Friday Apr 04, 2014

You Didn’t Miss These Changes at LinkedIn Did You?

LinkedIn changesYes, LinkedIn is a very different social network with very different users and a very different purpose than the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not a platform that’s always experimenting, evolving and changing like the others.

In the past few months alone, LinkedIn has made alterations that you, especially if you’re B2B, must be aware of in case they affect current strategy or serve as inspiration for new LinkedIn tactics for your brand.

Congratulations! You’re a Publisher!

Did you ever see a post from one of those LinkedIn Influencers and think to yourself, “Hey, that should be me”? Now it can be. If you can’t publish already, you can apply to do it sooner rather than later. Then you can get people to follow you who aren’t in your network and start building an audience for your content.

But just to give you an idea of how impressed people need to be with your content, the average Influencer post gets over 31,000 views, over 250 likes and around 80 comments. We guess that’s why they’re called Influencers, and we’re proud to count Oracle President Mark Hurd among them.

Hmm, That Didn’t Work, Part 1

In what LinkedIn described as a decision to focus on a few big bets, they shut down LinkedIn Intro. It had only been around less than 4 months, so the decision to stop focusing on it came pretty quickly.

Intro infused LinkedIn contact data into your iPhone email inbox. LinkedIn still likes that idea and will pursue it via partnerships, but to do what it did meant LinkedIn had to scan every email that came into your inbox, which raised security concerns and frankly, successfully scared many people off. Adding to the headache, those that did install Intro had to be sure to uninstall it or their email wouldn’t work properly after the shutdown.

Hmm, That Didn’t Work, Part 2

LinkedIn is shutting down Slidecast (which didn’t make the “we want to focus on this” cut either). That let LinkedIn-owned SlideShare users put up presentations complete with audio. That stops April 30.

I Don’t Have to Deal With You Anymore

LinkedIn provided something users had been asking for in large numbers, a way to block members. It’s called…are you ready for this…”Member Blocking.” But before going nuclear on someone and blocking them, LinkedIn encourages you to try other settings such as disconnect, change your profile visibility, use anonymous profile viewing, and be mindful of what activities you broadcast.

Hmm, That Didn’t Work, Part 3

Sell Hack thought its "Hack In" tool did a pretty cool thing. It let you go to any profile on LinkedIn and with the click of a button, get the email address of that person from LinkedIn’s database. Boy did LinkedIn not like that. After a cease and desist, the tool was removed, though Sell Hack said they’ll be back with something else that fits more in line with LinkedIn’s terms of service.

The Best Way to Get to People

The new “How You’re Connected” tool is right there on profile pages, and shows you not just who in your network knows them (which is pretty helpful in and of itself), but how they know each other. This way you can choose the person to make the introduction that makes the most sense given what you’re trying to accomplish.

How’s Your Content Doing?

Do you want an analytics resource that gives you insight into the impact of your paid and organic content on LinkedIn? Awesome, because that’s exactly how LinkedIn defines their Content Marketing Score. Take your unique engagement on LinkedIn, divide it by your total target audience and there you have it, along with tips on how to get your score up. It’s partner, Trending Content, shows you what stories are resonating best in a range of subject areas.

So Long Products & Services

Products & Services on Company Pages will be gone by April 14th. Who needs it when you now have “Showcase Pages,” which let people follow individual products without following the whole brand? That means more relevant content and communities. Updates still show up on the Company Page though, and show up there in search results.

LinkedIn is doing just fine, 277 million users and adding 2 per second. 40% of users check in daily. There are 3 million business pages and 2.1 million groups, with 8,000 more created weekly. With all that going on, be ready to stay on top of what the inevitable growth spurts might mean for you.

Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Jun 14, 2013

Forget B2B and B2C – Tech Enables B2P (Business to People) Marketing

handshakeUh oh, here comes more silo-busting.  For decades we’ve operated with a mentality of two separate marketing worlds, B2B and B2C. It’s another one of those things that’s ingrained in us, but that’s ripe for upheaval and disruption. Today, guest blogger Angela Wells, Oracle Director Outbound Product Management for Social, explains why B2B and B2C might be consolidating into B2P.

Marketers traditionally think of themselves as targeting either businesses or consumers.  Books and blogs vie to tell us how to succeed in either of these schools of thought. We can turn to experts, resources and companies based on their reputation for executing one or the other, but then we might miss out on the opportunities today’s technology offers us.

In my marketing career, I’ve helped sell everything from 99-cent impulse bags of potato chips in grocery stores to multi-million dollar, multi-year market research programs to global Fortune 100 companies. Yet I’ve never been more excited about the current opportunities to connect with potential customers in new ways, driven by tech.

What’s “B2P Marketing”?

It’s the recognition that businesses aren’t buying what you’re trying to sell. Individual decision makers, people, inside those businesses are buying what you’re trying to sell (or not), making judgment calls on behalf of their companies.

B2C Marketing is aimed at consumers making purchasing decisions primarily around simple products for personal use. B2B Marketing boils down to “getting leads,” and there’s plenty being written these days about B2B content marketing for achieving just that. B2P Marketing “gets” that human decision makers and influencers drive both.

It’s no surprise emotions and perceived relationships with brands influence product & service recommendations. Be aware corporate decision makers and influencers are entrusted with major investment choices, so the perceived relationship will factor greatly in their willingness to recommend you and be your inside advocate.

Why Does “B2P Marketing” Matter More Now?

With the rise of social and engagement, it’s become increasingly obvious we’re all targeting people.  And these people are consuming media like never before, across a range of social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  Individuals look to connect online with brands that matter to their personal choices (why I’m a fan of Dairy Queen on Facebook), and to inform their professional choices (why Oracle Social has over one million Facebook fans).

Keys to B2P Marketing Success

Continuously Offer Content of Value:
Content is created every day and of every kind people gravitate towards – repeatedly! Yes, as marketers, we’re trying to sell. But those with whom we communicate will find real value if we primarily educate and inform so they can be better at what they do.

Have a Clear Brand Voice:  
The impersonal “one to many” communications on most corporate websites often fall flat. Crafting content as if you were writing personally to a professional colleague might help your messages sound more genuine.

Engage in Ongoing Customer Dialogue:  
Social offers a two-way dialogue, complete with the ability to see, comment, re-tweet…positively and negatively. For example, Oracle Eloqua created a community for engaged customers on which to share feedback with Oracle Eloqua employees and each other.

Provide Support that Helps End Users:  
“Businesses” don’t call your customer support, people do. They’re reaching out to your account managers or combing through your “help” materials. What kind of human experience are they having? Individuals lose precious time when they have issues with their purchase from you. Keep your support info updated and easy to find. Making customers input search terms that surface mostly irrelevant results from a massive online catalog will rarely get you rave reviews.

So B2B and B2C, welcome the B2P concept, marketing with a keen awareness that real people drive decisions and effectively managing social relationships with them is critical.


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