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The B2B Guide to Social Media Hall of Fame

by Hannah Stacey (@hanstacey)

It’s that time of the year again! Get your glad rags on, rehearse your gushing acceptance speech and be sure to practice your gracious loser face, because it’s time to celebrate the finest examples of B2B social media best practice.  The nominations have been carefully scrutinised by an eagle-eyed panel of experts, and here are your winners:

 

Facebook

Winner: Dell for Business

What they say: “This page has been created to provide a new way businesses can interact with and gain information from Dell and each other when they visit Facebook.”

Why we like it: Whilst it has been argued by some that Facebook is a blind alley when it comes to B2B marketing, Dell is a shining example of a brand successfully engaging with its target business audience on the site.  Indeed, the company has wholeheartedly embraced the recent shift to Timeline for their B2B page, which they have effectively transformed into a one-stop-shop for small business technology needs.  Making full use of the ability to customise tabs, visitors to the page can access support and guidance, find out about upcoming SME event, watch videos of experts, and enter the acclaimed ‘America’s favourite small business competition’.

 

Twitter

Winner: Avaya

What they say: “Your official source for information on Avaya news, events, technology and innovation.”

Why we like it: Unified Comms company Avaya has proved that keeping your ear to the ground on social media can be extremely advantageous. When somebody tweeted ‘shoretel or avaya? Time for a new phone system very soon’, Avaya’s social media monitoring flagged up the opportunity, and Avaya closed a $250,000 deal thirteen days later. Bish bash bosh.

 

Blogging

Winner: Indium

What they say: “From One Engineer to Another”

Why we like it: As a B2B company, what’s the best way of looking like you’re really clever? Getting loads of really brainy people to write for your blog, of course! That’s what Indium did – getting their most knowledgeable employees to blog on a multitude of engineering topics.  Now they’re establishing themselves as thought leaders on anything from tombstoning to soldering. Pretty smart, right?

 

YouTube

Winner: Avenade

What they say: “If you have any cloud questions, Avanade is again giving you the chance to get an instant answer with #AskAvanade. Tweet your question and be sure to use the #AskAvanade hashtag!”

Why they like it: Using a delectable combo of Twitter and YouTube, Avenade created a campaign whereby attendees at several trade events could ask about Avenade, CRM and any other burning questions they had.  Responses were filmed from the Avenade experts at the stand and beamed out across social media. Not only did this demonstrate what a gosh darn intelligent bunch Avenade are, but 4,243 videos were viewed and 2,427,741 people were reached through media coverage.

 

LinkedIn 

Winner: XLN Telecom – UK Small Business Network

What they say: “A group for owners of small businesses in the UK to network and to stay updated on the issues affecting us in today’s market. Featuring regular Q & A sessions with business experts on SME-specific subjects.”

Why we like it: People are likely to avoid joining communities if they are just going to be advertised at – what most want is something that is genuinely valuable or useful to their business. In setting up the UK Small Business Network, XLN Telecom created a forum for over 1,300 members to meet and discuss any issues affecting the humble UK SME, in the meantime enhancing their own reputation as understanding the needs of small businesses.

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Social TV: Forget the Telly You Once Knew

Mike Stiles

With the onset of Social TV, and both hardware and software innovations on the horizon, television is on the verge of undergoing its most radical change since the introduction of cable/satellite.  But at the same time, viewers are exhibiting behavior that reinforces what’s made television so special up to this point.

We’ve all seen pictures of families in the 1940’s gathered around the radio.  They would even stare at the glowing dial, even though there was nothing to see.  But it was a special experience.  It was something families could do together.  They enjoyed discussing what was happening on the show.  And there was just one chance to hear it, after which, it was gone.  Every broadcast was an “event.”  That shared experience carried forward into the early days of television.

Fast forward to now.  Viewers can watch whatever program they like, as often as they want to watch it, when and where they want to watch it.  Shows that can be consumed in such ways ceased to be events.  Yes, they’re enjoyed and appreciated, but they lost much of the “specialness” of shared viewing experiences.

Now there are rumours and questions swirling about Apple’s next move into TV.  Could it be a cable-killer?  Viewers may be able to easily eliminate the middleman of cable and satellite companies and pay for their viewing directly, and a la carte.  Many networks, particularly Disney properties like ESPN, might appreciate no longer having to contentiously negotiate rates with cable providers.  Viewers would have control like never before.

