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Amplify & Engage: The Role of Social Media in B2B Marketing

By Johanna Bauman, VP, Marketing Communications, PubMatic

Social media is one of those underrated tools marketers could de-prioritize during busy seasons, only to realize the impact later. At PubMatic, we have been steadily investing in our social media strategies over the past couple of years and have seen growth from our efforts.


Message Amplification

For PubMatic, social media plays a supporting role in all of our marketing efforts and campaigns. With every new piece of content, event activation, research, or press release, we employ a social media promotion strategy to drive additional traffic to the website and amplify the message we are putting in market.

It is important to keep in mind that social media is one piece of the greater marketing strategy. In isolation, it can have limited success, particularly for B2B communications. We use social media to keep recent content in front of our target audience but there is additional support in newsletters, sponsored articles and more. To reach an effective frequency and generate true interest in the topics, we have found content needs to be presented multiple times through various channels.


Audience Engagement

Social platforms provide businesses with an opportunity to build connections with various audiences. This is as true for B2B companies as it is for B2C organizations, though the tactics employed may be different.

We have found that the types of content that receive the most engagement across all social channels are company culture posts (everyone likes to see the positive things going on in an organization, which serves as a great recruiting tool) and our published research or reports. When we produce evergreen content that educates the reader, it has a longer shelf-life and with fresh posts, over time, it remains relevant and attractive.

We have also seen great success in engaging clients and partners through hosted Twitter chats, where we gather experts to educate the market on a meaty or complex topic or to increase engagement with a piece of content. For example, last year we held one Twitter chat with our own internal experts on an Auction Dynamics white paper we released as well as one with two other partners of ours about the value of open source wrapper solutions.


Employee Engagement

This year, we did some research that showed the value of increasing the reach of company content through employee promotion. Given that every person has a unique network they engage with (ideally within the industry they work), it is invaluable to have employees share and recommend company content. This gives their followers a chance to receive helpful resources and raise their awareness of PubMatic’s brand and messaging.

We recently conducted an internal competition to encourage employee engagement with our social posts. This not only helped increase the exposure of our content, but it also encouraged more employees to engage with the content itself.

For PubMatic, social is an important part of our marketing and PR strategy. We look forward to continued growth and invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn so you can stay up-to-date with what we are doing.


Johanna Bauman is a marketer and business strategist focused on driving successful B2B marketing programs. As Vice President of Marketing Communications at PubMatic, she is responsible for the ideation, development, and execution of all integrated communications and corporate marketing programs. Before joining PubMatic, Johanna served as VP of Product Marketing at digital media company CPXi. Johanna is a native New Yorker and earned her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA in Marketing, Strategy and Finance from NYU Stern School of Business.

What Does IGTV Mean for Marketers?

By Jaclyn Crawford, Content Marketing Manager at CraftJack & ImproveNet

If you’re a marketer, you are probably already aware that video is a must in your strategy. We’re seeing new moves and changes in video constantly. In fact, 81% of businesses are now using video for marketing, according to HubSpot. If you’re in the 19% that hasn’t started using video, now is the time―it’s more important than ever.

Instagram recognizes this, too. In June, Instagram TV (IGTV) was announced, allowing content creators to connect with their audience through longer form video and literally turning things around by allowing for a vertical viewing format. This is the opposite of how online video has been filmed in the past, where you turn the phone around to view horizontal content. IGTV has made it even easier to connect with creators, too. You can access channels from people you already follow, unlike YouTube where growing a subscriber base can be difficult for those just starting out.

So, what does IGTV mean for marketers? Learning to leverage this new feature has been a hot topic since the latest announcement. If you’re looking to drive engagement, it’s time to take a closer look.

  1. First, it’s a chance to connect with your existing Instagram audience easily, with videos that share long-form stories about what your business is all about. Content creators are no longer constrained to the 15-second time limit or the raw footage from a live stream. Long-form videos are a new way to connect with the audience who’s already enjoying your content.
  2. Second, it’s a great way to get in on the ground floor of something new and engage with your Instagram audience. If you've been hesitant to start video marketing because YouTube is oversaturated, IGTV is a way you can produce quality video content and get it seen by people who want to see it. By getting a head start now, you'll be able to grow with this new feature as it changes, rather than conform to the boundaries of other platforms.
  3. Third, it’s a new tactic to add to your social media or content strategy for 2019. As IGTV is still brand new, start brainstorming now to boost your video engagement. If there’s a new series or style of video you want to try, IGTV will allow for that creativity. Episodic content is what consumers are looking for―why not try it out on IGTV? You can even embrace the vertical video style to film video with candor and continue to build your brand’s relationship with your audience. It will add a fresh perspective to your content plan in 2019.

