How We Generate Engagement & Impact On LinkedIn For B2B Companies

Improving on this subject is something we are constantly trying to do. Many times b2b clients reach out and want to build a solid presence on social. But here’s the harsh truth – building a community around a brand is almost impossible. However, positioning personas within the company, and leveraging their influence to grow the company page is way more feasible.

There are the rare examples of companies such as Gong and Zest who are knocking the ball out of the park with a killer company page, but they’re the exception to the rule (and they are also fueled by strong personas that have become authorities). 

This post will focus on LinkedIn, however, there’s much to be said for Quora, Reddit and Twitter.

Here are experience-based tips on what works:

  1. When posting make sure all posts are readable with white space out
  2. Linkedin don’t appreciate linking out of the platform. Try to avoid it as much as possible. When you do, paste the link in the first comment (and mention “link in the first comment”)
  3. The more people click on your posts the better – LinkedIn will get an indication of relevancy. So:
    • write texts that are long enough for people to need to click “see more” 
    • for the same reason when posting images – aim for more than 5
  4. Speaking about images – it’s always better to show people than scenery
  5. Hashtags are important! – before using them check they have enough followers (hundreds and up)
  6. Use emojis
  7. Post in the morning when people get to work, noon when they’re on a break or afternoon as they head home

On top of the above: wadidigital published this fantastic breakdown on the types of posts the LinkedIn algorithm favors, keep it in mind.

Now let’s roll up our sleeves: Here’s a typical breakdown we try to stick to weekly for b2b c-levels who’s presence we manage.

Rule of thumb – we always try to strike emotions/ be controversial in the content, and to ADD VALUE:

  • 1 Conversational type of post – ask a question “what music do you listen to when working”, “do you outsource tech or rely mostly on an inhouse team” etc
  • 1 List type of post that end with a question “these are the top 5 books any tech pro should read, which would you add?”
  • 1 Infographic with insights 
  • (at least) 1 Share of a company blog post with a personal angle (we play around with these and sometimes also post entire blog posts as Linkedin articles, the jury is still out regarding the efficiency of this)  
  • 1 Viral type of post (the legendary Larry Kim does that so well we actually name those LK posts internally) 
  • Daily Engage with peers, like comment and share

I hope this helps, if you have further tips to share, please let me know!

By Noa Eshed

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Ali Mirza

Do you want to increase engagement on Linkedin? Here are two simple tactics you can start testing today! * FREEBIES: 2mo FREE of SkillShare (20k+ courses): Free hacks & experiments: Top Resources For Biz Owners: ————————- * RECOMMENDED TOOLS: Use Instagram On Mac: Best tool for social media Videos: Make amazing animated videos (OFFEO): Social Media Management (ViralTag):

How B2B Brands Can Identify Their Target Audience

How well do you know your brand’s target audience?

Or, how well do you think you know your target audience?

We find that many brand managers in Europe assume they know their audience very well indeed. They might even have a very clear image in their head of the type of individual they are trying to target with all of their advertising and marketing strategies. 

What is often the case, however, is this image in their heads isn’t always completely correct. When it comes to targeting your audience in Europe and motivating them into making a purchase, you need to ensure that your understanding of this group is bang on. Any slight differences between what’s in your head and your audience could result in some of your targeted work falling flat.

If you know that you have this problem in your business currently, here are steps to take to understand your target audience better. If you follow them through, you’ll know how to discover your target audience and start fine-tuning your aim for them in all your campaigns.

Brainstorm your target audience.

The first thing you should do is sit down and brainstorm what you already know about your target audience. Think about the characteristics that all of the individuals who are most likely to buy your products will share. Are they in the same age group? What is their job title; what kind of salary do they earn? You should also look at the common challenges, needs, and objections that this group of people might face in their life.

One great tip is to take a look at the audience that your competitors are targeting. How does that group differentiate from yours? Examine the data-driven insights using the right tools to understand the entire funnel, and how you can leverage this data to incorporate your USP to retarget.

Take advantage of brand trackers.

Use a brand tracker to get measurable and actionable data on your audience. This data can give you various, but specific insights. For instance, tracking brand awareness will tell whether or not your ideal target audience actually knows about you. As well as that, tracking brand consideration will show if they would consider using your brand. You can also track this data for your competitors and compare how your brand fares against them. 

In addition, you might even discover that this isn’t actually the best audience for you to be targeting. By digging deep into all of this brand tracking data, you might see new audiences appear that you had never previously considered. Just make sure to choose a brand tracker that caters to niche audiences.

