7 tips for enhancing B2B marketing campaigns with online video

Consumers just love video and that includes other business’s buyers too. Over 182 million people in US alone watched online video in September, engaging in a total of 39.8 billion video views. Now savvy B2B marketers are quickly realising the power of online video in their email and social media marketing campaigns.

Nothing sells products and services more efficiently and effectively than a compelling, well-made video where companies can actually see your article or service in action, as demonstrated by real people. YouTube video channels also allow your company the opportunity to seek feedback from clients and other businesses and respond to their questions, as well as promoting your products. Links can also be posted direct to your company website, making ordering easy and boosting sales. YouTube viewers are also provided with various social media buttons and a call to action to share the video with their contacts, further promoting your brand and widening your base of potential prospects and sales leads.

Here are seven great tips for harnessing the power of online video in your company’s email and social media marketing strategy.

1. The 60 second rule

Make sure your video is 60 seconds or less. Stats show that online video viewers lose interest and move on after 60 seconds, so don’t waste time producing a stunning online video that goes on forever; your key message may not be received.

2. Get your message across

You must send the viewer a clear message in the first few seconds of the video which spells out exactly what you are offering them. Engaging online videos quickly and concisely deliver the main element of the message at the very beginning, and this is proven to increase conversion rates. Tell the viewer what your offer is right at the start to encourage them to continue watching the whole video. Always include a clear call to action at the end of the video to remind the viewer of the action you’re wanting them to take.

Steer clear of videos that just serve to highlight your brand; these are a turn off for viewers.

3. Utilise existing resources

You don’t have to spend a fortune on making your video. Most companies have already invested in good quality, approved marketing tools like logos and images, and these can be recycled in combination with professional-grade graphics or stock videos to make great marketing videos.

However, it is a good idea to use a professional media consultancy firm to produce the video for you. Although this will require a little more investment, you’ll save money by using your existing marketing tools and the professional finish will be worth it.

4. Embed linked thumbnail images

Users like to make minimal effort when it comes to accessing message content. The best method of integrating your online video into your email and social media campaigns is to embed a thumbnail image linked to the video that includes a “play” button. When the recipient clicks the play button, they are automatically directed to a browser window which displays the video on a video marketing landing page.

5. Brand your video landing pages

Although YouTube is a great place to host your marketing videos, it can be even more effective if you use your own branded landing page. This provides you with control over the user experience and also allows space for text-based offers, lead capture forms and more calls to action.

The landing page should reinforce the intended call to action of your whole marketing campaign, as well as reflecting your company brand.

6. Mobile video and web support

So many people use smartphones to surf the web now, so it’s vital all your video-based email marketing and social media campaigns can be delivered using both HTML5 and Flash formats. It’s important to note that Flash videos cannot be viewed from iPads or iPhones, which means that you will be missing out on potentially thousands of leads if you neglect to accommodate these users.

It’s also crucial to make sure that you keep up to speed with mobile developments and upgrades, so that your campaigns remain viewable and viable over all mobile media.

7. Analyse results

Analytics gathered from all your marketing initiatives are very important if you are to accurately measure the success of your campaigns and make any necessary adjustments to improve their performance. Video viewership stats including number of views, time viewed, duration of viewing, and traffic sources will help you to understand when a particular video is effective and when it isn’t. Online videos can also be utilised to great effect for A/B testing.

A good video can really enhance your email and social media marketing campaigns, whether they are directed at other business clients or to a wider audience. Follow the tips above to help maximise your promotional video and boost your sales.

How to handle a social media crisis

As a tool for raising awareness about your brand, social media scores top marks. When people like or share what is being posted about your business, social media earns its stripes as one of the most influential online branding strategies around.

But what happens when something detrimental to your clean-cut reputation is posted online? Negative comments tend to grab attention quicker than positive ones, and have the ability to spread like wildfire across the internet. When such a social media crisis strikes, knowing how to handle the situation effectively is crucial, so you can nip it in the bud and limit any damage caused to your reputation.

Be prepared

You can prevent a social media crisis from turning viral like an infectious disease by being prepared before an attack even happens. Having a reputation management crisis plan already in place means you’ll know how to respond when negative comments are published. Your plan should include who is responsible for dealing with the crisis, what steps you should take and what guidelines to follow. Frontline staff who use social media should also be educated on this issue.

Keep your eyes open

In order to know if anything unsavoury is being said about you on social media, keep a watchful eye on various sites on a regular basis to monitor any potential threats to your good name. Timing is of the essence when a social media crisis erupts, so being at the ready from the first negative outpouring is crucial. There are various tools you can use to monitor when your brand is being mentioned online, so it’s worth investigating these as part of your crisis prevention strategies.

Respond quickly

As soon as you spot a negative slur about your brand on social media, never ignore it in the hope it will disappear. Respond immediately. Even if you don’t have an instant solution to the problem, at least acknowledge the comment and reply by saying you will look into the issue.

