Stop and Rethink B2B Social – Part 2

(Read the first blog in the series.)

Most B2B social media strategies start and end with Twitter and LinkedIn. In the US, Twitter is used by 84% of B2B marketers (Content Marketing Institute). Across the globe, there are social media managers hard at work, writing and scheduling tweets, searching for third-party content to retweet, crafting their #WednesdayWisdom and #MotivationMonday posts…

The fact is it requires a lot of time and resource to build and maintain a brand presence on Twitter – to grow your followers, find and repurpose content, maintain engagement rates and demonstrate results.

#ThursdayThought
The dispiriting truth is that a lot of this effort is in vain. Which is why we see so many dormant corporate Twitter accounts. People give up. And that’s a terrible shame, because Twitter is awesome for B2B, providing that the approach plays to the platform’s strengths.

An example of where Twitter really comes into its own in B2B is during events. Pick an industry – any industry – and I’ll show you a spike in Twitter activity around conferences, exhibitions, awards nights…

The mobile nature of the app and the ability to share images, use hashtags to find, follow and contribute to conversations in realtime, makes Twitter the natural choice for social networking at events.

Industry events have always been important in B2B, but these days the opportunities extend well beyond the event itself. Use events to grow your followers, join in conversations, share your own content, and engage with customers and prospects.

Of course Twitter is also where people go to complain. If someone takes the time to complain to you on Twitter, don’t be the company that provides a phone number or an email address for the customer service team. The best customer service is real-time and personal, and with its fast moving conversational nature, Twitter most closely resembles traditional chat.

So here’s a #ThursdayThought: stop jumping on irrelevant hashtags and start building out your Twitter strategy around events and customer service.

LinkedIn
Getting back to our typical B2B social media strategy. LinkedIn is used by 94% of B2B marketers (Content Marketing Institute).

On LinkedIn our social media managers are plugging away on the Company Page, sharing updates, posting blogs on LinkedIn Pulse, possibly running some paid activity, and probably targeting the C-suite – because that’s how we think about LinkedIn, right? It’s where the C-suite hangs out…

I guarantee that what our social media managers are struggling with is how to get the business more engaged with LinkedIn. Employee advocacy is a huge part of success on LinkedIn. Tapping into the real-world professional networks of everyone in the business is really as simple as getting employees to share and engage with LinkedIn company updates.

But it’s hard to affect a shift in company culture towards employee advocacy. Even we struggle at The Crocodile, but when we do manage to get people sharing on LinkedIn, we routinely see 20-25% spikes in traffic to our site.

Employees need to be supported in their use of LinkedIn and I’m not talking about setting the sales team up with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. We need to do more to help the business as whole to understand why LinkedIn is important and why everyone needs to get involved. That starts at the onboarding stage with new employees, and continues with each new blog post, business win or product launch.

Another area to focus LinkedIn strategies on is advertising. LinkedIn targeting parameters are unparalleled in B2B social advertising but it’s important to test multiple targeting strategies – job title and industry targeting alone doesn’t cut it.

If you have an EMEA remit, consider that Skills targeting can be more effective in some markets. I also recommended targeting by Group membership. Try it and I guarantee your CTRs will go up.

Tempting as it is, try and avoid hyper-targeting, or overly targeting directors and the C-suite. Executive audiences are difficult and expensive to reach, plus keep in mind these audiences look to managers and senior practitioners to inform business decisions. Include these decision influencers and consider using Years of Experience targeting to filter out entry-level and less influential audiences.

The good news is LinkedIn Marketing Solutions have never been better. You no longer have to guarantee £10k quarterly spend to access InMail – it’s available self-serve. They’ve launched Lead Forms and announced Integration with Marketo and Eloqua.

It’s a exciting time for B2B social and we, as an industry, need to make sure we’re set up to move quickly and take advantage of new functionality and tools as they become available. And that demands that we take a step back and reset our perspective.

In next week’s blog on B2B social… We need to talk about Facebook.

Grow your own

When agencies are able to retain and grow their best people, it’s the clients that invariably reap the rewards.

They win through better customer service from committed agency professionals, deeply immersed in their client propositions.

That’s why The Croc is so delighted to have made two significant promotions in our client services team, with both Simon Driscoll and Jon Evans jumping into the hot seats of Group Account Director.

