Kategorie-Archiv: SEO

B2B Marketing News: B2B Marketers’ Biggest Buyer Challenges, LinkedIn’s New Articles For Pages, Instagram Gets Montage Feature, & YouTube Updates Analytics

2021 September 17 MarketingCharts Chart

2021 September 17 MarketingCharts ChartLinkedIn Rolls Out Articles for Pages
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has launched a new feature that gives pages the ability to share long-form content on the professional social platform, an addition that comes amidst an array of other new features including an enhanced LinkedIn Live Events experience for creating more robust virtual events, the company recently announced. Adweek

Instagram is Developing a New ‚Montage‘ Feature to Convert Stories to Reels, New ‚Favorites‘ Listing
Facebook-owned Instagram has been testing a new option intended to make it easy for digital marketers to convert existing Instagram Stories content into brief Reels video clips, including automatically synced audio. New tool options for signaling favorite audience selections have also recently undergone testing on the platform — both changes that could eventually enhance how marketers use Instagram. Social Media Today

Study: Podcast Advertising Drives Sales
33 percent of podcast listeners say that podcast advertising is a good way for brands to reach them, a figure that climbs to 42 percent for the most frequent podcast listeners, while 32 percent of podcast listeners say that they have made purchases in the technology category, according to recently-released survey data. MediaPost

YouTube Adds Traffic & Revenue Data to Mobile Analytics
Google’s YouTube platform has rolled out additional analytics information that can now be found using YouTube’s Studio Mobile app, including monthly and transactional revenue reporting, along with a report showing the performance of various traffic sources, previously only available using the desktop-based dashboard, YouTube recently announced. Search Engine Journal

Reddit Launches New Updates for its Ad Platform, Including Bid Recommendations
Social news aggregator and discussion platform Reddit has added several new features to its advertising creation program as it seeks to attract more brands, including upgraded editing capabilities, the addition of ad bidding recommendations, and better bulk ad editing features, Reddit recently announced. Social Media Today

Chat App Discord Is Worth $15 Billion After New Funding
Online communications portal Discord has seen growth that has attracted an increasing number of brands, and $500 million of new financing has raised the value of Discord to some $15 billion, a figure twice that investors gave the firm in 2020 — growth that has spurred more business users and advertisers to explore the emerging platform. BNN Bloomberg

Twitter Expands Access to Professional Profiles and Ticketed Spaces
With an expanded Professional Profiles test opening to more brands, Twitter has continued its initiative to provide businesses greater exposure on the platform, a move that has also now given more users access to Twitter’s Ticketed Spaces — its Clubhouse-like voice conversation offering, the company recently announced. Social Media Today

Advertising Emerges As Fastest-Growing Source Of Recorded Music Revenues
During the first half of 2021 advertising-supported on-demand audio streaming services saw a 54.3 percent increase in revenue over the same period in 2020, a jump that makes it the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. music industry, according to recently-released data from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) of interest to digital marketers. MediaPost

2021 September 17 Statistics ImageLinkedIn Launches ‚Dark Mode‘ on Mobile and Desktop
Increased accessibility, inclusivity, and reduced eye-strain-inducing blue light are among the aims for LinkedIn’s (client) new dark mode option, being rolled out to the professional platform’s users — which numbered over 774 million according to the firm’s latest publicly-released figures. Social Media Today

What Are B2B Marketers‘ Biggest Challenges with Buyers?
63 percent of B2B marketers have said that understanding the changing needs and requirements of buyers was their top challenge, followed by 57 percent who saw finding the correct time to engage on the right channel their biggest challenge — two of several statistics of interest to online marketers in newly-released survey data. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:
2021 September 17 Marketoonist Comic Image

A lighthearted look at the “share of voice” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

What the Pandemic Pet Boom Means for Marketers — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Upgrade and Enhance — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden — Content Marketing 101: What It Is & What Your Content Needs to Do — Mark Armstrong
  • Lee Odden — 12 Insightful Marketing Content Curation Guides — Marx Communications

Have you come across your own B2B marketing news item from the past week of industry news? Please drop us a line in the comments below.

Thank you for joining us to explore this week’s TopRank Marketing B2B marketing news, and we hope that you will again return next Friday for more of the week’s most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us on our LinkedIn page, or at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Marketers‘ Biggest Buyer Challenges, LinkedIn’s New Articles For Pages, Instagram Gets Montage Feature, & YouTube Updates Analytics appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

The Future SEO: Boardroom edition

30-second summary:

  • SEO’s dynamic nature and Google’s mysterious algorithm specifics keep the industry on its toes
  • Is it possible to simply spot the inefficiencies of SEO in its infancy and foresee trends?
  • With over 20 years of leadership roles, SEO pioneer Kris Jones taps into his experience to help SEOs derive more strategic value

Pretty much anytime we speak about something’s future, we’re doing something called extrapolating. By definition, extrapolating involves extending existing data or trends to assume the same procedure will continue in the future. It’s a form of the scientific method that we probably use every day in our own lives, quite reasonably, too: the summers will be hot, the downtown traffic will be bad at 9 AM, and the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

But how can we look into the future of something as complex and ever-changing as SEO? As with all cases of hindsight, we are clear on how SEO began and how it has transformed over time.

We see the inefficiencies of SEO in its infancy and how advancing search engines have altered the playing field.

The catch is this: how can we surmise about the future of SEO without having access to all the mysterious algorithm specifics that Google itself holds?

The answer is simple: we have to extrapolate.

I’ve seen SEO from the boardroom perspective for more than 20 years. I’ve seen the old days of keyword stuffing to the semi-modernization of the late 2000s to the absolute beast that Google has become now, in the 2020s.