But…how much do they want?  Along came Social TV and the concept of the second-screen.  Right as technology facilitates watching shows alone at our convenience, viewers using Social TV are taking us right back to the real-time, shared viewing experience.  And for brand marketers, these live, shared events are revealing themselves to be a premium.  What’s worth more, an ad during the World Cup or a pre-roll in an online episode of “Deadliest Catch”?

In the US, the finale of “American Idol” generated over 1 million social comments.  At its peak, the show was generating 23,876 tweets per minute.  Even 10 minutes after the show, there were still 9,500 tweets per minute coming in.

Trendrr and AdAge do weekly online charts of tweet volume surrounding memes dominating Twitter conversations.  These numbers show that live TV was instigating and driving social conversations more than anything else.  And despite delayed and on-demand viewing capabilities, TVGuide.com shows 20% of viewers are watching more live TV specifically to avoid having the plot or results ruined by seeing them discussed on their social sites.

But along with live TV driving so much social engagement, there’s also evidence Social TV is likewise influencing the value of programs for marketers.  Optimedia’s Content Power Ratings measure the social engagement of shows.  Interestingly, not all of the top social shows rank high in traditional ratings.  “Glee” was 2nd in social engagement but 74th in the Nielsen rankings.  “South Park” was 5th in social vs. 238th place in ratings.  “Family Guy” was 7th vs. 102nd on Nielsen.  And “Jersey Shore” came in 8th despite a 191st ratings ranking.

Most TV networks are well aware of these foundational shifts going on in television and are putting social conversation tools in place to accommodate and exploit them.  That’s in addition to TV check-in sites like Miso, GetGlue, Yahoo’s IntoNow, and TVGuide.com.  These services gather up passionate, active audiences for brands who are savvy in the ways of peer-pressure marketing.

Networks are also using social to measure how well their ad spend is doing, conduct real-time audience research, fine-tune content so that it better resonates with the core audience, see how promos for new shows are resonating, and show advertisers the value of the second screen.

Takeaway for B2B marketers: The Social TV phenomenon is a perfect example of your target audience, through their behaviors, showing you what they want and how they want to interact.  They will always do what works best for them, no matter what options are made available to them.  Pay attention to what they’re telling you.  Also, there is some content that works as convenient, on-demand material.  But to really fire up engagement and interaction, consider major, one-time-only events.  Your target will deem that content special and valuable provided that’s the way you treat and present it.

About the Author

Mike Stiles is a content specialist with Vitrue, the leading social relationship management technology platform in the industry.  He is also the author of “Showtime: Brands as Content Producers.”

 

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Stiles on Content: Online Voting Makes Public the Judge

Mike Stiles

Online voting is nothing new.  What is new is the degree to which social is extending and ingraining the online voting concept.  This has all kinds of implications for content strategies, 99% of which are positive.

Allowing fans and followers to vote on an outcome accomplished many of the things you want your content to accomplish.  It’s fun.  It gets the fan personally invested.  It empowers the fan and makes them feel valued.  It deepens engagement.  It gives fans a reason to care since they are driving the results.  While some of the most effective posts have always posed questions, there’s something about online voting affecting an actual outcome that turbo-charges the brand/fan relationship.

Recently, the MTV Movie Awards allowed viewers, for the first time ever, to vote using Twitter hashtags on the new “Best Hero” category.  That was the only category in which live social voting was allowed, but registered users could also weigh in on other categories on the MTV Movie Awards site.  The network played off the fact that fans are ready, willing and able to actively support and promote their favorite celebrities and films.

While it doesn’t necessarily involve voting, brands are getting into the habit of connecting to their customers in ways that go far beyond the marketing and purchasing of products.  Procter & Gamble reaches out to the public for active participation in product innovation through their Connect + Develop initiative.  In a sense, they are able to influence or “vote” on new products by submitting ideas of their own, or suggesting improvements to either existing products or submitted innovations.

Where else can this passion for online social voting go?  Many programs utilise the formula in which expert/celebrity judges render decisions on who stays and who goes on reality competition shows.  Why are these judges needed?  The answer is, they’re not.  While they may be useful for star power, we’ll probably see a day when results are entirely or mostly delivered by viewer votes.  The judges’ role would switch to using their expertise to influence viewers to vote one way or another.

