Beyond LinkedIn: Why Other Social Media Platforms Still Matter in B2B Marketing

There’s no denying it – LinkedIn is one of the most effective tools for lead generation for B2B marketers. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only effective tool.

Sure, you may be thinking – other social media platforms only work well for B2C marketers. Well, let us explain how to look beyond LinkedIn and find out how Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can work for your B2B business.

Socual Media Marketing

Facebook

Did you know that Facebook has 16 million business pages? If your company isn’t on Facebook, you’re missing out on all those opportunities to market to millions of possible leads.

Facebook isn’t a professional platform like LinkedIn, but Medium says that “the most successful B2B companies on Facebook provide fun, interesting, and helpful posts but ensure they remain relevant to their mission statements.” This is important as many people scroll through in their timelines during down-time and engage more often than on other social media. Although LinkedIn users may be using the platform in a more professional manner, Facebook has many more eyes on their content. So, if Facebook hasn’t worked in the past, keep in mind that Facebook and LinkedIn are two different beasts – meaning they require adapted messaging.

Also, Facebook has its own advertising platform that shouldn’t go unnoticed. It garners attention from outside your follower base and can be tweaked based on your desired age range and location. Bonus: Facebook’s advertising costs a lot less than LinkedIn’s.

Instagram

According to Media One Creative, 80% of Instagram users follow business platforms. Instagram has a large following at 1 billion active accounts – and although 80% may have a clear B2C focus, even 10% is 100 million users.

Now if you’re not convinced that Instagram may be the right platform for you, even with the large user base, it is an important supportive tool. The great thing about Instagram, aside from their growing popularity, is their visual content focus. This is an opportunity to support your brand by showcasing who you are and what you stand for through a visual story. Whether it be through their different styles of ads – photo, video, and carousel, it can put a relatable face to your name.

Instagram may not be the place to push sales but focusing on creating a friendly/relatable brand face or story and make all the difference between choosing to do business with two similar companies.

Twitter

The majority of B2B marketers use twitter as a part of their content strategy – 87% to be exact. With 330 million active users per month, many businesses are taking advantage of this quick response platform. Are you?

Twitter is another excellent example of putting a face to your brand – but more specifically, a voice. A great example of this is Wendy’s. They have done an excellent job of putting a human voice to their brand. With consistent posting, a distinctive brand personality, and an immediacy in responses, Wendy’s is showing us how Twitter can be an effective social strategy. Granted, your brand personality may not need to be as “spicy” as Wendy’s, but working on creating a conversational tone, engaging with your followers, and even using a little humour, can make your brand feel more “real”.

The only catch with Twitter, is it is an extremely busy platform. Like in the Wendy’s example above, the business side of this platform requires any queries to be answered quickly. If you can keep up and not fall behind, Twitter can be an excellent supportive social tool for interacting with and landing future clients.

The Bottom Line

If you only leave with one takeaway from this article, let it be this: Don’t be self-serving – think of the content that your audience would like, and deliver “shareworthy” content.

If you’re not sure about this, Sprout Social says that a good way to know if you’re putting out good social media content is to ask yourself “If I didn’t work for this company, would I look at this post?”

Ultimately, LinkedIn may be the king of B2B marketing, but don’t forget that your strategy is strongest with supportive marketing on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Create or update your social strategy to include every social platform as an extra layer to strengthen your B2B marketing strategy and your brand.

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Key Digital Marketing Statistics to Take From 2018

2018 was a big year for SEO. Google’s constantly-changing search algorithm evaluates over 200 ranking factors, and SEO is an increasingly complex science. We’ve compiled a list of statistics that stood out in 2018 to adapt to your marketing efforts in 2019.

2018 digital marketing statistics

Better content can increase traffic by up to 2,000%

Content should be your number one priority.

Last year, we witnessed just how big an impact content has on your overall digital marketing and SEO efforts. Informative, high-quality content is the pillar of a successful SEO strategy. The better the content, the more traffic it will drive to your site.

Strategically creating website content around a keyword or set of keywords is the first step in attracting traffic to your site. Blogs are an important piece of content that can work magic for increasing traffic. There are roughly 250 million blogs online right now!

Google is responsible for 96% of all smartphone search traffic and 94% of the total organic traffic

Yes, you read that right. 96%. Only 4% of all smartphone search traffic happens on alternative search engines.

Thus, it’s of utmost importance to have a mobile-friendly and Google-friendly website to ensure users have a seamless experience. As far as we can tell, this statistic will only increase in the years to come. If your website isn’t mobile of Google-friendly, you’ll be left in the dust.

Search Engines drive 93% of website traffic

Think about this for a moment. Almost 93% of web traffic comes through search engines, and just about 75% of all searchers click a link on the first page of their search results, never bothering to move on to page two.

