As social networks continue to explode, there’s been a lot of clamor about the death of traditional marketing techniques.
As social networks continue to explode, there’s been a lot of clamor about the death of traditional marketing techniques. A case in point is a recent Harvard Business Review piece titled, "Marketing is Dead."
The fact is that these death mongers have it backwards. You can’t have a thriving social network without a wide array of tried and true marketing methods--after all, social media mavens aren’t usually “friends” of corporate marketers.
I believe that service and product marketing will always be a necessary component of the suite of B2B marketing methods used by organizations to promote a brand.... In the B2B interaction space of today, you can say that things have become a bit more streamlined. Public relations departments of enterprise-level (and smaller, in fact) businesses reach out to prominent social media influencers with their products; the latter then assess them and decide which ones to circulate favorably among their social networks.
PR people of course have always reached out to influencers to try to get them to endorse a product or service. The difference is that today it’s done via social media and social networks while before it might have been a phone call and print material. In addition influencers can spread a wider net of engagement with your prospects thanks to social networks.
But you will still find much success through using these 5 traditional B2B PR/marketing methods:
1. Content marketing has always been a staple of advertising, especially in this age of search marketing. With the recent changes to search engine algorithms, it’s gained even more importance. Because tech giants like Google do massive research before making such changes, you can rest assured that they recognize the importance of engaging content to the consumer. Content that educates and engages is elevated above content that merely promotes, making the former a more valuable method of B2B and interaction.
2. Content marketing is kind of like the fuel, and social media the engine. One of the most popular and straightforward models of this kind of interaction is product reviews: PR people approach social media influencers with copies of their latest product/service and leave it up to them to assess how good the product is. The initial budget for this is much smaller than widespread marketing, but it is no less essential.
3. Prospects love free stuff, especially if it’s informative and useful. You can employ company social networks, or public ones such as Facebook, to offer free webinars of other speaking engagements, in which you offer something of value, such as how to use popular software. This can not only draw more visitors to your network, but also serves to close ranks with the ones you already have. Indeed, few things engage more than a webinar.
4. Physical conferences, such as trade shows, often attract people with large social networks. With the growing use of tech gadgets like QR codes, they can drop by your company booth and scan the code with their Smartphones to learn all about it. Taking a picture of a well-made booth and sending it via cellular to Facebook, or tweeting about the experience, is yet another important means of social interaction being driven by traditional marketing.
5. Video marketing is gaining steam, and is a preferred method of marketing in many circles already. True, this is not quite traditional marketing but it is an expansion of the old school demo. If your B2B PR efforts embrace this receptive medium, you can take advantage of a video that goes viral, reaching more people in a short span of time than all other forms of marketing combined. As always, though, it takes traditional marketing methods to pitch your video to influencers initially, who may then push it through their abundant social networks.
Richard Bach once said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” From CNN anchors to TNW contributors, those bound by the written word can always benefit from a leg up in the digital age. Here, we give you some of the best apps, tools, and communities for writers and journalists. Whether you’re suffering from writer’s block or en route to becoming the next BBC reporter, we promise: there’s an app for that....
A television commercial is not the right content for social media, and the right content is key says Michael Darragh head of social media at agency Ogilvy Public Relations...
It is the common refrain of PROs frustrated at being engaged, at the eleventh hour, by an advertising agency that has already spent months planning and realising a creative campaign.
When marketers work in isolation they fail to recognise that social media successis built on more than the ability to move quickly. In an integrated marketing communications environment, public relations is depended upon for its expertise in areas such as social media content, online influencer relations, community management and reputation management.
Content is the real driver of conversations in social media. Whether we use social media purposefully or leisurely, each of us is looking for, commenting on, and sharing articles or videos or photos or memes or games. What we are not looking for is television commercials (unless driven by nostalgia or because the advertisement struck a particular chord due to its creativity, innovation, humour or talent). Campaigns developed in isolation or by disciplines that are not accustomed to collaboration can fall into the trap of believing their television commercial is compelling enough content for social media. Or that people will be so moved by their advertising campaign, they will give up their time to create content for a brand, as if everyone of us has the talent and inclination to do so. Ad agencies increasingly work with public relations to create complimentary content that is scaled to suit the audience and able to be shared without losing the message.
