How to Leverage Social Media to Amplify Your B2B User Reviews

Why is it important to share user reviews on social media? What can existing and potential customers gain from reading peer reviews about your product on channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn?

Social Media and User Reviews: A B2B Marketing Power Couple

Forbes CMO Network contributor, Steve Olenski, hits the nail on the head with his answer for this very question: “It’s a fact. Your prospects are making up their minds about what to buy by reading social media content. Make use of this behavior. Integrate real reviews and ratings into your social media feeds to increase customer engagement and get more sales.”

Jeff Bullas adds another layer of brand value that social media can enable when used to distribute your user reviews:

“Sharing real-time experience of your buyers on your website, blogs, social media accounts, etc. will show how you deliver on your brand promise in the real world. Plus, your chance of drawing in more traffic to your site increases when customers write good reviews about your brand on social media platforms.”

Users would rather hear authentic feedback and read reviews written by real users, who have tried and tested the product themselves.

But how can you make sure that your user reviews are seen on social media, and that you’re tapping into your optimal target audience?

In this post, we share:

  1. Examples of vendors who have mastered the technique of sharing their products’ user reviews on social media channels.
  2. A Step-by-Step guide for how B2B tech marketers can expand the reach of their user reviews to a growing audience, all through social media.

Sharing your user reviews over Twitter

As of May 2017, Twitter’s social network boasts 313M active users on a monthly basis. A lucrative social engagement platform, Twitter allows us to generate more traffic to user reviews, so that as many tech professionals as possible can consume our valuable, peer-reviewed content.

user reviews

Viki Paige, a Senior Principal Product Marketing Manager at CA Technologies, tweeted this infographic that shows how CA Technologies Solutions rank as the #1 solution in various IT Central Station categories, such as APM, Network Management Applications, Network Troubleshooting, and others.

Viki’s tweet generated 91 Retweets and 18 Likes, engaging users in their peer-review content.

Sharing your user reviews over Facebook

With 1.13 billion daily active users, Facebook’s social network generates 36% of all social media-referred traffic to B2B websites.  

When Nagios shares review content that emphasizes their software’s ranking as the #1 network monitoring tool on IT Central Station, by means of a ‘thank-you post’ on their company Facebook page — they amplify their role as the industry leader for network monitoring.

nagios reviews

Sharing your user reviews over LinkedIn

When BMC Software’s Senior Technical Marketing Consultant for TrueSight ITOps, Patrick T Campbell, shared an insightful user review written by an IT Central Station user, it generated 13 likes, a significant amount of engagement for an enterprise technology company posting on LinkedIn.

bmc reviews

So how can B2B tech marketers leverage networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to generate traffic to their user reviews?


Step-by-Step Guide: How to Leverage Social Media to Amplify B2B Reviews

1. Share your User Reviews on Twitter

Example:

b2b reviews

  • Tweet valuable, engaging quotes from your user reviews.
  • When you can, add an engaging image to your tweet that’s relevant to the content. Users are much more likely to click when you’ve caught their eye.
  • Always add the relevant hashtags associated with the topic or industry of your product:

Hashtags that are relevant to your target audience will introduce you to online audiences that may never have met you before.

  • Check the rankings for every hashtag you want to use. These scores can be found on sites such as hashtagify.me or semrush.com:

b2b reviews

  • If your user review’s author has a Twitter account, mention their handle in the tweet!
2. Post user reviews on Facebook

Example:

it infrastructure monitoring reviews

 

  • When linking to your review content on Facebook, think of a catchy phrase that will encourage users to click.

Facebook users are more inclined to click on posts that ask questions they want answers for. Some ideas:

Some ideas:

  • “What do users really think?” about your solution?
  • “Who was ranked as a top solution?
  • “This user chose Solution X over Solution Y. Find out why in their review.”

Once you’ve identified the geographical location(s) of your target audience, schedule your posts according to their time zones.

If you can catch commuters on their morning train ride while they’re browsing their news feed, you’re much more likely to find engaged readers.

3. Distribute Review Content on LinkedIn

Example:

b2b reviews

  • Use industry-related terminology in your LinkedIn posts, that show users that your content discusses topics and questions they want to read about.
  • Search for (and join) LinkedIn groups where your target audience is most likely to be found. If you’re publishing user reviews that will interest storage professionals, for example, join active LinkedIn groups that are built for these users, such as:

b2b reviews

Interested in learning more about how IT Central Station can help you collect quality user reviews?Contact us here

 

How I Use IT Central Station to Provide Virtualization and Public Cloud Insight to My Customers

This user story is based on an interview with IT Central Station member, Roger Nurse, who benefitted from our real user feedback and product reviews in both the virtualization and public cloud categories.

Roger Nurse is a VMware SRM NSX SDDC Consulting Engineer – Trainer at Plan IT Virtual, LLC, a firm specializing in delivering VMware Consulting and Training services to mid-level and large Fortune 1000 companies.