Will we one day be choosing our elected officials through social voting?  Probably not.  But we can certainly already put up public non-binding referendums that would be enormously compelling to voters who want to make their voices and opinions heard on a given issue.  When you consider that vocal constituents do influence and sway the way elected officials vote, this use of social online voting could grow compellingly powerful.

So what’s the application of social online voting for B2B marketers?  As I’ve often said, what we very often fail to realise in B2B marketing is that even though we are marketing to other businesses, those businesses are comprised of human beings, subject to the same traits and tendencies as a public audience might be.  At Vitrue, there has been a company history of listening intently to what our clients tell us they need and letting that drive our product rollouts and upgrades.

With social online voting, you can easily facilitate this kind of client and prospect feedback on your products and services.  Never underestimate how engaging and attention-getting it is to be included as part of the process.  If I’m a business and mostly get curated or retweeted content from another business, that’s pretty easy to skim over without giving it much thought.  But if that business is asking me to participate in a decision they’re trying to make in an effort to demonstrably improve their product or service, I’m going to appreciate being asked.  And I’m probably going to take the time to render my opinion as a present or future potential user of that product I’m now helping to craft.

Your focus groups are readily available to you, provided you’re ready to accept and act on what they tell you.  Reaching out in this way, with this kind of content, will reap you rewards in terms of deeper, more genuine relationships between your brand and your target audiences.

About the Author

Mike Stiles is a content specialist with Vitrue, the leading social relationship management technology platform in the industry.  He is also the author of “Showtime: Brands as Content Producers.”

 