As content drives reach, influence drives preference. Influencer relations is heartland territory for public relations and campaigns benefit through early integration. Advertising agencies lean on public relations in this territory lest they fall for the trap of paying a reality television star to Tweet a brand name. Or getting their campaign mentioned on a popular advertising blog. Late engagement at this stage prompts the first point of contact with influencers to be rushed and impersonal, typically offering content of little value, or likely putting strain on relationships that have been established over a prolonged period of time. Influence is about creating memorable brand experiences that move the most influential and relevant people online to want to write and share. Creating such experiences takes careful and deliberate consideration to ensure that every aspect, from the initial approach to setting measurable key performance indicators, is geared towards amplifying the marketing initiative and driving genuine conversation as opposed to reducing the activity to nothing more than a reactive broadcast email shot sent to “friendly bloggers“.
As Facebook has become the default home base of many brand campaigns, there has been some confusion about the role of communities even though they have been a mainstay of the Internet for almost 20 years. To say we “like” something on Facebook is like wearing a badge. The very action of liking something on Facebook communicates a statement to our connections. With rare exceptions, a brand that uses communities to continually promote sales and marketing driven messages will not sustain or grow. Just as nobody would watch a television channel or read a magazine composed entirely of advertising. There needs to be a balance, and that balance demands planning, investment and, above all, listening to what the community is telling you through their words and actions.
If the ongoing confusion about whether social media sits in marketing or communications tells us anything, it is that it belongs in both. PR needs to be integrated with all marketing communications disciplines to deliver comprehensive, business solutions. When that fusion happens the result is great social media
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You think you're being all clever and original with your brand storytelling. In fact, you're not. From Shakespeare to Spielberg to Soderbergh, there are really only seven different types of stories, an Advertising Week panel hosted by TBWA suggested on Wednesday. The challenge becomes finding which one best suits your brand, and then telling it skillfully, believably and—if you're going to invite consumers to join in the story—extremely carefully.
TBWA's global creative president, Rob Schwartz, led the discussion, which was based around author Christopher Booker's contention, in his book Seven Basic Plots, that seven archetypal themes recur in every kind of storytelling. Booker looked at why humans are psychologically programmed to imagine stories this way. Schwartz and his two panelists, Droga5 executive creative director Ted Royer and novelist (and former agency creative) Kathy Hepinstall, focused on how the theory applies to brands—and how creatives can make use of it in developing persuasive stories for them.
Below are the seven basic plots—with examples from art and advertising of stories that fit each one....
Over the past years communication patterns have been changing continuously due to increased public demand for information and knowledge. Numerous social networks and websites have escalated and gained the attention of the academics and practitioners, as well as the business society. Previously scholars researched this field of interest from different perspectives. Thus it could be stated that the emphasis was put on the impact of the certain social media networks in terms of communication strategy. However, no holistic approach has been noticed in regards to why and how companies can use different media simultaneously in order to overcome a crisis situation. This research is aimed at filling the gap within existing literature.
This thesis complements the previous studies and provides a broader understanding upon the role of social media in the crisis communication process by the use of the triangulation method. This approach refers to the implementation of both quantitative and qualitative studies based on a questionnaire addressed to various organisations and by observing the actions taken by the company currently facing the crisis situation. The empirical findings provided concrete data on why companies use social media and how they can be deployed to communicate with the large audience during turbulent times.
The conducted study revealed that even if social media plays an important role in the communication and information sharing, traditional media is still perceived as more trustworthy by the organisations. Therefore, companies in crisis should combine the use of these two kinds of media in their corrective actions taken in order to regain public trust and overcome the crisis.
The power of a good company story is that it inspires, stimulates, connects, provides a context, gives focus and gets people taking action.
We all tell stories or listen to them. For example, when bringing the children to bed, or at parties or commemorations, in the theatre, when we sit around the campfire or at home on the settee, etc. It’s something universal and it’s a part of every culture. Apart from the fact that stories are fun, they also have a function. Aristoteles pointed out that stories enable people to share their own world with others. By sharing events and experiences with others, we imbue life with sense and meaning, which results in bonding taking place and a ‘collective memory’ being created. Add to this all faith-based stories, classic myths and fairy stories, and you have the foundations on which a culture is based.
The business world also has its own stories. For example about the founder of a business, the initial pioneering phase, when new employees start or when employees leave the company, when an important event occurs, as a means of expressing vision and strategy, etc. These stories all contribute to creating and maintaining a company’s culture and image. Because people’s idea of a company is the sum of the personal experiences and stories they hear or read. And these ‘company stories’ can be consciously created, as demonstrated by the following example....
