Inside Influence: Ursula Ringham from SAP on Influencer Marketing Operations

Ursula Ringham SAP Interview

Ursula Ringham SAP Interview

Welcome to the 3rd episode of Inside Influence: What’s working and what’s not inside the world of B2B Influencer Marketing. Each week we feature an interview with a B2B marketing insider on all things influence and a deeper dive into the insights found in the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.

In this 3rd episode of Inside Influence you are in for a treat: A discussion with the force of nature and client of TopRank Marketing that is Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP.

Ursula leads the Global Influencer Marketing team at SAP in collaboration with the entire SAP product portfolio to create innovative content with trusted external voices to build brand awareness and create pipeline. She is also an accomplished storyteller, author, creator, influencer marketer, digital innovator, social media maven, champion of girls education, and self described “outdoor sports freak”.

Our Inside Influence conversation covered a variety of influencer marketing topics including:

  • The key components of influencer marketing operations
  • The importance and application of influencer marketing software
  • An influencer marketing case study featuring an SAP podcast
  • Advice for marketers that want the benefits of influencer engagement but are hesitant to commit
  • What B2B brands can expect if they hire an outside agency to help with influencer marketing
  • What B2B marketers should watch out for when working with influencers and influencer programs
  • Rising influencer stars in the B2B tech space

Here are a few highlights of our discussion with a video of our full interview below.

77% of all the world’s revenue transactions go through an SAP ERP system, so we’re probably the biggest company in the world that you use every day, but you don’t know anything about it.

Of course most people in the marketing world know you, but for those that don’t, can you share a bit about the work you do at SAP?

Ursula: Sure. I work at SAP and if people don’t know what that is, SAP is one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world. 77% of all the world’s revenue transactions go through an SAP ERP system, so we’re probably the biggest company in the world that you use every day, but you don’t know anything about it. What I do is I manage our global influencer marketing program where we collaborate with trusted voices that influence customer decisions. What we like to do is collaborate with them to tell the story of how SAP makes the world run better and improve people’s lives.

Your contribution to the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report on influencer marketing operations was really important because I think a lot of people don’t think about all the behind the scenes work that goes into an effective program. What are the key components of influencer marketing operations that marketers should know about? 

Ursula:The operations part of influencer marketing is so important. I think when you’re just starting with an influencer program, you’re just like, okay, where do I begin? You know there are people you need to research with a large social following, but that’s the wrong approach. You’d have to start with your strategy.

You also need some tools to help you. There are different influencer relationship management tools that you can use such as like Onalytica or Traackr which are more for the enterprise. These are also tools that are going to help you with tasks. For example, when we work with other teams at SAP, the very first thing we do is we have them fill out a form about the audience demographics, what success looks like, and the buyer persona.

The key thing is (Influencer Relationship Management) tools save you time and help you manage all your projects in one place.

We collect this information so we can find out who’s that person that you want to help tell the story with you? And that’s really, really important. When you use influencer relationship management tools, you can go in and plug all that data in. The tool will surf the whole web, bring everything back and populate a report for you showing matching influencers. Then you can look at who are these influencers? The key thing is the tools save you time and help you manage all your projects in one place.

Great. I suppose along with software, process comes into play and the whole operations thing too, right? As far as like best practices?

Ursula: Oh my gosh, there’s so many different best practices. But the one thing that I always tell my team is even if the tool brings up all these people, you need to read, watch and listen to every single asset that these influencers has come up with. That’s a best practice.

You really have to go and see what the influencer’s personality is like and how they present themselves.

You can’t just look and go, wow, this person meets the criteria on paper of what this team wanted. Maybe they wanted them to be located in North America and have a podcast. Or maybe they had 50,000 followers. But you really have to go and see what the influencer’s personality is like and how they present themselves.

Of course, now our world is all digital and about video. For that you have to see how they perform if you want them to be a host. The biggest practice is the process that I have: you have to watch, read and listen to everything out there.

