In a sea of shiny social media marketing services, both mainstay and emergent, it can be easy to lose sight of the tried and true goodies we use every day for seemingly unrelated tasks.
There’s little room for pricy platforms with superfluous bells and whistles in the social-savvy B2B marketer’s arsenal. This post explores five popular (chiefly free) platforms authoritative in nature but often overlooked as useful tools for hardcore marketing.
Leverage their insight for dead-eye targeting of paid search and social ads, identifying meaningful potential customers and friends via organic outreach tactics, or any combination of the two. Their versatile functionality might surprise you.
Yes, Wikipedia, the free, online, peer-edited encyclopedia you were forbidden to use under pain of expulsion throughout your high school and college career. With over 3 million articles in English (nearly 20 million across all languages), 90,000 regularly active contributors and an estimated 2.7 billion monthly page views (that’s U.S. only, folks), Wikipedia is, as they say, a pretty big deal.
The sheer volume of statistics, data and definitions alone make Wikipedia a formidable resource. But there’s an even greater underlying perk: a serious amount of internal linking to related Wikipedia pages. In addition to the “See Also” and “References” link roundups, it seems peer editors link to meaningful articles wherever they can, presenting countless opportunities for eager B2B marketers to explore heaps of social synonyms.
Targeting plumbers by way of Facebook precise interests in hopes of branding your no-slip-guaranteed utility belts? Think of the sweet juicy inventory you’re missing if you target by basic occupational keywords alone.
A quick look at the Wikipedia page for “Plumber” reveals a treasure trove of terminology these professionals may very well identify with on Facebook — terms you can likely target in the precise interest bucket. Let that keyword-rich anchor text lead you from page to page as you populate a righteous pot of targeting ideas and increase your own knowledge of your potential customers’ day-to-day.
One of the granddaddies of search, Google represents an amazing tool for researching topical hubs in any B2B market, niche or not, that can be applied to social channels a la LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
If your aim is to target hospital administrators to buy your cutting-edge task management software, look no further than the Google search box. (Well, look further eventually, but this is a terrific starting point.)
Spend a few hours researching physical real-world clusters where these people congregate en masse: conferences and conventions they attend, groups and trade associations to which they may belong, books and publications (both print and online) they might read. Map these to your social spaces and dig in.
An exploding user-base of over 750 million accounts makes Facebook the largest social sampling of human interests our world has ever known; a nigh-addictive amalgamation of human contact and mind-numbing entertainment make it a seriously fertile playground for B2B marketers on the cutting-edge.
You better believe those 750 million aren’t just college kids and tweens. They’re your off-duty target audience, self-disclosing occupations by way of workplace and precise interests.
Play with alpha-patterns to uncover a spectrum of segments, i.e.: type [term] “a,” then “b,” etc. Occupational targeting in Facebook for B2B leads and sales is a very real concept and, when executed with a careful hand, can be extremely effective.
In March, LinkedIn’s targeting platform underwent a noteworthy facelift. The power to finger job descriptions by keyword or category was now in the hands of the cunning B2B marketer, and filtering pearls such as seniority, function and age helped yield a tightly focused audience for soft branding or direct response ads.
One unique targeting edge LinkedIn holds over Facebook is the ability to view specific group names along with estimated inventory (membership) on the paid side of things.
Cross-reference your findings with organic search to identify potential customers and let the organic outreach commence. LinkedIn Premium Filters on the organic side, indicated by a gold badge, also include Years of Experience, Function, Seniority Level, Interested In, Company Size and other targeting nuggets.
The original way to keyword-based tweet-stalk (read: gauge topical conversation frequency), search.twitter.com continues to be a beneficial tool for B2B marketers unafraid of “tweavesdropping.”
Applying advanced search filterssuch as negative keywords, locality, basic sentiment and more help concoct a sophisticated query string and refine results.
If you like search.twitter.com for mining Twitter conversations, you’ll love The Archivist. This platform, powered by the very same Twitter Search API, offers up more or less identical results for a given keyword or query string on an arguably longer timeline.
The Archivist also produces good-looking graphs, charts and other data visualizations to depict various trends, like number of tweets over time, top users and keywords, sentiment and more.
The ability to export data as Excel spreadsheets gives The Archivist a unique advantage over Twitter search, allowing savvy B2B marketers to construct a comprehensive keyword report and potential-customer catalog sortable by various data points.
Et voilà! Five platforms you may very well frequent daily, on a mission to kill time or get answers, that most definitely warrant a spot in your B2B marketing arsenal. Happy hunting!