Part 2 from LinkedIn’s TechConnect:13

September 27, 2013

Yesterday, I live blogged from LinkedIn’s TechConnect:13 event in Menlo Park. Here are some highlights from the afternoon sessions, which featured sessions with Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, and other top technology companies. You can see all the presentations from the full day here on our SlideShare channel.

Buyers follow companies because they crave content.

According to the CMO Council, 87% of B2B buyers say online content plays a major-to-moderate role in vendor selection. That’s why LinkedIn offers Company Pages, Sponsored Updates, and SlideShare – to empower marketers to connect with targeted LinkedIn audiences, says David Thacker, VP of Product, Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn.

Take Hewlett-Packard, whose company page has an unprecedented 1.4 million brand advocates. Others, like HubSpot, drive 400% more leads within their target audience on LinkedIn than they do with other platforms.

Here are their four secrets to success:
1. Create content that makes your customers more productive and successful.
2. Be the editor. Offer others’ content with a line or two of your own perspective.
3. Make it snackable. If you’re in line at Starbucks, you don’t want to read a 20-page white paper.
4. Value the “Who”. Customize content to different audiences.

In 2014, look for new LinkedIn functionality related to targeting, attribution, lead capture, and personalization.

There’s a scarcity of influential B2B tech buyers, but you’re more likely to get to them if you engage on LinkedIn.

According to Jake Raroque, a LinkedIn Research Consultant, and Roslyn Ku, VP at comScore, a relatively small number (15 million) of technology decision makers in the U.S. drive $820 billion in IT spending — and 43% of this small number work outside the IT department. What’s more, half of them are individual contributors or managers.

To engage today’s B2B IT Committee, you need to know three things, according to a survey conducted with comScore, Starcom MediaVest Group and Mashwork:
1. The IT Committee uses social media to connect with peers and vendors.
2. The vendor shortlist is more exclusive and critical than you think. On average only three vendors make it, and 92% of buyers purchase from a vendor on the shortlist.
3. You can make the vendor shortlist by fostering long-term relationships.

LinkedIn leads as the de facto platform for IT Committee. Over 85% of the IT Committee use LinkedIn for business, leading all social platforms. So start blending your traditional lead gen efforts with social marketing that’s credible, relevant and helpful. Then, download the complete research.

Make like a soap opera, and tell a serialized story.

The soap opera permanently changed the game of the TV drama, says Dan Buczaczer, EVP, Creative Partnerships at VivaKi. To create the same effect, use these four TV-storytelling tricks to out-compete others by creating content that lives in a stream:
1. Create a log line. TV seasons have metaplots, and subplots that support them.
2. Write a story bible. Many people in the organization create content. Use your bible to unify it.
3. Have a story arc. Pace individual content in line with your overall strategy.
4. Incorporate multiple storylines. Different plotlines reach different audiences.

Then, up level your content marketing with the top tips I presented:
1. Influence social signals with SEO. Vanity metrics like +1’s and shares can impact 7-13% of your SEO ranking.
2. You need inbound and outbound. Organic only goes so far.
3. Length matters. Keep it short!
4. Pull content inspiration from everywhere you go. To create great content, aspire to be the bacon, not the bread.
5. Empower your advocates. Shares impact your SEO rankings; make it easy for your employees to support your searchability.
6. Visuals kick text’s a$$.
7. Measure success, particularly of increased referral traffic on non-branded keywords, social engagement, and your ability to generate higher quality leads.

Technology can put you in the sweet spot of buying and earning more leads.

As the first brand to reach 1 million followers on LinkedIn, Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) biggest successes and failures always depend on its content’s power of relevance and ability to leverage natural behaviors, says Natalie Malaszenko, Vice President, Global Digital Marketing at HP.

Simply by sharing on Veteran’s Day that the company’s founding fathers were veterans, HP saw 4x higher engagement, 6x more shares, and 7x more comments with its content.

You already have the talent you need to scale social marketing.

Employee advocacy is the biggest opportunity for B2B social marketing today, says Kimberley Brind, Senior Director of EMEA Marketing at Oracle. You should build your global team of brand ambassadors from within, particularly with gamification, agrees Jeanette Gibson, former Senior Director Social and Digital Marketing at Cisco.

For these reasons, Global Social Marketing was the only budget at Xerox to expand this year, says Jason Bartlett, VP of the department. This trend is right in line with Forrester’s prediction that CMO spending on technology will match that of the CIO by 2017.

Now, go make some bloody good content!