Category: Content Marketing


Discover New LinkedIn Features in 2019

woman on her phone with social media icons

How the professional platform became community-driven.

Even in 2019, LinkedIn is often characterized as Facebook’s ‘uptight’ brother who only talks about work. That’s no longer true, though: the platform has shifted gears towards building communities and participating in the exchange of ideas.

 

While B2B businesses typically struggle with platforms like Instagram and Twitter, LinkedIn is the place where they prosper. So it’s no surprise that LinkedIn’s new additions are designed to help B2B businesses thrive with effective marketing.

 

Keep on reading to discover the latest ways to “amp up” your LinkedIn presence in 2019.

 

What You’ll Learn in This Article

 

 

 

Your Rebuilt Company Page

 

If you haven’t touched your company LinkedIn page in ages, this is the year to do so. LinkedIn added new sections to company pages to help generate leads and turn connections to relationships. New sections include hashtags, content suggestions, and sharing documents. Facebook users will recognize a few of these additions below.

 

Hashtags

 

Previously, LinkedIn’s hashtags weren’t as useful as those on other social platforms like Twitter and Instagram. However, the hashtags are now here to stay to make posts more searchable and connect communities.

 

Keep in mind that LinkedIn is still a professional platform; be cautious of using certain hashtags that won’t fly well within your industry or other professionals. Also, it’s recommended that you limit your posts to a maximum of five hashtags—or else the LinkedIn algorithm will flag it as spam.

 

sample post on LinkedIn

 

 

Now, here’s the big question: how do you know what hashtags to use?

 

First, try checking here to discover hashtags based on your activity and industry, including the company pages you manage. LinkedIn can make great recommendations for you as a starting point. You’ll want to focus on hashtags for niche communities within your industry, but keep it balanced by utilizing general hashtags, too.

 

You’ll want to focus on hashtags for niche communities within your industry but keep it balanced by utilizing general hashtags too.

 

Location-based hashtags are great to target users in a specific region since 70% of LinkedIn’s users live outside the U.S.

 

After researching your list of hashtags, choose the top three to display on your company page i.e., the hashtags with the largest following and most relevant to your industry. These three hashtags will help your company engage with conversations and connect with other thought-leaders.

 

hashtags on LinkedIn platform

 

Content Suggestions

 

LinkedIn now makes curation so much easier. As a company manager or page admin, you’ll notice ‘Content Suggestions’ on the top bar with your other Admin tools. You can see trending topics within your industry and page followers, and share to your company page.

 

If you’re looking for specific content, LinkedIn allows you to filter content suggestions from LinkedIn members, page followers or employees. Or, use filters to see content from a specific industry, location, job function or seniority. Take the time to play around with the feature to gain inspiration for your own unique content that your audience is most likely to engage with!

 

Sharing Documents

 

Hooray for document support! Unlike Facebook and most platforms, you can now share PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and PDFs with your followers and groups. To use this feature, visit your home page feed and you will notice a new, third icon enabling you to share documents. Why is this a neat feature? Because you can use these formats to share content such as informational guides or downloadable templates.

 

sharing a document on LinkedIn

 

 

You can also utilize it for storytelling and social media campaigns. Remember, LinkedIn users typically engage more with helpful information related to their job profession, so documents are perfect to meet those needs.

 

The Big Picture

 

LinkedIn’s latest features for 2019 may seem simple at first glance. However, in a wider scope, you can see that LinkedIn is pushing for a platform that is community driven versus individualistic. Hashtags, content suggestions and sharing documents all propel the goal of passing around industry knowledge with like-minded, career-oriented individuals.

 

As a B2B business, you’ll benefit from participating in the conversation and better yet, make your LinkedIn campaigns effective and attractive.

 

READY TO SWITCH UP YOUR LINKEDIN STRATEGY?

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Stop Ignoring Storytelling: Your #1 B2B Strategy

B2B Storytelling Strategy

How You Can Tell Stories to Stand Out

You’re just about to throw in the towel. As any B2B business should, you’re doing everything by the book: you’ve published tons of marketing content, you implemented blogging, you’re using email automation, you’re scraping for comments on your Facebook company page, and at this point, read hundreds of articles for “best practices” for lead generation. You’re frustrated. After all, how can a B2B business stand out from the competition on social media and elsewhere? What more can be done?

 

You’ve probably heard the term ‘storytelling’ in the marketing sphere. Before you turn your cheek and say ‘I’m B2B, that doesn’t apply to me’, we have a secret to share with you: storytelling is the greatest tool in your B2B marketing arsenal.

 

 

What You’ll Find in This Article:

 

 

What is Storytelling in Marketing?

Since the dawn of human civilization, we naturally gravitate towards storytelling. Emotional narratives resonate with us and drives us to reminiscence, change our views, or take action. It’s a no-brainer that this applies to the sales process, no matter where potential leads are in the buyer journey. In fact, advertising research shows that emotion is the greatest factor in buyer intent.

