Tag Archives: David Graham

What you should be doing online to attract new business opportunities

 

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by David Graham – Digital Engagement Leader at Deloitte Digital

Getting business-to-business (B2B) online marketing right is an art and a science, a combination of multiple factors which involve people, process and technology. The analogy we like to use is that of an orchestra. The B2B online marketer is the conductor and the orchestra are the instruments (i.e. people, content, process and technology).

We have been approached by many companies, asking how they should engage, interact and influence clients and potential clients online in order to generate new business opportunities. Based on the experience and insights we have gained with our business-to-business (B2B) online marketing activities to date, here are five areas where you should focus your B2B online marketing efforts.

  1. DO NOT SELL

The biggest mistake businesses make is they talk about their products, services and solutions. Focus on building trust and confidence first. How do you do this? Equate your initial engagement and interaction with a new prospect or client with that of a first date. Your first date will fail miserably if you spend all the time talking about yourself (i.e. your products, services and solutions). If you talk knowledgably and competently about a subject that resonates with the prospect, and continue to do so over time, you will earn trust will be seen as a thought leader. Thought leaders are approached by people who need help or assistance. They say a good salesman does not sell but rather encourages the purchaser to make a buying decision.

  1. Content is the most important ingredient

Without the regular production of good content, your B2B online marketing efforts will fail dismally. Online content comes in many guises. This could be web copy, a thought piece, an article or opinion piece, the results of a survey, a blog post, a Facebook or LinkedIn update, tweet or the content of an email. Each one of these serves a different purpose and needs to be worded, structured and formatted differently. Images in the form of photos and video also fall within this category and must be used appropriately on the relevant online platforms. Your content will serve many purposes such as educating, informing and influencing but also “humanising” your business in order to create an emotional connection with your target audience.

  1. Find out where your target market is online and their preferences

The big difference between business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing and business-to-business (B2B) marketing is that with B2B marketing, you know your target market. If you are operating within a specific territory you will be able to identify a finite number of businesses you would like to sell your products, services, solutions (and people) to. You will also know who the typical decision makers are within the organisation. Armed with this information and insight, it is a simple case of reaching out to these individuals and asking them how they prefer to consume content online. Once you have this information, you can then develop a strategy to engage and interact with these individuals on their preferred platforms. While you conduct this exercise, you may want to ask which online publications they read because you ell then know which editors and journalists to interact with. Once you know where your target market is online, focus all your B2B online marketing efforts on these platforms.

  1. Educate your staff

Gone are the days when all marketing was done by one department. Nowadays everyone has access to websites, blogs, mobile apps, email and social media. It has been proven statistically that if only 20% of your staff members actively engage and share your business content online, the will be a significant positive impact on your bottom line. Many marketing specialists now use the P2P or Person-to-Person marketing phrase. As with any change in an organisation, this behaviour won’t just happen. Your executive management must own this and cascade it down to operational level within your organisation. This will require a formal education and change management programme. If need be, motivate staff members to connect and share your business content by building it into their key performance indicators.

  1. Measure, measure, measure

There are a plethora of tools available which you must use to enhance and fine tune your B2B online marketing, which must be used throughout your B2B online marketing process. Some example I can cite are listening tools which enable to identify what your clients, prospects, media and competitors are talking about online (e.g. conversations relating to your products, services, solution, your company and industry). Depending on the online platforms you decide to use, there are analytics provided with all of these platforms which enable you to measure the success of your campaigns and online interaction. Before you embark on your B2B marketing process, obtain agreement from your management in terms of critical success factors and ensure that the analytics you extract can be used to measure your success against the CSFs.

Conclusion

To conclude, the top five things you must focus on when it comes to B2B online marketing is to build trust and confidence (i.e. DO NOT SELL), develop a sound content strategy, find out where your target market and the media are and go to them, educate your staff and become a “social business” and use all the measurement tools that are at your disposal.

Please note that these are the most important areas to focus however there are many other factors that you need to take cognisance of which we can discuss at your request.