Given that, where do I think SEO is going in the not-too-distant future? Here are some thoughts on that.

User intent will remain crucial

One aspect of SEO that is essential right now and will become only more vital as time goes on is user intent in search queries.

It’s an antiquated view to think that Google still cares much about exact-match keywords. Maybe 15 to 20 years ago, getting keywords exactly right in your content was a huge deal. Google matched queries to corresponding word strings in content and then served the best of that content to a user.

Today, trying to optimize for exact-match keywords is a futile effort, as Google now understands the intent behind every query, and it’s only going to get better at it as time goes by.

If you recall Google’s BERT update from late 2019, you’ll remember that this was the change that allowed Google to comprehend the context of each search query, or the meaning behind the words themselves. And the latest Multitask Unified Model (MUM) update adds further depth and dimensions to understanding search intent.

No longer does Google look only at the words “family attractions.” It knows that that query references children’s activities, fun activities, and events that are generally lighthearted and innocent.

And all of that came from two words. How did Google do it? Its consistent algorithm updates have allowed it to think like a human.

All of this is to say that user intent has to be part of your keyword and content strategy going forward when you’re doing SEO.

Produce more evergreen content

Sometimes, over the years, I have heard people mention that devising an effective content marketing strategy is difficult because as soon as a topic’s period of relevance is over, that content will never rank again. Use your data to analyze content performance and strike the right balance between content and formats.

If you don’t know any more about this subject, you might be tempted to believe that. Maybe, at one time, you got a content piece entitled “Top Furniture Brands of 2019” to rank for the featured snippet. That makes sense. The post was probably a long listicle that described the best brands and linked out to the manufacturers‘ websites or retail stores that carried those brands.

But maybe, as spring of 2019 transitioned into fall and winter, that post fell way down the rankings and now can’t be found anywhere anymore.

The reason is obvious: you haven’t made the content evergreen. The best furniture brands of 2019 may not be the best brands of 2020 or 2021 or 2022. So, what do you do? You put the work in to make the blog post evergreen by updating it. Go through and change out the best brands, change the content, change the post’s title, and then republish the post.

You can also just plain focus on subjects that will almost never need any updating at all:

  • “Top 20 Christmas cookies to bake this year”
  • “How to train a dog”
  • “10 Steps for Hanging Heavy Objects on the Wall”

Whether it’s 2021 or 2050 or 2100, there are going to be people who have never hung a thing on a wall before and will need some help online.

Whatever your market niche is, do some topic research in Answer the Public, Semrush, or BuzzSumo to find relevant subjects for you. You can also mine the SERPs to see what kinds of content are ranking already for your desired topics. Just remember to mix in plenty of evergreen content with your more timely content posts. Google will reward you for it.

Mobile will remain first

This final point is about mobile-first indexing, but you likely already know about that. It’s certainly no secret that Google is going to rank your website’s mobile version when it crawls your pages. About 60 percent of all searches are now performed on mobile devices, and so Google now prioritizes a site’s mobile web pages over the desktop versions.

As I said, you knew all that.

What some people still may not know is that Google’s new Core Web Vitals should be a major part of your mobile page optimizations.

The Core Web Vitals are primarily a web-dev task. Overall, the three vitals work together to give users positive, seamless experiences when they access a web page.

The vitals are Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), and First Input Delay (FID).

CLS refers to the amount of moving around that a web page’s content does before it actually loads fully.

If you have a high CLS, that’s bad. It means some elements are appearing before the page loads all the way, which increases the chances of a user clicking on something that then moves elsewhere. That, in turn, means the user will probably click on something unintended.

LCP, meanwhile, is the time it takes for a page’s content to appear. It specifically refers to the amount of time between when you click on a URL and when the majority of that URL’s content appears for you to see.

Finally, FID measures how long it takes users to be able to interact with a web page in any way. These actions could be typing in a field or clicking menu items.

Even if you don’t work in web development, you can see how useful these three measures actually are. They all take user experience into account, which, coincidentally, is why they are part of Google’s larger 2021 Page Experience update.

The Core Web Vitals are essential in and of themselves, but I think my “boardroom” perspective on them is one we can all safely adopt: that they are just examples of more great things to come from Google.

The search engine giant is always thinking of new ways to make users have better, more helpful, and more positive experiences on its platform. As SEOs, we need to be ready to respond so we don’t get left in the dust.

To know the future, look to the past

We know that extrapolation can be taken only so far, but that’s why the past is so vital to understand. It can give us hints at what lies ahead.

What will Google think of next? It’s going to respond to whatever need is out there for improved online search experiences.

Think of 2020, when the pandemic was in its infancy. People needed information, and Google responded. Within months, you could tell whether restaurants were requiring masks indoors, how many virus cases were in your county, and where you could go for more information or help.

What, then, is the future of SEO? It’s going to be whatever the masses need it to become.

Kris Jones is the founder and former CEO of digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay Enterprises in 2009. Most recently Kris founded SEO services and software company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous successful technology companies. Kris is an experienced public speaker and is the author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time called, ‘Search-Engine Optimization – Your Visual Blueprint to Effective Internet Marketing‘, which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.

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The post The Future SEO: Boardroom edition appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Unite with Might: 12 Top Ways Successful B2B Influencers Are Building Powerful Marketing Collaborations

Collaborating businesspeople silhouette image.

Collaborating businesspeople silhouette image.

How can B2B marketers build powerful and enduring collaborations using influencers?

There are more tactics available today than ever for influencer collaboration in the B2B space, but how can marketers find those that are actually achieving ongoing success?