“Our solutions of expertise”, explains Roger, are with ‘VMware SRM‘ and ‘VMware NSX‘.

“Which Pain Points Were You Looking to Solve by Reading User Reviews?”

Roger shares an instance where he used IT Central Station to address a specific pain point:

“Implementing VMware NSX to better recover VM workloads in VMware SRM with little or no manual IP changes.”

“Which Questions Were you Looking to Answer by Reading Virtualization Software Reviews?”

Roger sought review content that answered questions such as:

“How does the solution better secure a customer’s VM workloads?”

“How did you convince customers to adopt the solution based on existing network security configuration?”  

“How does licensing cost compare vs competitor product for same VM workload count?”

“What Value Have You Found In Using IT Central Station?”

“IT Central has been a value in helping us better understand how other engineers are using these solutions and how they are deploying/configuring them to meet customer business requirements.”  

“IT Central also helps us assist our customers in making better purchasing decisions when it comes to Virtualization (VMware, Microsoft)/Public Cloud software (AWS, Azure, Openstack).”

About Roger:

Roger has been a member of IT Central Station since 2014, where he has published:

Product Reviews and Questions

VMware NSX, Version 6.2 (April 2017)

VMware ThinApp, Version 7 (February 2016)

VMware SRM, Version 5.8 (October 2015)

“Cisco UCS or HP hardware for VMware SRM?” — December 2, 2016

Projects

SRM DR Testing for Fortune 100 Customer

Assisted Top Firm in Virtualizing Siebel Web App

Roger is ranked the #1 expert in three different product leaderboards:

Product Leaderboards

VMware SRM

VMware NSX

VMware ThinApp

Roger is featured in three different category leaderboards:

Category Leaderboards:

#2 in Network Virtualization

#4 in Application Virtualization

#5 in Disaster Recovery Software

 

Read our full collection of network virtualization reviews, written by real users at IT Central Station.

How CA Technologies Leveraged IT Central Station to Increase Brand Awareness and Generate High Quality Leads

Why Peer Reviews Matter To CA Technologies

CA Technologies, formerly known as Computer Associates International, Inc. and CA, Inc., is an American multinational publicly held corporation headquartered in New York City. It ranks as one of the largest independent software corporations in the world. The company creates systems software (and previously applications software) that runs in mainframe, distributed computing, virtual machine and cloud computing environments.

B2B Reviews in Enterprise Tech Marketing Strategies

CA Technologies sought to solidify the role of B2B reviews into their marketing strategies, recognizing the importance of peer recommendations in driving product awareness, consideration, and user conversion.

They chose to engage with the enterprise technology community of IT Central Station, a crowdsourced social platform where users write in-depth product reviews and discuss technology solutions they use.

Why IT Central Station?

CA Technologies started working with IT Central Station in order to drive their potential buyers to the authentic, valuable feedback given by peers in the tech community.

IT Central Station is the leading review site for enterprise technology buyers. All reviews are in-depth and include both valuable features and room for improvement. All IT Central Station reviews are triple validated to ensure authenticity.

Within days, CA Technologies found that buyers were leveraging IT Central Station in their decision-making.

CA Technologies on IT Central Station

Currently, CA Technologies has 91 solutions listed on IT Central Station, with a total of 1,066 CA Technologies product reviews. These reviews have been viewed over 150,000 times this year, impacting thousands of buyers on their user journey.

In-depth Product Reviews

b2b reviews

CA Technologies product reviews entail user input such as ‘How Has this CA Technologies Solution Improved Your Organization?’ and ‘Where Do you Suggest Room for Improvement in this CA Technologies Solution?

Comprehensive Video Reviews

IT Central Station attended CA World in both 2015 and 2016 to collect quality user reviews in video-interview format:

CA Technologies

CA Product Rankings

In IT Central Station’s category rankings, which are compiled based on number of views, comparisons, number of reviews, and product scores based on user feedback, CA Technologies solutions rank as the #1 solution in the following categories:

API Management

Mainframe Management

Mainframe Security

Mainframe Application Development

Event Monitoring

Test Data Management

Release Automation

Workload Automation

Service Virtualization

Project Portfolio Management

Network Troubleshooting

Network Management Applications

Infrastructure Capacity Planning

License Management

“IT Central Station is an extension of our marketing efforts.”

This statement was made by Cameron Von Orman, SVP Product Marketing at CA Technologies.

Von Orman elaborates on how CA Technologies leveraged IT Central Station to “confirm the capability of our products in the Enterprise IT market” —

“The IT Central Station peer review platform creates a no-pressure environment for our customers to provide honest feedback that their peers in the technology industry are much more inclined to trust. Peer reviews are an increasingly valuable part of a buyer’s journey.

CA is now well represented on a neutral and unbiased channel where the capabilities and quality of our solutions are demonstrated through the reviews of our users, who are solving real, complex business challenges.

