How do you make it easier for your social audience to engage with your brand? See tips from a recent IBM campaign.
We all know that the increase of digital media consumption has changed how we approach demand generation. These days, people respond to your outbound campaigns on their cell phones, or they find your campaigns through a friend or colleague’s tweet.
As outbound marketers and demand generation professionals, it’s up to us to figure out how to take advantage of this change in behavior. To do that, we need to completely rethink the customer experience.
I’d like to demonstrate an example of this by walking through some of the ways social and mobile were successfully integrated into a recent campaign I helped develop at IBM. I’ll point out some specific considerations we made throughout the process—as well as some lessons we learned—that might be helpful to you as you create your own approach.
We started by asking ourselves three questions for this outbound/inbound digital campaign microsite, and as we answered each one, we developed new ways to engage our customers.
1. What Did This Audience Really Want?
Thinking about our diverse audiences as well as the variety of solutions that make up the overarching value proposition, we decided to custom-tailor the content to each specific role. In other words, we put our clients’ perspectives first, rather than our view of the broader market.
Of course, we recognized that we had to demonstrate excellence through execution. Marketers are one of our eleven audience roles, so we realized we’d have to provide a seamless user experience while demonstrating the marketing technology represented in our portfolio. Part of this process included the inclusion of social sharing links at every interaction point.
2. How Could We Craft the User Experience in Context to Impress Our Audience?
Our customers are busy business professionals, so we need to provide them with facts they can use right away. We took interesting statistics, incorporated them into a visual treatment that we called a mini-infographic and made sure each one was immensely shareable.
Factoids can be fun to share over social, so we made it easy: with a single click, a visitor could send each one via Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook – all pre-populated with the factoid, hashtags, and a web analytics-tagged URL to bring people back to the website.
We included an image of the mini-infographic because we knew that visuals increase interaction on Facebook and LinkedIn. Taking a dynamic approach to the user interaction and web design was one of our key decisions. We decided on an HTML 5 parallax-designed website in that was visually engaging—one that focused on showing, not telling, through videos, webinars, interactivity, and of course, social sharing. The site had to be optimized for mobile, so we considered the mobile format when approaching the site design. We kept the buttons large and used pre-populated social links would improve social engagement on mobile devices.
3. What Would Continually Keep Our Audience Engaged?
We built the site experience around relevant, focused content that could be a great resource for our customers. We knew that during most B2B solution investigations, buyers and influencers need multiple interactions and validation points to make a decision. Our goal was to speed up some of those exchanges by providing a variety of quality resources for the visitor to engage with. At every interaction, the visitor was able to share these resources via social.
The social links were presented on the success page of the webinar, e-book or report, so the visitor could share that specific asset with their peers. The links embedded in the pre-populated posts directed the visitor directly back to that asset—no need to hunt for it on the microsite. Our approach to social engagement for the content was to make access for the inbound social visitor as easy as possible.
Do You Make It Easy to Engage?
As you start to create your next campaign, consider how the user experience informs what’s valuable to your target audience. Making it easy for your visitors to engage in social is key to that experience. There are many people out there who are still just getting started with social media—and of course, we’re all pressed for time—so if you can make it easy to share your content, more people will be more inclined to do so.
The benefits are clear: Most of the visitors that you successfully engage on your site are networked and connected to many more visitors who share a similar profile and are therefore part of your target audience. If you set up your site well, develop valuable messages and content, and enable social effectively, you won’t have to go looking for new customers—they’ll come looking for you.
Want to hear more? Join my session at SES Chicago on Wednesday November 6th from 2:00-3:00 pm, as we rethink B2B marketing and explore social as a lead-gen machine.
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Michelle Killebrew is passionate about marketing, especially innovative digital marketing strategies that deliver a superior brand experience - from initial acquisition through to loyal customer - and increase growth and profitability. She currently leads digital direct marketing and transformation for the IBM Cloud division where her team is responsible for the marketing strategy and lead generation engine for the division, including a digital lab designed to optimize digital platforms and user experience.
Previously, Michelle led the go-to-market strategy for IBM Social Business category, where her team focused on the strategy, messaging, positioning, thought leadership, and content for the more than 400 solutions that define social business and demonstrate how organizations can embrace this next information revolution in the workforce; a #NewWaytoWork. She maintains her passion for people-centric engagement as a social business evangelist. Prior to that, she headed up the worldwide go-to-market and revenue-bearing demand generation campaign strategy for IBM's new Smarter Commerce initiative (then made up of eight recently acquired companies), where her team was responsible for marketing B2B/commerce and enterprise marketing management solutions to meet the needs of the empowered customer.
She was recently named a "Top 40 Under 40" award recipient by Direct Marketing News, and among the "26 Content Marketing Experts to Follow in 2015", "150 Great Marketers to Follow in 2015" and "Top 25 Women to Rock Social Media of 2014."
Michelle has more than15 years of high-tech marketing and holds a B.S. in economics from Santa Clara University.
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