IGTV means more opportunities for marketers to take advantage of what we already know is working: video. For those just starting out with their video strategy or marketers who have been doing video for years, it's a chance to better connect with your audience and build your brand even further. Give IGTV a shot and see where it takes you!


Jaclyn Crawford is the content marketing manager at CraftJack and ImproveNet. Prior to her current role, she worked as the social media specialist at Moody Bible Institute and managing editor at Forefront Magazine. Her freelance writing has appeared on Like A Local, Krrb.com, and Yarnprenur. When she's not writing, she enjoys going on walks with her dog Sundae and crocheting.

An Introduction to Influencer Marketing

By Nikkole Couture, AVP, Product Management, Digital Media Solutions

Whether you realize it or not, influencers are all around us. They fill our Instagram feeds, they influence what fills our newsfeed on Facebook, and they drive the links that go viral. And influencer marketing―the powerful combination of influential individuals on social platforms and great content―is being embraced with increasing frequency by companies around the world.

So just what is influencer marketing? Put simply, it’s a form of marketing focused on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. Marketers identify individuals who have influence over potential buyers, and orient marketing activities around these influencers to amplify their message to the wider target audience.

When it comes to promoting and marketing products and services, we used to rely on one-way communication and advertising to our target audiences across radio, newspapers, and television. But today, it’s a conversation―not an ad―that will drive buyers to take action. And that conversation, especially on social media, all comes back to influential individuals who have the power to amplify a message and move others to take action.

At its core, there are two key principles to understanding influencer marketing: influence and amplification.


Influence

How we research and buy products has changed dramatically with the advent of social media. People will trust a review or a comment by an influential stranger more than they will trust an ad from a company―in fact, 61% of consumers rely on social media as the most important source of information when shopping.

Who are those influential strangers? Anyone―and everyone―can be an influencer: journalists, bloggers, analysts, investors, customers, subject matter experts, rock stars, moms, and even you. But regardless of their background or the platform on which they post, all influencers have the following four characteristics in common:

  • Trust – an influencer is someone people trust, whose content and comments are perceived as honest and genuine.
  • Expertise – an influencer is someone known to have expertise and credibility on a given topic.
  • Impact – influencers are people with the power to drive others to take action, the impact to shape the purchasing decisions of others.
  • Reach – on a given network or across multiple platforms, an influencer is someone with greater-than-average reach in a given market.

What is important for marketers to bear in mind is the interplay of these four characteristics in a successful influencer marketing campaign. Without reach, you won’t get the amplification you need. Without expertise, you lose the audience’s trust and limit the impact of the campaign as a whole.


Amplification

According to research by the Boston Consulting Group, one influencer who shares content can generate as much as eight times his or her own consumption through their advocacy. With the shift in how we make purchasing decisions, that kind of amplification is the key to influencer marketing. As we increasingly take to social to learn more about products and services, well-crafted influencer posts can generate significantly more activity than simply posting that new fact sheet to your website.

Influencers help by enabling you, the marketer, to engage just one or a handful of individuals to reach a much wider audience, and by leveraging the influencer’s established trust and expertise to amplify your message across their entire network. This enables you to tap parts of your target audience ordinarily out of your reach.

The amplification element of influencer marketing carries with it a huge emphasis on content. Without great content to post, even the most influential of individuals won’t be successful in amplifying that message. Compelling, engaging, and authentic content is at the heart of a great influencer campaign.

Many marketers today will tell you that we’re in the gold rush of influencer marketing–if that's true when the dust settles the winners will be those who have figured out how to re-imagine their marketing communications in our connected yet fragmented social world today.

Learn more about our influencer marketing platform, and how you can uncover opportunities to build relationships with key influencers, cultivate brand advocacy and amplify your messages.


A rock star communications leader with a unique educational background, deep product marketing expertise, and results-driven approach, Nikkole Couture is the AVP of Product Management, Digital Media Solutions.

By Michael Lazar, Executive, ReadyCloud CRM

Ten years ago, having an online presence meant you needed a website. Today, it mandates much more.

A website is now your inbound primary funnel. But it’s fed by a contingent of digital properties. Aside from your external sales channels, social media is one of the cornerstones.

Engagement encompasses so much more than just maintaining a social presence, though. Whether you’re an online retailer, a law firm, professional services provider, etc., social media and engagement should be a big part of your online marketing strategy.

Why? Because since 2012, social traffic has increased by more than 300%, with around 5% of all online sales deriving from a social engagement.


Here’s what you need to know:

The Facebook Influence

Your first step to better engagement might start with Facebook. Just look at these stats.

  • More than 64% of social referrals come from Facebook.
  • 54% of consumers find new brands on Facebook.
  • Two-thirds of brands in the US have a Facebook presence.