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70 Video statistics

Last updated 05/06/2012

Statistic Details Date Country
23x the increase in advanced internet video (3D and HD) between 2009 and 2014 Jul-05 Global Check our sources
$5.71bn online video ad spending will swell from $1.97 billion to this figure by 2014 2014 Global Check our sources
829,440 videos are uploaded to YouTube every day Apr-12 Global Check our sources
10 videos are uploaded to YouTube every second Apr-12 Global Check our sources
10,000+ The number of content partners YouTube boast. Apr-12 Global Check our sources
24 hours worth of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute Apr-12 Global Check our sources
150,000 The equivalent of 150,000 full length videos are uploaded over the course of a week Apr-12 Global Check our sources
2 minutes 46.17 seconds The average video length on YouTube Apr-12 Global Check our sources
900 seconds Average amount of time the internet user spends on YouTube every day Apr-12 Global Check our sources
1700 years the amount of time it would take to watch every video on YouTube Apr-12 Global Check our sources
10% of all internet traffic is due to YouTube Apr-12 Global Check our sources
19% of YouTube viewers are aged 50+ Apr-12 Global Check our sources
23% of YouTube viewers are aged 35-49 Apr-12 Global Check our sources
35% of YouTube viewers are aged 18-34 Apr-12 Global Check our sources
19% of YouTube viewers are aged 12-17 Apr-12 Global Check our sources
3% of YouTube viewers are aged 3-11 Apr-12 Global Check our sources
3.70% of YouTube traffic comes from the UK Apr-12 UK Check our sources
2.70% of YouTube traffic comes from Spain Apr-12 Spain Check our sources
3.30% of YouTube traffic comes from France Apr-12 France Check our sources
3.60% of YouTube traffic comes from Mexico Apr-12 Mexico Check our sources
3.60% of YouTube traffic comes from Brazil Apr-12 Brazil Check our sources
4.80% of YouTube traffic comes from India Apr-12 India Check our sources
4.80% of YouTube traffic comes from Germany Apr-12 Germany Check our sources
6.70% of YouTube traffic comes from Japan Apr-12 Japan Check our sources
22.60% of Youtube traffic is inside the US Apr-12 US Check our sources
78% of youtube traffic is outside of the US Apr-12 Global Check our sources
3rd most visited website in the world Global Check our sources
70% of men in the UK have an active profile on YouTube. Feb-12 UK Check our sources
65% of women in the UK have an active profile on YouTube. Feb-12 UK Check our sources
32.1million people in the UK with an active profile on YouTube Feb-12 UK Check our sources
89% of active users are aged 18-24 Feb-12 UK Check our sources
14 times a month is the number of times the average user visits YouTube Feb-12 Global Check our sources
92 billion page views are generated each month. Feb-12 Global Check our sources
4,000,000,000 the number of page views YouTube gets per day. Jan-12 Global Check our sources
1,000,000,000,000 the number of page views YouTube gets per year. Jan-12 Global Check our sources
15 minutes is the average viewing session on YouTube Jan-12 Global Check our sources
60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube to every minute that passes in real time. Jan-12 Global Check our sources
60 days more video is uploaded in two months on YouTube than the three major U.S. networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) combined created in six decades May-11 Global Check our sources
30% of overall YouTube traffic comes from the U.S. May-11 Global Check our sources
25 YouTube is localised in 25 countries May-11 Global Check our sources
0.43 YouTube is localised in 43 languages May-11 Global Check our sources
700bn Number of playbacks in 2010 May-11 Global Check our sources
10,000 YouTube partners, hundreds of which make six figures a year May-11 Global Check our sources
7,000+ hours of full-length movies and shows on YouTube May-11 Global Check our sources
2bn Global video views per week being monetised on YouTube May-11 Global Check our sources
10% of YouTube videos available in HD May-11 Global Check our sources
100 years of YouTube video scanned daily by Content ID, which is used by more than 1,000 partners, including every major U.S. network broadcaster, movie studio, and record label May-11 Global Check our sources
100mn daily mobile video views May-11 Global Check our sources
30% of videos on YouTube make up 99% of views on the site Apr-11 Global Check our sources
41% Techcrunch.com – SEO visibility after Google Panda’s roll-out to the UK Apr-11 UK Check our sources
23% Mashable.com – SEO visibility after Google Panda’s roll-out to the UK Apr-11 UK Check our sources
22% ITV.com – SEO visibility after Google Panda’s roll-out to the UK Apr-11 UK Check our sources
19% YouTube.com – SEO visibility after Google Panda’s roll-out to the UK Apr-11 UK Check our sources
19% Vimoe.com – SEO visibility after Google Panda’s roll-out to the UK Apr-11 UK Check our sources
18% Dailymotion.com – SEO visibility after Google Panda’s roll-out to the UK Apr-11 UK Check our sources
100m YouTube mobile views per day Apr-11 Global Check our sources
20% of content uploaded is music videos Apr-11 Global Check our sources
169646 total U.S. unique video viewers on the internetInternet was 169,646 with an average of 816.4 minutes per viewer. Feb-11 US Check our sources
48998 unique viewers averaging 81.2 minutes per viewer on VEVO Feb-11 US Check our sources
46661 unique viewers averaging 18.5 minutes per viewer on Facebook Feb-11 US Check our sources
83% of the US internet audience has viewed a video online Feb-11 US Check our sources
6.95% CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) who think YouTube offers significant ROI for brands Feb-11 US Check our sources
4% Fortune 500 companies have a public blog Jan-11 US Check our sources
400% Blinkx shares up by this percentage Nov-11 Global Check our sources
 1/2 of U.S. users are reached by online video ads Nov-11 Global Check our sources
 1/3 of the Kia marketing budget was spent on an online video Nov-11 Global Check our sources
2bn videos are streamed on YouTube every day Aug-10 Globally Check our sources
70 The number of hours worth of video that is uploaded to Youtube every mintue Jul-10 Globally Check our sources
50% YouTube users based in the US Jul-10 US Check our sources
1,000 yrs How long you would have to live to watch all of the footage on YouTube Jul-10 Globally Check our sources
2bn YouTube views a day May-10 Globally Check our sources
15 minutes spent on YouTube daily by the average person May-10 Globally Check our sources
70% of YouTube’s traffic comes from outside the US May-10 Globally Check our sources
1.96m Times the first video has been played May-10 Globally Check our sources
185.39m Times that the most popular video, Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, has been played May-10 Globally Check our sources
5 The number of languages that google can translate YouTube videos and offer captions May-10 Globally Check our sources
46.2 years Is the amount of time spent watching YouTube footage via Facebook every day May-10 Globally Check our sources
5.6 years The amount of time spent watching YouTube footage via myspace every day May-10 Globally Check our sources
3m at least are autoconnecting to YouTube via a social media platform May-10 Globally Check our sources
200m+ videos watched on mobile devices every month May-10 Globally Check our sources
94/100 of the top 100 Advertisers, as set out by Advertiser’s Age, have run YouTube campaigns, and Google content network May-10 Globally Check our sources
10 Average videos posted each month by Fortune 100 companies Apr-10 US Check our sources
24 hours of video uploaded every minute Mar-10 Globally Check our sources
13m hours of video uploaded on YouTube 2010 Globally Check our sources
22% Increase in the amount of online video watched per day since 2009 2010 US Check our sources
40% Increase in the number of online videos watched per day since 2009 2010 US Check our sources
2bn Videos streamed on YouTube per day 2010 Globally Check our sources
35 hours of video uploaded on YouTube every minute 2010 Globally Check our sources
63% of marketing firms use multimedia platforms for marketing purposes Nov-09 Globally Check our sources
24 hours of video uploaded on YouTube every minute 2009 Global Check our sources
13 hours of video uploaded on YouTube every minute 2008 Global Check our sources
8 hours of video uploaded on YouTube every minute 2007 Global Check our sources
$1.65bn worth of stock is the figure that Google paid to acquire youtube Nov-06 US Check our sources
2bn videos were being uploaded to YouTube everday Jun-06 Global Check our sources
19 seconds was the length of the first YouTube video Apr-05 Global Check our sources
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Infographic of the Week – What SMBs can learn from our tech-savvy queen