Develop a persona for your target audience.

Now it’s worth creating a persona of what the quintessential member of your target audience is like. There are so many benefits from audience personas, so why not use it?

For example, if you target the millennial generation, go beyond a generic idea of a millennial and think more closely about who you are selling to. If you find that millennial females who live in urban areas and work in the tech sector buy your product more than anyone else, then their defining features and characteristics should also be those of your audience persona. 

Once you have made a persona, it’s important that you inform everyone on your team. To keep everyone on the same track with all their strategic work, you all need to be targeting the same persona.

Start targeting.

Now that you know who you are aiming at, it’s time to start trying to reach them. In order to target your audience, focus your efforts on the channels they use most often. 

If you know that your target audience spends a lot of their online time using Twitter, then it’s worth starting a campaign on that social media platform. However, if you are targeting an older audience who might prefer to spend their evenings in front of their TVs than tweeting, think about running some TV adverts.

Researching the channels that your audience use really can help you immensely — not doing so could end with you shooting blindly and completely missing. 

How does running marketing campaigns help find your target audience, you may ask. Well, how can you be positive that they are the audience for you unless you see if they work? And don’t forget…

Continue to monitor.

So you research your target audience well and then start to target them using suitable methods and channels. Job done, right? Not quite.

Sure, you’ve taken the right kind of steps so that the right kind of consumers will see your brand marketing. But how do you know whether that’s really happening once your adverts and promotions are out there in the wild? How do you know that they are helping your sales?

Keep your eye on the ball and monitor how your marketing efforts are doing. You can do this by tracking your brand guidelines and campaigns to make sure that they are hitting the spot. 

It’s also worth noting that target audiences can change or shift over time, so monitoring them is a continuous task for every brand manager. As long as you do make monitoring a habit of a lifetime, then there’s no risk of you ever being left behind by competitors. 

Those steps don’t sound too difficult, right? If you follow through with them, you should discover new things about your target audience that you might never have realized. And those nuggets of wisdom could help you polish up your marketing campaigns like never before. 

Not only that, but you can now carry out all of your campaigns confidently, as your target audience shouldn’t be even easier to reach.

By: Steve Habazin Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP



Adam Erhart

How To Identify Target Market | Target Market Examples Click here to subscribe: If you don’t properly identify your target market then none of your marketing will work. Period. Not your ads, not your content, not your website, not your social media, nothing. It will all fail miserably. And I don’t want that for you. So in this episode I’m going to be breaking down exactly how to identify your target market and give you a few examples of what that might look like for your business. ***Marketing Resources: Work With Me: Our Advertising Agency: Facebook Ad Image Guide : FAST Content Formula : 60 Second Video Ad Script : One Page Marketing Plan : ***Let’s Connect: Website: Click here to subscribe on YouTube: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram:

China’s E-Learning Leaders Add $3.2 Billion As Coronavirus Fears Drive Students Online

The coronavirus outbreak has been hitting China’s economy hard as many businesses have had to temporarily shut down their operations amid tight quarantine rules. But measures to stop the spread of the illness have also become an unexpected boon for at least one industry: online education.

With the opening of schools pushed back to March and all extracurricular activities suspended, tens of millions of students have been told to go online to study. And the country’s providers of online tutoring services are suddenly experiencing a surge in interest from students and their parents.

The biggest winner appears to be TAL Education’s Zhang Bangxin, who saw his wealth increase by $1.7 billion, giving him a current net worth of at least $10 billion. His New York-listed company rallied 20% last month on expectations of strong growth. The 40-year-old Zhang has catapulted past the likes of’s founder Richard Liu ($8.7 billion) and Baidu’s Robin Li ($7.1 billion) to reach No. 24 on China’s wealth rankings.


“This is like a natural marketing campaign for these companies,” says Jiao Wei, an analyst at Shanghai-based research firm 86 Research. “Parents who didn’t know much about online education can now see how it works and how classes are being streamed online.”

TAL has partnered with more than 300 public schools across China to stream free classes, and its Xueersi unit is providing complementary K-12 online tutoring sessions. Other education companies are also launching more e-learning courses, while developing data tools to analyze student performance and help teachers track their progress.