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This article was written by David Graham, Digital Engagement Leader at Deloitte Digital

David is a thought leader in the Business to Business (B2B) digital marketing, relationship marketing and content marketing space and is the “go-to” person at Deloitte Digital for businesses who wish to connect, interact and influence business decision makers online, in order to initiate offline engagement. David has more than 20 years in sales and marketing roles at leading global software and management consulting organisations, engaging with executive decision makers and providing them with solutions to business challenges.

If you would like to have a more detailed B2B online marketing discussion with David Graham, connect on LinkedIn, follow on Twitter or email at davgraham@deloitte.co.za

Follow Deloitte Digital on Twitter or visit the Deloitte Digital website to get a taste of how Deloitte Digital can help digitise your brand

 

Your 2013 LinkedIn checklist to enhance your personal brand

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LinkedIn may have played second fiddle to the likes of Facebook and Twitter for some time but things have changed. Besides the explosion of LinkedIn user numbers on a global basis, LinkedIn has introduced a whole bunch of new features and functions which has radically improved the user experience. If you are serious about exposing and enhancing your online brand from a business perspective, LinkedIn is the place to be, however if you are going to use LinkedIn, I advise you not to do things in half measures. Here is a list of LinkedIn “must do’s” to start your 2013 off with a bang.

1. Upload a decent photo

Statistically, there is a greater propensity for people to connect with you if your profile has a DECENT photo. LinkedIn is a business social network, so in most (if not all) cases, the accepted norm is a colour head and shoulders shot. If you want to project a professional image, then I suggest that your attire is business casual. Make sure the image has enough resolution to be enlarged without blurring.

2. Include job history

As you would do with your resume when seeking a new job, include a detailed account of your past employers and your role within the organisation. You wouldn’t go to a job interview with half a resume, so don’t do this online for all the world to see. Even if you are not a job seeker and you are using LinkedIn to promote your expertise, potential clients will want to know what you did in the past.

3. Provide a good summary

The LinkedIn summary is your “brag sheet” or 30 second elevator pitch. You want to create a good impression as quick as possible and this is the ideal place to do so. Use the summary to explain your core skills, where and how you add value with one or two examples.

4. Where were you educated?

Besides your job history, potential employers and clients want to know where you were educated and what qualifications you have. Besides schooling and tertiary education, make mention of the certificate courses, diplomas, short courses, awards achieved.

5. Add skills and ask for endorsements

A recent addition to LinkedIn is the ability to have other LinkedIn users you are connected with to endorse your skills. This is the LinkedIn’s version of word of mouth marketing. If I have heard from multiple sources that a person is good at something, there is a good chance that I will believe it. The best way to get endorsements is to endorse others and they will reciprocate. If they don’t, then ask them to.

6. Ask for recommendations

Reach out to your colleagues, clients, ex-clients, past employers and manager and ask them to add a recommendation. When applying for a job or tendering for a project you always include references. This is exactly the same. The more references the better. Just remember to reciprocate!

7. Connect!

This is what LinkedIn is all about. Reach out to all your colleagues, friends, associates, past employers, past and existing clients and connect with them. Remember to follow LinkedIn protocol when doing so otherwise this feature will be blocked. If you do not know someone personally, but would like to connect, ask someone you are connected with to introduce you.

8. Join groups

There are MANY LinkedIn groups out there so take your time joining groups. The idea behind joining groups is so you can interact with LIKE-MINDED individuals. If this is not happening, then leave the group. You also join groups to learn, so if there isn’t decent interaction and/or the subject matter is poor, then leave the group. You can use groups to build credibility and to let people know that you are knowledgeable around certain subjects. In order to do this you have to participate in discussions. Ask questions, post content, use the polling feature, but participate.

9. Monitor updates

Check updates on the LinkedIn home page. This is where you have visibility of all the updates made by your connections. If there is good content, read it, share it and comment on it. The more you do this, the more you are noticed and the more your connections will support you. Remember that your connections have extended networks. As soon as they start sharing your content and comments, the more your content is noticed.

10. Share articles where you have been published

LinkedIn provides a great feature where you can showcase articles that have been published which you may have wrote or where you have been interviewed or quoted. This just helps to build your credibility.