So, how can you get your business to rank on the search engine’s first page? You’ll need three things:

  • Time
  • Patience
  • A solid search engine optimization strategy

SEO is the leading driver of organic search ranking performance on a search engine results page. Before digital marketing took off, most marketing firms would create a brochure, meet with prospective clients and expect reasonable growth throughout their business. These days, that’s just not effective.

Today’s fastest-growing businesses are capitalizing on the digital marketing environment, and SEO plays an integral role. This will definitely be the case as we move into 2019.

WordPress accounts for 27% of websites around the world, but less than half of WordPress sites are up to date

What does this tell us? That it’s important to optimize your website for maximum performance. So, how do we do this?

  • SEO-friendly URLs:
    • Google gives more weight to the first 3-5 words in your URL. Be sure to choose wisely!
  • Titles optimized for SEO:
    • Title tags are one of the most important factors of on-page SEO. For best results, start your title with your keyword, or place it in the beginning.
  • Add modifiers to your titles
    • Descriptive words like ‘best’ and ‘review’ are examples.
  • Optimize your meta descriptions
    • Your description should complement your title. It should contain your main keyword as well.
  • Eliminate thin content
    • When we talk about thin content, we usually think of its effect on search engine ranking, but you should also be mindful of how it impacts your clients or customers. Here’s how to fix it.

SEO has a 14.6% conversion rate compared to 1.7% for traditional outbound methods.

Cold-calling and direct mail are things of the past.

In 2018, we saw a 14.6% rate of conversion in SEO marketing.

That’s high.

SEO is such an effective method, in comparison to mail or cold-calling because it’s a direct response to the things people are searching for. SEO strategies can be tailored to your specific target demographic, much more so than marketing techniques of the past.

The average attention span in 2018 is 8 seconds

8 seconds. That’s how long you have to attract a potential customer.

Each year, that time is getting shorter and shorter as a result of the brain’s ‘digitized lifestyle,’ For example, the average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds.

This means that your website, SEO strategy and social media efforts must grab the attention of the user instantly.

Looking to learn more about SEO and how it can impact your business? Contact us today to chat about your online strategy.

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5 Changes to Make to Your Google My Business Profile Before 2019

There was never a dull moment in local SEO this year, with new updates to coming to Google My Business at a rapid-fire pace throughout 2018. Now’s the time to log in and make sure your Google My Business page is current and ready for the new year.

Let’s get straight to it. The biggest updates to Google My Business in 2018 were:

  1. New dashboard for businesses with multiple locations
  2. Separate fields for Service Area and Business Address (and removing the ability to set a distance-based service area around the business address)
  3. Service menu for service-based businesses and product menu for retailers
  4. Letting businesses set ‘factual’ attributes in addition to the crowdsourced ‘subjective’ attributes (including the veteran-led and women-led attributes)
  5. Videos on the photo dashboard

5 changes to make to google my business profile

These changes affected some types of businesses more than others (some local service-based companies will have a lot of catching up to do) but all of them matter when it comes to understanding how to optimize Google My Business for a stronger local presence.

Here’s how to ensure you’re up-to-date with Google My Business in 2019.

1. Scrutinize Your Suggested Changes

In March of 2018, Google rolled out a new Google My Business dashboard for business owners with two or more listings or locations. It’s much faster and easier to navigate than the old one.

The downside? The new dashboard makes it more difficult to track and respond to Suggested Changes in a timely manner.

A Suggested Change is an addition or change to your listing that either comes from:

  1. A user manually editing your listing information; or
  2. Google’s algorithm finding information about your listing (often from third-party directory sites).

Here’s the trouble: the name ‘Suggested Changes’ is a bit misleading, since the changes don’t always require your approval before they go live.

As the listing owner, you should receive an email from Google whenever there’s a ‘suggestion’; however, those notifications don’t always make it through to your inbox.

Because of this, it’s important that you log in to check your Suggested Changes periodically, especially since the new dashboard makes it harder to notice them.

To see Suggested Changes for a Google My Business listing in the new dashboard:

  1. Log in to Google My Business.
  2. Click Back to GMB Classic in the left-hand menu.
  3. Click Google Updates in the centre column.
  4. Make sure the box next to ‘Google updates’ is set to display All.
  5. Click Resolve updates in the rightmost column to see the Suggested Changes and other updates to a listing.

2. Specify Your Ever-Growing Service Area

Before the update, local businesses could define only their service area as a kilometer/mile radius around their business address. Google realized this was a shortcoming (who actually has a perfectly circular service area?) and turned it around late in 2018.

Now, Google My Business lets you edit your business address and service area separately. Businesses can specify their service area by region, city, or ZIP/Postal Code.