Shares of New York-listed New Oriental rose 7.3% last month, adding $190 million to the wealth of its founder Yu Minhong. His current net worth is estimated at $3.4 billion. And Chen Xiangdong, founder of GSX Techedu, also listed in New York, has seen his net worth rise to $4.75 billion, thanks to a 40% rally that added another $1.3 billion to the value of his stake in the same period. The three education billionaires’ combined $3.2 billion gain makes them stand out as rare winners at a time when the coronavirus outbreak has battered industries ranging from hospitality to retail and logistics. As of Thursday, the virus that had infected nearly 80,000 people in China has been estimated to shave $60 billion off China’s economic growth.

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Analysts say that education companies are likely to benefit from the increased attention for their services for some time. After both students and parents become more familiar with virtual classrooms, they can be enticed to try other products and pay for services down the road. Terry Weng, a Shenzhen-based analyst at research firm Blue Lotus Research Group, estimates that 22% of Chinese K-12 students will take part in online tutoring by end of this year, up from 17% in 2019. Driven by tough competition for good schools and jobs, as well as technological advances in virtual learning, China’s online education market is expected to more than triple to 696 billion yuan ($99.3 billion) in 2023 from last year’s 203 billion yuan, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.

More on Forbes: No Customers, Closed Stores: Chinese Entrepreneurs Brace For The Worst Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

But analysts also caution that the current e-learning boom may not translate into higher revenue or profit—at least not in the short term. In a bid to attract more users, many services are being offered for free or at a discount. Blue Lotus’s Weng estimates that when TAL actually charges its virtual classes, they are sold at a 10% to 30% discount compared with lessons for its offline learning centers. The company generated $6.5 million in profits from $2.5 billion in sales during the first nine months of 2019. Before the virus struck, TAL was estimated to derive between 20% and 30% of its revenues from online learning and the remainder came from its offline centers.

Still, investors seem willing to overlook any short-term loss and focus on future gains. Aside from faster user growth for their online services, TAL and New Oriental’s offline businesses may also capture a larger share of the overall education market. This is due to the fact that smaller service providers are running out of cash, and probably won’t stay in business much longer. They still have to pay rent and teachers’ salaries, even when China suspended all types of offline classes and ordered tuition refunds.

“The gradual exit of smaller education firms means there are more opportunities for TAL and New Oriental,” Weng says. “Investors are more keen for their future performance.”

I am a Beijing-based writer covering China’s technology sector. I contribute to Forbes, and previously I freelanced for SCMP and Nikkei. Prior to Beijing, I spent six months as an intern at TIME magazine’s Hong Kong office. I am a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. Email: Twitter: @yueyueyuewang

Source: China’s E-Learning Leaders Add $3.2 Billion As Coronavirus Fears Drive Students Online


There are at least 29 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the United States. It’s a small fraction of the number of cases in China, but the fear surrounding the coronavirus outbreak knows no bounds. Many Chinese students in America are on edge, and worry for family members in China. CGTN’s Dan Williams met some students at Northwestern University.

B2B Online Stores: Dominating the Fastest Growing Market for Online Shopping

B2B Online Stores: Dominating the Fastest Growing Market for Online Shopping

B2B online stores? B2B online shopping?Aren’t those oxymorons?If headlines and trending stories count for anything: yes.Most people think of B2B as a Stone Age industry. It conjures up images of old-school sales teams, drawn-out deal cycles, print-order catalogs, and fax machines.

However, for those willing to look beyond the headlines, nothing could be further from the truth. B2B ecommerce is now more than double B2C and growing.Savvy B2B companies are already taking advantage online shopping to help customers buy faster and easier.

They’re using features like wholesale portals, online account creation, content marketing, and even dynamic pricing to automate large portions of the sales process.Most importantly, they are adapting to the B2C-like experience B2B buyers now expect. Here’s how companies are succeeding with B2B online stores, and how you can too …

One-on-one guidance for B2B ecommerce growth

Shopify Plus hosts ecommerce’s largest ecosystem of Merchant Success Managers, ecommerce Gurus, and award-winning Agency Partners.

Those are just a few of the reasons — along with a dedicated wholesale channel for B2B sales — our merchants are growing 126% year over year.

Good News and Bad News for B2B Online Stores

As a starting point, according to data from Statista, worldwide B2B ecommerce sales are over three times larger than B2C:

B2B online store GMV from 2013-2017

Part of this growing trend lies in the size B2B buyers:

  • B2C average order value: $147
  • B2B average order value: $491

But size isn’t everything. Where typical B2C conversion rates hover in the low single digits, B2B online stores average around 10%. In addition, Forrester found:

B2B buyers not only report higher total spend online, but also higher percentages of work purchases made online.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that most B2B online stores still struggle to capture the demands of a shifting consumer market, what is commonly referred to as the “era of empowered customers.”