11. Include contact information

Make sure to include all contact information such as email address and telephone numbers. If you use Twitter and have a blog, be sure to include links to these platforms to. Just ensure that your blog and tweets are current if you are going to do this.

There are many other great features and functions available on LinkedIn which you should take the time to explore, but I will leave you with these 11 tips to enhance your personal brand for the time being. I can assure you that if you use this advice, you will see the results. Have a great 2013!

Do you have any other LinkedIn tips to add? Would you like to share any of your personal experiences? What is your opinion of LinkedIn?

I invite you to connect on LinkedIn or chat on Twitter

6 great tips for selling yourself online

In my latest article published on the Memeburn website, I discuss B2B digital marketing and present some tips on how to sell yourself or your business online.

6 great tips for selling yourself online

I was contacted by a potential client a few weeks back and when we had our initial meeting I asked the question, “Why did you contact me?” The answer I received is what everyone in digital wants to hear: “Every time I googled, your name kept appearing in the search results”. I never asked for specifics because at that point I realised that the model I adopted was working for me.

Without going into the nitty gritty details of the model, I have listed its key ingredients. I cannot guarantee this will work for everyone, but it appears to be working for me.

Click Here to read 6 great tips for selling yourself online on the Memeburn website

I will be most grateful if you would share this article with your network!

Social media is a virtual cocktail party

by David Graham 

Click Here to access the original article on Memeburn

Social media is a virtual cocktail party

Social media is here to stay and whilst most companies understand the benefits social media has to offer, many are still faced with the challenge of getting their employees on board. Social media isn’t something you can force on employees. It is something they WANT to do.

According to Wikipedia, “social media includes web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue”. On the face of it, social media is a collection of tools and technologies that enable you to host a cocktail party with unlimited guests, spanning borders and continents. This may be a good way to introduce the concept to employees and encourage it’s use. Let us explore the analogy further.

Planning your cocktail party

Before you host a cocktail party, there is generally some planning involved. In most cases, a theme is required. From a business perspective, this would equate to an industry group or specific area of expertise. Other important ingredients for a good party are food, drink and entertainment. From a business perspective this would be your content and there has to be a lot of it and it must be good. You may want a draw card at your cocktail party such as a celebrity, in order to draw the right audience. From a business perspective this will be your guru or thought leader who talks knowledgably around industry and subject matter-related topics. The other important item is the venue of the cocktail party. From a social media perspective this equates to the particular social networks you will participate on.

Sending invitations to your cocktail party

If your party is going to be a success you need another key ingredient. People. But you also need the right people. Firstly, you will identify who you want at your party and then you will send out invitations. In social media this is done in a number of ways. You can invite people to “connect”, “follow”, “like” and so forth or you can reach out to specific individuals that you have identified. The more “like-minded” people you can attract to your party, the more will follow.

Having conversations at your cocktail party

In any cocktail party, there are generally many conversations going on concurrently. As a newcomer to the party, you have to join a conversation. This is exactly what happens on any social network. There are existing conversations taking place. The trick is to decide who you want to speak to and how to enter the conversation. Using this analogy from a business-to-business social media marketing perspective will help employees understand that it involves two-way dialogue. If you enter a conversation just talking about yourself, the conversation is not going to last very long. You have to establish your presence and be accepted before anyone is going to start listening.

From your business, you need the thought leaders, gurus and subject matter specialists to be available and participating, to seed conversation, to present points of views, to make predictions, to present research findings, to respond to questions and to answer questions. This is how you build credibility and become the trusted adviser, the basis upon which clients make buying decisions.

We generally attend a cocktail party to have “fun”, to connect and chat with like-minded people, to eat, drink, dance and be entertained. When employees tell you that “they do not have time”, when you are encouraging them to participate on social media, they need the “cocktail party” conversation. The companies that are doing well with social media are those that are participating and “having fun”. See you at the cocktail party!

