We have the opportunity to drive engagement with our client’s audiences via social media and onsite event management. A powerful combination! I enjoyed this book because it reinforced some notions I had about the synchronistic nature of these two marketing streams, and I also learned new strategies and tactics we can propose in Q4.

  1. A vast number of your current and prospect customers, and trade show attendees, are on social media. Utilize social media (multiple channels – not just Twitter) to start promoting your presence at an upcoming event when the event organizers begin their promotions. Go beyond self promotion. Post about exciting keynote sessions, lunch-and-learns, and industry partners who will participate. Call out specific individuals you’re excited to see onsite. Prime the pump to ensure your audiences come to your booth!
  2. Think about your booth as an event. Post an agenda on your website that includes what you are doing each day at your booth throughout the show and include the link in tweets.  Amplify what you have going on at the show via social; don’t forget to include the event handle, hashtag and your booth number.
  3. Your goal at an event is almost always to generate leads, sales or sign contracts with customers. Optimize for quality of booth visitor over quantity. Draw qualifieds through hands-on demo products, hosting an industry expert for a Q&A session at your booth, and handing out exclusive content pieces only available at your booth.
  4. Remember: not all your qualified leads are onsite; some may be tuning in from a few hundred or thousand miles away. Engage these prospects using your social media channels – share relevant and valuable information in real time (tweet key points of the main stage keynote; blog a recap of a valuable lunch training) and make your collateral and content pieces easy for virtual attendees to view and download.

One of the most important tips to an effective and successful virtual trade show is to provide content – onsite and online – that is going to help your prospects learn something new about your product or service; teach them something they can use in their personal or business life; and open new networking opportunities. Make it fun and useful and you’ll win a customer and online follower for life.

Top 3 Quick Tips for Better Social Media Engagement

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Here at McBru, our clients often ask, “How do I engage my brand on social media channels?” As B2B marketers, we constantly evaluate the abundance of social media resources we have at hand. We sift through to apply the right strategy and channels for client business objectives and goals.

And while the social media landscape is always evolving and the answer to the engagement question depends on many variables, a few overall best practices come to mind and apply to all of our social media campaigns.

Here are my “Top 3 Quick Tips” for engaging an audience in social media:

1. Listen.

Keep calm and listen

To understand how to reach your core audiences, you have to understand what your customers, competitors, critics, and supporters say about you.

There are a number of social media measurement and listening tools out there. Some of the most useful also happen to be free:

2. Build Community.

Build community

To succeed in today’s connected world, you need to build a community around your company, brand, and products. One of the easiest ways to do this is to follow companies, people and brands with similar interests.

It’s also important to engage with followers. It helps boost overall following and builds good relationships within your social media community. Followers will thank you for following back—an easy first opportunity for you to talk to them and learn more about who they are and their needs.

3. Be Visual.

Be visual

As trite as it is, a picture really does say a thousand words. Using photos and videos is probably the strongest way to connect with your social media community.  Networks like Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter are great places to socialize your photos.

Another option is to crowdsource your visual assets. Although it takes more time to manage the crowd with structure and rules, the diversity and things you can learn from the photos that come in may surprise you, inspire you, or give you unexpended insights.

Following these three tips won’t replace a comprehensive social media strategy. But they will guide you overall in how to approach the task, no matter what specific tools and channels you plan to use.

Listen. Build community. Be visual.

If you had to expand my list to five or ten tips, what else would you add?

Social Media As Customer Hotline

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Emergency phone iconB2B and B2C marketers know the impact social media platforms have to bolster their campaigns, disseminate brand message, raise awareness and increase customer engagement. Social media has given a powerful voice and ample leverage to the customer. Savvy marketers are leaning in to maximize the engagement and grow, and keep, loyal customers.

A recent study by Simply Measured, found that 99% of brands are on Twitter and 30% have a dedicated customer service handle. This is great news!

As more people turn to their smartphones and computers to tell the world how they feel about a brand – the good and the bad – there has never been a more important time for companies to be present on social media to listen to, and engage, their customers. The survey indicated that for those companies that are on Twitter, most have room to improve their responsiveness and engagement with customers: 10% respond to a customer tweet within an hour, and 93% answered within 48 hours. The average was a 5.1-hour lag-time.

Whether your company has a dedicated customer service-oriented Twitter/Facebook resource, or uses the company’s corporate account, here are a few things to consider that can bring you closer to your customers, and vice versa:

  1. Respond in times of crisis. If your company/product/service is experiencing a significant problem that impacts your customers, consider the simple and scalable opportunity social media provides to update your customers on the issue; assure them that it’s being resolved; and instruct them on how you are accommodating customers in the meantime. While major crisis situations may not allow for individual responses, there is still benefit in providing real-time, broadcast updates via social media.
  2. Listen, learn and implement customer feedback. By actively listening to customers on social media platforms, smart marketers can get a sense for which company/product/service messages, features, campaigns are resonating, or not, and make adjustments – large and small. Actively respond to customers so they know you’re listening, and express sincere appreciation for feedback and remain humble at all times—never defensive. Most people are acutely aware of spin.
  3. Respond quickly – within an hour. Have a dedicated resource to monitor and respond to customer tweets, posts and comments, ideally within an hour of posting. This can help your company demonstrate, through its actions, a true dedication to customer service.
  4. Close the loop. To truly maximize the ROI of social media listening, nurturing and engagement, connect your social media team with customer support, the product/service development team and marketing. Run periodic analyses of your social media activities – what are customers saying, who are they, is their feedback changing over time and in what way? This ensures everyone is in the loop and the company can continue to evolve its products/services and related messages to meet customer need/demand.

Having a company presence on social media doesn’t have to take a million hours to maintain; be smart about the resources you have available and do what you can to nurture your customers, so many of whom spend significant time on social media. The payoff could be building a more loyal, vocal customer base.


Emergency Phone designed by Kenneth Appiah from The Noun Project