The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report includes a case study featuring your work with SAP in the form of a podcast. Creating a single resource to serve as a platform for different internal customers and different external audiences is impressive. What role did influencers play in the Tech Unknown podcast?

Ursula: Absolutely. We created this podcast called Tech Unknown. We actually just finished our second season. For the first season, it was basically an influencer talking to other influencers, live.

When you look at influencer marketing, you have to think, what is the story you’re going to tell?

For the second season, we wanted to create something different. And so we took inspiration from This American Life, a great podcast. We have a host that tells a story, which is the most important thing. When you look at influencer marketing, you have to think, what is the story you’re going to tell? It’s not just like, let’s do this campaign. You have to think about what is the overall story?

The podcast is a series and what we did was to identify an influencer who would be our host. So decided that would be Tamra McClary. She’s a great thought leader and influencer. The reason we chose her is she’s energetic, her voice, and how she introduces things is great. The audience can relate to her.

For the second season she was the host and our focus was on the topic of data. We looked at all different lines of business and how data affects different businesses out there. Then we would bring in other influencers to give their perspective as like thought leaders on that topic. So if it’s talking about HR data, we bring in an HR expert. And then we might have a customer involved in it or an SAP executive who could talk about the customer.

The whole thing was around thought leadership and the influencers played a critical role because they validated the story. They are that third party validation about what SAP is talking about as a challenge in the industry. The hope is that people realize, “Oh, SAP has a solution to my challenges. Let me go check that out.” That’s why it was so important that the podcast included influencers.

And I’ll have to tell you one thing that is absolutely incredible. We would create a summary blog post about the podcast that we publish on one of our website properties. The gal who manages this thought leadership area of sap.com knows SEO really well. If you typed into Google, “future of data”, out of 1.5 billion search results, our blog post came up number one. It’s a combination of working with the influencer who has the social media presence on the topic. Also, Tamera the host is out there and she’s promoting this blog summary that she wrote. She’s promoting the series and we’re getting the word out there using the right keywords and it all comes into play. It’s all full circle, right?

It’s a podcast, it’s a blog, it’s the influencers. It’s all working together to create this awareness that people are going to pay attention to and realize that SAP has a solution to their business needs.

So who are some B2B tech influencers that really stand out today? And are there any re rising stars you would like to mention also?

Ursula: Oh my gosh, there are several. One of the first people that comes to mind is Sally Eaves.

She’s someone that she’s been on the scene for quite some time, but the thing is, Sally is first of all, Sally. I don’t know where she gets that energy. She is 24/7 go, go, go. She’s doing so many things. She has a background being a CTO, but then she has a side of her that is about education, children and the environment and how technology is influencing society. She’s kind of like the whole package and she’s really good and knowledgeable and very charismatic. We’d love to do some work with her because she’s fantastic. She also has a British accent, which makes that fun for us Americans. She’s one of the top ones that I would recommend. I love following her stories, so definitely check her out.

To see the full Inside Influence interview with Ursula, check out the video below:

To connect with Ursula on all things marketing and influence, you can find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

B2B Influencer Marketing Unleashed
Don’t miss Ursula and I as we present at the virtual Content Marketing World conference this week: Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands. This is my 10th year in a row speaking at CMWorld and this presentation highlights the best of the best when it comes to information about B2B influencer marketing including:

  • Key trends based on the latest B2B influencer marketing research study
  • Use cases and case studies from Monday.com, Cherwell Software, LinkedIn, Adobe, Alcatel Lucent Enterprise and of course, SAP.
  • A framework for enterprise B2B influencer content campaigns

While the CMWorld conference is happening virtually this week, you can get access to presentations on demand as well. Check out the website.

Next up on Inside Influence is a conversation with Janine Wegner, Global Thought Leadership Program and Activation Manager at Dell Technologies.

Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence interviews:

Rani Mani, AdobeThe Value of B2B Influencer Marketing

Garnor Morantes, LinkedInThe Power of Always-On Influence

The post Inside Influence: Ursula Ringham from SAP on Influencer Marketing Operations appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Inside Influence: Ursula Ringham from SAP on Influencer Marketing Operations

Ursula Ringham SAP Interview

Welcome to the 3rd episode of Inside Influence: What’s working and what’s not inside the world of B2B Influencer Marketing. Each week we feature an interview with a B2B marketing insider on all things influence and a deeper dive into the insights found in the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.