We’ve been fortunate to feature top influencers from a number of industries in our third season of the Break Free B2B Marketing series of video interviews, and we wanted to share their top tactics for both being an influencer in the B2B space, and for improving collaboration.

Let’s dig in and learn how 12 subject matter experts are creating powerful collaborations between influencers and brands, with insightful tactics you can implement in your own marketing efforts as we head toward 2022.

Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Media

@ramonray
Founder, Smart Hustle Media

Ramon Ray

[bctt tweet=““Always look for partnerships, at how you can work with others, and at how you can think bigger and more strategically.” — Ramon Ray @ramonray #BreakFreeB2B“ username=“toprank“]

„I think there are different ways that brands do different things. One thing talking to the brand at least, I think, and the influencers, is that — first, are you clear on what the goals are? Why do they want you? Is it reaching numbers? It could be. For me, it’s oftentimes that they want safety and security. We want someone who can consistently deliver and give us a good seminar, webinar, or host a product and be excited and draw the expertise out of our subject matter experts. So that’s one,“ Ramon noted.

„Second — are you living your brand, offline and online? Meaning can they trust that what you tweet — what you post on Instagram, is going to be something that’s going to make them proud. That’s okay for the brands you’re working with. So that’s two. And I think point three, I think the other thing to consider is, are you within the wheelhouse of what they want? If you’re an influencer for a headphone company, and you’re not all about music, you may not be a fit,“ Ramon added.

„I think those are a few things that I think about when we look at how we’re working with a brand, and how a brand may evaluate us — it’s safety, security, we try to do the right thing, and be good to work with. And I think that’s important,“ Ramon also shared.

Watch, listen to or read Ramon’s full interview by checking our the full blog post „Break Free B2B Marketing: Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Media on Small Business Success & Thinking Big.“

Minda Harts of The Memo

@MindaHarts
CEO and Founder, The Memo

Minda Harts

[bctt tweet=““Whether you have 300 followers or 300,000, it’s the way that you engage, and people have to trust you.” — Minda Harts @MindaHarts“ username=“toprank“]

What what does it take to be a thought leader, subject matter expert or an influencer?

“You know, I would say consistency. One of the things that I started before I had a best-selling book, or any of those things — I was consistent with the content that I put out there,“ Minda said.

„I picked one or two social media platforms, and I said, you know what, I’m going to give my all to these. My demographic is not on everything, right? So if I pick a couple, and I’m consistent, and every Monday I start with a newsletter, because you want to capture your fans or your potential clients. So I think that for me, it was being consistent,“ Minda added.

„Since 2015, every Monday I put out a newsletter. And then I repurpose that content on LinkedIn or Twitter — those are the most active platforms I’m on. I also try to be authentic to my voice, and talk about the things that I know my demographics are interested in. I bring my personal stories, and I asked them questions,“ Minda shared.

„Whether you have 300 followers or 300,000, it’s the way that you engage, and people have to trust you. Once you build that consistency and that trust, then all you need is those people who will constantly repurpose and retweet, and do some of those things. But it starts with that consistency. So make sure that you’re being true and authentic to the voice that you add to your community,“ Minda explained.

Check out Minda’s full interview and visit our full blog post „Break Free B2B Marketing: Minda Harts of The Memo on Having Courageous Conversations.“

Keith Townsend of The CTO Advisor

@CTOAdvisor
Co-Founder, The CTO Advisory

Keith Townsend

[bctt tweet=““You have to put your thoughts out there. And sometimes putting your thoughts out there is the scariest part about becoming an influencer.” — Keith Townsend @CTOAdvisor“ username=“toprank“]

“I’m fine with calling it being a influencer, a thought leader, or whatever you want to call it. You have to put your thoughts out there. And sometimes putting your thoughts out there is the scariest part about becoming an influencer — but let’s just call it being known within your industry,“ Keith shared.

„Becoming an independent influencer is a little more difficult, because there’s not quite an established marketplace for the things that I do. So is going to the likes of TopRank Marketing or working directly with vendors to find out how do I help a vendor tell us their story, while keeping my authentic voice,“ Keith added.

“To stand out, don’t avoid those difficult conversations,” he also noted.

Watch Keith’s full interview in „Break Free B2B Marketing: Keith Townsend of The CTO Advisor on Bringing Value Through Friction

Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall

@dez_blanchfield
Founder, Sociaall Inc.

Dez Blanchfield

[bctt tweet=““If you’re a bank, be a bank, focus on being the best bank you can, and look for things that are going to disrupt you. But don’t try to be a phone company.” — Dez Blanchfield @dez_blanchfield“ username=“toprank“]

“When we have a conversation, we don’t just talk about influencer marketing. That’s a tiny segment of what we do. It’s taking an idea from a business plan and sales and marketing strategy in a go-to-market roadmap, around sales, marketing, comms, and business development, and mapping, ‚what’s the outcome you want?‘,“ Dez shared.

„What have you started to do sales investing in? Where are the gaps in that? How can we fill those gaps of digital social conversations, and how can we create these campaigns to drive those outcomes such that if and when someone has a pain point or a buying decision, we have ensured — through driving awareness, education engagement, in the form of influence — that you are top of mind and center of heart at that point of a buying decision,“ Dez added.

Watch, listen to or read Dez‘ complete interview by checking our the full blog post „Break Free B2B Marketing: Dez Blanchfield of Sociaall on Joining the Conversation.“

Tamara McCleary of Thulium

@TamaraMcCleary
CEO, Thulium

Tamara McCleary

[bctt tweet=““Be clear about why you want to work with an influencer, what you hope to get out of working with the influencer.” — @TamaraMcCleary“ username=“toprank“]

„What is your purpose in using an influencer? Is your purpose to create brand awareness? Is your purpose to increase product sales? What is your purpose? Then, let’s reverse engineer from that and go, ‚Okay, who has the eyes and ears of the folks that are most interested in your product or service?‘,“ Tamara shared.

