The Crocodile – big appetite for B2B marketing

Croc wins award for social ROI

Last week The Crocodile beat Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in a result that reads more like a fantasy football update than a B2B marketing blog post.

The agency had five entries shortlisted in the 2013 Social Buzz Awards and won in the Largest ROI category, beating consumer heavyweights including Sony, Manchester United and Bud Light.

The Crocodile also received a Highly Commended runner up nod in the Best B2B Sector Social Media Strategy category. Both results were for our work with Ellisons, one of the UK’s leading suppliers to the professional hair and beauty industry.

The Crocodile was appointed by Ellisons to grow its social media audience, increase referral traffic, support a core business objective of growing online business by 20% in 2013, and drive awareness around the benefits of a new mobile website

Highlights of the project included the use of four social channels, a series of competitions to promote the benefits of shopping via the mobile website, a bespoke Instagram gallery for Facebook to encourage mobile user-generated content, and a highly targeted Facebook advertising campaign.

Results included a 73% increase in social referral traffic, a 255% increase in Facebook fans and a 526% return on marketing spend.

Our work with Ellisons to grow online business was the only B2B nomination in the Largest ROI category. We also had the only B2B nomination in the Low Budget category for our work with Nectar Business. While the opportunities for brand awareness and audience penetration have convinced most B2B marketers that social media is worth their time and effort, many are still struggling to calculate the return.

The Crocodile has devised an effective campaign framework for social media that includes social listening, audience build, content management, and lead nurture and is currently working with clients including Equinix, KPMG, Nectar Business, and EMC to put the buzz in B2B social. We look forward to showcasing this work in next year’s Social Buzz Awards!

A full list of the 2013 Social Buzz Awards results is available here:

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Christmas ads and B2B marketing

Unless you’ve been resolutely avoiding contact with the outside world, you’ll know that 2013’s Christmas ads are, well, everywhere in the UK. From the massive retailers vying to outdo John Lewis, to the perennial Coca-Cola Santa, it’s official: ‘Holidays are coming’.

For B2C brands this is a unique time. Rather than talk about aspirational lifestyles or product benefits, many focus on communicating their values and fostering empathy in their audiences. Perhaps this is something B2B marketers can learn from – could you communicate your values and build empathy as simply as these brands?

John Lewis – a “thoughtful giving” theme that is inclusive, considerate and personal


Sainsbury’s – a 50 minute feature film about people’s experiences of Christmas, with shared lives, food and family quirks at the forefront


Tesco – real families, part of life for decades, shared happy memories


Waitrose – socially responsible and giving something back


Which values would you communicate if you had the luxury of creating a Christmas ad?

I’m not suggesting that fibre manufacturers or managed services providers should create lavish 50 minute Christmas feature films, as fun as that might be. Instead this is about taking a moment to consider how your clients and customers are affected by your brand values, and how you can create a lasting impression and bond.

B2B marketers don’t have the luxury of massive above the line creative and media budgets so must utilise their channels throughout the year to reinforce brand values.

Consistent brand building is key. Your hypothetical ‘Christmas ad’ messaging could give you a new perspective on your annual marketing programme. Taken as a whole, how do your campaigns reinforce brand values throughout the year? Do your customers experience them consistently from awareness to purchase and re-purchase stages? And does anything run against the grain?

Don’t forget social in your review. The Crocodile has found that social channels are super effective at getting brand personality and values across. In social spaces you can truly live the brand and demonstrate that you are passionate and hands on, for example.

Which values would you prioritise in your Christmas ad? Let us know on Twitter @crocbites.

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How to create leads on Twitter

Twitter is all about relationship building. It’s important to spend time cultivating a community of people who are interested in your knowledge and expertise, and who will share your information with people outside your immediate network, extending your reach across the social web.

One of biggest mistakes B2B companies make on Twitter is failing to follow anyone other than perhaps a few journalists and colleagues. For a social media strategy to succeed you have to put time and effort into building your follower base. On Twitter you do this by proactively seeking out and engaging with people who are likely to be interested in your products or services.

If your competitors are on Twitter, have a look at who their followers are. Do the same with any trade press or high profile industry figures. Chances are many of the people following these accounts will be interested to discover you’re on Twitter.