In this 3rd episode of Inside Influence you are in for a treat: A discussion with the force of nature and client of TopRank Marketing that is Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP.

Ursula leads the Global Influencer Marketing team at SAP in collaboration with the entire SAP product portfolio to create innovative content with trusted external voices to build brand awareness and create pipeline. She is also an accomplished storyteller, author, creator, influencer marketer, digital innovator, social media maven, champion of girls education, and self described “outdoor sports freak”.

Our Inside Influence conversation covered a variety of influencer marketing topics including:

  • The key components of influencer marketing operations
  • The importance and application of influencer marketing software
  • An influencer marketing case study featuring an SAP podcast
  • Advice for marketers that want the benefits of influencer engagement but are hesitant to commit
  • What B2B brands can expect if they hire an outside agency to help with influencer marketing
  • What B2B marketers should watch out for when working with influencers and influencer programs
  • Rising influencer stars in the B2B tech space

Here are a few highlights of our discussion with a video of our full interview below.

77% of all the world’s revenue transactions go through an SAP ERP system, so we’re probably the biggest company in the world that you use every day, but you don’t know anything about it.

Of course most people in the marketing world know you, but for those that don’t, can you share a bit about the work you do at SAP?

Ursula: Sure. I work at SAP and if people don’t know what that is, SAP is one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world. 77% of all the world’s revenue transactions go through an SAP ERP system, so we’re probably the biggest company in the world that you use every day, but you don’t know anything about it. What I do is I manage our global influencer marketing program where we collaborate with trusted voices that influence customer decisions. What we like to do is collaborate with them to tell the story of how SAP makes the world run better and improve people’s lives.

Your contribution to the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report on influencer marketing operations was really important because I think a lot of people don’t think about all the behind the scenes work that goes into an effective program. What are the key components of influencer marketing operations that marketers should know about? 

Ursula:The operations part of influencer marketing is so important. I think when you’re just starting with an influencer program, you’re just like, okay, where do I begin? You know there are people you need to research with a large social following, but that’s the wrong approach. You’d have to start with your strategy.

You also need some tools to help you. There are different influencer relationship management tools that you can use such as like Onalytica or Traackr which are more for the enterprise. These are also tools that are going to help you with tasks. For example, when we work with other teams at SAP, the very first thing we do is we have them fill out a form about the audience demographics, what success looks like, and the buyer persona.

The key thing is (Influencer Relationship Management) tools save you time and help you manage all your projects in one place.

We collect this information so we can find out who’s that person that you want to help tell the story with you? And that’s really, really important. When you use influencer relationship management tools, you can go in and plug all that data in. The tool will surf the whole web, bring everything back and populate a report for you showing matching influencers. Then you can look at who are these influencers? The key thing is the tools save you time and help you manage all your projects in one place.

Great. I suppose along with software, process comes into play and the whole operations thing too, right? As far as like best practices?

Ursula: Oh my gosh, there’s so many different best practices. But the one thing that I always tell my team is even if the tool brings up all these people, you need to read, watch and listen to every single asset that these influencers has come up with. That’s a best practice.

You really have to go and see what the influencer’s personality is like and how they present themselves.

You can’t just look and go, wow, this person meets the criteria on paper of what this team wanted. Maybe they wanted them to be located in North America and have a podcast. Or maybe they had 50,000 followers. But you really have to go and see what the influencer’s personality is like and how they present themselves.

Of course, now our world is all digital and about video. For that you have to see how they perform if you want them to be a host. The biggest practice is the process that I have: you have to watch, read and listen to everything out there.

The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report includes a case study featuring your work with SAP in the form of a podcast. Creating a single resource to serve as a platform for different internal customers and different external audiences is impressive. What role did influencers play in the Tech Unknown podcast?