„Once we start calling people followers, or an audience, we start diminishing them — thinking somehow they don’t have any thought leadership. But the point of the matter is every single person has thought leadership, it’s just whether or not they’re building it by putting content out there,“ Tamara added.

„Be clear about why you want to work with an influencer, what you hope to get out of working with the influencer,“ Tamara suggested.

„If you don’t work with an organization that knows what they’re doing, that knows how to harness what that end result should be, knows what the influencer should be delivering to the organization, knows what the organization shouldn’t be asking the influencer, having a company like like TopRank to do that is important, because when I see organizations try to do influencer marketing themselves, it often fails. And then the big bummer for that is when it fails, they think influencer marketing fails. Influencer marketing hasn’t failed. It’s just the way you did it failed. You didn’t do it right,“ Tamara observed.

Watch Tamara’s full episode, „Break Free B2B Marketing: Tamara McCleary of Thulium on Visions of the Future and Doing No Harm.“

Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews

@SahmReviews
Publisher, SAHM Reviews

Nicole Brady

[bctt tweet=““Do your thing, do what you’re good at. You want to start a business because you want to fill a niche. You have to be doing it because you’re passionate about it.” — Nicole Brady @SahmReviews“ username=“toprank“]

What makes influencer content powerful?

“Because it’s real. It’s someone that is sharing their opinions. It’s not scripted. It’s not a commercial,“ Nicole explained.

„Do your thing, do what you’re good at. You want to start a business because you want to fill a niche. You have to be doing it because you’re passionate about it,“ Nicole added.

“Find out what makes you different and what makes people want to talk to you, and then leverage it. Share those details, and create content around those details. As more and more people are on social media, being able to find those out-of-the-box environmental things that make you tick — that you might not have known — showing them off, that’s the way to do it.”

Watch, listen to or read Nicole’s full interview by checking our the full blog post „Break Free B2B Marketing: Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews on the Importance of Empathy in Reaching Your Niche.“

Eric Vanderburg of TCDI

@evanderburg
Vice President of Cybersecurity, TCDI

Eric Vanderburg

[bctt tweet=““Sometimes the influencer stuff can get almost like a back door sponsored content kind of thing, or an endorsement, and that’s something that we definitely try to avoid. Make sure the brand shares the values that you have.” — @vtamethodman“ username=“toprank“]

“Meeting other influencers in the space and learning how we all could better support one another, and how they were getting their messages out,“ has been a helpful approach, Eric noted.

„I’ve always seen this as bigger than any individual, so a lot of these collaborative works have been great,“ Eric added.

„Sometimes the influencer stuff can get almost like a back door sponsored content kind of thing, or an endorsement, and that’s something that we definitely try to avoid. Make sure the brand shares the values that you have,“ Eric also suggested.

Explore all of Eric’s episode in „Break Free B2B Marketing: Eric Vanderburg of TCDI on The Changing Cybersecurity Landscape.“

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey of Shipz

@bevictoryus
CEO, SHIPZ

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey

[bctt tweet=““Collaboration is the future of business. I think the only way forward is to really be able to understand what your colleagues in marketing, customer service, or procurement are going through on a day-to-day basis.” @bevictoryus“ username=“toprank“]

“There’s a lot of collaboration that can happen with supply chain internally, and a lot of different companies. I think we’re seeing more and more of that, which is exciting, especially for supply chain professionals, because they really want to work. They’re problem solvers, right? That’s who we are, as professionals — we are problem solvers. That’s what we do on a day-to-day basis,“ Sarah shared.

„We want to collaborate with the different departments internally, to really create that success for the company that that we’re working for,“ Sarah added.

„Collaboration is the future of business. I truly believe that. I think the only way forward is to really be able to understand what your colleagues in marketing, customer service, or procurement are going through, and what they do on a day-to-day basis,“ Sarah also noted.

Watch, listen to or read Sarah’s full interview by checking our the full blog post „Break Free B2B Marketing: Sarah Barnes-Humphrey of Shipz and The Art of Consistent Change.“

Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor

Liam McIvor Martin
Co-Founder, Time Doctor

Liam McIvor Martin

[bctt tweet=““You really have to figure out a lane that you’re passionate about. Get super laser-focused on something.” — Liam McIvor Martin @vtamethodman“ username=“toprank“]

„If you’re like — man — I want to be the TikTok influencer. I want to learn how to get people ranked on TikTok — do you like TikTok? I kind of do, but not enough to be able to spend the next five years of my life talking about TikTok. You really have to figure out a lane that you’re passionate about,“ Liam urged.

„Get super laser-focused on something,“ Liam added.

Watch Liam’s full interview, „Break Free B2B Marketing: Liam McIvor Martin of Time Doctor on The Revolutionary Power of Remote Work.“

Oliver Christie of PertexaHealthTech

@OliverChristie
Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer, PertexaHealthTech

Oliver Christie

[bctt tweet=““I think the main way I’ve got to be where I am today is curiosity. I’ve been curious about the world, curious about technology — I’m really curious about people and how they act.” — Oliver Christie @OliverChristie“ username=“toprank“]

“I was curious. I wanted to know more. So I talked to a lot of people — people who had deep knowledge in one area, and I kept talking and I kept asking questions and discovering more and more and more. I think the main way I’ve got to be where I am today is curiosity. I’ve been curious about the world, curious about technology — I’m really curious about people and how they act,” Oliver explained.

