The Crocodile – big appetite for B2B marketing

Archive for March, 2012

New Timeline will make brands work harder on Facebook

New Facebook Timeline is a force for good and a chance for B2B brands to shine. B2B can do branding every bit as well as B2C, and the new Timeline format is all about branding and brands having to work harder to stay relevant.

Facebook pages will automatically switch to the new Timeline layout on 30 March. Here’s a summary of the changes and what they mean for business pages.

Cover photo
You now have an opportunity to showcase one large image on your company Facebook page. The image must be a minimum of 399 pixels across and the maximum dimensions are 850 by 315 pixels. You can’t include any calls to action and you can’t tell people to ‘Like’ or share your page. You can’t feature any contact information.

Profile image
The size of the profile picture has been changed to 180 by 180 pixels and appears in the news feed as a 30 by 30 pixels picture.

Highlighted post
You can now highlight an important story or event on your Facebook page so that it expands to run across the whole Timeline.

Pinned posts
You can now ‘pin’ stories to the top of your Timeline for up to a week so you have more control over what content visitors to your page see first.

Milestones
This is a new feature that lets you tell your brand’s story. See how Starbucks has done it here by clicking the bottom of their Timeline to reveal a picture of their first store opened in 1971. Who knew Starbucks was that old?

Applications
One of the biggest changes affecting company pages is removal of the default landing tab option, which mean new visitors to your page will always arrive on your wall first. Applications, welcome tabs, contact forms, competition etc. are all still available and can be showcased in a new position top right beneath the cover image. New app buttons are customisable and the dimensions for these are 111 by 74 pixels.

Facebook offers
This functionality is due to be rolled out soon with easy ways to share offers. As Facebook has the user’s email address they are able to email offers to whoever claims them.

Analytics and messaging
You now access Facebook analytics, or ‘Insights’ as they are called these days, by clicking on the Admin Panel top right. You can now see Insight information about any page using the new Timeline format. Plus pages now have the ability to receive messages from fans, which means some of those customer services conversations (complaints?) can move off your wall. This is similar to the DM feature in Twitter and is a welcome new feature for brands. To protect users from unsolicited contact, conversations can only be initiated by your Facebook fans.

This covers everything you need to know to make the transition to new Facebook Timeline and start driving more web traffic and better search performance. Bear in mind however that not everyone in your marketing team is gong to be a Facebook expert. There may be 30 million users in the UK but they are not all expert users.

Like many businesses you may decide to outsource all or part of your Facebook marketing. If you’d like to talk to someone about anything from competition pages, apps, welcome canvases or fully outsourced Facebook account management, call us.

Photo: Mark Zuckerberg introducing Timeline at F8
(Credit: Facebook)

Using Twitter for lead nurturing

B2B Marketing magazine has published a Twitter Best Practice Guide which includes a chapter by The Crocodile.

The B2B buying process can be long and arduous, not to mention potentially risky. Choosing the wrong supplier or partner for a business-critical service or product can have ramifications beyond initial capital outlay. No surprise then that your customers are increasingly turning to the social web, seeking advice from colleagues and peers to support their decision making processes.

Twitter can help you tune in to what your target market is talking about. Joining in these conversations in a timely and appropriate manner is a key part of an effective nurture strategy, one that can quickly and cost effectively help your business acquire a position of stature and leadership.

By addressing your audience throughout the various stages of the decision making process with useful, relevant content you can engage prospects in social dialogue that will help prove relevance, drive consideration and set you apart from the competition.

Good quality content and conversation are key to cultivating long-term relationships and valuable repeat sales opportunities. The challenge is in understanding, firstly, how to use Twitter to create and nurture leads, and secondly to establish the qualification criteria that determine when a marketing conversation is ready to progress into a sales discussion.

To help B2B marketers use and understand Twitter, B2B Marketing magazine has published a  Twitter Best Practice Guide including a chapter on using Twitter for lead nurturing and sales written by me and The Crocodile’s digital director Tom Marrows.

For brands, Twitter is no longer optional – it’s essential. The Twitter Best Practice Guide looks at the basics principles through to sophisticated techniques and examines all aspects of creating a sound Twitter strategy. Get your copy of the Twitter Best Practice Guide.

Follow us on Twitter or, contact us here.

Google’s new privacy rules

Google’s new privacy rules roll out today. The main purpose of the change is to allow sharing of information across Google’s services in order to allow targeted advertising based on users’ behaviour across Google properties.

It’s causing quite a stink, with France’s data regulators in particular warning that the privacy rules may breach European law. Google have decided to press ahead and see what happens. It’s more than likely that after some initial mutterings the new rules will be adopted without much fuss.

When new ways of using data evolve, it’s important to have regulation and opposition to ensure the commercial desires of businesses are balanced against our rights to privacy. It seems though that we’re becoming more relaxed. Opt-ins to Facebook apps have a level of ambiguity that would have been unacceptable until very recently, but resistance is relatively low.

I’m reasonably comfortable with the idea that Google can share information about my behaviour across its services. After all they are Google’s services, and I’m choosing to use them. I’m happy to be shown more relevant advertising in return for free use of some pretty amazing stuff. Remember life before search? In fact, I wish Flickr would find a clever way to exploit my data, rather than charging me $24 a year.

Beyond the advertising benefit to Google, greater freedom with use of data will spark possibilities for whole new products, some of which will turn out to be very useful and popular. I’m very happy someone’s keeping an eye on service providers to protect my rights. But every so often boundaries must be nudged if they’re to bring us the next, more useful, more immediate and more intelligent product.

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