As well as rewarding their individual growth and talent, these moves place two incredibly experienced agency-side marketers at the forefront of our senior team, further bolstering the quality and effectiveness of our service as we continue to grow our UK and international client base.

Well done guys.

Simon Driscoll and Jonathan Evans

 

How the iPhone got marketers talking to the hand

The release of the first iPhone 10 years ago today marked the start of the smartphone era and wholeheartedly changed the marketing landscape forever.

Many of the significant changes in human behaviour over the last decade can be attributed to this small but incredibly powerful device. There have been resulting shifts in way we communicate, the way we buy and the way we research and as such, a requirement for marketers to adapt their thinking and approaches to ‘mobile-first’.

This is highlighted by 2017 mobile usage data from comScore which shows mobile devices dominating total minutes spent online. In the UK, mobile’s share of digital minutes is reportedly 61%; in Indonesia this rises to 91%!

A decade ago, we weren’t necessarily considering site responsiveness, apps, geo-targeted SMS, push notifications, mobile video, photo filters, or disappearing messages – certainly not to the extent we are today. The iPhone has been instrumental in the cut-through of these techniques and their prominence in today’s marketing plans. The marketing mix has changed beyond all recognition.

From a social media perspective, the rise and rise of the iPhone (and its ‘smart’ competitors) has had momentous impact. In my opinion, the need for brands to be ‘always on’ has been a direct effect of having such capable and connected devices in the palms of so many people’s hands, so frequently. Let’s face it, most of us feel genuinely lost if we leave home without one!

Consider this: wherever your brand’s fans/followers are these days, the likelihood is they’re never more than an arm stretch away from getting in touch, checking out your social media real estate or spending (online) time with your brand on a small(ish) screen.

Customer complaints and compliments are instant – no need to return to your desktop to post a delayed review or share feedback (if you remember), and brand crises can spread like handheld wildfire.

Users’ expectations have changed too. Instant gratification or acknowledgement for engaging with a brand is not just coveted, it’s expected. I’d say we have Steve Jobs to thank for this somewhat crazy connectedness! Never has the need for marketing and communications to be real-time and personal been so prominent.

With all this in mind, perhaps marketers should have a new mantra… ‘Talking to the hand’ has always been a derogatory notion but it seems increasingly like a positive necessity these days.

All thanks to the ever-present iPhone.

Talk to The Crocodile about optimising your marketing campaigns for mobile.

Illuminating social at Ignite 2017

The Crocodile’s partnership with B2B Marketing on Ignite Live proved a huge success at Ignite 2017 at the Business Design Centre, London. The agency’s live social team streamed presentations, panel sessions and exclusive Q&A interviews with some of the key speakers at the event.

A thousand professionals from across B2B marketing attended the event to gain insights and knowledge from a day of seminars and keynote speeches.

The seminars included a presentation from The Crocodile’s Head of Social, Robyn Pierce, who delivered a compelling talk on the state of B2B social to a packed out audience, with an additional 400 people tuning in on Facebook. Watch it here.

Ignite 2017 represented a step change for B2B Marketing. The event was a reinvention of its B2B Summit series, and The Crocodile helped give a fresh twist to promote and enhance the rebranded event through social, both before and during the conference:

  • Ignite 2017 Facebook Canvas. Seen by over 1,000 B2B professionals a day in the week leading up to the event, achieving an engagement rate of 3%.
  • Live streaming presentations and keynotes. The closing keynote on the power of language in marketing reached an online audience of more than 3,500, achieving a 30sec video view rate of 4.6%.
  • Exclusive Q&A interviews with keynote speakers. An interview with Emma Roffey, Senior Director Marketing EMEA at Cisco, achieved a 30sec video view rate of 6.3%.

In total, the real-time social activity driven by The Crocodile helped extend Ignite 2017 to over 27,500 Facebook users through 10 separate live broadcasts.

If you haven’t tuned in yet, check out the Ignite LIVE playlist to watch all the live streams back.

Congratulations to Joel Harrison and everyone at B2B Marketing for an excellent event. Judging by the reaction on social and the feedback the agency received on the day, Ignite 2017 was a resounding success and Ignite Live brilliantly extended the reach and audience in real-time, far beyond the north London venue!

Want to know how and why you should be rethinking your social media? Give us a call on 020 7749 4400 and our award-winning social media team can help.

