B2B Social Media Podcast – Strategy
Key learnings: B2BBitesBack – Ep01: social strategy
B2B social media has accelerated at a rapid pace over the last few years. We’ve launched our own dedicated B2B social media podcast, #B2BBitesBack, to cover and investigate key topics from within the industry.
We’ll be joined by some of the biggest names within B2B marketing who will offer their expert opinions and advice on different aspects, along with some familiar faces from the OST Marketing gang.
Our first episode focuses on B2B social media strategy, where it all begins. Specifically, our Managing Director, Luke Brynley-Jones and our Strategy Director Helen Sharpe, discuss how to recalibrate your B2B social media marketing post-pandemic.
They are joined by Bian Salins, Head of Content & Creative Consulting at LinkedIn, and Anita Veszeli, Director of Social Media & Advocacy at Ericsson, as they discuss key trends to look out for in 2021/22. Here’s what went down:
Why are we doing this?
The pandemic massively disrupted marketing strategies and activity across both B2C and B2B. Pre-Covid, B2B brands were starting to realise the benefits of devising brand strategy in line with B2C brand strategies, adapting a more consumer-style of marketing.
“B2B brands especially are moving into much more traditional styles of marketing. Humanising these brands is a huge focus right now,” states Helen. “In particular we work with a lot of B2B tech brands, there’s a real mindset shift to more consumer styles of marketing, and this podcast is a really good opportunity to talk about this.”
What are the B2B social trends for 2021/22?
Where do you fit in the market and within your customer base? How do you stand out against your competitors? The key to getting your brand to where you want it to be is storytelling, your story is your strategy. B2B brands are now moving away from product focussed campaigns to brand level content, to help form better relationships and a better reputation.
“Take your brand story but put it through the voices of different people – your employees, senior execs, customers influencers etc. Find the holy grail of a collective conversation to build credibility, expand your reach, and all of those good factors to amplify your brand.” – Luke Brynley-Jones.
Growing and sustaining an active, engaged community is not an easy thing to do, but if you get it right, it reaps huge rewards. “Salesforce and Tableau are great examples of brands who are absolutely nailing their community building and management. They have ambassadors and offer them exclusive product previews. They really help to amplify your brand message.” Your engaged community is your key supporter. How are you drawing your customers into your social channels?
“Employee advocacy has switched to employee empowerment. Give them the tools to create their own content and messages, give them a platform to build up their own personal brands to help build brand equity.” – Luke explains.
Consumers are so much more ethically focused than they’ve ever been. “They’re so much more interested in brands that share their values,” explains Helen.
B2B social with Bain Sallins: what’s changed over the past few years and post-pandemic?
We spoke with Bian Sallins, Head of Content & Creative Consulting at LinkedIn, about a shift in behaviours over the last few years, and how the pandemic has completely altered social strategy for many brands.
“Since Covid, I’ve seen a tremendous shift on the platform. Content has become the core of how people consume and how they come to our platform. People are investing their time on LinkedIn, which makes content so much more valuable.”
“Post-pandemic we helped our customers leverage their strategy as a whole, not just on LinkedIn, including all different types of content. We’ve seen more native content, which is a positive shift for us.”
“For too long, B2B Marketing has been very corporate. Now, brands are willing to experiment and became human at a time when the only that was important was being human.” – Bian Salins
“I’ve definitely seen a lot more balance in brand and demand. B2B marketing has always been very product-focused. Chasing leads has been too much of an obsession. It’s refreshing to see B2B marketers are beginning to understand both brand and demand.”
When it comes to the pandemic B2B marketing faced a huge battle when it came to events. Traditionally, B2B marketing has always been very face-to-face, relying on making connections, relationship building and generating leads. “We’ve seen a huge pivot towards a digital-first mindset and transformation that’s still ongoing,” explains Bian. “We’ve seen a 400% increase in live streaming over the last 12 months. B2B marketers are finally understanding that digital has a lot more opportunity than just broadcasting their message.”
We also asked Bian about untapped opportunities and top tips for B2B in social. Here’s what she thinks:
- Creativity: not just in formats for content, it’s about creativity in strategy. Ask yourself, “how can you think differently about bringing your brand to the table?” Think about your message. Even if you have the most exciting format, if your message doesn’t make someone else’s job or better, it won’t land. Then think about the container. You could have the best looking ad, but if there’s nothing inside it, it simply won’t land.
- Influencer marketing: in B2B marketing, influencer marketing has taken more of a root as thought leadership. You should focus on influencers that have credibility, but rather than just focusing on thought leadership, focus on someone that has social proof. B2B marketing is founded on social proof. Influencer marketing is a great tool to build through word of mouth. Also, empower your own people to become thought leaders and even influencers yourself.
- Connect through a single message: social is a lens into your organisation. If you want to be connected through the funnel externally, you have to connect the dots internally. Did you know that 5% of content drives 95% of customer engagements? This means 95% of content has no impact at all. This content often has no audience focus, no creativity in strategy, and messages are fragmented and happen when different parts of an organisation are sharing different messages that don’t align to a single truth.
- Champion your team: marketing teams are changing. You need to think about the skills and infrastructure you need to drive for better outcomes. Does this mean you need to align sales and marketing? Maybe you need to champion creativity as a key skill? Your team must suit the needs of now.
We also spoke to Anita Veszeli, Director of Social Media & Advocacy at Ericsson about the company’s strategy changes during the pandemic, and plans to become a social organisation by 2025.
“As a company, we had to assess how to move from in-person events to digital-first. Every other week, Ericsson has Social Lives, which is an opportunity to bring customers, external experts and team them up with our internal experts to have vivid and interesting conversations with different perspectives, rather than just the brand giving their point of view.”
“Social listening became essential. In the early stages of 2020, it was something that every brand had to do. With people working from home and having different challenges, it was really important to listen to whether the content we were producing was resonating,” explains Anita. “We used content pieces that were relevant, timely and showcased our internal heroes who were still working for the benefit of our customers.” Anita Veszeli
Anita also spoke about the value of employee advocacy. “People trust people. Employee advocacy has become a revolution. When all of us didn’t have a chance to see each other over the last 18-24 months, we spoke to each other on social. This really accelerated how think about employee advocacy. It’s about enabling our employees, our experts etc to become social and to build their own personal brand.”
Anita also spoke of the differences in influencer marketing for B2B and B2C. “B2B influencer marketing is more about creating a conversation. B2B influencers are really looking for exclusive access to reports and access to experts, which presents a great opportunity to really marry influencer marketing and employee advocacy.”
If you want to listen to more of the conversation, head over to Spotify to listen or Vimeo [link] to watch.
B2B Bites Back: Episode 2 will focus on Influencer Marketing and will feature guests Ryan Bares from the IBM Global Influencer Programme, and Cyril Coste, B2B Influencer and Onalytica’s no.1 Cloud Influencer.