 

This explains why people tend to be loyal or prefer to buy from certain brands than others—they want to be included in their story. People will choose what they’re emotionally connected to over functionality any day.

 

Stories are not advertisements. A story does not promote any product or service directly. Rather, it gives the company an opportunity to voice a statement, to show that there are people behind the brand, or make an ethical stance.

 

How YOU Can Tell Your B2B Story

 

Let’s talk about the essential elements of a storytelling campaign:

 

  1. Setting
  2. Characters
  3. Conflict
  4. Plot
  5. Resolution
  6. Action

 

Setting

The setting is straight-forward: where is the story taken place? The city or country-side or maybe something local like an office? When is it? Modern or sometime in the past? Relevancy is an important factor to consider depending on who the audience is.

 

Characters

Who are your characters? Consider their gender, age, race, educational background, social class, and job. Are they young, fresh out of college adults? The middle-class working man? The businesswoman and mother of two? Depending on who you want to target, you’ll want to make your characters relatable.

 

Conflict

What’s the conflict your characters are facing? Are they struggling with change, in need of something, facing a life situation, or need their voice to be heard? Think about the tone you want to go for: light-hearted, humorous, or emotionally heavy?

 

Plot:

Now, here’s the bulk of it: plot. What initiated your characters to want a change? How are your characters going to resolve their conflict? Is it a long journey or just a couple of steps? Does it take physical action or a change in mindset? Most importantly, is it doable to your viewers?

 

Resolution

What’s the defining resolution? What does success look like to your characters? Have they changed for the better? What’s their life like now that they overcame their conflict? Think about the purpose of this story. Is the main takeaway courage? Love? Resilience? Teamwork?

 

Action

Lastly, how will your viewers take action to be included in the narrative? Using a hashtag to add to the conversation on social media? Share with friends or colleagues who might relate to the story? Donate to a charity? Take into account the delivery:  A video? Series of interviews? A podcast? Blog posts? A combination of presentations?

 

These questions are to help you construct your story, but don’t limit yourself—the most successful storytelling campaigns are the ones that are specific and unique to your business.

 

Calculating ROI for Storytelling Strategy

Now, you might be wondering: How can I measure ROI? How can something creative and abstract translate to marketing analytics?

 

First, take a look at your pain points: Are potential leads clicking on your Google ad but clicking off your website? Are your current clients not opening your email marketing campaigns? Do you have tons of views on your Facebook post but zero engagement? Use these pain points to identify your goals and tools like data visualization software needed to create the story framework. This will also give you an idea on where to emphasize your story.

 

Next, take into account human resources, talent, and tools needed to complete the storytelling project. This will help with measuring ROI in the long-run which will be in the form of cost outlays and selected metrics. You’ll want to track cost and profit over the full course of the storytelling campaign.

 

Most importantly, don’t neglect marketing technology. Investing in analytical research such as search algorithms and SEO will help point to the right direction when creating and timing content. Consider the multimodality of a story campaign—text, graphics, animation, video, voice, etc.—and the different platforms from it will channel the message.

 

At this point, the standard procedure of setting KPIs comes into place: social media statistics website traffic, lead generation, and response and conversion rates along with cost-per-click (CPC) and customer acquisition cost (CAC). But remember: storytelling is about the bigger picture. Remember those pain points we established? Use data visualization to show how your storytelling campaign impacted these weak areas by emotionally engaging with the potential lead or customer.

 

Ultimately, storytelling breathes life into a business. It brings value that no product or service, no matter its superb quality, can achieve. It makes your business a person; that alone makes you stand out from the competition.

 

Brands That Leverage Great Storytelling

 

Cisco

The technology conglomerate Cisco, known for its networking and telecommunications hardware, launched a documentary series “The Network Effect”.  It tells the story of how service providers helped pave the way for the development of mobile communications and social media. The campaign involved a series of videos on YouTube and their website.

 

Cisco The Network Effect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why it was successful

The documentary was nominated in the 2012 American Business Awards for Best Motivational Video and Film category. The video campaign received over 137,000 views on YouTube and even screened at Mobile Word Congress and featured on ShortsHDTV.

 

Cisco aimed to increase “…awareness of the socioeconomic impact the network has in bringing education and access to services, allowing microbusinesses in the third world to compete globally.” As a result, Cisco is perceived as a thought-leader and passionate about the networking field, recognizing its history and inserting themselves in the story as it continues today.

 

GE (General Electric)

Created by their in-house marketing team, The Grid, the iconic company GE launched a sci-fi podcast series called The Message. The series garnered a massive audience, with over 8 million downloads and reaching to the Top 20.

 

The Message by GE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why it was successful

Not only was the experimental project a success in numbers, but the podcast also managed to creatively feature GE technology at the core of the story. Its listeners no longer see General Electric as a cold corporation but instead a company that likes to innovate with storytelling on the latest platforms.