Ursula: Absolutely. We created this podcast called Tech Unknown. We actually just finished our second season. For the first season, it was basically an influencer talking to other influencers, live.

When you look at influencer marketing, you have to think, what is the story you’re going to tell?

For the second season, we wanted to create something different. And so we took inspiration from This American Life, a great podcast. We have a host that tells a story, which is the most important thing. When you look at influencer marketing, you have to think, what is the story you’re going to tell? It’s not just like, let’s do this campaign. You have to think about what is the overall story?

The podcast is a series and what we did was to identify an influencer who would be our host. So decided that would be Tamra McClary. She’s a great thought leader and influencer. The reason we chose her is she’s energetic, her voice, and how she introduces things is great. The audience can relate to her.

For the second season she was the host and our focus was on the topic of data. We looked at all different lines of business and how data affects different businesses out there. Then we would bring in other influencers to give their perspective as like thought leaders on that topic. So if it’s talking about HR data, we bring in an HR expert. And then we might have a customer involved in it or an SAP executive who could talk about the customer.

The whole thing was around thought leadership and the influencers played a critical role because they validated the story. They are that third party validation about what SAP is talking about as a challenge in the industry. The hope is that people realize, “Oh, SAP has a solution to my challenges. Let me go check that out.” That’s why it was so important that the podcast included influencers.

And I’ll have to tell you one thing that is absolutely incredible. We would create a summary blog post about the podcast that we publish on one of our website properties. The gal who manages this thought leadership area of sap.com knows SEO really well. If you typed into Google, “future of data”, out of 1.5 billion search results, our blog post came up number one. It’s a combination of working with the influencer who has the social media presence on the topic. Also, Tamera the host is out there and she’s promoting this blog summary that she wrote. She’s promoting the series and we’re getting the word out there using the right keywords and it all comes into play. It’s all full circle, right?

It’s a podcast, it’s a blog, it’s the influencers. It’s all working together to create this awareness that people are going to pay attention to and realize that SAP has a solution to their business needs.

So who are some B2B tech influencers that really stand out today? And are there any re rising stars you would like to mention also?

Ursula: Oh my gosh, there are several. One of the first people that comes to mind is Sally Eaves.

She’s someone that she’s been on the scene for quite some time, but the thing is, Sally is first of all, Sally. I don’t know where she gets that energy. She is 24/7 go, go, go. She’s doing so many things. She has a background being a CTO, but then she has a side of her that is about education, children and the environment and how technology is influencing society. She’s kind of like the whole package and she’s really good and knowledgeable and very charismatic. We’d love to do some work with her because she’s fantastic. She also has a British accent, which makes that fun for us Americans. She’s one of the top ones that I would recommend. I love following her stories, so definitely check her out.

To see the full Inside Influence interview with Ursula, check out the video below:

To connect with Ursula on all things marketing and influence, you can find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

B2B Influencer Marketing Unleashed
Don’t miss Ursula and I as we present at the virtual Content Marketing World conference this week: Influencer Marketing Unleashed: Top Tactics for Success from Global B2B Brands. This is my 10th year in a row speaking at CMWorld and this presentation highlights the best of the best when it comes to information about B2B influencer marketing including:

  • Key trends based on the latest B2B influencer marketing research study
  • Use cases and case studies from Monday.com, Cherwell Software, LinkedIn, Adobe, Alcatel Lucent Enterprise and of course, SAP.
  • A framework for enterprise B2B influencer content campaigns

While the CMWorld conference is happening virtually this week, you can get access to presentations on demand as well. Check out the website.

Next up on Inside Influence is a conversation with Janine Wegner, Global Thought Leadership Program and Activation Manager at Dell Technologies.

Be sure to check out our previous Inside Influence interviews:

Rani Mani, AdobeThe Value of B2B Influencer Marketing

Garnor Morantes, LinkedInThe Power of Always-On Influence

How to Create a Useful and Well-Optimized FAQ Page

The golden rule of marketing has always been: Don’t leave your customer wondering, or you’ll lose them. This rule also applies very well to SEO: Unless Google can find an answer — and quickly — they’ll pick and feature your competitor.