„I’ve got to like what the project is about, what it’s trying to do. And I’ve also got to believe in the technology or the approach. I think without that, you’re selling something. You’re just selling something which you don’t believe in. And that’s not a reason to work,“ Oliver added.

Tune in to Oliver’s complete episode, „Break Free B2B Marketing: Oliver Christie on Making Life Better With AI.“

Tim Crawford of AVOA

@tcrawford
CIO Strategic Advisor, AVOA

Tim Crawford

[bctt tweet=““Decisions are not made based on a tweet, blog post, or webinar. Decisions are made based off of trust over an extended period of time. Knowing who you’re working with and having trust in that individual is incredibly important.” @tcrawford“ username=“toprank“]

“It’s shocking how the B2C definition of influencer kind of muddies the water of a B2B influencer, which is why I think we don’t use that term all that much in B2B, because we’re more focused on subject matter expert, thought leader, and authentic thinkers,“ Tim explained.

“I have also had to explain the difference between a B2C influencer and a B2B influencer. And sometimes that’s like pushing string uphill, because they think that the B2C model will apply to B2B, let’s face it, it’s unlike B2C,“ Tim added.

“Decisions are not made based on a tweet. A blog post. A webinar. These decisions are made based off of trust over an extended period of time. And so knowing who you’re working with and having trust in that individual is incredibly important,” Tim also noted.

Watch, listen to or read Tim’s complete interview by checking our the full blog post „Break Free B2B Marketing: Tim Crawford of AVOA on The New Normal.“

Kevin L. Jackson of GC GlobalNet

@Kevin_Jackson
CEO, GC GlobalNet

Kevin L Jackson

[bctt tweet=““Communication is key. You need to be able to communicate information effectively using the written, spoken, and visual word, and you have to be able to do that through multiple channels.” — Kevin Jackson @Kevin_Jackson“ username=“toprank“]

“Change is constant and change is accelerating. As an influencer or a subject matter expert, your ability to describe and explain the impact of information technology on business and key performance metrics is critical,“ Kevin explained.

„When you communicate, you need to use the industry’s vernacular, because that is what will make you unique. Communication is key. You need to be able to communicate information effectively using the written, spoken, and visual word, and you have to be able to do that through multiple channels — mass media, including social media. By being able to communicate well in those different forms across these different channels, your audience will grow rapidly and organically,” Kevin also noted.

„It’s really important to understand or accept this as a relationship. Not a short term experience, but a long term relationship where the influencer is a valued part of not just the marketing team, but the communications team, and the sales team. You really break free through collaboration and open dialogue with your colleagues and partners,” Kevin added.

Learn more from Kevin and see his full interview in „Break Free B2B Marketing: Kevin Jackson of GC GlobalNet on Cloud Computing.“

Reach New Heights With B2B Influencer Marketing

via GIPHY

These days successful B2B influencer marketing hardly ever follows the way it’s always been done, as all 12 of our subject matter experts have shown. We hope you’ll find the tactics and insights from Kevin, Tim, Oliver, Liam, Sarah, Eric, Nicole, Tamara, Dez, Keith, Minda, and Ramon inspiring and useful as you plan your upcoming B2B influencer marketing initiatives.

For even more insight from leading B2B marketers, be sure to also check out our Inside B2B Influence series of video interviews and podcasts, including the latest featuring Sarita Rao of AT&T, in „Inside B2B Influence: Sarita Rao of AT&T on Growing B2B Executive Influence with Social Media.“

Crafting award-winning B2B marketing with a skillful mixture of influence takes considerable time and effort, which is why many firms choose to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help, as we’ve done for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.

The post Unite with Might: 12 Top Ways Successful B2B Influencers Are Building Powerful Marketing Collaborations appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Inside B2B Influence: Sarita Rao of AT&T on Growing B2B Executive Influence with Social Media

Sarita Rao AT&T

Sarita Rao AT&T
Inside B2B Influence is a podcast and video series that goes behind the scenes of B2B marketing and highlights insights with top business executives on marketing for B2B companies. We’re doing our best here at TopRank Marketing Blog to elevate the practice of growing influence within and outside of B2B brands to drive thought leadership, create demand and grow revenue.

Episode 16 of Inside B2B Influence features a discussion with Sarita Rao (@saritasayso), who is President, Integrated and Partner Solutions at AT&T. Sarita contributed her expertise to the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report last year and I have been following her closely (and learning) on LinkedIn and Twitter ever since.

For any senior executive wondering about how they might best use social networks to better connect with their staff and company employees, customers, prospects and the industry at large, Sarita is a great example of what you should do.

While the brand she works for and the level of seniority she’s achieved impart a certain level of general business influence, Sarita earns even more influence about the topics she cares about most on a daily basis. She’s a living example of how to build thought leadership and influence around the things she’s passionate about and engages on through social content.

To learn more about how a senior executive at a Fortune 11 company is able to be so effective on social channels, I invited Sarita to the Inside B2B Influence show. We talked about a range of topics from the value senior executives bring to their teams, customers and the business when they are active on social channels to smart advice for up and coming women business leaders.

Highlights of this episode of Inside B2B Influence with Sarita include:

  • What prepared Sarita best for her current leadership role
  • How social media engagement has impacted her career
  • Advice for B2B executives on becoming more social online
  • Advice for women who aspire to senior business leadership roles
  • Insights into collaboration tools and technology for interacting with current and prospective customers
  • Tips on making connections with employees more human
  • How Sarita is helping to redefine customer experience at AT&T
  • An example of what real human conversation and interaction looks like in today’s business world
  • The importance for today’s modern sales or marketing leaders to be active on social channels

You can listen to episode 16 (How B2B Executives Can Grow Influence with Social Media) of the Inside B2B Influence podcast here:

Watch the full video of my interview with Sarita here:

Transcript – Inside B2B Influence Episode 15: Optimizing B2B Marketing with Influence

You have had an incredible career at AT&T. What in particular prepared you most for your current role as President, Integrated and Partner Solutions?

