Lessons from a B2B Summit Coach: Five Steps to Cut through the Noise, Turn off the Hype and Create a B2B Social Media Program that Works
If you’re struggling with managing social media programs in the B2B marketplace, Zuzia Soldenhoff-Thorpe (pictured at below) has some news for you: Most of your peers are too.
Why is she so certain? As a research manager for MECLABS Conversion Group, Zuzia spent two full days at MarketingSherpa’s B2B Summit in San Francisco providing one-on-one coaching to some of the nation’s leading B2B marketers. (Read more about who attended here.)
Here’s what she has to say about her experience.
After my time in San Francisco, I am further convinced
social media is one of the most
challenging channels for B2B marketers to manage. It’s so unpredictable, yet there’s so much pressure surrounding it – everyone feels like they need to be on every social media channel or else. And there’s so many people claiming to be social media experts, but don’t just blindly follow their advice. You see, I don’t believe anyone can be a true social media guru because there are constantly new ideas, platforms and methodologies.
In fact, you could make a full-time job out of monitoring the hundreds of social media blogs and attain hundreds of different opinions on what you should be doing with your social media program. It’s no wonder marketers feel overwhelmed.
So what’s a B2B marketer to do?
- Know your audience. Where are they gathering online to learn about your product or services? Do they have favorite publications or platforms they turn to for industry information? For instance, an engineer may have a Facebook profile, but is he really on there to learn about the newest technology?
Fact is, you can never know your audience well enough. This was driven home to me when I had the privilege of spending more than an hour in a coaching session with the head of marketing for a European bank. He revealed to me the details of what should have been a highly successful social media campaign targeting a Scandinavian country. His bank invited fans of a super-popular European sport to submit a video depicting their passion for it to the bank’s Facebook page. Winners received prizes like a week’s stay at a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, meeting a star athlete, cash awards and free gear. They blasted online and national TV advertising everywhere throughout the country. They even had 150,000 page views. But alas, only a handful of people people submitted a video.
He was flummoxed. “What could I have done to make it a success?” he asked me.
There really was nothing he could have done, except understand that his audience was more private than other cultures. Apparently, no matter how passionate they are about a sport, his audience clearly wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of displaying that passion to their entire nation.
- Know what your competitors are doing. Analyze and monitor their social media. Learn from their mistakes and successes. Watch what’s being said, and where, about your company, product or service.
- Begin with a blog. Why be on social media if you don’t have anything to say? A blog is the means to provide meaningful information your audience will care about and a vehicle to distribute it to other social media platforms. You don’t need to write all of your own content. You can repurpose relevant content you’ve already created – this could be whitepapers, articles, and news releases. Use one of your public relations professionals or a freelance journalist to interview experts within your organization and write a blog post on their behalf. Use guest bloggers or provide content from a third-party source that’s respected in your field.
- Consistency is critical. Make social media the responsibility of one or two people in the organization to maintain a uniform voice and image across your platforms. However, be sure to encourage as many people as possible within your organization to engage, post comments, promote your posts and spread your message.
- Because social media is so unpredictable, test and test some more. Is your audience paying attention and what are they paying attention to? Social media was created so people could engage and interact online, so it’s easy to ask and respond to questions, post polls, and conduct surveys. Don’t miss out on this unprecedented opportunity to identify what your audiences wants to see, read and receive.
Again, developing, managing and monitoring social media is the bane of too many B2B marketers’ professional lives. It doesn’t have to be. Don’t be overwhelmed by the newest advice from a social media guru. Be strategic and selective.
What challenges have you faced launching B2B social media campaigns? How did you handle them? We’d love to know. And, if you want to learn more about how to make social media drive real opportunity for your organization, I strongly recommend you subscribe to the MarketingExperiments Blog which reports the latest from real-world marketers on what works – and what doesn’t – in social media, email marketing, content strategy and more.