One way to make sure that doesn’t happen is having a well set-up, well-optimized FAQ page. Your FAQ is the key to providing your customers and search engines with all the answers they might need about your brand.

Why create an FAQ page?

  • Decrease your customer support team’s workload. If you do it right, your FAQ page will be the first point of contact for your potential customers — before they need to contact you directly.
  • Shorten your customers’ buying journeys. If your site users can find all the answers without having to hear back from your team, they’ll buy right away.
  • Build trust signals. Covering your return policies, shipping processes, and being transparent with your site users will encourage them to put more trust into your brand. As always, if your site users trust your brand, so will Google.
  • Create a more effective sales funnel by including your business’s competitive advantages: What makes you better than your competitors?
  • Improve your site internal linking (meaningfully).
  • Capture more search visibility opportunities.

Feeling convinced? Then let’s move on from whys to hows.

Where to find questions to answer

I did a very detailed article on question research for Moz. It lists all kinds of tools — including SEO-driven (based on which question people type in Google’s search box) and People-Also-Ask-based (questions showing up in Google’s People Also Ask boxes) — that collect questions from online discussion boards, as well as tools that monitor Twitter and Reddit questions.

In addition, your customer support team is your most important resource. You need to know exactly what your customers are asking when they contact your company, and then use all the other sources to optimize those questions for organic rankings and expand your list where necessary.

Answers should be CCF (clear, concise, and factual)

(I have just made up this abbreviation, but it does a good job getting my point across.)

A good rule of thumb is to write short answers to each question — two to three paragraphs would make a good answer. If you go longer, the page will be too long and cluttered.

If you have more to say:

  • Write a standalone article explaining the process
  • Add a video

Creating a video to answer most of those questions is almost always a good idea. Videos make good promotional assets allowing your brand to be discovered on Youtube, as well as through Google’s video carousels.

And if video marketing seems too intimidating to you, there are quite a few tools that allow you to create videos on a budget without investing in expensive software (and training) or external services. I list some of those tools here.

Another video creation tool I discovered recently is called Renderforest. It offers some powerful explainer video templates that are perfect for answering questions.

Other ways to make answers shorter are:

  • Add intructural GIFs (I listed a few GIF creation tools here).
  • Create downloadable flowcharts and checklists (there are lots of online tools to put those together).

Overall, visuals have long been proven to improve engagement and make things easier to understand and remember, so why not use them on your FAQ page?

FAQ schema — use it!

Google loves featuring clear answers (which is also why creating a solid FAQ page is such a good idea). In fact, Google loves answers so much that there’s a separate schema type specifically for this content format: FAQPage schema.

By all means, use it. For WordPress users, there’s a WordPress plugin that helps markup content with FAQ schema.

It makes your FAQ page easier to understand for Google, and it helps your page stand out in search:

Quick tip: If you include an internal link inside your answer, it will populate in search results, too. More links in organic SERPs!

Internal linking: Use your FAQ as a sitemap

More links from your organic listing in search isn’t the only reason to link from your FAQ page. Your FAQ page is part of the customer journey, where each answer is an important step down the sales funnel. This is why adding internal links is key to ensuring that customer journey is continued.

But don’t think about these links from an SEO standpoint only. It’s not as important to create keyword-optimized link text here (although it’s still not a terrible idea — when it makes sense). The more important factor to think about here is user intent.

What is your site user likely to do next when they’re searching for a particular question?

If they have a question about your shipping costs, they’re probably close to buying, but need to know more about the final price. This is where you can brag about your awesome shipping partners and link straight to the product page (or list), as well as to the cart for them to complete the payment.

If they are asking how long shipping usually takes, they’re likely to be your current customer, so linking to your shipping info page would be more helpful.

Monitoring your FAQ page and user paths through it will give you more ideas on how to set up each answer better. More on this below.

