B2B Social Media Strategies to Help You Truly Thrive

When you read up on social media strategies, you’re quite likely to find that a large proportion of available information is geared very much towards B2C companies (business to consumer). It’s all about ‘letting your fans get to know you’, about ‘sharing the latest trending content’ and about ‘engaging with your audience’. This is all great but if you’re selling accounting services to small businesses, does sharing cat videos really have the same value? If you provide legal advice to managers dealing with immigration, is it really appropriate to Tweet about that chicken sandwich you ate earlier?

Of course B2B companies operate on a very different basis to B2C and as such, it’s crucial to take a very different approach to marketing. In this article, we’ll be looking at some of those differences and we’ll be providing crucial tips that can help any B2B organization to get noticed on social media…

Finding Your Target Audience

While there are some differences between B2B and B2C social media, there are also some similarities. One similarity for instance is that in both scenarios, you are going to be thinking about who you are targeting with your content which means you need to know who your target demographic is.

If you were selling footballs, your target demographic would likely be young men. But as you’re selling business services or supplies, your target demographic will be some kind of business. Identify the niche that that business is in and then you can find some ‘routes to market’.

A route to market is simply a straight forward means for you to reach your target audience. When it comes to social media marketing, the main route to market will likely be groups and communities on Facebook and Google Plus among other channels. Join some industry groups then and try to get yourself known there.

Establishing Authority and Providing Value

Another tip is to use these routes to market as a way to promote yourself and to help companies learn about who you are and what you do. In other words, don’t just post adverts and links to your checkout page right away – spend some time first answering questions, discussing relevant topics and generally getting to a point where visitors:

  1. Recognize your name

And

  1. Trust your opinion and expertise

This will help you greatly when it comes to subsequent marketing and you’ll find that your audience are thus much more responsive when you promote offers and items.

Reaching ‘Decision Makers’

But when you do promote, it’s important not to focus only on the businesses you’re targeting but also on the key players within those businesses. In other words, you want to ensure that your messages reach the ‘decision makers’ who have the ability to hire your services on behalf of the organization.

One way to do this is through Facebook advertising, which allows you to target people by job description. This way you can ensure that your ads are going out only to ‘managers’ for instance so that you aren’t wasting your money.

Also useful to use is LinkedIn where you can additionally see users’ job descriptions, place of work and other relevant information. LinkedIn even lets you message people who you share contacts with which gives you the option to try direct marketing if you should so wish.

Influencer Marketing and Partnerships

Another crucial strategy for businesses, is to leverage Digital marketing agency. This basically means that you’ll be working with other brands and businesses to promote your own products and services. Specifically, you want to try and reach the ‘influencers’ who already have large audiences of their own that you can reach. LinkedIn helps you to do this and even marks people as ‘influencers’ if they have a lot of clout (of course you can also use the tool Klout for this same purpose).

And it’s not just influencers you can work with either. Promote businesses with services that are complementary to your own and ask them to do the same. So if you’re a plumber, why not ask a local electrician to give you a shout out in return for you doing the same? This is a free form of promotion that can result in immediate clients.

Networking

Note that many of these strategies will be much more effective if you also put some work into your networking. This means building your list of contacts and your own influence over time.

One of the best ways to do this? To network in the real world. That way you can then legitimately ask to add the people you meet on LinkedIn and Facebook. Make sure that you attend networking events and conferences and make it easy for your clients to add you on social media too. Rapportive is also an excellent tool for turning e-mail contacts into LinkedIn connections.

How to Get Rid of Google Analytics Referral Spam

How to Get Rid of Google Analytics Referral Spam (It Really Works!)

Referral spam is annoying.

You head onto your Google Analytics account to see how many people viewed your site yesterday and you see the number ‘300’. Not bad!

Then you check out your referrals. Exciting news! Several of those hits came from entirely new sites! These are inbound links that you’ve never heard of before!

So presumably, that means that someone has stumbled upon your site, decided they like it and then added a link to their own site to share it with their readers. It’s great news because it’s flattering, meaning that all your hard work hasn’t been for nothing and it means you’re generating more new traffic than before. Finally, everything you’ve done is paying off!

So excitedly, you click on one of those referrals to see what they’ve been saying about you.

Aaaand you get taken to some random website you’ve never seen before.

And there’s no mention of you there.

And your shoulders slump.

Oh.

This is referral spam. It’s mean and vindictive and it inflates your data. So what’s going on? And what can you do to stop it? Let’s take a look.

What is Referral Spam?

Referral spam is fake traffic from fake referrers. While those referrers vary greatly, commonly they include the likes of ‘Semalt.com’ and ‘buttons-for-website.com’. These are just a few of the common ones but there are millions and sometimes you can end up flooded with this traffic.

So where is this Referral Spam coming from?

The answer is ‘bots’. These are scripts written by coders and designed to read and edit the internet on their behalf on an automated basis. Not all bots are ‘bad’ – Google uses bots to index the web for instance. But the bad bots are very annoying because they are capable of doing so much work in a short space of time. These malicious bots are called ‘spam bots’.

Some of these spam bots don’t visit your website at all. These simply add content to your Analytics account and the reason for this is that they want you to click the link and visit their site. It’s lame but presumably it must work some of the time or they wouldn’t exist. Some of these bots though are apparently just ‘sport’ in the same way that graffiti is presumably rewarding…

The other type of spam bot does visit your site. They might be there to set up fake accounts, to index your site or to do something else and they leave a trail, which is what you’re now seeing. These are more dangerous as they may well be destructive for your website and even compromise your security.