Sarita: You know honestly, I think it’s that I love this job. It’s like accumulation of all the things I’ve done. So I’ve been with AT&T gosh, 30 years. Thank you for not mentioning that, I just did though. But I’ve been with the company for over 30 years and I’ve had everything from sales to program management to marketing. And if I think of my last job in marketing, it really taught me about taking the complexity out of what we do in a technology environment. It can be rather complex.

I think things are complex when we make them complicated. There are simple ways to approach just about everything. @saritasayso

My team has both direct and indirect sales and we take some of our more value added services and really help our customers get through the complexity of network transformation. So I will tell you it’s a collection of everything. It’s taught me the importance of taking something big and making it something understandable. And I think that’s as important whether you’re doing it in marketing or whether you’re doing it in sales. I’d really say that in this job, where I actually helped launch the wholesale business so I also have that segment, feels like I’m coming home to a good group of corporate citizens and we have the opportunity to move the needle. So, it’s really a collection of multiple things.

You are pretty active on social networks like LinkedIn and you’ve become a business influencer with thousands of followers. Do you feel being publicly active on social networks and in the industry played any part in your career advancement either in terms of visibility, networking or knowledge?

Sarita: Right. I appreciate the compliment, I’m not sure about the influencer part. I do social for a couple of different reasons: One, it’s to connect my team, right? Across my career AT&T whether we’re on a direct team together now, or part of the larger AT&T ecosystem, staying connected is really important to me. I think that helps in many different ways.

I would tell you consistency for social media is important, but if I think of what I do today, since I have both indirect and direct sales, it’s a great way to connect with my customer base as well, for them to see what we’re up to. So I see multiple advantages of social.

Social Media is great way to amplify the work that your team is doing and frankly, our next generation of leaders. @saritasayso

During this pandemic, I will tell you, I used Twitter more to stay connected with the team because we were also remote from one another. I kind of joke that we weren’t socially distant, we’re physically distant. I found things like Twitter as a quick way to connect with the team, because you didn’t have those hallway conversations anymore and so forth. So I probably upped my game a little bit in social for Twitter, but each one of the platforms is, you know better than anyone, has a different purpose and a different reason.

While the number of business leaders active on social channels has grown, not everyone is comfortable with „being out there“. What advice can you share for business and sales executives who want to be more active on social networks?

Sarita: First I think you have to have the innate desire, right? Because then you’re going to be consistent and you’re going to speak with passion about things that you’re interested in. I don’t think you can be on social and be robotic about it. It has to be the authentic you. But you also need to remember each of these platforms is meant for something else.

I don’t do Facebook. Facebook is very personal, right? I don’t do business content on Facebook. Do I stay in touch with some friends via Facebook? Yes.

LinkedIn is a different experience, Twitter is different and so forth. So there are different ways that I think, as a leader or in that business world, you’ve got to think about what you want to be and how you want to be out there on social.

And then for me, there’s a couple of different ways that you can build your brand because that’s effectively what you’re doing on social media. First and foremost: personal and professional, they go hand in hand. It can be difficult to separate your personal life from your professional life, but make sure the content that you’re putting up there represents your best self. Again, I go back to, remember what the platform is for, I think that’s important.

You have to speak to be heard. @saritasayso #executiveinfluence

You have to speak to be heard, right? Ultimately, social media is going to give you a platform to share your ideas and connect with others.

It’s also a fantastic way to get a temperature, right? Some of the surveys that you can do of what folks are thinking outside of your world, especially in an environment where we’ve all been a little secluded from each other. I like using some of the different social polls and so forth as we’re thinking about, „how do you get back to work?“ It’s a nice way to reinforce some of the thinking.

It’s important to always be yourself, to be authentic and not be robotic. @saritasayso #executiveinfluence

It’s important to always be yourself, to be authentic and not be robotic. I think that’s really important. Determine the right platforms. What’s the one you’re most comfortable with? What you can do on Twitter is very different than what you can do on LinkedIn. Make sure you’re investing in the platforms that can get the message that you want, put out there.

I love the use of hashtags, but let’s make sure they’re relevant. Let’s just not use hashtags and emojis for the sake of using hashtags and emojis, but make sure they’re really relevant. The reason why you’re using a hashtag is to connect in that conversation. It’s not just to put a hashtag out there. So let’s make sure you’re using the right hashtag.

They say content is king, but context is just as important. @saritasayso #executiveinfluence

They say content is king, but context is just as important. There’s a ton of content out there, but not all of it’s being consumed. So make sure you’re in the right context as well. I think those are some of the things that I would suggest folks look at. One of the things I had the good fortune to learn as I was starting my social journey was that social media is really a combination of art and science. So success really depends on the commitment you want to put towards it. But whatever commitments you’ve put towards it, make sure you’re consistent about it. That’s some of the advice that I’d have.

According to data reported by LinkedIn, 60% of marketing professionals are women as are 52% of CMOs. As a successful woman with a background in sales and marketing leadership, what advice can you share with other women in business who aspire to your level of success?

Sarita: Great numbers, by the way, I did not know those. It’s great progress and yes, there’s always room for more growth, but that’s a fantastic direction. It’s been really exciting seeing in social media, a lot of the changes and movement of some really strong marketing leaders, so that that’s been exciting.

I think from an advice perspective, first and foremost, I would say think broadly. Don’t limit your thinking. Think broadly, ask those questions. Which, to me, is really having that element of never ending curiosity.

