This blog was co-created with my colleague, Cheryl Treleaven.
We are of the minds that the following quote speaks volumes, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media; the question is how well we do it.” Erik Qualman, author, Socialnomics. In 2016 we think we’ll see a lot of B2B brands take up this mantra. Social engagement is no longer a ‘nice to have’ option, but a ‘must have’ business strategy for B2B. As such, it requires brands to leave their comfort zone whether they’re starting from scratch or executing a do over. It is 2016 and it’s time to get out of that confining box.
Social engagement is not easy or “auto-magic” and in B2B it takes special commitment to do it right. Here are our four resolutions you might consider making in 2016. Let’s write these down.
- Not shortcut the basics
- Balance paid and organic
- Add headcount
- Only talk about myself 20% of the time
We have done more social audits and assessments of B2B and B2C brands than I can count or remember, but I will say that shortcutting the basics is a common miss and it still persists today. In this case, the basics include: growing and managing healthy networks, being an active listener and using hashtags effectively. Also, it is so important to use compelling visuals in your posts, and that doesn’t just mean stock images either with really, really ridiculously good looking people using your products.
Striking the right balance between paid and organic on social is important for many reasons. Organic reach gets diluted and will continue to do so, because of audience growth and the sheer volume of content that gets distributed. This is where paid can help maximize the investment in big content assets. However, not all content should be paid. In fact, the bulk of it should be organic. You don’t want to look like a running advertisement on social. You need to be selective and establish criteria that warrant the investment of a paid campaign. Remember, the heart of social engagement is authentic relationship building. AND, your social channels are a destination that prospects will visit during multiple stages of the decision journey so you want your best foot forward.
Social media management is not a task, but a full-time job. You need a dedicated resource (or two) in order to be your best. You can’t realistically execute a plan without adding headcount. Period.
Social media isn’t a platform to talk about your brand. It is not all about you. In fact, only 20% should be about you. Social engagement is a two-way street. You don’t want to just push information and you want to be a value-add. What industry trends and challenges could you address? How can you be a resource for people? Are you sparking dialogue? Are you sharing other people’s content?
Stick to these simple resolutions and 2016 might just be the healthiest year of B2B social engagement for your brand.
Jenny is a digital content strategist, who leads customer-centric engagements that focus on understanding B2B buying behaviors and developing custom roadmaps.
Her expertise is creating buyer personas and mapping digital content journeys to assess the multi-channel user experience. She helps clients operationalize plans across workstreams and identifies processes to create efficiencies in marketing operations. Jenny also has extensive time under her belt developing and managing customer advocacy programs and community building.
She has helped a diverse group of organizations including Cisco, VMware, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, BMO Harris, Capital One and many others become more customer-centric.