Sep

Social Strategy for B2B Companies

                                                 

I am regularly approached by businesses that sell to other businesses to help them market and promote their brand on social networks.

And so I noticed that some of them have a vague idea of how social media works and the sustainability it offers. They often see social marketing as yet another way to advertise and sell their products, in the same manner they are accustomed to do on traditional marketing mediums. Not surprisingly it usually results in frustration.

While I saw companies successfully sell on social, they are typically limited to mass consumer oriented B2C verticals, such as fashion and apparel, travel and hospitality. There is a segment of online shoppers, sometimes called ‘impulse shoppers’, that makes purchases straight off the Twitter timeline, yet the majority of us go to social networks for different reasons. Certainly no one is buying an insurance policy, or a house, or a CRM solution there.

The success of social media and its importance for business is in its unique ability to build trust.

For B2B, as well as for the majority of consumer-oriented businesses, this is where the real value of social marketing lies. A more detailed discussion here

And so that means approaching social media strategically.  First know precisely why you want to engage, understand clearly how it will help you grow the business. Then, if you are convinced of social media’s importance for the success of your business, start taking practical steps.  Obviously very company is different, but here are some observations that are pretty generic:

- Plan long-term. Don’t expect results after one month. Not even after two months.

- Do not do social media just because ‘everybody’ is doing it.  When people have strategy their choice is between social tools X or Y or Z. It typically comes early in the conversation. And when people say ‘I’ll try it for a month and see if it brings results’ or ‘I want to see how my friend/my competitor is making out before deciding’ it usually indicates a lack of strategy, because it implies a choice between tool X and doing nothing. In that case, better do nothing.  

- Social media does not substitute sales. It is however one of the most efficient ways to grow sales Here is a good explaination

Social media’s importance for B2B business is increasing. More and more owners and executives are inquiring how they can succeed in the new environment. As usual, the earlier you start the better are the chances.

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

Integrated Real-Time Data Boosts Content Delivery

How to make content more relevant and appealing to the content consumer?

This is a problem that has been on the mind of content creators for some time now. In our age of information abundance it is not easy to stand out and make your voice heard. The competition for the consumer’s attention is escalating, and with the number of information sources ever increasing, it will only get tougher.

Traditionally, a content delivery does not change across the target audience. A commercial, or a blog, looks and is experienced in the same way by all viewers and readers. We are entrenched in this paradigm, and can hardly imagine it being otherwise.

It turns out, the advancement of new technologies capable of capturing individual intents in real time brings up new opportunities in creating personalized experiences within the framework of content delivery.  

This is how content can become more relevant - by becoming more personalized.

In a rudimentary form, we are already familiar with this approach as seen in online advertising. Some web and social resources aim at personalizing their promotional campaigns based on whatever drops of behavioural patterns and interests they can squeeze out of our web searches.  The problem, of course, is that the technologies used to power these campaigns understand human behaviour poorly and results, therefore, more often than not leave a great deal to be desired. To put it mildly.

nmodes has been working on semantic processing of intent for several years. We now can capture intent from unstructured data (human conversations) with accuracy of 99%. (Interestingly, many businesses do not require this level of accuracy, being satisfied with 90%-92%, but we know how to deliver it anyway).

We recently started to experiment with personalizing content by using available consumer intent.

We used Twitter because of its real-time appeal.

We started by publishing a story, dividing it into several episodes:

 

And we kept the constant stream of data flowing, concentrating on intent to dine in Paris:

We then merged the content of the story with consumer intent to dine in Paris as captured by our semantic software. Like this:

This merging approach shows promising results - the engagement rate jumped above 90%.

Overall we are only at the beginning of a tremendous journey. We know that other companies are beginning to experiment, and the opportunities from introducing artificial intelligence related technologies into content delivery are plentiful.

There is a long road ahead, and we've made a one small step.  But it is a step in a very exciting direction.

 

READ MORE

HOW TO MAKE A SUCCESSFUL CHATBOT (BUSINESS TIPS)


So you decided that your business needs a chatbot.

And you’ve probably heard conflicting opinions on chatbots - some praise them for the ease with which they can offer customer service, others criticize for their lack of true intelligence.

How to proceed?

At nmodes, we have been working on chatbots longer than most, starting long before they became popular.

Here is how we advise mainstream businesses to approach the chatbot quandary.




1. SET YOUR BUSINESS GOALS  

Remember that users prefer to spend less time talking to your chatbot, not more. A user wants to resolve specific issues related to your brand, not engage in a soul searching chit chat about the meaning of life, politics or sports. A user expects your chatbot to provide the answer to a particular question, and the faster the chatbot can do it the more satisfying customer experience it will create.  

All that means is that your chatbot does not need to have the capabilities of a Siri (generic conversational AI solution). Instead, it has to understand really well the conversational domains related to your business. It does not need to support much of the rest of the language.

And so you need to decide which business related topics you want your chatbot to cover and not to venture outside of these topics.

Typically chatbot topics revolve around sales process, customer support, sometimes they include lead generation, FAQs, problem resolution, and reputation management.


2. DEFINE THE DIALOGS

Chatbots are about conversations. After you have decided what kind of topics you want your chatbot to support it is time to get a bit more specific and define the dialogs. Ask yourself the following question: what do you want to achieve at the end of the chatbot’s interaction with the customer. For example, if you are dealing with the sales process, the end result could be a customer making a purchase, or a customer providing contact information for the sales team to follow up on, or  when a customer indicates what product he or she is interested in.

Build a dialog with the end result in mind.

We sometimes call this creating the conversation flow.

Of course, you can create as many conversation flows as required to support your business model.



3. DECIDE IF YOU NEED AI  

The are two types of chatbots - based on multiple choice buttons and based on natural language conversations.

Don’t discard buttons. Remember that a chabot is expected to make the user experience as enjoyable and as friendly as possible. Buttons often make conversation super easy and fun (the user simply clicks a button, what can be easier?).  In many business cases buttons provide a fast and efficient way to ask relevant questions and keep the conversation flowing towards the desired conclusion.

Using buttons also makes chatbot development simpler and reduces the development costs.

The second option is to make a chatbot support natural language conversations, in which case you will need AI.

Pick the AI solution you want to work with.

The good news is that there are several decent products in the market so you have a choice.

The not so good news is that they all are relatively complicated and require a certain level of technical knowledge.

(And you can always talk to us - we provide AI solutions that do not require any technical knowledge).



4. DECIDE IF YOU WANT TO DEVELOP YOUR CHATBOT IN HOUSE OR OUTSOURCE

Unless you want to position your business as an AI company you likely do not want to develop it on your own. There are several reasons for that.

First, AI technology is complex and its complexity if often underestimated. You will need top AI expertise and will probably need more of it than you anticipate.

Second, as Cameron Schuler recently observed, there is a significant shortage of AI experts and it will be difficult for you to find one.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, if you are a mainstream business developing in-house AI expertise is not part of your business model.

Bringing in an AI partner to help with your AI needs is a reasonable option for many businesses. Of course, the downside is additional immediate costs.  



Following the simple steps above and answering these questions will help you navigate the sophisticated world of AI, decide what kind of chatbot does your business require and how to approach the process of creating it.

READ MORE