Avoid a slanging match

Even if the negative comments you receive about your business are unjustified or the person who made them is in the wrong, avoid going on the defensive and never get into a slanging match. Social media is like a global stage, so it is imperative to retain your dignity and professionalism at all times. It may seem strange to write an apology if you know you haven’t done anything wrong, but it will show that, either way, you care about what your customers or followers think. Obviously, if the negative comments are valid, it’s also important to accept your mistakes and take full responsibility. Never lie, as you will risk being regarded as an untrustworthy brand.

Keep communicating

You can help to redeem your good reputation by showing that you take negative comments seriously, and are committed to finding a quick but suitable resolution. If you need time to investigate any negative allegations, it’s important that you remain transparent and keep your social media followers informed of the proceedings, so that they feel they are being kept in the loop.

Even if you have no updates to give them, let them know that you’re still doing your best to resolve the situation. Open up a dialogue with your social media followers, if necessary, so that they can ask questions and feel that they are not being ignored during this crisis.

Be careful about what other things you post on social media during this time, however. Your followers may get annoyed if you publish anything that may be deemed insensitive or controversial to the specific crisis. Equally, if you need time to investigate the complaint posted on social media, but continue to churn out lots of content, it may look like your priorities are in the wrong place.

Learn from the experience

Hopefully, you’ll quickly find a satisfactory resolution to the social media crisis. How you communicate this is just as important to the actual solution you provide. Although a social media crisis can be detrimental to your brand reputation, if you handle the situation effectively and show your professional, caring side, you can limit the damage caused, and may even be able to turn a negative situation into one that can enhance your brand image.

The vital factor following a social media crisis is to learn from the experience, so you can understand what the challenges were that you faced, and how you would handle them better or differently, if you find yourself in that situation again.

5 ways to use Twitter to build your business

Social media is an effective marketing tool for any business and the good thing about it is that it can be completely free of charge. If you want to grow your business, it is imperative to have a strong social media presence and to use it effectively.

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms for business use and with over 300 million active users per month, you have many potential customers at your disposal. As with any social media platform, it is important to develop a strategy to use it to your full advantage. These are some of the most effective ways to use Twitter to build and promote your business

1. Effective profile

Unlike many other social media platforms, Twitter has a restriction on how many characters you can use, so it is important to ensure you use these wisely on your profile. Your profile should explain what your business is and should be brief and to the point. You should incorporate hashtags into your profile, as this is the way in which people will find you. For example, if you are a plumber, you should use #Plumber somewhere in your profile, as well as your location. You should also have a link to your website on your profile. It is thought that people react more to a personal photo than a business logo, so it is a good idea to upload a friendly but professional looking image. This makes people feel like they are talking directly to someone, rather than just a company profile.

2. Follow relevant people

When you start your journey on Twitter, you should think carefully about who you want to follow. For example, who are your potential customers and what location are you working in? If you are offering a trade, such as window cleaning, you will only have the means to travel a certain distance, so it is important to only aim for customers within this region. On the other hand, you may offer a service which can be suitable for anyone in the world, such as copywriting, so in this case, location won’t be an issue. Take some time to work out your target market and follow accordingly.

Other useful people to follow include business partners who may be able to support your business and local networking groups. It is also useful to follow competitors, as you can find out what they are doing and gain access to their followers, which are your potential customers. ManageFlitter is a useful tool as it allows you to perform advanced searches based on bio and location, so you can follow the most relevant audience. At this stage, don’t worry too much about who is following you, as this will build up in good time. It is also important to take it slowly when following people, as you could be penalised if you follow too many at the one time.

3. Useful content

The best way to gain followers is to ensure you post regular and useful content on your Twitter page, while making use of relevant hashtags. Many business owners don’t have the time or resources to do this every day, so in this case, it is best to look at professional social media marketing assistance. The content you post should be relevant to your business and it should not just be self-promoting. Some ideas for content include your blog posts, podcasts, any interesting news about your business and articles relevant to your business. You should aim to tweet on a daily basis, although two to three times is far more effective. It can be tempting to tweet more than this, but this can become annoying to your followers, especially if you are constantly self-promoting. You should make use of images too, as these are well known to attract followers.

4. Interact

It is simply not enough to just follow people and post content, you also need to interact with your audience. This can be a really useful way to gain followers and attract business. If you receive messages or comments, make sure you respond to these. If you find anything interesting, always retweet it as it makes it look less like you are just using Twitter for the good of your own business. You should aim to help others with their business too and this can be achieved through retweeting. If you help others, they will help you.

5. Ask the audience

There is always something new to learn when you run a business, so don’t be afraid to ask your followers some questions. This can be a good way to develop relationships and it will also help you to improve your knowledge and understanding. You may be able to find out about useful networking in your local area and find out what others are doing to promote their business, simply by asking questions.