It’s completely normal in Twitter culture to follow people you’ve never met before. The act of following someone is the Twitter equivalent of introducing yourself. If they’re interested in finding out more or getting to know you better they will follow you back, which could be the start of a rewarding relationship for both parties.

If someone doesn’t follow you back chances are they are not currently interested in what you have to offer. People will make a judgment based on your ratio of followers to the number of people you follow so it’s important to keep an eye on this. Following a disproportionately higher number of people than your number of followers can present a bad image and you might find it hard getting new followers.

In B2B, a ratio of 1:1 shows you are listening and being listened to, meaning you will be perceived as trustworthy. Having more followers than the number you’re following means you will be perceived as influential and a leader in your market.

When someone new follows you, take some time to look at who they are and try to gauge where their interest in you might come from. If they look like a possible lead, follow them back, say hello and thank them for following. It is ‘social’ marketing after all.

If you spend time and effort targeting the right people you will quickly grow your network. The connections you make will determine the strength of your community and ultimately what you will – or won’t – get out of Twitter, so it’s important to focus on getting this right. There are no shortcuts but there are tools that can help streamline the process.

The Crocodile has a strong track record in building Twitter communities. We’ve achieved over 12,000 followers for Nectar Business, 3,000 for the KPMG High Growth Technology team (in just five months), almost 100,000 followers for delicious. magazine and our client 3Dconnexion just broke the 20,000 mark.

If you need help getting your Twitter account to a point where it can start to have a real impact on inbound marketing and lead nurture, contact us here.

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Five Social Buzz nods for The Croc

The Crocodile has had five of six entries shortlisted in the 2013 Social Buzz Awards, which is a great result for the social media team and everyone in the agency who’s been part of the shortlisted campaigns.

The Crocodile received two nominations in the Best B2B Sector Social Media Strategy category and one each in Best Low Budget, Largest ROI and Best use of Twitter. That’s now eight award nominations for The Croc across Social Buzz Awards and B2B Marketing Awards this year.

Notably The Crocodile has the only B2B nominations in the Largest ROI and Best Low Budget categories of the Social Buzz Awards. While more and more B2B marketers are discovering they can engage with huge numbers of customers and prospects through social media there are still relatively few examples of successful campaigns out there.

Last year we won Best SME-Targeted at the B2B Marketing Awards for ‘Transition to Social’ on behalf of our client Ellisons. Our nominations for Ellisons in the Best B2B Sector Social Media Strategy and Largest ROI categories of the Social Buzz Awards show how we’ve helped Ellisons to build on that early success and turn social into a vital new revenue-generating channel.

Across all categories we’re up against some heavy hitters from the B2C world but we’re keeping everything crossed for the November ceremony. Well done and thank you to our clients Ellisons, Nectar Business and delicious. magazine.

Social Buzz Awards 2013 nominations

Best B2B Sector Social Media Strategy / Campaign category
Nectar Business

Best Low Budget
Nectar Business

Largest ROI

Best use of Twitter
delicious. magazine

Full list of nominations available here:

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The social CEO

Reporting on the Social Media Week panel debate at Bloomberg London about ‘the social CEO’ seemed an appropriate follow up to my Are you (anti-) social? post. The CEOs we heard from were all advocates of social media and its role in driving the transformation from traditional to digital business.

The panel

• Tim Weller (@wellertimothy), CEO, Incisive Media,
• Jane Wilson (@thatwilsonwoman), CEO, Chartered Institute of Public Relations
• Ian Shepherd (@IanAShepherd), Co-Founder and CEO, Crowdsource Ltd (formerly CEO, Game Group PLC)
• Julie Meyer (@JulieMarieMeyer), Founder and Chief Executive, Ariadne Capital

What struck me about the panel was a shared desire to be perceived on social media not as early adopters or gurus but as real people representing themselves, whilst also representing the views and values of the businesses they lead. Authenticity is an imperative.

It was the view of all panellists that social media is a chance for direct, front-line communication with customers, staff and stakeholders. This puts an interesting spin on the idea that most CEOs are too busy running the business to get involved in social media. Too busy to talk to staff and customers?