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Socialising Customer Relationships

Fergus Gloster, Managing Director EMEA, Marketo

Why is it that social marketing campaigns and marketing automation are completely disjointed yet have the same objectives? We’re all trying to reach the same goal –engage with prospects and influence, and ideally accelerate the buying process.  Historically, social marketing and marketing automation have been treated as completely separate disciplines operating like the proverbial two ships passing in the night, with most social marketing tools sitting in silos disconnected from mainstream marketing processes. This needs to change.

In my experience, B2B organisations want (and need) the ability to use integrated social campaigns to boost the reach and impact of every marketing initiative they undertake – at every step in the customer lifecycle. It’s time for companies to become actively alive by managing social channels, in a new way – in a way that can put that behaviour into context, determine the buyer’s intent and match that action to drive revenue.

Social campaign management platforms help marketers accelerate social and word-of-mouth marketing, grow their marketing databases with unique social profiles and attract new customers. This allows marketers to add social applications and messages quickly to every channel – Facebook Pages, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, landing pages, websites, banner ads and emails. These applications encourage social sharing, supercharging the results of every multi-channel marketing campaign.

The more robust platforms also automatically track the reach and impact of this social sharing, providing direct feedback on the return on investment (ROI) of social marketing. But it’s madness that this powerful capability has not been widely integrated into marketing automation platforms. It’s time to break social marketing from its usual silo, making it an integrated and integral part of every online marketing initiative.

The reality is that the boundaries are blurring between social media efforts on Facebook and Twitter and the more traditional marketing campaigns. So we need to apply smarter ways of joining the dots between the two.

By unifying the strengths of marketing automation and analytical reporting with a social marketing platform, companies can transform their campaigns to drive real business results. For example, a company could rapidly create and deploy social campaigns around customer referrals or contests. B2B marketers can get smarter and slicker in the way the go about socialising their customer relationships. Social marketing is, after all, a mandate for every company regardless of size.

Fergus Gloster is Managing Director of EMEA for revenue performance management specialists, Marketo. He can be contacted at fergus@marketo.com

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Tip Top Recruitment Totty

By @charloot

When you work across a number of recruitment and HR accounts it is necessary to keep abreast of traditional news sources, i.e. magazines and online publications. But it’s also increasingly important to know which blogs hold the most sway over the recruiting masses.

At TopLine we like to make life easy for you, so here’s our rundown of the top ten recruitment blogs on the beat (in no particular order). Please feel free to disagree…you won’t be able to change the list but it may make you feel better to tell us we’re wrong.

1) T Recs

If a recruitment blog includes a blog roll you can be sure that T Recs (by Mervyn Dinnen) will appear. The blog is clearly branded with a Recruitment Blog of the Year logo and a British Business Bloggers emblem; both signs of quality right? I especially like the distinct lack of advertising content.

Mervyn demonstrates strong writing while the majority of his mid-length posts take a serious tone. And, with nearly 4,000 followers and a page on his favourite things (including The Flaming Lips) – what’s not to like? Ok fine! If I had to complain about one thing it would be the lack of colour and imagery. Maybe it’s just me but I find colour makes content interesting and less dry.  That’s personal taste though and there’s no way I could deny Mervyn his place here.