If you haven’t gotten around to updating your service area, here’s how to do it:

  1. Log in to Google My Business.
  2. Click the location you’d like to edit.
  3. Click Info in the left-hand menu.
  4. Click Edit in the Service Area section.
  5. Click the X next to a service area to delete it.

3. Promote Your Outstanding Services

Early in 2018, Google began to allow businesses in select industries to list their services in detail right on the page. Later, they expanded the feature to almost all service businesses, including creative industries and the trades.

The service menu is simple, consisting of just a name, description, and optionally a price for each item. It’s a vast improvement over the previous version of Google My Business’s services, which was limited to keywords like ‘repair services’ and ‘installation services.’

Adding services to your Google My Business page is quick and easy. All you need to do is:

  1. Log in to Google My Business.
  2. Click Info in the left-hand menu.
  3. Click Edit in the Services section.

Recently, Google has begun testing a product menu feature for Google My Business as well. Chances are this will expand to more companies next year, so keep an eye out!

4. Add Appealing Factual Attributes

Attributes are Google’s name for small bits of descriptive information about a business. They include things like:

  • Service offerings (pick-up or drive-thru)
  • Atmosphere (casual, noisy, family-friendly, private)
  • Customer/clientele demographic (popular among students, business travellers, tourists)

Originally, the algorithm compiled a business’s attributes based solely on user reviews and feedback via the GMB Q&A feature – businesses couldn’t edit them.

In 2018, Google refined the attributes system by splitting them into factual and subjective attributes. Now, businesses can directly edit certain attributes. The attributes available (which include acceptable payment types, accessibility options, and whether the business is LGBTQ-friendly) vary depending on the business’s category.

Even if you’re not a GMB geek, you might have heard about the release of the women-led and veteran-led attributes – two socially-conscious tags designed to help customers support local vets, businesswomen, and even businesswoman vets.

There’s also a lesser-known family-led attribute, which could help win the favour of locavores in search of a good old-fashioned family business.

In any case, it pays to take a moment to set up factual attributes that will help customers get to know you. It doesn’t take long:

  1. Log in to Google My Business.
  2. Click Info in the left-hand menu.
  3. Click Edit in the Attributes section.

5. Upload an Excellent Video

Video is one of the most powerful mediums available to us as marketers and you as a business owner.

Online video consistently grabs more views and engagement than still images, and 90% of customers now say that video influences their buying decisions.

The addition of 30-second videos to Google My Business shows Google is serious about getting customers to convert (whether it’s making a purchase or booking an appointment) directly on the GMB platform. For businesses, it’s an opportunity to make a huge visual impact just around the corner from the search engine results page.

What’s Next for Google My Business?

Make no mistake: Google My Business will continue to extend its influence in local SEO in the year to come.

Don’t let the imminent demise of Google+ fool you into thinking GMB is on its way out. In fact, part of the reason Google is sunsetting G+ is because GMB has effectively taken over its function as a hub for customer-brand interactions.

So, what does the future have in store? Based on this year’s developments, you can expect to see even greater emphasis on conversions directly from the Google My Business platform in 2019. Additionally, you ought to pay close attention to your business’s attributes – chances are, they’ll fuel increasingly precise local search results based on ‘intangibles’ like a business’s character and atmosphere.

It’s cool stuff.

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Quora for SEO: Is it Worth Your Time?

300 million active monthly users. Engagement with the world’s top thought leaders. Growth that could surpass Twitter and Reddit. Those are the claims Quora put forth to advertisers when it launched new targeting options earlier this year. If they’re right, then Quora must be fertile ground for SEO activity – right?

Quora

In reality, the intersection of Quora and SEO is a complex (and often controversial) topic.

Let’s investigate.

What is Quora, and Why Is It So Popular?

Quora isn’t the first question-and-answer site out there, but it might just be the last.

That is to say that Quora has so far managed to succeed in areas where similar sites have failed.

Yahoo Answers, one of the first major Q&A sites, was massively popular but poorly-moderated in terms of questions and answers alike. It never came close to a reputable source of information and was often the subject of ridicule.

Google Answers surpassed Yahoo Answers in the quality of its content, but it failed to strike a chord with internet users at large; and like many Google products (see: Google+), Google Answers was closed due to ailing popularity.

The respective downfalls of Yahoo Answers and Google Answers illustrate the challenge of managing an informational site built on user-submitted content. To grow, the site must continuously attract more users who are willing to submit questions and answers; however, there’s a delicate balance between encouraging user participation and maintaining quality standards.

Set the bar for quality too high and few people will participate; set it too low and the site will attract poor-quality content, spam and trolls.

To date, Quora has managed to strike this balance through a combination of a quality-ranking algorithm and human moderators who monitor the feeds. Quora was originally moderated by volunteers from its user community, but the company has since switched to paid moderators and content reviewers who remove questions and answers as needed.