Heavy Chef interviews David Graham on mistakes made by brands in social media marketing

This interview was published in Heavy Chef News by Wendy Tayler on the 10th April 2012

David Graham is the Digital Channels Executive at Deloitte South Africa. His primary responsibility is to connect and initiate dialogue across numerous digital channels between Deloitte industry and subject matter specialists and business decision makers at leading organisations in the private and public sector. Heavy Chef chatted to him about social media marketing and the common mistakes that many brands make.

DAVIDDo you think it is necessary for every brand to get involved in this particular form of marketing?

Any person, organisation, company, corporate that was engaged in traditional marketing 1.0 activities in the past, needs to transition to social media marketing. The tables have turned from a company-push to a consumer-pull model. Consumers are dictating how they want to make purchase decisions and the only way that companies can gain visibility of these preferences is to engage with clients and customers, and listen to them. The short answer to your question is a resounding yes.

What is the most common mistake brands make regarding their social media marketing?

Brands rush in too quickly without doing the necessary planning first. Social media marketing, as with any business function, requires a proper strategy to be defined first. Strategy, as you know, has to be owned and driven from the top down. Social media also has to be part of a broader marketing strategy and cannot be done in isolation. Companies also need to have realistic expectations in terms of what they hope to achieve from social media marketing. As part of the strategy, companies also need to define specific criteria to measure success, and they need to measure regularly and provide feedback to stakeholders. What many companies do not realise, if you go back to the middle ages, people would congregate in a market where people would meet, develop relationships, and as part of this process, people would buy goods and services from the marketers. Nothing has changed today except we do it virtually, more quickly and involve way more people. What I am trying to say in a roundabout way is that it’s all about value networking and conversations. Companies that get this right will succeed.

How can companies best deal with stopping bad information from spreading out of control?

Bad information is shared more readily by people and travels way quicker across the Internet. The best solution is do not mess up in the first place, but that is virtually impossible. If a client has a bad experience, ensure that you make it as easy as possible for a consumer to contact your company across multiple communication channels. Secondly, ensure that you have a reputation management strategy in place to deal with incidents. If a consumer is venting on social media, attempt wherever possible to take it offline and resolve the issue. The other consideration for all organisations is to invest in software that identifies negative sentiment.

What is the best way for brands to deal with the fact that their target market is constantly changing social network platforms?

It is up to all companies participating on the various social networks to keep a constant eye on their target market to see where they are participating. They also need to conduct continual research on new trends such as Google+ and Pinterest. You cannot change consumer behaviour, but having visibility enables you to proactively move with the masses.

Thank you David. Your insight into social media marketing for brands was really insightful. You can follow David on Twitter here.

Read more posts by Wendy Tayler

How to increase your followers on Twitter

I discovered this article written by Lilach Bullock on the Social-Able website which provides great advice on how to increase your Twitter followers.

by Lilach Bullock (@lilachbullock on Twitter)

As the fastest growing social media site, Twitter is great for promoting your business to existing and potential customers.

Everyone knows that success on Twitter falls on how many followers you have. (Especially if they are targeted followers).  The more followers you have, the more visits you should get per tweet. If you have lots of Twitter followers you have also hopefully developed a loyal fan base that you can target and promote your products to.

But how do you build up and increase your number of followers? Well the first lesson is to realise that it takes substantial time, effort and commitment to build up a list of avid followers. Next, you need to develop a strategy as well as a plan to implement this strategy. Once it’s up and running, don’t become obsessed with the number of followers you have. Rather, it’s far more valuable to build a list of loyal followers that are genuinely interested in your niche and want to interact and connect with you.

But there are some highly effective ways to drive up your followers. I will share these great insights with you now….

