'BtoB' Digital Edge Live explores social media, content marketing

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San Francisco—Social media and content marketing were two of the hot topics discussed during afternoon panels at BtoB's Digital Edge Live conference here last week. The event, BtoB's first full-day conference on digital marketing, attracted almost 200 b-to-b marketers and covered topics including social media, mobile marketing, content strategy and CMO issues. During a panel on social media, marketers from Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems and Royal Dutch Shell shared strategies for success. Petra Neiger, senior manager-social media marketing at Cisco, gave five tips for effective social media marketing: Start at the top with senior leadership; activate and reward employees for participation; create advocates in user communities; create internal work flows, such as having a crisis plan; and share success stories. Sharon Crost, global online marketing and social media manager at Hitachi Data Systems, presented three strategies for effective social media marketing: “Make it engaging, make it social and make it count.” Hitachi Data Systems creates contests for users to engage them; has senior executives speak to bloggers and influencers to create social content; and measures the impact of social media. During a session on content marketing, marketers from Hewlett-Packard Co., Tellabs and Xerox Corp. talked about how they use content in their marketing efforts. “The key is to surround customers with content; make sure you are thought-provoking and convert content and conversations into soft and hard conversions,” said George Stenitzer, VP-marketing and corporate communications at Tellabs. By using effective content marketing such as white papers, online videos, mobile content and social media, Tellabs has tripled both soft conversions (such as subscriptions to newsletters) and hard conversions (sales and other transactions) in the past year. Alex Flagg, manager of social media and digital content enablement at HP, said the company uses a 10-point system to review content for effectiveness. By analyzing areas such as subject lines on emails, headlines in social media content and keyword optimization, HP has improved ROI on content. For example, after switching a headline in a blog to create a higher value proposition, HP saw a 400% increase in page views within seven days.
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