It’s easy to contribute to, but it’s not a free-for-all, either. This balance has been vital to the site’s popularity so far. Quora has even garnered attention from world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama.

What is the Value of Quora for SEO?

Another key to Quora’s success is its powerful presence on Google’s search engine results page.

Google’s RankBrain algorithm strives to deliver the highest-quality answers relevant to searchers’ queries. Quora’s upvote-driven Q&A format, which favours the most precise and comprehensive answers to specific questions, is practically tailor-made for it.

These days, whenever you make a search query in the form of a question, there’s a high likelihood of finding Quora on the first page of the results.

This trend has motivated people, brands and SEOs to try and leverage Quora to drive site traffic.

But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Using Quora for SEO is not as simple as plopping links into questions and answers – and in fact, that’s a good way to get banned from Quora for life.

Ways to Use Quora for SEO

Here’s the truth: Quora’s prominence on page 1 of Google’s search engine results has made it a magnet for SEO-related spam.

Spam links on Quora

Pictured: A person using Quora just for the purpose of link building.

By that we mean users posting low-quality answers solely for the purpose of driving traffic to their (or their client’s) site.

Spammers aside, there are legitimately useful and effective ways to leverage Quora’s popularity and SERP presence to your advantage.

1. Answer Questions to Drive Qualified Traffic to Your Site

All external links placed by Quora users are no-follow links. This means that if you post a link to your website on Quora, it doesn’t pass any authority onto your site.

In other words, Quora isn’t useful for backlinking.

However, when done properly, posting links to Quora can be a way to drive good, qualified traffic to your site. That’s because the questions people pose to Quora tend to be specific, with clear intent on the part of the questioner.

For example, the person asking “What are the best tennis shoes?” is likely to be interested in buying a pair of tennis shoes. The same goes for anyone who comes across the question in a Google search. If you happen to sell tennis shoes, these are exactly the people you want visiting your website – so it would be great if you could get a link on that page.

However, Quora is picky about how and when a question or answer can include external links.

According to Quora’s rules on questions and answers containing external links:

  • Helpful answers are clear and credible, and sincerely address the question asked. External links to sources can help demonstrate credibility when the answer depends on third-party facts and analysis rather than the poster’s personal experience.
  • Answers containing external links must answer the question and summarize how the reference answers the question. They cannot just point users to the link for answers.
  • Answers that drive traffic to external sites for promotional or commercial purposes and do not sufficiently answer the question are considered spam.

In sum, if a page on your site is a good source of information for a user’s question, it can be helpful and appropriate to include a link to that page in an answer. When the question is one that your ideal visitors are asking, it can be well worth your time to answer it.

2. Answer Questions to Build Credibility and Authority in Your Industry

One of the reasons why Quora has been popular among tech influencers is how it readily showcases users’ qualifications and achievements.

Right below each user’s name and portrait is their Quora credentials, intended as a way to show the world why your post is worth reading (and an implicit answer to the question, “Says who?”). It can include your education, location, life experience and other personal information. Well-known figures can even earn a verification checkmark next to their name.

This system makes Quora an excellent platform for personal and brand authority-building. It’s a fast and completely free way to publicly demonstrate expertise in your industry.

3. Use Quora to Optimize Your Site Content

Popular answers on Quora can tell you a lot about how to write great content.

The answers that rank best among users tend to be those that provide comprehensive, useful information in a way that’s easy to read and understand. When the question relates to your industry, it can give valuable clues about the information your customers are looking for and how they prefer to receive it.

Think about a question your customers or clients regularly ask. Has anyone asked and answered the question on Quora?

Does your website provide all the information contained in the top answer?

If not, that could indicate an area of your site that needs improvement.

4. Use Quora for Keyword Research

If someone is asking a question about your industry on Quora, chances are some of your customers are searching the same thing.

Quora is an excellent place to explore how people discuss your business in everyday, unfiltered language.

Questions and answers can reveal keywords and phrasing you might not have thought of yet. Plus, with a free Quora Ads account, you can see exactly how many views a question receives each week, which can help you decide if a particular keyword is worth pursuing.

5. Use Quora to Brainstorm Blog Topics

Not sure what to write about? Find an unanswered (or inadequately-answered) question that relates to your business and answer it in a comprehensive blog post.

Freshly-posted questions can be a goldmine for novel blog content ideas. The same goes for a new FAQ page, a customer knowledge base, or a glossary of industry terms.

Better yet, there are several ways find these topics without any work on your part. Add a subject or keyword to your Quora feed to have new questions delivered as they’re published. Or, follow another user who answers questions in your industry to get notified when they post – then, add your two cents.

Quora has been around for almost ten years, but it’s still fertile ground when it comes to growing your online reach and driving traffic to your website. There’s plenty of room for experimentation.

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