Social Media for Business is Personal
Let me guess at what stage most of you in the B2B marketing world are at in terms of your personal social media efforts...
You have a LinkedIn profile, it’s moderately well filled out, you are connected with your current colleagues and some from previous companies, you’ve barely logged in since you opened your account. You have a Twitter account in the loosest sense of the word - you may have gone so far as to follow your daughter or your local football club but you haven’t really done much else with it. You may or may not have a Facebook account, depending on if your kids have allowed you to have one and you probably spend a decent amount of time on YouTube, although you most likely haven’t set up an account of your own. How am I doing?
I think a round of applause for making it that far with social media is in order (pause for applause) but to see any business value you’re going to need to try harder.
In my experience, there are two reasons why B2B executives and marketers won’t take the time to learn and properly adopt social media. The first is that they just don’t see the point in it. The second is that they have absolutely no idea what to say. Two massive issues, so let's stick with the first for now (I tackle the second in this blog).
What is the point? What is the business case for having a personal social media presence?
Either you’ve not yet drunk the social media Kool-Aid and you still believe social has no place in business, for your company or for yourself, or you believe that companies and brands do benefit from having a well-managed social media presence, but don’t know what benefit you having a personal one can bring. If you’re in the first camp, we suggest you drink the Kool-Aid. We’ve been banging on about social media for B2B brands for the past 7 years, if you want to catch-up read this or this. If you’re in the second camp, I'm here to tell you that your personal social activity is almost as important for your company as your company’s activity.
At Birddog we’ve helped a lot of different companies set-up and manage their social media presence. One of the key differentiators between a successful campaign and one that doesn’t ever quite find its momentum is the level of social media activity from the internal audience. That’s you. The employees. By properly maintaining a personal social media presence you can amplify your brand’s message and engage with thought leaders in the industry, all while creating another channel/medium for your brand to be found. Those all sound like good things, eh?
Use social media – it will help your marketing strategy meet its targets and help your brand reach its audience.
One of the goals or KPIs of any social media strategy should be to increase your reach. When your company tweets or posts an update on LinkedIn, what do you hope happens? You hope someone on the interwebs finds it, likes it and shares it with their audience, increasing your brand’s reach. By using your own personal account you don’t have to hope someone out there finds it, you can be that person. Like it, comment on it, share it with your network. Bam, you’ve increased your reach! Now imagine if all employees at your company also had a social media presence and they shared that piece of content with their networks? Do you see where I'm going with this?
Use social media – it will help you to influence the influential in your industry.
Social media is chalk full of thought leaders and “experts” in your industry. (Now some people have suggested that social media has actually de-valued the word “expert” but that’s another topic for another blog.) With a personal account, and a general preference to connect with a face versus a logo, you can more easily engage with these thought leaders, spreading the gospel of your brand to people whose opinions affect the buying behaviour of the many.
Use social media – it makes it easier for your target audience to find you, contact you and consume your corporate message.
You pay to maintain a company website, you pay to have a phone line and you may even pay for someone to manage your company’s branded social media channels (assuming you’ve drunk the aforementioned Kool-Aid). You see value in having these channels as they provide a way to be discovered and contacted by potential clients as well as a way of pushing out your message. A well-managed personal social media presence affords those same benefits, for free. Pack your bio full of keywords that relate to your business and your role in the business. Tweet and share content relevant to your target audience. Link back to your company website and social channels when appropriate.
Maintaining a personal social media presence can be as time-consuming as you want (or most likely don’t want) it to be. Just remember that it’s all about amplifying your company’s message and providing another channel for you and your company to be found by relevant audiences. So now, go and complete the rest of your twitter profile, upload a profile picture, fill out your 160 character bio, follow thought leaders in your industry and maybe stop stalking your daughter. Login to LinkedIn, ensure everything is up to date and see what new connections are there to be made.
Use social media.