Online buyers are increasingly using multi-channel or omni-channel shopping. They’re bouncing around from device to device and from online to offline (O2O) over the course of a few weeks or even months … long before reaching out to a supplier.

If you’re trying to sell to B2B customers, taking advantage of these trends on a platform that facilitates multi-channel software them is a must.

Integrate B2C Trends into B2B Online Shopping

Read almost any B2B ecommerce article and you’ll see a familiar pattern…

Your B2B online store should resemble a B2C one. The simple reason is that buyers prefer the B2C-style store over a typical B2B experience.

Buyers prefer B2C style functionality over traditional B2B online stores

Business customers rank run-of-the-mill B2C features as integral to their shopping experience. In fact, customers are more likely to switch companies if you have a difficult checkout experience with poor purchasing options.

Staying in the dark ages isn’t an option. Not when the market is trending past $7 trillion. Not when consumers are demanding better B2B online store experiences.

Beard & Blade is a prime example of breaking the traditional B2B sales stereotypes. On their site, you can apply for and gain instant access to a wholesale account, giving buyers access to their own online sales portal:

Beard & Blade's wholesale login functions the same as a typical B2C login

Once inside, their B2B online store is mobile optimized and includes custom pricing lists built for specific customer segments:

Beard & Blades B2B online store is mobile optimized

Even better, Beard & Blade’s wholesale store operates on the same backend as their B2C store. Inventory for wholesale orders is automatically pulled from a single inventory pool and is synchronized with orders and customers in one admin for real-time monitoring and analysis.

At the same time, the turnkey, password-protected wholesale portal allows Beard & Blade to control which high-volume customers have access to:

  • Select products or collections
  • Fixed, percentage off, or volume-based discounts
  • Minimum and maximum quantity increments

As Ben Chidiac, the co-founder of Beard & Blade, explains:

“As in retail, business customers benefit greatly from the time and effort savings of online ordering, in their own time, with full visibility of the status of their order.

Since launching their wholesale portal on Shopify Plus less than a year ago, B2B revenue has increased 100% and wholesale AOV — $296 — is 5x retail AOV — $49.

Nicotine River is another shining example …

Servicing both a B2B and D2C (direct to consumer) audience, Nicotine River uses a storefront that looks, feels, and acts like a typical B2C experience. Their product pages call attention to free shipping thresholds, contact information, a prominent Add to Cart button — as opposed to out-dated phone, fax, or email CTAs — and social proof in the form of ratings and reviews.

Nicotine River uses a host of B2C features on their B2B online store

On their site, you’ll find both DIY and wholesale buying paths. For each, customer logins allow buyers to manage order history and track shipments. They also include multiple payment methods to speed up the traditional cart-based checkout process.

Lastly, Nicotine River uses popup overlays to entice subscribers with deals and rewards:

In other words, gone are the days of calling in or submitting a written form, only to wait, and wait, and wait for someone to get respond.

But what about “enhanced search functionality,” which B2B buyers rank as their most essential online feature?

To meet this demand, V-Belt Guys uses Shopify app LiveSearch to give buyers instant results — as well as visual merchandising — to nearly any search query: product type, materials, specifications, or ordering codes.

Each of these B2B online stores has one simple thing in common: they make B2B online shopping as easy as possible.

They’re willingly turning over purchasing power to buyers because they don’t want buyers to dread the process. They’re ditching the old-school, opaque sales process in the pursuit of a better customer experience.

Create a Content Funnel to Drive B2B Online Sales

Very few new B2B buyers simply land on your site and become a new customer.

More than likely, they’ll browse from channel to channel before reaching out the first time. Salesforce pegs that number at around 6-8 touches prior to becoming a lead.

But there are a few ways to move buyers down your funnel faster than normal. One of the best ways to do that is by creating content that buyers are already looking for:

B2B buyers want to learn about businesses and products

This is what they’re doing during all those preemptive touches. They’re reading, digging, and — most importantly — researching.

B2B buyers prefer to self-educate well over halfway through a purchase decision rather than connect with a company sales rep.

This principle drives smart-glass manufacturer View, whose educational content leads with customer-focused benefits:

What’s more, they take the technical and make it simple:

Polycom uses a content-based strategy to funnel customers from different pain points to their products. And they build this process into the very first option on their navigation bar.