Another barrier to getting involved with social media is the embarrassment factor. The panel appeared to have long since stopped worrying about making fools of themselves. They were however quick to point out there’s no talk of what they ate for lunch or their off-springs’ potty training antics on their social profiles; just genuine insight into real business issues and, in Tim Weller’s case at least, the odd comment about cricket.

Julie Meyer put forward the opinion that social media are just tools that facilitate productivity, like laptops and mobile phones. The key is in understanding how to use the tools we have at our disposal to achieve desired business outcomes. If that means soaking up the social know-how of your 17-year old apprentice, so be it.

Panel members offered examples of where active participation on social media has delivered benefits. Jane Wilson used social networks alongside traditional marketing channels as crisis management tools when sensitive CIPR data was left on a train. The company’s proactive approach was widely appreciated by CIPR members, earning them respect that outweighed any criticism.

Ian Shepherd was humbled by the supportive messages he received on Twitter when Game Group went into administration. Having communicated openly with staff and the public throughout the difficult period, he was met with empathy and treated as a person first and foremost by media, employees and the public.

Tim Weller turned to Twitter to publicise the fact that he’d been “stitched-up” by a well-known journalist, to ensure that readers could form their own opinions on the article. Weller also highlighted the value of using social tools like Yamma to breakdown silos within the business and nurture collaboration.

Overall the panel agreed that the main benefit of social media is that it allows each of them to be an ambassador for their business and to be seen publically to be leading. In response to the question of why CEOs should use social media, Ian Shepherd responded: “Why would you miss an opportunity to speak directly to your stakeholders and prospects?”

In 10 years’ time it will no doubt be laughable that we even assembled at Social Media Week to discuss the value of social media to business leaders. If you’re still not convinced, follow the panel on Twitter and see how they do it.

Some tips from the panel (and The Crocodile):

• Learn by doing
• Be authentic
• Use your own tone of voice (don’t hide behind corporate language)
• Be relevant
• Have an open door policy with employees, media etc.
• Be open
• Respond in a timely manner
• Be brave

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Helping loyalty go local

The Crocodile is proud to be working with Nectar as they bring the largest loyalty programme in the UK even closer to Nectar collectors – in local shops and businesses. Nectar points can now be collected using the same Nectar card and account, making it quicker and easier than ever for collectors to enjoy great rewards.

Nectar appointed The Crocodile to produce all business-facing assets, such as point of sale and in-store displays, as well as the main go-to-market creative concept ‘Pop in for points’. The Crocodile also developed the integrated consumer-facing launch campaign, incorporating highly targeted DM, outdoor posters, print and display ads, email and e-newsletters.

Speaking to Marketing Week, James Frost, Nectar marketing director, said: “[Nectar Local] brings Nectar right to people’s doorsteps and gives local businesses the power of a national loyalty programme. It also continues our mission to allow people to collect points at more and more places.”

The Nectar Local pilot runs in Portsmouth from 4 November until May 2014 and will then be rolled out across the country.

More information on Nectar Local is available here.

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Are you (anti-) social?

A recent article by brand consultant and entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, described B2B social media as “an incredible gateway to create a relationship that can lead to conversion” and “the modern evolution of a cold call”, but proving its value to the wider organisation is often a hurdle to businesses adopting a truly integrated social strategy. Admittedly in B2B, the added value of a single Facebook like, a retweet on Twitter or a Pinterest pin can be hard to quantify but let’s open our minds and consider the bigger picture.

In 2012, the UK had the second highest proportion of social networkers in the EU, according to the Office of National Statistics, and this networking undoubtedly blurs the lines between personal and professional. Harnessing individuals’ online presence as employees of your organisation is as important as your business itself being well represented. The benefits are long-term, and by that we mean revenue. (A US study The Impact of Social Media on Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue, reported by Mark Fidelman on, revealed 78% of salespeople using social media outsold their peers between 2010 and 2012.)