Even better―85% of all socially-driven sales emanate from Facebook, with consumers spending an average $55/purchase. As of 2014, this traffic resulted in $20b+ in sales and has since ballooned to over $30b/year.


The Social Commerce Expansion

Of course, Facebook is just one part of the social equation. With hundreds of social sites out there, the impact of engagement is far and wide.

Here are some stats that showcase the relevance of social commerce:

  • 87% of customers say social media has helped them make a purchasing decision in the past.
  • Favorable product reviews on social media can bump a product’s price by about 9.5%.
  • The top 500 online retailers earned $6.5 billion from social commerce in 2017.

Video Views & Sales: A Happy Marriage

YouTube is the reigning king of video, and one of the most popular websites in the world. Despite Facebook’s fervent attempts at capturing a share of the video market, YouTube’s dominance is unquestionable.

  • YouTube retains over 1 billion users. (That’s one-third of all people who use the internet.)
  • YouTube has more domestic reach than any US television network.
  • Views are up worldwide by 60% over the past three years.

The Twitterverse

Of course, Twitter is a strong part of any social engagement strategy. Newer advertising options, like Twitter Cards, and the recently added ability to upload and stream live video, has helped the company maintain relevance.

Here are some eye-opening Twitter stats to ponder:

  • 115 million - the number of active Twitter users every month
  • 9,100 - the number of tweets that happen every second
  • 72% - the percentage of brand followers who are likely to purchase product from that brand

Did the above social media statistics open your eyes? If so, you’re probably wondering how you can drive more engagement in today’s back-and-forth social media universe.


5 Ways to Improve Social Engagement in 2018

Here are five helpful tips that can give you a head start:

  1. Get Your Products/Services Listed
    One of the most effective engagement platforms you can use is Facebook. If you’re not listing your products and services on this social media giant yet, you’re missing out. With 50% of users reporting a recent purchase or use of services they found advertised on Facebook, it’s the most natural place to begin your play for a stronger social presence.
    Tip: Create your brand profile, share it with your customer and user base, advertise it on your website, and start posting quality content and information, often. Don’t forget to consider promotional strategies as well. Make sure you are using Facebook Business Manager, and that you have an active Facebook tracking pixel on your website, so you can measure results and compare spend vs. conversion.
  2. Sail into the Twitterverse
    Twitter has hundreds of millions of users that are just waiting to hear about your brand. But they won’t know you exist until you have a presence. Setting up an account is free and easy. Make sure your graphic design team has the appropriate specs for profile images and headers, so they don’t come out looking strange or squished when you upload them, which would deter engagement prospects.
    Tip: Investigate your advertising options with Twitter. Aside from Twitter Cards, the service is now offering locked-in monthly rates that allow you to gain more traction from each tweet you post. Don’t forget that you can now upload videos to Twitter, too, including Video Website Cards, which have the strongest engagement.
  3. Get on the Video Bandwagon
    As we’ve stated above, YouTube is the emperor of video. But if you’re not leveraging the reach of this impressive platform to your advantage, then how are prospective customers ever supposed to know that your brand exists?
    Tip: A variety of newer video creation services are available online to help you create engaging brand videos and solidify your presence on YouTube. Take things a step further by promoting videos, and make sure to link your Google AdWords account, so you can drive targeted, organic traffic back to your website.
  4. Instagram Isn’t Just for Millennials
    Images are everything in today’s social media world. With Instagram, you can create a two-pronged marketing strategy by running it in tandem with Facebook. Facebook owns Instagram and allows for easy cross-promotion between the two services when you link the accounts.
    Tip: Once you have linked both accounts, you can automate posts with image and video that go up on Facebook and simultaneously syndicate to the Instagram platform. In addition, you can set your Facebook ads to appear on Instagram also, helping you reach an even stronger and more veritable, actionable userbase.
  5. Start Using “Buy” Pins
    Don’t overlook Pinterest, especially if you plan on using Instagram. Why? Simply because 93% of Pinterest users are on the site with a purchase intention. In fact, no other social media site has such a strong intent from the user.
    Tip: To cash in on these spend-ready consumers, you want to make sure your account is populated with unique content and images, and that you have the “Buy It” pins promotional strategy in place.

Let’s Go Viral!

Social media is a powerful marketing tool and a profitable marketplace all in one, but it’s only going to move you forward if you maintain a strong presence and nurture your audience.

Today’s online consumer wants to feel a genuine connection with a brand or services provider. One of the best ways to foster this feeling is by connecting with them on their preferred social channels. Brands that embrace this approach consistently out-perform brands that ignore it.

Your brand could be a social phenomenon, too. The choice is yours. Are you ready to go viral?


Michael Lazar is an Executive at ReadyCloud, a multichannel e-commerce CRM software solution for online retailers.


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