Notice how the subheadings under “I need to” relate to many of the best practices we’ve already examined:

  1. Understand — to educate buyers
  2. Select — to guide purchase decisions
  3. Implement — for post-transaction support

If a new customer arrives at their site, they can learn more about their own problem and potential solutions. Instead of pitching products, your goal is to develop need awareness so the buyer places a real value on solving their problem.

Of course, in many cases, stories are far more powerful than feature lists and product specifications. That’s why a great deal of the B2B marketing we do here at Shopify Plus is customer-centric rather than product-centric.

Instead of making the product the hero, our aim in storytelling is to make the business the hero:

This sounds great in theory, but in practice, knowing what kind of content to create and where to put it can feel overwhelming.

Thankfully, two sources provide guidance.

First, LinkedIn’s Rethinking the B2B Buyer’s Journey contains a detailed breakdown of the types of content that connect with buyers at each stage of the funnel:

Second, our own Merchant Acceleration team recently put together a Data Analysis course exclusively for Shopify Plus merchants, but you can access their customer persona process and customer journey map templates by reading either of those linked articles or by clicking the below image:

Customer journey map in ecommerce (template)

Create your own personas and customer journey map using this downloadable template

When done correctly this approach helps customers educate themselves without ever speaking to a member of your sales team.

Build Loyal Customers Faster with Transparency

Transparent pricing and product details are the number one factor in producing repeat B2B orders:

B2B online stores need transparent pricing details

Surprisingly, “transparency” was a full three spots ahead of lower pricing. Of course, full transparency extends past the shelf price to include everything from shipping fees to taxes to warranties.

Transparency, though, can come in many forms. It can mean a satisfaction guarantee if someone’s not happy with their experience. It can even apply to social proof in the forms of customer reviews.

Merchology does all this on their B2B online store by including both customer reviews as well as real-time product pricing based on order quantity using Shopify Scripts:

Shipping offers and order quantity make sure that buyers know what they’re getting every single time. Dynamic pricing helps cut through the clutter.

Buyers don’t need to call a sales rep and worry about price gouging when they can see order values update in real-time. And reviews help to give clarity to hesitant buyers when it comes to testing new products.

Focus on Producing Recurring Orders to Increase Sales

Even in B2B, most first-time customers are unprofitable when you factor in cost of acquisition and fulfillment. It might take up to a full year to break even. That’s why recurring orders are the lifeblood of B2B sales: the longer you hang onto a customer, the more profitable they become.

Marketing Metrics shows that repeat customers have a 60-70% chance of converting (compared to the single or barely double-digit conversion rate for new customers).

customer value life cycle

Image via Harvard Business Review

One way that B2B online stores can keep repeat customers coming back is through customized logins, histories, recommendations, and prices.

For example, Grainger uses customized logins to structure pricing based on each client, rather than blanket pricing:

Grainger customized login pricing page

In some cases, recurring orders through month-to-month subscriptions add powerful streamlined incentives. Cleaning, medical, and office supplies — as well as consumer packaged goods bought in bulk — all fall under a short shelf. As a result, tools like Recurring Orders and ReCharge are ideal fits.

In other cases, product and buying cycles vary considerably.

Schools, for instance, buy bulk books for several classes across a single grade. They’re not going to purchase several years worth. Instead, they’ll purchase 50 or 100 on BookPal in the summer. Then, they’ll come back next year to do the exact same order.

BookPal purchase page

Whatever the average re-order cycle for your products, B2B online stores can and should guide existing customers so that procurement departments can simply refer back to previous orders, quantities, and pricing to speed up the second, third, and fourth purchase.

Re-purchases drive the lifetime value of each B2B customer higher so that companies are able to recoup their initial investment in advertising, marketing, sales, and support.

One-on-one guidance for B2B ecommerce growth

Shopify Plus hosts ecommerce’s largest ecosystem of Merchant Success Managers, ecommerce Gurus, and award-winning Agency Partners.

Those are just a few of the reasons — along with a dedicated wholesale channel for B2B sales — our merchants are growing 126% year over year.

Reimagining B2B Online Stores

B2C online stores might get more attention. But they pale in comparison to the total transaction volume in B2B.

The best B2B online stores dominate their respective markets by …

  • Borrowing B2C best practices
  • Creating funnel-based content
  • Injecting full transparency
  • Making re-orders easy and natural

B2B ecommerce has already moved beyond B2B’s traditional roots.Have you?

By Aaron Orendorff, B2B Ecommerce


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