2) Recruitment Views

Stephen Fowler has a sense of humour. Currently his top blog is on the strangest job titles found on LinkedIn (a topic also covered by UK Recruiter), and the accompanying image is powerful enough to make you think you are viewing a gaming review site as opposed to a recruitment blog. Who on earth calls themselves a Digital Overlord!?

Of all of the blogs reviewed here, Recruitment Views is the one which most comes across as a mini-magazine (without being affiliated with a publication). With news focused articles and clearly defined topic subsections including a books to buys and directory section, his is the most commercial feeling of top ten – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Good, well written content more than makes up for its advertising edge.

3) Wise Man Say

Hung Lee, the wise man who says things is a sociable character – which is good as his blog focus is social recruitment.  Probably the snazziest looking of the ten blogs here, Hung clearly splits his categories, making for ease of navigation, and loads some very interesting interviews with vendors and industry figures. All topics are interspersed with relevant imagery which also goes some way towards breaking down some of the longer articles into bite-sized chunks. He appears to be a neutral fellow and won’t be found to be unfairly biased towards his clients, but above all, you feel that Hung really knows what he’s talking about.

4) Boolean Black Belt

The first thing to say about this blog is; where on earth does that name come from? Well, three years after he started the blog Glen Cathey decided to explain here: http://www.booleanblackbelt.com/2011/10/what-is-a-boolean-black-belt-anyway. It’s all a bit long-winded for me but still, the blog is colourful, easy on the eye and has 4210 followers so is obviously influential. My main complaint is that he takes a fairly, how shall I say it…egotistical…approach to blogging. Less analytical, this blog is great if you want to know what Greg’s been up to this week.

5) Recruiting Futurology

Those who know me know that I LOVE a good video blog. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy but all those words on a page can be tiring – especially when I’m reading and writing all day. So for me Matt Alder’s most recent approach is perfect. He has been using the medium of vlogging alongside blogging with plenty of pictures to boot, and has been placing a strong emphasis on recruitment trends.  He’s not above name dropping but it’s not done in a sneaky way so we’ll let him have this one.

Recently Matt attended Recruiting Innovation 2012 in the USA and has posted some note-worthy articles summarising his key findings. He has also promised that some interviews from the show will appear soon. I’ll certainly be tuning in for those.

6)  Inside My Head

An interesting social commentary on the life of a recruitment consultant, Gareth Jones comes across as ‘one of us’ and writes a very personable blog. Like T Recs he proudly displays his British Business Bloggers emblem.

Packed full of reviews and views, Inside My Head is one of the easier blogs to digest and holds back on the technical guff. It also manages to – thankfully – keep the self promotion to a minimum by creating a separate page to advertise his comings and goings and the events he will appear at. Much better for those of us who simply don’t care.

7) UK Recruiter

Louise is a stalwart of the UK recruitment industry. With a weekly newsletter and a sideline in journalism she has her finger in most pies. She recently wrote a great blog about Sonovate (hands up, it is my client so I’m biased) and generally publishes a good mixture of content, from showcase event reviews, to top ten lists and personal views. Her weekly newsletter is also extremely comprehensive providing a round up on the week’s news, top visited sites and upcoming events.

If you are interested in UK recruitment blogs you should be reading UK Recruiter.

8) Recruitment 2.0

The new kid on the block, Recruitment 2.0 is showing lots of early promise. So maybe it doesn’t yet deserve its spot here but I’m including it because it not only includes its own copy, but sources in top ranking blogs on relevant topics from around the net. This is a one stop shop blogging environment!

Each week Recruitment 2.0 (which has three editors) posts a roundup of the week’s news meaning you only really have to visit once a week without losing your place. Keep it up Recruitment 2.0, we like what we see so far.

9) The Recruiting Unblog

Bill Boorman tells us that he is the person behind the #Tru brand. Now many of you may wonder what on earth #Tru , but wonder no more. #Tru is the brand of events such as The Recruting Unconference.  So now you’ll want to know what an Unconference is? The answer is that “an unconference is a gathering of minds, experiences and opinions where the attendees (or active participants) lead the conversation.” Interesting.

Bill encourages guest posts and is happy to promote the blogging of others. You get the impression that this man is anything but insular. His constant use of the # is slightly irritating but the content is interesting and don’t worry, if you don’t care about #Tru because other topics do get a mention.  Many of his posts pose questions and encourage interaction. #GoodStuff

10 ) Hire Strategies

With one spot in the top ten left, it is difficult to make sure no one is left out. Peter Gold first gained his place through word of mouth. Recommended as influential by another blogger on this list (who shall remain nameless J ) and also included within other blog rolls, Peter is a man that the industry big wigs pay attention to.

