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Demonstrating the value of social media in B2B communications

 

  • Dave Stevens, British Land
  • Heidi Lemmetyinen, CA Technologies
  • David Keene, Google At Work
  • Alistair Wheate, Gorkana
  • Jessica Brookes, Avanade
  • Joe Hanley, IBM Europe

The event took a deep dive into the great ways in which these organisations are using social media to tell their brand story and build communities of customers and advocates. We were hoping to pick up a few tips but also found reassurance in some of the shared experiences and approaches.

With IBM’s latest CMO study revealing that 66% of CMOs feel underprepared for the growth of social media, the discussion centred around the ways in which brands can help educate the C-Suite on the value that social brings to the marketing mix. The majority of presenters found that sharing social toolkits with internal stakeholders, including suggested LinkedIn posts, tweets, blogs, images and soundbites, proved successful in helping to get them involved in social.

Executive social profiling and competitor benchmarking is an approach that has proved successful with a number of our clients such as Microsoft Advertising. Our approach is to equip and train their C-Level executives and sales teams with the right tools and integrated content plans to easily share key information, amplify campaigns and help build their online profile in an authentic way.

Most of the brand discussion reflected the trend of brands as publishers, or as the marketers would call it, the rise of native advertising! Company blogs were highlighted as the main ‘hub’ from where all social activity is now driven. There was discussion on how there has been an increase of brands building in-house editorial teams to develop and share content, mapping out themes and talking points throughout the year – very much like today’s media newsroom. In our experience, this approach is bolstered by managing and mapping key influencer and stakeholder relationships.

It is important to engage with subject matter experts in their field at an early stage to ensure that the brand is producing compelling and accurate content, while also building relationships with key industry influencers to help tell their story credibly. At 3 Monkeys, we invest a lot of time on influencer mapping and building newsroom hubs that take a content marketing approach to all aspects of comms, having rolled-out successful content-driven campaigns for clients such as Lenovo, Microsoft, Trend Micro, Samsung and Truphone.  For us, it’s about an approach that understands when, where and how to lever earned, owned or bought media channels for maximum effect.

Another common theme from the event was that there’s still no silver bullet to help put a dollar ROI on social media success. However, there’s a common understanding that in order to demonstrate the true value of social we can no longer measure it upon last click attribution – we need to understand the buyer journey behind that final click. 3 Monkeys content marketing approach is about brand building and bytes! We know a smart PR-driven, content marketing approach needs to drive awareness, preference, consideration and purpose. In a B2B world, content has to map to the sales journey and show impact. Our unique, evaluation and tracking tools really home in on this.

Alistair Wheate from Gorkana explained this really well when he compared last click attribution to a vicar being credited for a marriage, rather than looking at all of the relationship contributors that built up to the big event. Google and Avanade showed how they’re investing a lot of time into understanding today’s complex multi touch buying journey and developing customer personas to identify the stages where they can engage with them on certain content. 3 Monkeys’ experience has been that you can’t build any kind of credible campaign or content strategy without strong insight and evidence-led, customer persona building. This forms a central part of our influencer mapping and is certainly helping to illustrate the true value of social.

To finish off, we wanted to share five great tips for B2B social media success from Dave Stevens (@davestevensnow) from British Land. Some of it we know, but are agreed that we all benefit from being reminded!:

  • Don’t use a radio to communicate to the deaf

The majority of the C-Suite don’t actually use social media. You need to pick the right channel to engage. It’s also important to understand what time of the day works best for specific social channels, to ensure you’re capturing your audience, as well as tailoring your content depending on the channel. For example, LinkedIn works better for sharing research and reports; Twitter is better for news.

  • The best way to get to the Prime Minister is through ‘Sam Cam’

People listen more to the opinions of friends, family, work colleagues and partners etc. We listen to people, not computers or faceless organisations. To help influence a wider community, it’s important to get local advocates to be in support of a message first; encouraging employees to act as online brand ambassadors.

  • Tweet not bark

It’s a conversation. Social media is about building 1:1 relationships so always needs a tailored and personal approach to encourage people to engage and react. Target individuals, rather than the masses.

  • Nothing is free

You need to pay for the right social media analytics so that you have the most accurate intelligence on what people are saying about your brand. When armed with the right analytics, you can better understand the trends and insights so you can better act upon them.

  • You don’t learn to bake by watching Bake-off

You need to practice it yourself to really understand and improve the way that you’re using social. Only then can you get the true benefits.