The business
Company pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are an extension of a company website, but more than that they help with SEO and facilitate real-time, two-way dialogue with target audiences. This dialogue, often managed by Marketing, isn’t about preaching to customers and prospects, but about sharing rich content and nurturing engagement. At any one time, the audience includes current customers, almost-customers and don’t-know-it-yet customers who are getting to know your business and brand more and more with every post or tweet. It’s these small, but significant, interactions subconsciously striking chords and keeping your business at the forefront of customers’ minds that could influence a purchasing decision. Being in the right place, at the right time is as important as ever, and it’s at that time – when a lead generated through social media gets passed to Sales, or a conversion tracks back to a social referral – that the value of the preceding social groundwork speaks for itself.

The employees
Beyond the Marketing team, there’s a brand ambassador and a lead generator in every employee within your organisation – whether they’re online networking for business, pleasure, or both, they’re representing your business, 24/7. From a company perspective, arguably the most beneficial of an individual’s social networks is their LinkedIn profile. That LinkedIn Summary and those Endorsements and Recommendations contribute to the professional reputation of the individual and simultaneously strengthen your business proposition. An ‘all-star’ profile strength is the aspiration but its not just about bragging rights; a strong professional profile speaks volumes when using LinkedIn for business development. More and more, sales prospecting begins on LinkedIn making cold calls a thing of the past. In a relatively small amount of time it’s possible to build a fairly detailed understanding of a prospect organisation’s structure to inform a conversation and break the ice. In Ten Tips for using LinkedIn for sales prospecting, Anna Bratton, Strategic Accounts Business Development Executive, EMEA at says: “It’s not simply a case of digital stalking. Personally, I’m always open with the people I call about having looked at their LinkedIn profiles…it shows I’ve gone to more trouble than 90% of the other salespeople who call them every day.”

Sales prospecting, lead generation, customer service, brand awareness, stakeholder engagement, SEO…the opportunities brought by social media to the B2B marketplace are many and varied. Banish the thought that LinkedIn is just for job hunters. Dismiss the idea that social media is just ‘something that Marketing does’. It’s time to start taking advantage and open the gateway to new lead generation.

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Social video platforms for business

Video is a highly effective marketing tool and has become an increasingly important part of maintaining an online presence. For years we have seen YouTube dominate as the top platform for video sharing. Launched in 2005 by three former PayPal employees and owned by Google since 2006, YouTube has become the second biggest search engine with around 4 billion video views a day, 800 million unique visitors per month and roughly 72 hours of content being uploaded each minute.

Second to YouTube yet quite some way behind in terms of audience size is Vimeo with 60 million unique visitors a month. Favoured by creative professionals, Vimeo offers some advantages over YouTube in terms of production quality and aesthetics, and password protection, plus it doesn’t have ads. In fact Vimeo doesn’t like commercial content in general so most B2B companies would have to pay for a pro account to promote their products and services.

With a reported 69% of marketers planning on increasing their YouTube marketing in 2013*, YouTube’s dominance shows no signs of abating. However, in the past year, new video platforms have emerged that aim to capitalise on the mobile boom.

The Twitter owned Vine app enables users to create and post six-second looping video clips that can be shared on Twitter or embedded on websites. Initially only available on iOS devices, Vine for Android was released in June 2013 and a Windows 8 version of Vine was unveiled during the Microsoft 2013 Build Conference.

Vine claims a modest 13 million users but the medium is growing in popularity. Facebook‘s fastest-growing page in the U.S. (in terms of ‘likes’) is Best Vines, with nearly 9 million fans and 693,000 likes per week, according to Inside Facebook.

Not to be outdone, the popular mobile photo sharing app Instagram recently added support for video. Launched in 2010 and bought by Facebook in April 2012 for $1billion, Instagram boasts 130 million monthly users. The key to Instagram’s success lies in the filters: digital layers added to photographs or videos that give the appearance of professional editing and lend a nostalgic, vintage appeal.

The uptake of these new video platforms in B2B is slow but likely to increase as B2B marketers hone their mobile and social media marketing strategies. Danish container shipping company, Maersk Line, provides a powerful B2B case study, making use of ten social media platforms including YouTube and Instagram to achieve its stated goal of getting closer to its customers.

Maersk has yet to embrace Vine but General Electric (another B2B social media heavyweight) recently proved that new and emerging platforms have a place in B2B with its #6SecondScience Fair Vine campaign that relied on user-generated content in the form of six-second science lessons.