A fresh twist on event social: Ignite 2017 on Facebook LIVE

The next generation of tools are now available to take your event social strategies to the next level.

With the convergence of mobile, video and Facebook now viewing itself as the alternative to TV a fresh perspective on how you view your social strategies is required.

Make the leap from a few sterile live tweets and the odd snap to unlock a whole new opportunity on how you build reach and influence for all those people that could not attend the event in person. After all from an audience perspective events are bit like an iceberg – the minority in attendance versus the masses who could not.

Build in platform anticipation and a sense of experience with Facebook Canvas, a media rich format that creates a great mobile UX.

The combination of canvas, paid social across channels and Twitter list building should be viewed as an opportunity to build a viewer audience base, not unlike TV, in the build-up to airing your event live-streaming.

Live streaming requires a production house mentality in regards to ‘making it a show’ and delivering a sense of entertainment. Ideally it should at the very least match the production values of the event itself but requires further consideration on how you capture the energy and essence of the day, in real-time.

The B2B industry is holding its largest event of the year, Ignite 2017 on June 22. Watch it live by following B2B Marketing on Facebook

Those of you lucky enough to be attending in person drop by our Ignite LIVE set on booth 41/42 and say hello.

A real-time first for B2B Marketing with Ignite LIVE 2017

As a lead sponsor of the upcoming 2017 B2B Marketing Ignite event – the world’s biggest B2B learning and networking experience – we made the call to place ourselves at the heart of the event and not just be another logo on the wall.

Working closely with the B2B Marketing team, we were able to find strategic and executional ways of deepening our involvement in the event to create a better and more meaningful presence, while also adding to the very fabric of the Ignite experience.

Playing to our ‘Real-time + Personal’ strengths, this has translated into a contemporary suite of additional social activity based around Facebook Live Streaming – a first for B2B Marketing. We’ll share more details in the run-up to the event.

Fancy your five minutes of fame? We’ll be engaging with B2B opinion-formers on the day, so let us know if you want to get involved.

Ignite 2017 takes place on Thursday 22 June 2017 at The Business Design Centre, London. Register at b2bignite.com

Zombie marketing must die

The biggest barrier to personalisation in marketing is not really having a clue who you are talking to. In B2B marketing we see so much activity devoid of human insight, incapable of building deeper relationships.

Without this knowledge, it becomes almost impossible to be alert to the needs of the real person you are trying to communicate with, whether relating to life goals or business goals.

Instead, individuals blend into a kind of zombie persona – and your marketing invariably follows suit: characterless, slow moving, and potentially dangerous!

Why is that, and what can we do about it?

We all know businesses sell to people, and yet it’s still staggering how often the people bit gets overlooked in B2B.

Perhaps this is because we’re so fixated by addressing the complications of the B2B world:

  • Longer, more difficult sales cycles
  • The rigidity of contractual service levels
  • Huge time investment needed to deal with complexity
  • The magnifying effect of having multiple decision makers

Dealing with that lot, it’s easy to forget the simple human truth of marketing: the path to success lies in maintaining personal contact and dialogue between people.

So how can we apply this logic to B2B marketing today (and by today I really do mean ‘now’):

  • Start acting on the mind-set that every customer and prospect is a person with unique needs, not a characterless dead-head.
  • Take an editorial approach to embracing today’s in-market topics, and build the capability to blend them into your marketing, in real time.
  • Tailor content with insights and ideas that map to (and resonate with) the real people you are trying to reach. Product knowledge alone isn’t enough.
  • Red Letter Day – do something to make people feel special and recognised. Think about birthdays, significant professional dates, or complimentary product upgrades.
  • Make it your business to understand the stakeholder structures within target organisations and invest in making multiple relationships to widen impact.
  • Repeat the above.

So, kill the zombie marketing, and next time you’ll know exactly how to answer the question:

Do you have any idea who you’re talking to and what motivates them?

World first on Facebook Live

Real-time and personal has been a strong focus for us as an agency for a while now. This is expressed in different ways, but a recent global product launch by a world famous Swiss watch brand gave us the opportunity to bring all the pieces together and deliver something really spectacular.

Sweet sixteen

With 300 international press and influencers in attendance, our job was to bring the event to life for online fans of the brand. In doing so we achieved a world first with a Facebook Live broadcast across 16 regional Facebook pages.