Curiosity is just so important. Because you just never know what you’re going to uncover and when you ask those questions. @saritasayso #executiveinfluence

I loved going into marketing. I have an accounting degree by the way. So I remember when they asked me if I would look at marketing, I’m like, I have an accounting degree. And what that opened myself up to is that I always had to ask questions because I didn’t know the answer. And even when I know the answer, or I think I know the answer, I learned even more. So to me, curiosity is just so important. Because you just never know what you’re going to uncover and when you ask those questions, it allows folks to think about that answer. And sometimes they’re learning something in that too. There’s a great conversation always to be had there.

And then be agile. People think of agile as a process word. To me, being agile is the fact that you’re constantly ready to move, make quick and easy movements. It doesn’t have to be these huge, massive shifts. Sometimes we wait to make these big, massive shifts. Sometimes it’s just tweaks and adjustments along the way.

It is really is about thinking broadly, having that never ending curiosity and then being agile. I think those are the three pointers I would give, not just in the marketing world, but, in a career overall.

As we start to emerge from COVID, what unique tools or initiatives are you using to interact with current and prospective customers?

Sarita: All of them, right? Everything from what we’re on right now, whether it be Zoom or WebEx or Microsoft Teams, pick the one that you feel the most comfortable for those engagements.

I will tell you with those conversations, because I don’t have to get on a plane and pack my luggage, unpack my luggage, do all that other fun stuff. I can actually see more customers now, which is fantastic. I just picked up a global team, they’re in 26 different countries and I got to meet them all sooner, versus getting on a plane to go see all of them. We found different creative things to go do.

Even with our customers we do this. We have an advisory council and when we meet with our customers, we’re in meeting all day and they’re giving us insights and we’re showing them what we’re about to go look at. They’re giving us their feedback so we can kind of shape our product portfolio with their insights. But in the evenings, we’re still doing the social hour, right? Something we would have done when we were all in person. There’s something very rewarding about that.

We had a celebrity chef do a client dinner. About 20 clients were on this. And we got invited into their homes. That wouldn’t have happened before. So we got invited into their homes and they brought their family on the journey with them, which again, we wouldn’t have had that opportunity before.

So yes, trust me, I miss and crave face-to-face meetings. During this little bit of a break we had right before the Delta variant, we were back in our briefing center and it was absolutely exciting to go meet with one of our partners. We were face-to-face and we took the photos and did that stuff. And we advanced a lot of our conversations. So, it was a different conversation than some of the other experiences, but I will tell you, they both have their charm to them.

I see it as an exciting opportunity from a hybrid work perspective. I think customers are far more open. They’re not waiting for us to get on a plane to visit with them. And I think the team as well. @saritasayso

So, I see it as an exciting opportunity from a hybrid work perspective. I think customers are far more open. They’re not waiting for us to get on a plane to visit with them. And I think the team as well. Think about everything our teams have gone through, each of us as humans has gone through, many people homeschooling their children. To know that we could build an environment where they could still do that and still be very present at work and be really comfortable…I mean, if a dog was barking in one of our backgrounds right now, we wouldn’t say cut video, right and start again? This is us, right? And I think there’s something very charming about that.

All relationships have an emotional component whether they’re with industry experts or your own teams. For many, those relationships are happening through online meetings. How are you and your teams making digital more human?

Sarita: Absolutely. I have done a cheese tasting at 5:30 in the morning because that worked well in Asia. Right. It was a great way to bond with the team. Cheese at 5:30 in the morning not so much. If you think about it, during the first couple of months of the pandemic we all built our home office space and tried to find the place we could all be at home. We upgraded our cameras, we figured out the microphones, we hung guitars and ukuleles in the background. We started personalizing the space, right?

There’s this great Twitter handle called room rater (@ratemyskyperoom) where they rate the rooms and so forth. I think we all became conscious of that. I think one of the best selling books on Amazon during the first month of the pandemic was, I don’t remember the name of the book, but about reading and looking at the titles of the books on people’s bookshelves.

So we have that element and then many folks have kind of also managed to become teachers to their children and many adopted new pets and many just spent more time with their family and we’ve invited each other into our homes. We’ve had people comment on the space that we’re in. During the pandemic I was traveling between Dallas and where my family lives in Chicago. Folks knew where I was simply by looking at my background.

So it all did become personal. But if I think of what I encouraged my team to do first and foremost, I asked them to set boundaries. It’s really easy to be in front of these machines hour after hour after hour. I always ask them when they’re kind of working from home to take a moment to disconnect. And if you can’t disconnect, take that moment to go for a walk maybe while being on a call. That’s okay. Maybe we even take a moment to turn the camera off so you can have that time. Setting boundaries has been kind of an important guidance for my team.

Some parts of the organization did „no meeting Friday“. You actually saw a lot of folks on social media talk about doing a no meeting Friday. I’ll tell you when I came into more of a customer facing organization, I’m like maybe we alleviate video because ultimately if your customer is available Friday, we should be available Friday. The business doesn’t shut off. So I think no meeting Friday is something that has nuances to it.

I think you have to set a stressless tone. If someone’s child comes in a room or, or a dog is barking, you know, I see as a good sign that I have fewer people apologizing for that. @saritasayso

I think you have to set a stressless tone. If someone’s child comes in a room or, or a dog is barking, you know, I see as a good sign that I have fewer people apologizing for that. They now know it’s okay. I think that’s really important to set that stressless tone and take a vacation. You still need to take a vacation, right? Even if we were in the world of lockdown where you couldn’t travel as much, just a day away, a two days away is still really important. Find something, to go off and do and take your mind off of work.