The reported growth of Facebook and Twitter users in China is impressive, but advertisers have reason to be leery of the data...
A new report shows just how porous China’s infamous Great Firewall might be for local Internet users determined to access banned websites. The country’s censors have deemed Facebook (FB) and Twitter unfit for local viewing, but that hasn’t stopped millions of Chinese from using the social-networking services, according to London-based researcher GlobalWebIndex. There are 63.5 million Facebook users in China, up from 7.9 million two years ago, even though Facebook is officially banned there. Twitter has equally impressive numbers, with 35.5 million users in China, triple the amount from 2009.
The new numbers might seem to represent a big win for the U.S. companies. All of a sudden, we no longer should think of China as a big miss for the social-media players. Indeed, the GlobalWebIndex numbers mean that China is Facebook’s third-largest market, behind the U.S. and almost tied with No. 2, Brazil, according to social media research company Socialbakers.
A victory for Chinese net users? Perhaps. GlobalWebIndex acknowledges that there are skeptics who don’t accept its conclusions: “We routinely come across the argument that these sites are blocked in China, and therefore, our figures cannot possibly be correct. However, it only takes a little bit of desk research to discover that what is called the ‘Great Firewall’ is actually much more porous than the Chinese government would like to admit. On closer inspection, Chinese users are using VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), VCN (Virtual Cloud Networks) or connections at work that may be routed internationally. Crucially, this means that users won’t be picked up in analytics and will not register as being in a Chinese location at all!”
Jon Russell, Asia Editor of The Next Web, doesn’t buy GlobalWebIndex’s numbers. He questions the reliability of the London firm’s conclusions because the data come from a survey of 8,000 web users over three years. “Information about Facebook and Twitter are often open to sizeable degrees of error and interpretation, especially when related to China’s murky Internet with VPN connections and censorship,” he writes. “With that in mind, we’d suggest that you treat the GlobalWebIndex figures with more than a healthy dose of skepticism … oh and pour on a tonne of salt for good measure.”
Point—and salt—taken. Even if GlobalWebIndex’s figures are accurate, though, the American social-media companies would be hard-pressed to benefit from the Great Firewall’s failure. Facebook might have 63.5 million users today in China, but would-be advertisers need to be wary about how long the country’s cybercops might allow such an egregious breach in the Great Firewall.
China’s censors are notoriously fickle: Sometimes they ease up and sometimes they crack down, often based on the state of Sino-U.S. relations or other political factors. Over 63 million Chinese are getting around the Great Firewall, according to GlobalWebIndex, but what happens if the censors turn things up a notch to retaliate against an American snub? Or suppose they get embarrassed by the attention the GlobalWebIndex report receives and decide to take action against censorship dodgers? That 63.5-million market could shrink fast.
Yes, I understand that these Facebook users have also demonstrated they can quickly adapt to measures taken by the Great Firewall. Still, the cat-and-mouse game is not likely to appeal to advertisers. Moreover, if Chinese are getting around the Great Firewall via connections that make it seem they are somewhere other than China, censors probably aren’t the only ones that end up confused.
Advertisers might have difficulty targeting ads for them, since it’s unclear where the Internet users really are. Social-media companies that want to take advantage of the world’s largest Internet market can’t build a China business based on breaches in the Great Firewall.
From each region you're targeting, recruit guest bloggers who can provide local insights you can’t provide yourself. This is especially important if you decide to set up a separate blog for each language or region that you're targeting. This will keep the content on your blog fresh and varied, as well as relevant to your local audience. In addition, along with guest bloggers comes inbound links from global domain extensions, giving your global blogs an SEO boost.
4) Post Relevant Content
Make sure you're either on top of the hot topics and sensitive issues in each of your target markets, or you hire someone to specialize in each market. In addition, make sure you’re only posting content that's relevant for each specific audience.
5) Use High-Quality Images Wherever Possible
Remember: An image doesn’t need a translation. Visuals are much easier for international audiences to understand, especially if you’re not creating separate profiles for each region or language. They also happen to drive engagement.
6) Understand Color Connotations
Figure out what certain colors mean in different countries before designing your blog and social media profiles.
7) Link All Your Social Channels Together
Your ultimate goal of participating in social media is likely to drive traffic back to your website so you can convert those visitors into leads. If that's the case, you'll want to make it as easy as possible to direct your social media fans and followers back to your website where those conversions can take place. Therefore, make sure you link to the appropriate blog/website within each social media account's About Us or URL sections..."