Like some of the other bloggers here, he owns his own consultancy – linked to the blog – and so has his own agenda. Nonetheless his content is interesting and varied, focussing specifically on social recruitment. He conducts his own research and reports on the findings, thereby ensuring that his copy is unique. He also uses video – which I have already expressed my love for – and uses tabs to clearly split his topics across the main social platforms.

Accessible, interesting and integrated with other social media platforms; top ten for sure.

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5 Things To Consider Before Choosing An SEO Agency

Searching on the web for a great SEO agency is like walking down London’s Mecca for curry houses, Brick Lane, to choose a place to eat. Much like the curry house staff who stand on the street touting for your custom, lots of SEO agencies claim to be “the UK’s number 1!”. All promise a coveted position on the 1st page of the search engine results pages.

Conduct a search online for an ‘SEO Agency’ in the UK alone and you will be presented with over 2 million results. So who do you choose, as a business, to assist you in building and maintaining your online brand exposure within the ever changing landscape of search engine optimisation?

While still important, SEO is no longer simply about optimising your website meta data and on-site static content with keywords and phrases that have high search volumes. Google’s latest Panda and Penguin algorithm updates both talk about the importance of publishing fresh, regularly updated content if websites want those top positions in the search engine results pages.

This means that content will surely continue to be king throughout 2012 and into next year, which has big implications when choosing an agency to manage your SEO efforts. Every business should be asking the following questions:

Can the agency produce well written, keyword rich content?

More importantly, with respect to your brand reputation, can the agency write it with authority by utilising its own expertise and knowledge of the industry your business operates in? It’s not just about the keywords here. It’s about using this fresh content to demonstrate that your business is knowledgeable, reliable and trustworthy.

Does the agency have its ear to the ground?

Without this they will find it hard to produce content for you that is not just rich in keywords and phrases but also effective in communicating your knowledge, experience and trustworthiness. An agency that truly knows your industry will also know what topics are trending, which will ultimately increase engagement with your visitors and prospective customers.

Does the agency recognise social media’s significance to SEO campaigns?

Social media isn’t just a good medium for telling the world about your hangover or how many times you blink and breathe in a day. Its use as a channel to share relevant and informative news, reviews and updates means that Social Media is becoming an important part of any link-building campaign not to mention the associated increases in digital exposure for your brand.

How proactive is the agency when it comes to keyword research?

All SEO agencies will optimise your website for relevant current high volume search terms but how many make use of insight and trend reports to track breakout search terms? As the digital search market becomes more competitive those that will see lasting success from their optimisation efforts are those that stay ahead of the competition. An agency that utilises intuitive insight and real time trend reports as part of its keyword research strategy will ensure you do just that.

Will the agency integrate the SEO campaign into a broader digital marketing strategy that you’ve invested your brand and money into?

As fresh, interesting, user-focussed content grows further in importance for successful SEO it is essential that the content produced remains consistent with the overall brand message and image presented in your other digital marketing campaigns. Hiring an agency that is familiar with your industry and that can provide an integrated digital marketing and communications service that considers SEO, PPC, Social Media and PR should be at the top of every business’ list.

Peter Palmer is a Digital Account Manager at TopLine Communications

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B2B Social Media Optimisation – Best Practices on WordPress

According to Hubspot “60% of the sales cycle is over before a lead ever talks to a salesperson, it has never been more important for marketing to be involved early in the buying process”.

Ideally, marketing involvement needs to happen right at the beginning of the sales cycle; at the marketing content creation and dissemination stage. Here you can make sure that your valuable content gets picked up by, and found in, Google as well as the various social media platforms.

However, there are still many B2B marketers not using social media strategically and harnessing the power of Social Media Optimisation (SMO, but also called Social SEO). SMO, according to Brian Solis, is defined by the distribution of social objects and their ability to rise to the top of any related search query, where and when it is performed.

So the overall goal is to boost the visibility of the content created (such as blog posts, videos, images, comments, status updates etc.). Since the B2B company blog is one of the most important conversational hubs (and since most of them are on WordPress nowadays) I’d like to give some best practices for optimising the corresponding content.