For me also staying connected to coworkers, to family, friends that was really important. I used to love walking by someone’s office. I was just talking to someone earlier today where he was like, „you’d always pop out of your office, you’d ask a question“. He goes, „I feel somewhat disconnected from that“. I’m like, there’s still ways to go do that. I used to do this way back when I first started with the company. When we first went to a full go home environment is I would do howdy calls where I would just pick up the phone and call someone to say hello. I think folks like that. Something else, I have gone through so much stationary during the pandemic, a lot of handwritten notes. I think there’s something kind of special about getting those. We lost that art. Sometimes getting those handwritten notes was nice as well. It was another way that I tried to stay connected.

Customer experience is a focus and key differentiator for most B2B companies. How are you redefining the customer experience at ATA&T to build trust and deepen relationships?

Sarita: I would tell you when the pandemic first started, small businesses really struggled. And continue to with the open and close environments. One of the best examples I have of how we leveraged social media for our customers is our efforts with small business. As they were going through some of their challenges, we looked across our business to say, what can we go do to help? There’s an agency within AT&T as part of our Warner media family, Fullscreen, and, there were at a slow period. So the employees there got together and they built the social media playbook. So you have this professional agency building a playbook on how you establish your social media environment when people can’t come into your store and see your products and services.

They showed us this and this is beautiful. It’s a high cost for a small business to get that advice. It’s not just about opening Instagram and wallah, you’re there. There is a science to this as we talked about earlier. So we took that playbook and we offered it to our customers, to the community at no cost by any means. And that was just a fantastic tool. And we used social media to get that playbook out there to thousands and thousands of customers. That’s one way.

We also had different customers connect in different webinar experiences so they could learn from one another. I think those were a couple of the key ways.

We definitely used our digital space. We created an area specifically for small businesses within our AT&T business environment. We created a handbook on how you build a virtual business. How do you take your physical to your virtual business and so forth and shared that as well. So what we tried to do is, was take some of the things that larger companies have more easy access to and make those available to smaller businesses.

One of my favorite phrases from the pandemic, I remember a team member said, „Sarita we’re in this together“. I remember hearing that and I’m like, you’re absolutely right. We are in this together. @saritasayso

One of my favorite phrases from the pandemic, I remember a team member said, „Sarita we’re in this together“. I remember hearing that and I’m like, you’re absolutely right. We are in this together. And then I heard that phrase time and time again, and I’m like, wow, did we hear it from them or did they hear it from us? But the beautiful thing was that everybody embraced it. So it’s one of my favorite phrases, we’re in this together.

In the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, you shared a quote about the importance of authenticity and that people naturally trust other people more than brands. You also mentioned, „Working with credible B2B influencers can help build brand authority through real, human conversations and interactions.“ Can you share an example of what „real, human conversations and interactions“ looks like?

Sarita: We brought Barbara Corcoran on to help us. She has done a series of webinars, we’re still doing them and I encourage folks to go watch them. You can’t get more real. Barbara also brought her friends in, like Rachel Ray. So someone that’s both inspirational and aspirational, right.

If you have somebody that is going out there to start that business, they’ve seen these individuals grow those businesses. What I loved about Barbara is we always offered up a Q and a section and it was like, „well, I’m thinking about starting this“. And she just said, you’re too late. You’re too late if you don’t start now. So she was directive and motivational as well. We’ve seen how Barbara has built so many successful businesses through her work. So I think it was a very relatable and it was somebody, again, that simplified something that was rather complex. She brought emotion.

Folks say this isn’t emotional. It is emotional. So she brought emotion into it and she brought a sense urgency where urgency was required. And this wasn’t anything that we charged our customers for. This was about us contributing to the community because that’s what small businesses are about, right? It’s the community. So I think Barbara was just a huge hit and just so incredibly authentic. That’s what I really liked. And I think that’s the power in bringing the right influencers on board.

How important do you think it is for sales leaders to be active on social networks and build community?

Sarita: Yeah. I think it’s key that you have to have a sort of full cadre of what your plan is. But social media, in my opinion, is one of the most important aspects of marketing. It provides incredible benefits but you have to know where you’re reaching your customers and where your customers are. For me the focus is, as you know, is LinkedIn and Twitter. I don’t use many of the others because that’s not where my team is or my customers are. So I think that’s going to be really important that you know where you reach your customers depending on your business. There’s others, where Instagram is going to be really important for that business. So just make sure you understand where you should be telling your story. I think staying active and up to date is important and staying relevant and the messaging of today is really important.

Social media, in my opinion, is one of the most important aspects of marketing. @saritasayso #executiveinfluence

I think it’s anywhere, right? Social really goes anywhere from awareness to consideration until the customer is ready to buy. So there’s multiple ways of looking at it. So I think it’s definitely relevant. I think you see more brands investing in social for their messaging because you get that broader reach and you get a greater return from that perspective. But again, remember to be active where your customer base. If you’re using it for customer acquisition remember to be active where your customers are.

More brands investing in social for their messaging because you get that broader reach and you get a greater return. @saritasayso #executiveinfluence

Thank you Sarita!

You can find Sarita on Twitter, LinkedIn and you can learn more about AT&T Business on their website.

Be sure to stay tuned to TopRank Marketing’s B2B Marketing Blog for our next episode of Inside B2B Influence where we’ll be answering the B2B marketing industry’s most pressing questions about the role of influence in business to business marketing.

You can also download The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report featuring insights from a survey of hundreds of B2B marketers plus case studies and contributions from marketing executives at brands including AT&T Business, Adobe, LinkedIn, IBM, Dell, SAP and many more.

The post Inside B2B Influence: Sarita Rao of AT&T on Growing B2B Executive Influence with Social Media appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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