  • Give people a reason to follow you by focusing on your content.  Your content needs to be informative. Create content that is useful and valuable to your followers.  For example, you could provide a link to a useful website you have found. Your content also needs to highly-targeted content relevant to your niche.
  • Rather than Tweeting about yourself or other irrelevant things, tweet about things that will affect your followers or ensure your tweets are focussed on delivering value to them. Ensure your content is consistently interesting and engaging.
  • Tweet regularly, but don’t over tweet. People don’t want to be constantly bombarded. Schedule to have a flow of tweets throughout the day.
  • Create a concise yet interesting Twitter bio that clearly tells people who you are and what you do.
  • Interact with your followers to help develop relationships with them. Respond to others using the @reply method. Participate in interesting discussions.
  • Offer freebies, special offers, discounts and contests exclusively to your Twitter followers. Also offer these things as incentives to attract new followers.
  • If you’re a well-known or influential figure in your niche, apply to get verified.
  • Follow others and they will often follow you back. The probability of them following you back is increased by the fact that this is often done automatically. Use Twitter search to find people to follow in your niche. Especially follow anyone who tracked your tweets as users will like you even more when you return the favour.
  • Try to get on Twitter suggested users list. Though this is easier said than done.
  • Try to get listed on the popular lists in your niche.
  • As people like to be altruistic, consider tweeting that you will donate £1 to a worthwhile charity for every new Twitter follower gained over the next week.
  • Develop creative marketing ideas to promote your Twitter ID.
  • Regularly find exciting or newsworthy stories and share them with a link.
  • Participate in online events. This increases your exposure and appeal to others.
  • Add your Twitter URL to your signature line in your emails. This is especially good if you have a subscriber list.
  • Link your Twitter profile to your webpage, blogs and other social networks that you belong e.g. if you have a strong following on Facebook or Linkedin, use it to promote your Twitter page and vice versa.
  • Share information with your followers.
  • Be active on Twitter during peak times as your tweets will be read by more people, hence more visible to potential future followers.
  • Tweet with the #hash tag. This means your message becomes categorized so it can be accessed by individuals searching through the site for specific topics. If they view your tweet, you are bound to have other followers as their followers may view your message too.
  • Develop a consistent brand image/personality/style so people know what they are getting.
  • Use a variety of formats for your tweets e.g. presenting solutions, business tips, links, etc.

The most important thing to remember is that everything should be targeted to your target audience and their needs. Consider this in every decision you make i.e. what content to include, how often to tweet, when to tweet, etc. This should override any generic tips such as the ones suggested above. If the technique doesn’t work for your business or your customers then don’t use it. (Of course, you also need to consider your own resources in developing a strategy e.g. amount of time, commitment, effort you are willing to put in).

6 things you can do to get your LinkedIn group discussions humming!

Does this sound all too familiar?

“I created a number of LinkedIn groups and promoted them on all my digital channels. I shared content and seeded discussions on a regular basis and promoted these using the share features on the group. When I did my mailers I also included links to the group discussions. I shared discussions on other groups I joined, but I am not seeing the results I expected”.

Here are 6 things you can do that may prompt more dialogue in your LinkedIn groups

1. Purpose of the group

Be very clear when deciding on a name for the group, describing the purpose of the group and what benefits members will derive from the group. The will help you set expectations up front.

2. Vet every request

Do not allow anyone to join your group without your permission. Do not be scared to turn people away. There are many unsavoury characters out there whose sole purpose is to promote themselves and their services. These people will not add any value at all.

3. Seeding and managing discussions

Group members will not start talking without the right prompts. Ask explicitly for your member’s opinion on specific subject matter. Attempt to respond to every comment and ask additional questions to prompt further discussion. Do NOT allow anyone to start discussions or make comments without your permission. This may be time-consuming but is the only way you will maintain a good standard.

4. Invite and promote

When promoting discussions with your LinkedIn connections, group members, other groups and other social networks, attempt whenever possible to invite specific individuals, subject matter specialists and social media influencers to participate in the discussion. If the conversation starts faltering, invite other individuals to join the discussion.

5. Keep it topical and relevant

Content is the most important factor in any discussion. You HAVE to ensure that the subject matter is topical and relevant.

6. Less is more!

Do not attempt to manage too many groups and conversations simultaneously otherwise you will fail. Manage a small number of groups and ensure the conversations are high quality.

Summary

Let members understand what they will get out of your group and set expectations. Vet all new members and comments made by members. Respond to all comments where possible and invite subject matter specialists to the conversations. Keep the discussions topical and relevant. Focus on quality rather than quantity.

Is there anything you would like to add to this? I would love to hear from you!