Use Wufoo integrations and get your data to your favorite apps.

Category: free

There are 2 posts published under free.

Using Social Media in the Business to Business World

 As a B2B company looking to grow and increase your overall profit, the number one goal has got to be to communicate your product or service in a way that demonstrates its value effectively to the target market.

Other companies have to know that your product exists, and see how your product can further enhance the profits of their product. This is how your company lands sales. The math is simple: the wider you can cast your advertisement net, the more costumers you will catch.


According to Hutt and Spen (2004 Business Marketing Management: A Strategic View of Industrial and Organizational Markets, 8th Edition, Thomson/South-Western), most B2B marketers commit only a small part of their promotional budgets to advertising, and that is usually through direct mail or trade journals. What if there was a way for you to increase your marketing without taking another penny from the budget? Two words:  Social. Media.


There are 6 branches of social media that are used successfully in B2B Marketing.
(And the good news is, they’re all free!)


  1. Social Networks - Services that allow you to connect with other people of similar interests and background. Facebook and LinkedIn fall into this category.
  2. Bookmarking Sites - Services that allow you to save, organize and manage links to various websites and resources around the internet. Delicious  and Stumbleupon  fall into this category.
  3. Social News - Services that allow people to post various news items or links to outside articles and then allows its users to “vote” on the items. Digg and Reddit fall into this category.
  4. Media Sharing - Services that allow you to upload and share various media such as pictures and video. Youtube and Flickr fall into this category. Another great option is Slideshare, which could be used to share sales presentations, etc. Instagram and Behance also allow images to be shared.
  5. Microblogging - Services that focus on short updates that are pushed out to anyone subscribed to receive the updates. Think Twitter. 
  6. Blog Comments and Forums - Online forums allow members to hold conversations by posting messages. There are lots of these to explore.


Spend a little time perusing these various sites and see which ones fit your company. It’s all about reaching companies through various avenues, so don’t be afraid to branch out beyond Facebook and Twitter. Your online social media presence should mirror your company. In the same way that you strive to diversify your business, diversify your online presence.


At the same time, remember not to stretch yourself too thin. It’s usually best to choose 2 or 3 social media vehicles and throw all your effort at them. Other businesses will learn where to find you and you’ll more easily be able to tell who’s seeking you out for valuable industry information.


As a B2B brand you’ll have to spend time cultivating your social media “voice.” A few good rules to live by include never bombarding followers with sales and promotions and always having a target market in mind before you post/Tweet, etc. As a business marketer you need to speak directly to other businesses in a language they can understand…providing valuable business insights is the greatest commodity you can offer online.


So, what’s your B2B social strategy? Every company’s is different but communication with the client base should always be the foundation.


Searching for and Finding Current News

Free online news is everywhere. Headlines are even available on a mobile phone. Tasty apps like Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite deliver a stream of frequently updated stories. CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and USA Today provide one-click access to Miley Cyrus’ latest PR stunt to all, regardless of interest. Most of these services offer information without requiring the user to register or pay for access.

Microsoft has been struggling to generate as much Web traffic as Google. In September 2013, Microsoft changed the logo for the Bing News Service and revamped the site’s approach to content. ran a story with a headline which gave me a bit of a shock: “Microsoft Downgrades MSN News Service.” With Microsoft’s increased emphasis on Bing, it makes little sense to offer a competing news service via the MSN portal. The TechEYE report explains that Microsoft MSN News drew 100 million visitors a month. My interpretation of the TechEYE analysis is that MSN News is likely to remain on a downward trajectory. At the same time, Bing News will be enhanced with what eWeek called “a more modern, responsive user interface that retains its focus on photos and imagery.” In-depth news at Microsoft seems to be out of step with users who want nuggets, pictures, and videos for smartphones and tablets.


Google and Yahoo news services provide headlines. Some stories lead to lists of articles from other current news sources and to video content. With Web traffic mirroring the 1% versus the 99% set up of the US economy, most of those looking for news will rely on large services like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.


