If you’re still questioning the importance of social media in your business marketing strategy, consider the following:

 

  • 90 percent of small businesses actively use social networking sites, and 78 percent gained at least a quarter of their new customers through online or social media channels in 20121
  • 73 percent of Fortune 500 companies had Twitter accounts in 2012, 11 percent more than in 2011, and 66 percent were on Facebook, an 8 percent raise2
  • 56 percent of US-based B2B marketers plan to boost their social media spending in 20133

 

Clearly, social media is playing an increasingly crucial role in B2B sales. And while a core component of honing an effective social approach4 involves pushing content to potential customers, pulling them to you matters just as much—and tools like sharing buttons and vanity URLs can help. With Ariba Discovery Release 10, you can take advantage of these handy features so buyers can easily find and share your Ariba Commerce Cloud profile.

 

What are sharing buttons and vanity URLs, and how can they benefit me?

You’ve doubtless used sharing buttons (also called sharing widgets, icons, and badges) plenty of times when surfing the web. These buttons show images and sometimes phrases that encourage people to take specific action, such as “liking” your company on Facebook, or simply offer quick access to your LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed, or other social media source.

 

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Sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

 

Sharing buttons also let you integrate social media with your other marketing efforts by enabling social sites to work as extensions of your own website, promotional campaigns, emails, and more. And because they make it easy for users to connect with you, sharing buttons help grow your customer base into a larger, more engaged network, increasing opportunities for collaboration and sales.

 

A vanity URL is a web address or URL that names or suggests the product, brand, or content to which it points, such as www.fredsfruit.com/local-organics/kiwis or www.techrepublic.com/whitepapers/seven-surefire-social-media-strategies. Instead of meaningless letters and numbers, vanity URLs contain relevant words or phrases that make them easy to read and remember. As a result, they tend to enhance trust and are more likely to be clicked during searches. Many vanity URLs also support automatic redirect functionality, sending users to the right site even if they don’t type the address perfectly. And because vanity URLs are visually pleasing and succinct, they’re also more shareable, not only online but also in offline materials (such as business cards and marketing collateral) and conversations (for example, you probably wouldn’t tell a colleague or prospect to visit www.discovery.ariba.com/102%343672/ffyZ#XY44771-abjlk0, but you might well suggest they check out www.discovery.ariba.com/profiles/AlwaysOnTechnology).

 

How do Ariba Discovery sharing buttons, vanity URLs, and profile badges work?

These new tools introduced in Release 10 boost your ability to market your Ariba credentials as part of your overall social media strategy:

  • Sharing buttons appear on your public profile to help customers and prospects socialize information about your company via email or Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, broadening your marketing reach.
  • A vanity URL makes it easier for buyers to remember, access, and share your profile information with colleagues. In addition, your public profile URL will now be available on your profile for instant sharing by copy/paste.
  • “Find Us on Ariba” profile badges are branded icons that offer a quick, immediately recognizable way to promote your Ariba presence by giving users one-click access to your Ariba Commerce Cloud profile.

You can also include profile badges and your vanity URL on your website, social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, email signatures, printed marketing materials, and similar places to drive more traffic to your profile page—significantly increasing visibility and sales opportunities for your business.

 

Why would I want to socialize my Ariba Commerce Cloud profile?

Think of it this way. Prospective customers view your Ariba Commerce Cloud profile because it contains valuable and unique information about your products, services, and capabilities—acting as a one-stop shop for all the relevant business data they need when deciding to do business with you.

 

What’s more, the fact that you’re already registered on Ariba can serve as a key selling factor, since it tells buying organizations you’re an e-savvy seller they can quickly start doing business with online. Interested buyers can easily add your profile to their supplier database, allowing you to bypass the expensive vetting process a non-Ariba seller would typically have to go through.

 

And as this article from Social Media Examiner points out, the potential customers you attract through social media—including Ariba customers—are typically at an earlier stage in the sales process, so you reach them before your competition. This expands your opportunity for conversion, giving you a bigger window in which to influence, engage, and converse with them in ways that can favorably influence their purchasing decisions.

 

How can I get started?

Release 10 includes extensive improvements to the profile pages, so start by reviewing your profile to familiarize yourself with the new look and feel and make sure your information is current and complete.

 

You can download the “Find Us on Ariba” profile badge by logging into your account, selecting the “Click here to get your Ariba badge” link on the right-hand side of any page in your company profile, and choosing the size, shape, and style you prefer. Then just copy/paste the HTML code for the badge(s) you want onto your website or other media.

 

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To set up your vanity URL, go to the “Basic” tab on your company profile page and select the customization option for your public profile URL. Then simply type in the words or phrases you want (up to 30 letters or numbers are allowed).

 

profilepage.png

 

You can also take advantage of this Quick Start Guide to Ariba Discovery Release 10 to obtain detailed step-by-step instructions on using these and other exciting new Discovery features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1Manta Small Business Owner Survey, August 2012.

2Social Media Surge by the 2012 Fortune 500: Increase Use of Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and More, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2012.

3B2B Magazine, 2013 Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans, January 2013.

4If you’re still in the early stages of developing your social media approach, these best-practice tips on using LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can help get your efforts off to a great start.

 

 

This article is part of the current issue of Ariba Supply Lines. Ariba Supply Lines is a quarterly newsletter that provides valuable tips, best practices, and the latest thinking to take your online business relationships with your buying customers to the next level.

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