Best practice SMO for WordPress #1: Find your niche

B2B blogs are often optimised to feed Google and get ranked for long tail keywords. This is a good way of getting ranked and demonstrating expertise, gaining traffic and thought leadership at the same time. Google’s keyword tool is perhaps the best way of getting any blog posts ranked. Choose at least 3 words long keywords and find relevant searches for it – sort the results by relevance and add 3-5 relevant keywords in the text of the post including meta tags (see below).

Best practice SMO for WordPress #2: Do what Google wants

HTML meta-tags are still a main source of social media optimisation juice, basically telling Google what the post is all about.

The main keyword (or phrase) needs to be in the tag page title, and it is best put it at the beginning. It is also worthwhile mentioning it 2-3 times in the body text, but try to avoid keyword stuffing. Place relevant keywords into the meta-tag header (h1, h2, etc.) or bold them, though for user experience it makes sense to use headers to make the whole post more readable.

The meta-tag description does not influence the ranking, but it does affect the click-through rate from within the search results a great deal. Hence, it needs to be written to motivate and convince the user to click on the link and get to your site. Additionally, image alt tags can and should be social media optimised.

Best practice SMO for WordPress #3: Spread the word

The goal of social media optimisation and social media marketing for B2B is simply to reach the right audience.

For posting with one-click to the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, we recommend Hootsuite, a social media management tool. You can also achieve good results through posting into LinkedIn groups or your profile. If you’re well prepared, you will have done a social media monitoring analysis and know where the targeted audience hangs out. For B2B social media marketing, lots of relevant reach can be achieved in niche forums and communities. Good content is always welcome there!

On top of the above outbound dissemination of content, every blog needs to have share buttons (Google+, Facebook, Twitter etc. There are plenty of WordPress plug-ins available that are easy to implement on your site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Buettner is Director of Weever Media, a leading social media and SEO agency.

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Twitter Ads for Small Businesses – ‘A piece of cake’?

By Clare Third

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said that small businesses had been ‘banging down their door for the last two years’ for access to advertising on Twitter – and finally Twitter and American Express have teamed up and provided a solution which they claim is ‘a piece of cake’.

Twitter connected with American Express in March to offer its new self-service advertising program to small businesses. Initially, Twitter is extending the new program to 10,000 US based American Express card holding small businesses but is expected to eventually roll the service out more widely. American Express has also offered $100 credit to be used on Twitter advertising to the first 10,000 businesses that signed up.

So, small businesses are now getting a slightly louder voice on Twitter – but how does it work? And how is it different to the big business ‘brand pages’ already on Twitter?

Twitter’s new ‘promoted products’ come in two forms of product for small businesses on Twitter.

  1. Promoted Accounts – Twitter evaluates the current followers of your small business, and then searches for people with similar interests. If a match is found, Twitter recommends you in the ‘Who to Follow’ section.
  1. Promoted Tweets – Twitter constantly monitors your engagement, and automatically promotes your best tweets. Twitter puts your best tweets in front of more of the right people, at the right time. It’s even possible to specify where you want to be promoted geographically.

Now here’s the good bit. Small businesses only have to pay when

a) Somebody follows their account or

b) Engages with a promoted tweet.

Unlike a lot of ordinary advertising, small businesses would never have to pay for just appearing on somebody’s page. In other words, with Twitter’s new scheme, small businesses will only pay for performance.


Here’s a great video from Twitter on how small businesses can use the service.

It’s been over a month since the program’s launch – what are the reviews? Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says that based on tests, ‘small businesses are thrilled with results’, which is great news.

What are the pros?

  1. Small businesses can get their messages in front of the right people.
  2. Adverts can be geographically targeted.
  3. No previous advertising experience required – the new service just uses small business’ tweets as their adverts.
  4. Payment is manageable, with no monthly or minimum commitments.
  5. Small businesses are promoted on the web and on mobile phones.

What are the cons?

  1. The program is currently only available to US based American Express cardholders
  2. When the service is rolled out more widely, there is the potential for abuse of the service by spammers linking advertised malware. Lets hope Twitter has preventative measures in place.

Ed Gilligan, American Express Vice Chairman calls the program ‘a big win for small businesses now that they have a new way of reaching customers in a timely authentic way’.

The big question is whether or not Twitter’s new self-service approach will revolutionise the way small businesses operate on Twitter, and the results they will get – presumably only time will tell.

If you are a US based small business and American Express member, it’s not too late to sign up – here is the link to get you on your way!

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