The issue with mobile video is that it’s not actually easy to create slick short videos in formats that don’t allow editing. The results are always going to be a little rough around the edges but that’s part of the charm. Plus, keep in mind the value Vine adds to your Twitter activity: fun and engaging visual content will make your tweets stand out in a crowded timeline.

The Crocodile has just completed work on a set of six Vine videos designed to bring various assets to life on Twitter as part of a broader integrated campaign for a big B2B client. Those prepared to have a go with mobile video technology stand to get ahead of rivals and reach their target audiences in new and creative ways that drive up social engagement.

YouTube may still reign supreme for long form video content but with an increasing need to market to short attention spans we should consider the need to be more precise in our communications and use the constraints of short form mobile video to inspire creativity in B2B.

* 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report,

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Second chance for Facebook posts

We’re big fans of Facebook for B2B marketing here at the Crocodile. It might not seem as immediately relevant to business marketing as LinkedIn, for example, but it’s worth remembering that each target audience member is an individual as well as a professional. With the right nurture strategy in place, engagements on Facebook can lead to MQLs.

Last week, Facebook changed the algorithm that determines which stories appear first when a user logs in or opens their Facebook app. Now, businesses that have good audience engagement can expect even more people to see their most popular posts.

Essentially, the change gives a post a second chance of being seen if a user didn’t get to it the first time they looked at their News Feed.

Google reported that a trial found: “Previously, people read 57% of the stories in their News Feeds, on average. They did not scroll far enough to see the other 43%. When the unread stories were resurfaced, the fraction of stories read increased to 70%.”

Looking specifically at Pages – the profiles that organisations can create and manage – Google reported “an 8% increase in likes, comments and shares on the organic stories they saw” under the new algorithm. The ‘second chance’ means that more people will not only see but also engage with the post.

How do you increase your chance of a second chance?

The change only benefits posts that make it into News Feeds in the first place. So, this is another great reason to post stories and content that your audience will want to engage with and share.

At the heart of Facebook, an algorithm called EdgeRank determines which stories a given user will see. EdgeRank is an equation with three key factors: Affinity, Weight and Time Decay.

• Affinity grows when people repeatedly interact with your brand

• Weight grows when people engage deeply with your brand by spending more time on their interactions with you

• Time Decay is a negative factor in which posts are less attractive the older they are

EdgeRank gives businesses that engage with their audiences a significant advantage on Facebook. By regularly posting content that relevant people feel compelled to ‘like’, comment on and share, you will increase the likelihood of making it into their News Feeds, then into the News Feeds of their colleagues and industry friends.

In addition to the mid-term benefits of increasing your EdgeRank, you could also be building a strong foundation for your search engine performance in the future.

Facebook looks increasingly set to take on Google search with Graph Search, a Facebook specific search engine designed to leverage the data acquired from over 1billion Facebook users. Graph Search makes the people, places, photos and other content on Facebook more easily discoverable. So improving your business’s EdgeRank today could well improve your future organic search performance too.

Look out for more on Facebook’s Graph Search in upcoming posts here on Crocbites.

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Nominated for nurture and content!

It’s great to be shortlisted in the B2B Marketing Awards, but even better to make the grade in the two areas that everyone’s talking about! The Crocodile’s work for Equinix has just been shortlisted for Best Lead Nurture Campaign and for Best Use of Content in the 2013 awards, with another nomination in the Content category going to our Big Data campaign for EMC.

Companies of every size from every sector are beginning to incorporate at least some element of nurture and automation into their marketing plans, and yet there are still relatively few examples of live and successful campaigns out there. The Crocodile is a notable exception, having been a nominee and winner of the runner-up prize in the Best Lead Nurture category last year.

Content is a fast emerging area of focus across the B2B spectrum with significant overlaps into social media, lead nurture and search. At The Crocodile our ongoing obsession is to link all content activity to results-focused objectives, and to challenge content briefs that don’t make the connection.

Well done and thanks to our fabulous clients at Equinix and EMC – here’s to a big awards night in November!

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Crocbites is our running commentary on the trends affecting B2B marketing, alongside our own insights and independent viewpoint formed from working with global brands turning marketing budgets into bottom line benefits.

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