If you need some inspiration on proper in-FAQ linking, check out Shopify, which does a pretty awesome job on matching various user intents via internal linking:

Structure is everything

There are web users who search and then there are those who browse.

Your FAQ page should accommodate both.

This means:

  • There should be search field suggestions to guide the user through the site effectively.
  • There should be clear categories (as subheads) for the page visitors to browse through and get a good idea of what your site does at a glance. This will help people who are still at the research phase make a buying decision faster.

PayPal accomplishes both of these in a very nice way:

To determine the best structure for the FAQ page, try Text Optimizer, which uses semantic analysis to come up with related questions. It makes catching some common keyword and question patterns easier:

When you have your FAQ content structure set up, create anchor links to allow users to quickly jump to the section they feel like browsing more. To see this on-page navigation in action, head to the Adobe FAQ page:

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to set up this kind of navigation.

Making your FAQ page work: integrate, analyze, monitor

A well set-up FAQ page addresses multiple types of user intent and helps at various steps in a sales funnel. This makes monitoring the page closely a very essential task.

Here are a few ways to accomplish it:

1. Monitor in-FAQ search

If your site runs on WordPress, there’s a variety of FAQ plugins (including this one) that come with advanced search functionality. The feature reports on:

  • Most popular searches, showing which product features or site sections cause the most confusion (these may signal some usability issues).
  • Empty searches, showing which users’ questions triggered no answers in your FAQ (these should go straight to your content team).

If you’re going with a no-plugin, custom solution, make sure to use Google Analytics to set up your in-FAQ search, which will allow you to monitor your site users’ searching patterns.

2. Track user paths through your FAQ page

Which pages (or off-site channels) tend to bring people to your FAQ page, and where do they usually go from there? These paths are important in understanding the role of the FAQ page in your sales funnel.

To track any page effectiveness in sending conversions, I tend to use Finteza, which allows you to create an unlimited number (unless I haven’t hit the limit yet) of sales funnels to monitor and compare different user paths through your site:

3. Monitor “People Also Ask” rankings

You’re most likely going to monitor this page traffic and its rankings anyway, but there’s one more thing to add here: “People Also Ask” positions.

As this page focuses on covering customers’ questions, Google’s “People Also Ask” positions are pretty indicative as to whether or not you’re doing a good job. SE Ranking is the only tool I’m aware of that can help you with that. It keeps track of most of Google’s search elements and reports your progress:

If you do things right, you’re likely to see your PPA positions growing.

4. Monitor customer feedback

Finally, collecting user feedback on every answer in your FAQ will help you create more helpful answers. Again, most pre-build FAQ solutions come with this option, but there are standalone plugins for it as well (like this one).

FAQ FAQs

There are a few common questions about building an FAQ page that keep floating the web (as well as Moz’s community forums). Let’s quickly address them here:

Is an FAQ section still a good idea?

Yes, by all means, but only if you take it seriously.

Should I employ “collapsible” answers to save space?

I don’t have any issues with this set-up (many brands choose to go this way), but SEOs believe that content hidden behind tabs or clicks holds less value than immediately-visible content.

Can I re-use select answers on other pages where these questions-and-answers make sense? Is this duplicate content?

It isn’t a “problematic” duplicate content issue (meaning Google will not penalize for that), but the best way to avoid duplicate content is to write new (original) answers for each page.

Should it be one page, or is it better to set up a multi-page knowledge base?

Depending on how much you have to say, either way is good.

Takeaways

  • Your FAQ page is an important step in the buying journey and a good organic search asset that can both bring and convert traffic.
  • To find answers to cover on your FAQ page, read our niche question research guide.
  • Create concise, factual answers that will provide immediate help or guidelines. Videos and animated GIFs always make the FAQ section more helpful.
  • Link from your FAQ page to accommodate different user intents and help your site users continue their journey through the site.
  • Structure your FAQ page in a meaningful way to give site users some clues as to what is covered.
  • Monitor your site user journeys through your FAQ page closely to improve and expand it.

Have more tips for optimizing your FAQ? Let me know in the comments section.