 

LinkedIn

The professional and business-focused social platform LinkedIn launched a series of stories about their users called Celebrate Success. Each short video focuses on a member of the company and their journey of how they achieved their goals.

 

LinkedIn Celebrate Success

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why it was successful

There’s been a number of times when LinkedIn aims to divert from the typical ‘white-collar professional’ stereotype on their platform, such as with the In it Together campaign. This storytelling campaign is no different, as it casts a light on their users in a real, authentic way. These strides help attract diverse users to their platform, particularly millennials as they enter the workforce.

 

Ready to tell your story? We’ve got you covered.

We’re here to provide the strategies you need. Contact us and learn what options are right for you.

Reflections on Content Marketing in 2019

Content Marketing

Words from Dream Factory’s CEO, Paulo Cigagna

 

As we enter 2019, I want to talk a little bit on our company blog about what I believe it will be the next challenge in marketing for most of the companies in the United States.

Dream Factory was founded in 1999, but I’m from the pre-computer era. Like many of our clients, I saw what happened with the introduction of the Internet in real time. Over the last 10 years, there has been a democracy of information: everybody now has a voice. Everybody suddenly has a way to express their opinions to the world.

Before the internet, you had to go to specific medias—like a newspaper, a radio or a TV—to share your thoughts to the world, and those outlets would vouch for you. The information was compartmentalized. Only a few people had access to those communication channels.

We live in a different world in 2019. With the internet growing the way it is, information has not only become available for everyone but so has everyone’s thoughts and ideas. In this age of equality, everybody’s voice is equal. Everyone can open a blog and say whatever they want, whenever they want. It’s freedom of speech.

 

What is the problem with this “explosion of information”?

For the past 10, 15 years, this rush of information has been building up. In market segments—such as the real estate bubble and the technology bubble—these sorts of build-ups can explode.

Information, however, doesn’t have a bubble. Information will never, ever explode. We are oversaturated with information, meaning the next 10 to 15 years will be the fight to have your information stay relevant. This fight will be to have your information segmented within a specific group, audience or persona, and to make sure your information is what surfaces to meet their needs.

As a company, you’re going to have to fight to get visibility online, because it will not get easier any time soon. Your visibility online will directly affect the behavior of your consumer and the mindset of your consumer. You’ve judged a company based on what you’ve read about their reputation online, right?

The problem with this new excess of information and the constant multiplication of communication channels is the sheer amount of content being created daily. Every single day you have a different Facebook or Instagram post, a different Tweet, a brand-new blog. It’s noise. You have so much white noise that it’s really very hard for you to validate the information you’re receiving.

“Who is this person who is talking to me? Should I listen to that person? What media do I trust and why? How can I sort the information for me in a way that is applicable for my life? Is it in tune with what I know and believe?”

That’s the challenge for the companies in the next 10 to 15 years. I call this the “explosion of information.” That’s going to be the challenge for most marketeers and companies. It’s how to surface on that sea of constant white noise.

How do we face this challenge as marketers?

I know personally that a lot of C-level professionals—CFOs and CEOs—don’t believe in branding and advertising, because they’ve been trained not to believe that. This is especially the case in B2B companies, which are most of our clientele at Dream Factory.

In the past 10 years, branding and advertising have proven themselves to be directly related to sales and leads, client retention and reputation management. The B2C industry already knows this, because often, B2C marketing is three or four steps ahead of the B2B industry. Branding and advertising have become shields that protect and influence the behavior of your future consumers. An established brand encourages your customers and clients to repeat the buy or to become a brand ambassador that refers others to your products and services.

Because of this excess of information, you’ll need a higher frequency of content “touchpoints” with your customer, or with your suspected prospect, before they convert. They’ll expect a higher quality of information from you that cuts through the noise of your competitors.

In a nutshell, I’m forecasting an increased urgency for content marketing: high-quality content marketing. With it, there’s now a wave of data analysis available to determine which communication channels are best suited for your company’s unique audience persona.

 

Why the focus on content marketing?

As content marketing expands and shapes the behavior of your prospect, it becomes more and more integral to your lead generation. Having high quality educational and informative content not only helps you acquire new clients but also helps you retain them by nurturing them into your most passionate brand ambassadors.

Your content needs to be focused on your unique point of view and the value proposition of your services as they relate to your client. You’re going to have to really understand their persona and buying behavior. This is what we call behavioral marketing, or consumer-based marketing. You must be able to articulate the value proposition that your client really needs and wants to hear.

The short of it is that we’re fighting for the mind share of your customers. You need to be in the “top five” of the mind share of your customer. If I want to buy a car, you need to be in one of the five brands that are there. Mind share equals money. Plain and simple. That is the whole of your marketing.

If you want to create good brand exposure with a clear brand footprint, and want to understand more about how content marketing can assist you in this, please contact us at Dream Factory. I’d personally be glad to speak with you about your needs.

 

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