In Creating a B2B Internet Marketing Strategy: Part 1 and Part 2, we suggested steps toward creating an Internet marketing strategy as shown below. After covering the first four steps, this article will cover steps 5 and 6: social media marketing and mobile and tablet optimization, concluding the series.
- Keyword strategy
- Website optimization
- Blog creation
- Marketing offers
- Social Media Marketing
- Mobile and Tablet Optimization
Social Media Marketing
The 2012 Social Media Examiner survey found over 93 percent of B2B respondents used social media to market their businesses, slightly below B2C businesses (95.2%). B2B marketers are rapidly adopting social media marketing by leveraging social networks to distribute their business content and potentially increase sales. Social media provides a platform for direct communication between your customers, prospects and employees, and can be a key driver of content distribution and brand visibility online.
While new social networks, like Google+ and Pinterest, can significantly impact the social media milieu, most businesses should start with the major networks: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Before joining and participating in these networks, you might want to have marketing analytics in place to measure the success of your social media efforts.
Twitter: This is a social network where you can share short business messages (140 characters). Users will “follow” or subscribe to updates from individuals or companies and can receive messages via laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone. If you believe your business can benefit on Twitter, you can sign up for a free account.
- Setting up a Business Twitter Account: Use the name of you business as your Twitter username. Use your business logo or a photo of the person managing the account as the profile image. Create a custom Twitter background that provides additional information about your business. Use tools like TweetDeck to determine industry influencers and potential customers that your business should follow.
Facebook: With more than 900 million monthly active users and projected to hit 1 billion in August, this is a major social media network that offers a powerful platform for building a community of fans and increasing word-of-mouth.
- Setting up a Facebook Business Page: Facebook provides in-depth information on how to set up various types of business pages. Start by choosing a category and then fill in your business name, location information, etc. Once a name is selected, it can’t be changed (but you can remove and start over). Upload a photo (company logo) and fill out basic information, including website URL, brief About section, etc.
LinkedIn: This social network is focused on businesses and used mostly by business people. The network has over 160 million business users and is “gaining new users at the rate of 2 new members per second” (March 2012). The network is heavily used by B2B companies.
- Setting up a LinkedIn Personal Profile Company Profile for Business: When setting up these profiles, optimize your information by adding links to your website and blog. Create descriptions for yourself and your business to accurately reflect your experience, knowledge, and accomplishments.
Having covered the bare bones of social media marketing, we now move into information about optimizing mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.
Mobile and Tablet Optimization
B2B marketers can’t ignore the potential of mobile commerce due to these compelling statistics:
- The U.S. will have 115.8 million smartphone users by the end of 2012, and that number is expected to reach 176.3 million by 2015. (eMarketer, 2012)
- In 2012, mobile commerce sales will rise 73.1 percent for a total of $11.6 billion. (eMarketer, 2012)
- 64 percent of smartphone owners are now using their mobile devices to shop online. (eDigital Research, 2012)
- 85 percent of merchants plan to focus on mobile commerce in 2012, up from 68 percent in 2011. (the e-tailing group, 2012)
- 1 in 5 tablet owners in the U.S. have used their devices to purchase apparel and accessories. (comScore, 2012)
Mobile platforms have become a must in Internet marketing. Growth of the iPhone and Android will continue, with reports indicating these devices are expected to grow 26 percent annually through 2015. To market on the mobile web, you must consider the importance of creating quality content that can be quickly and easily accessed on smartphones and tablets.
Optimizing for Mobile Devices: If you want to take advantage of mobile commerce, you must make your website mobile-friendly for viewing and functionality. Options include: setting up a mobile redirect, using Mobile Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), or creating a different version of your website for mobile viewers.
- Mobile Redirect: Your web hosting service can build a browser redirect feature into your website. With this feature, a line of code is placed on your site’s homepage to determine the size of a visitor’s browser screen. Based on screen size, visitors can be directed to a site suitable for mobile viewers.
- Mobile CSS: In addition to the redirect option, you can use mobile CSS to make your website mobile-friendly. Cascading Style Sheets basically allow you to change the way your website is organized and displayed on mobile devices.
- Mobile Website: When creating a mobile site, think small and eliminate a lot of unnecessary text. Make it simple and user friendly. Keep in mind that mobile users are in a hurry and only need basic information for finding places for shopping, entertainment, dining and so forth. Use alt tags for images and don’t use tables, big images, frames, etc. Create a mobile sitemap so search engines can find you. Also submit your site to local search engines like Google+ Local, Bing Business Portal and Yahoo Local, which display maps and directions in search results. Lastly, test your mobile site for performance. There are a number of mobile testing sites available, including the W3C MobileOK Checker.