The reviews and competitive comparison reports have not only helped us confirm the capability of our products in the Enterprise IT market, but have also helped with our lead generation, making these services an extension of our marketing efforts.

We look forward to continuing our partnership with IT Central Station, and utilizing the range of complementary services that they have to offer.”

Interested in learning more about IT Central Station?

Click here for more information about how we can help your marketing efforts in 2017.

How to Get your Users to Write Awesome Reviews For You

Why Do You Need B2B User Reviews?

As the leading review platform for B2B enterprise technology reviews, we understand the importance of user reviews in the B2B space. Not only our own research, but research by the industry’s leading technology analysts asserts the importance of user generated content.

According to Forrester research, 74% of B2B buyers are doing more than 50% of their purchasing research online. A recent study by Gartner also revealed that 68% of a customer’s buying time is spent away from the actual vendor.

According to the Salesforce blog, “word-of-mouth recommendations from peers influence over 90% of all B2B buying decisions.”

But do buyers really trust peer content they read online? The numbers speak for themselves: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

Peer Reviews and the Buyer’s Journey

Are peer reviews only useful for top-of-the-funnel marketing, or can they play a part in other marketing strategies further down in the buyer’s journey? As you can see below, according to research by RO:Innovation, customer reviews play a huge part in influencing buyers through every stage of their journey.

b2b user reviewssource:roinnovation.com

How can software vendors rise to the challenge of providing potential buyers with B2B reviews that not only answer their questions of “Is this software right for my company needs?”, but also answer questions such as, “Why is this solution the best option among its competitors?”

How can you collect user reviews that help your prospects at every stage of their journey?

How To Collect Real User Reviews
Collecting real reviews for potential buyers can present some challenges. Not all users are willing to write a review, and dealing with internal compliance regulations can make the process difficult.

One of the big advantages of external review sites is that users can review your solutions without having to comply with company policy. This means that it is both easier to find users who are willing to share details of their experience, and also that users can be more honest and open than if they were providing a corporate case study.

What Potential Buyers Want to Know

Another challenge, once you’ve found users willing to give reviews, is knowing which questions potential buyers want answers for.

For example: Are readers most interested in your pricing model? Do they expect full disclosure of your technical support offering? Are scalability and stability the primary ‘must-have’s on their checklist?

Having helped many enterprise technology companies collect user reviews from their users, we’ve written up a quick and easy guide to help you get the best reviews from your users. 

How to Get Awesome Customer Reviews: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Where to Find Users 

At Your Conferences or User Events
By approaching users at your conferences or at events for reviews, you are targeting users who are already knowledgeable about your solutions and will have valuable feedback to share. You can also take down their feedback face-to-face, rather than rely on email or phone feedback, which can be more time consuming for your users.b2b user reviews
Via Customer Advocacy Programs
By tapping into your customer advocacy programs, you can connect with users who are not only experienced with your solution but also willing to share their feedback with others.

Via your Support Team 

Your users who have had positive interactions with your support team are a great source of positive feedback. They can also add room for improvement that your customer advocacy program users may not be able to give you.

Find happy users online

Monitor your brand online with tools like Google Alerts and Mention. Not only can it help you understand where users aren’t happy, but it can also help you identify users who love your solution and who you can potentially reach out to for user reviews.

Step 2: What to Include in your B2B User Reviews

Ask users what they find valuable about your solution. Their answers may surprise you and can provide invaluable information for your product team.

Example: When asked “What do you find valuable in IBM Spectrum Protect?”, CTO Carsten Dan Petersen writes:

“The smallest entry level sized installation can easily grow to large enterprise usages and be migrated across platforms.The product is very client-oriented which supports a lot of different platforms and products, and only have to be upgraded approx. every five years to maintain support.”

Ask users which solutions they have also evaluated. This information can give you great competitive information, and can also influence the potential buyers reading your user reviews.

Example: When asked “Did you consider any other solutions besides VMware vSAN?”, an Infrastructure Manager answers:
We looked briefly at alternatives, but nothing stood out like vSAN. Nutanix was another solution, but surprisingly, it would have cost us more..

Ask users how and where you can improve your solution. Not only is this information very valuable for your product team, it also makes your reviews more believable. Users don’t trust five-star reviews that only say good things about a product.

Example: When asked “Where do you see room for improvement in Tableau?” Data Analysis Team Leader Yali Pollak answers:

Tableau lacks machine learning algorithms that you can implement using R, SPSS Modeler, and Python.It has clustering and time-series forecasting abilities which are helpful, but adding machine learning capabilities like decision trees, CHAID analysis and K-means would make this product perfect!”

What about users who wish to remain anonymous?
Some users may be happy to give feedback, but can’t because of their own corporate compliance policies. One way around this is to allow users to give reviews either with their full details or anonymously. By giving users this choice you will collect a wider range of user reviews, which can be used as a tool throughout your marketing materials.

What are your users saying about your solution?

Sign in to IT Central Station to read what real users have to say about your solution.