However, in the 99% of news sites, there are some quite useful sources for information. Very useful services are available to a business person wanting information from sources other than the Associated PressBloombergBusinessweekReuters, and major US newspapers.


Let me highlight a handful of the services which make it possible to get a broader perspective on a news story. For content not available in English, I suggest you use Google Translate to convert Farsi, German, or Russian into a language you know. For now, Google Translate is available without charge, but that could change, of course.


Newsnow. This is a UK based service which offers a free and a commercial version of its service. Navigate to With a single click you can select a stream of stories in English from the US, UK, and other countries’ English-language news content. A search box makes it possible to search a 30 day back file of content. When you click on a story to read, Newsnow redirects you to the source’s Web site. Sometimes a story will not be available. In that case, you can navigate to the source directly and search for the story on the Web site’s server. One of the most useful features of Newsnow is that it makes it explicit when a story was available on the service. As new stories arrive, older stories are pushed down in the result list. The free service is ad supported and works like a live demonstration of some of the features of the for-service offered to commercial customers. My research team rates the service at four out of five stars.


Another useful service is World News. Navigate to You will see a splash page which shows the major stories of the moment. The service is extremely useful because a query returns results which date back to 2001. In order to access the back file, you will have to click past the video news story and narrow the query to the “News” category in the left-hand sidebar. Once the page refreshes, you will see a date ordered list of headlines, the source, and a snippet from the news story. Unlike HNGN, World News includes content in French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Non-English news is available from Google, but you have to run your query in the language of the Google index you want to access; for example, and use French or and use German. World News lets you do your research from a single Web site. My research team rates the service at four out of five stars.


TheBigProject is one of those 1995-style sites which are largely overlooked by today’s online user. Point your browser at You will see a very large, single page with hundreds of hot links to news services. Of particular value is the list of European news sources in English. In addition, there are links to global news sources in a wide range of languages. Google Translate can make an unfamiliar language understandable, but the translation is not letter perfect. The interface is dated. The upside of TheBigProject is that like HNGN, the Google Custom Search system generates results. My research team rated this service at four out of five stars.


Silobreaker is a for-fee service. A trial subscription is available. The system provides access to a wide range of news from Web logs, commercial services, and government entities. The Silobreaker search returns results which are quite useful. First, the system processes content in the major languages and includes an on-the-fly translation function. If you get a news story in Farsi, a mouse click renders the story in English. Second, Silobreaker includes a relationship map showing the connections of individuals named in news stories to companies and one another. Third, if you search for a person, Silobreaker displays a map that pinpoints the last known location of the individual. My research team rated this system five out of five stars.


When does a business person shift from mainstream news services (AOL, Bing, Google, etc.) and use a less well known service? There are no hard-and-fast rules that apply to every business person looking for information. My team and I identified some broad guidelines which you can consider in terms of your own information needs.


First, if you are looking for mainstream coverage of well known companies and people, the Google-style services will do the job. However, if you are looking for people or companies outside the US, you will want to tap services which include non-US content.


Second, if you want to verify a fact, you will need to use a service which has a back file. World News is useful for this purpose. If you do not find what you need, you will want to consider signing up for a commercial service like Silobreaker, LexisNexis, or one of the other professional information systems. Free works reasonably well, but for some information, commercial services save a researcher time.


Third, if you need information about the context in which a company or person works, you will want to tap into a business intelligence centric system. Silobreaker has already been mentioned. You may want to explore, developed by a former Israeli armed forces officer.


An important point to keep in mind is that a large amount of information is generated everyday. News services can only process of fraction of the available content. Some news services aggressively filter stories which contain certain words or phrases. US news services may not cover stories which are important outside the US but of little interest to the average American online user. Despite challenges, it is possible to find a news service that will more or less meet your information needs by using the information above.

by Stephen E Arnold at