How to Fix Referral Spam?

So that’s the problem… what’s the solution?

The good news is that Google says it’s looking into a global solution for spam bots on analytics, so this may one day be a thing of the past with no work necessary on your side.

Meanwhile, there are some things you can do. Unfortunately, because every spam bot is different, not every solution is going to work in every situation. And more unfortunately still, some of the advice given to webmasters – such as editing htaccess – can actually have negative repercussions.

So what can you do in a few steps that will get good results across the board?

One thing to do is to tick the ‘Filter Known Bots & Spiders’ checkbox on analytics. This will get rid of some of the known bots and spiders, including the ‘good bots’. They’re still there, you just won’t see them in your data.

To get rid of the rest, you want to create a separate view with a filter. This way you’ll have access to both data sets. Create an advanced segment and this will let you see your historical data with the filter applied too.

For those bots that never actually visit your site, one option is to filter by Hostname. Go to Audience > Technology > Network and then choose ‘Hostname’ as primary dimension. Now note down the valid host names – like translate.google.com or web.archive.org. Now add these to your regex and you’ll filter by those domains only.

Now to get rid of the bots that do actually visit your site, look for a common ‘footprint’. For instance, go to Audience > Technology > Network Domain and you’ll be able to see the ISP your visitors use when visiting your site. Most will have recognized brands such as Comcast, Verizon or perhaps .edu addresses.

But non-human users will be using things like cloud service providers and Tier 1 telecoms. You can also sort the list by bounce rate to see those fake network domains (like ‘Googlebot’) that don’t spend any time on your site.

Now just look at those that bounce immediately and put them in a regex expression.

And there you have it, problem (mostly) solved!

If you need more help getting set up, then be sure to get in touch and we’ll gladly discuss how we can help!

The Drawbacks of Using Social Media Tools

Social media tools are big business online at the moment.

Tools like HootSuite, BuzzSumo, TweetDeck, Likealyzer, BrandWatch, Rapportive, IFTTT, Buffer , Lumen 5 and many more are all enjoying big success and for good reason.

Simply put, these are apps that allow users to greatly expand their social media efforts – reaching bigger audiences with more relevant content while spending less time and effort putting in the work.

But while social media tools certainly have their advantages, they also have a few drawbacks and downsides.

If you’re relying on all these different tools and services, then it’s important that you recognize these flaws to ensure that you’re still making the most out of your social media account.

Just as computers haven’t completely replaced the pen and paper, there is still definitely a time and a place for manually checking your social media accounts and for updating them manually yourself.

Read on to find out why that is and what you need to be aware of when using this software.

Force Multipliers and Errors in Social Media Tools

At their most fundamental level, things like IFTTT are force multipliers.

What’s that you ask? Basically, a force multiplier is anything that takes the effort you put in and then provides more benefit and output that you would normally get from it.

The most basic example of this is a hammer which takes the force you apply to a nail with your hand and then amplifies it greatly.

IFTTT is the same because it lets you update one account and instantly update all the others too.

An even more extreme version of force multiplication is automation – which provides lots of output with zero input.

So how is this a bad thing?

Well, the problem with amplifiers is that they don’t only amplify the good work and the positive input – they also amplify mistakes making them much more crucial.

Miss a nail with your fist and nothing bad happens.

Miss it with your hammer and you crush a finger.

Likewise, if you make a mistake when typing up a post on Buffer, it won’t just show up on one account but instead on all of them.

If you’ve set up content to appear automatically, you may find that this can go wrong and flood all your accounts with nonsense content!

Separation

What’s more, using tools like this can take away your incentive to check your account manually. This means that if you have made a mistake that’s appearing on all your accounts automatically, you might not notice it for months! The same goes for comments – if you somehow miss one and don’t check your account in person, you can end up losing that opportunity to build your relationship with clients and fans.

Lack of Inspiration

The other big risk with automating all of your social media efforts is it can end up feeling a bit cold and lifeless. Say you write 50 posts on Buffer and schedule them to appear over the next few weeks. This now means you’ll have a steady flow of content and you’ll have saved yourself lots of time. But it also means that if something big happens in the news, you might not comment on it. Also means that when you have a funny moment, you might not tweet about it. And while you’ll be sharing the best and the most popular content from BuzzSumo, that’s not the same as finding things that you have discovered yourself and that are specifically tailored to your audience. It’s about like films and computer games that you suspect are designed based solely on market research and focus groups. They tick all the boxes of a ‘hit’ but somehow they lack the soul and the imagination of those real runaway successes. Some tools even let you automatically respond to comments and suffice to say that these responses tend to sound robotic and lifeless at best. This results in a situation where your fans will basically feel as though they’re speaking to a robot – not very inspiring!

A Juggling Act

And finally, if you use too many Social Media tools, you can end up actually creating more work for yourself. Sure, these various apps are doing lots of work for you – but you still need to sign into all of them from time to time, to remember your password, to remember that uploading a post to WordPress automatically Tweets it which automatically shares it to your Facebook page… Of course you have to pay for all this stuff too! A lot of these tools are free but for the more premium features you will end up paying which can all get a bit expensive after a while. So think carefully before you sign up to yet another online account! And while you’re at it, consider actually logging into Facebook once in a while too