Over 120k fans tuned in to experience the unveiling of the new product range during the 50min live broadcast. This was the first time Facebook Live has been used to broadcast simultaneously across this many pages. Achieving the live synchronised broadcast required a tech setup that included multiple encoders, industrial strength broadband, and a team to activate each channel, alongside multi-camera editing and a live presenter roaming wirelessly around the venue.

Snap decisions

To extend social reach, Instagram Live was used for previews and sneak peeks behind the scenes. Snapchat and Instagram Stories were used throughout the evening to capture the excitement of the event and drive viewers to the website, where the new product line was available to buy.

As well as live streaming and capturing content for Snapchat and Instagram, our production team was able to supply the brand’s regional social media teams with optimised content including 360 degree videos of the event, Boomerangs and short video clips for posting locally so fans around the world could see what was happening and be part of the event – in (almost) real-time.

Now trending

Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Snapchat all represent exciting new opportunities to deliver more real-time and personal experiences with customers, and encourage long-term loyalty. The challenge – particularly in B2B – is for brands to identify the right applications and make the case for embracing trends like expiring content, AR, chatbots and increased personalisation.

Keeping up is not easy – just as we wrap our heads around a new set of features the rules change. At The Crocodile, we see these changes as stages of an ongoing journey towards making marketing more human. And thanks to the quality of our clients, and a shared appetite to be the best at what we do, we’re always innovating. So if you’re looking for a world first on social, get in touch!

The Crocodile goes 360° with Blend Media

The Crocodile has been appointed by Blend Media to optimise its digital marketing strategy.

Blend Media provides an end-to-end content solution to make the creation of 360˚ video content and immersive campaigns quick and easy for brands, agencies and publishers. With the goal of lowering the barriers to entry the solution includes a drag and drop editor, a large catalogue of premium 360˚ videos and distribution solutions that help to quickly and more easily create engaging formats.

Blend Media also runs the largest 360˚ videos page on Facebook globally: Facebook.com/360vidz

The Crocodile’s team will be working closely with Blend to shape the go-to-market strategy and execution plans across search and social media.

This is a really exciting space and we’re looking forward to helping Blend drive their next stage of growth!

Check out some of Blend’s content at www.blend.media

 

Image courtesy of Blend Media Creator – William Briscoe Photography

International Women’s Day: Brands, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

 

Happy International Women’s Day!

The marketing around International Woman’s Day gets more sophisticated every year. All around the world on March 8th brands create and share increasingly creative content to join in with global calls for female empowerment and gender equality.

But yesterday’s article – “International Women’s Day: F*ck off brands” – in The Drum got me thinking about how I feel about today’s big brands using International Women’s Day as a chance to hijack hashtags and increase share of voice. Are these brands belittling a serious cause? Or helping us to shout louder?

It has to be said there is exploitation at play here: capitalizing on global events to drive brand awareness is real-time marketing at its finest. Get it right and it pays dividends. These days ‘getting it right’ means creating sticky, shareable content that has the ability to quickly go viral. Producing the kind of content that gets your brand recognised – even better, remembered – for International Women’s Day, might be a marketer’s dream; but it also helps to broadcast a vital message to the masses.

I am lucky enough to have been supported by many inspiring female leaders throughout my career – I’ve worked with brilliant female CEOs, MDs, thought leaders, business owners, and they’ve all helped to build up my abilities and my ambitions. But it’s important to remember that we have a long way to go. Still today the numbers of women in UK boardrooms are appallingly low – there are more people called ‘John’ chairing the FTSE 100, then there are women. I mean, really?

So, whatever the motive, there is something to be said for having big brands get behind an important cause and help give a critical message the airtime it deserves. We must work together to make a difference.

But we must also demand that brands match their marketing messages with concerted action. Only by holding brands accountable, and demanding that they follow through on their commitment to equality, will we start to see meaningful change.

This International Women’s Day, do I want brands to F*** off? I’m not sure that I do – but I do want them to put their money where their mouth is.

Don’t just say equal; be equal.

 

By Eden Sanders

Global open source leaders hire The Croc

We’re delighted to be working with LPI (Linux Professional Institute), the global certification standard and career support organisation for open source professionals. With more than 500,000 exams delivered, it’s the world’s first and largest vendor-neutral Linux and open source certification body. LPI has certified professionals in 181 countries, delivers exams in 9 languages, and has over 400 training partners.

A Canada-based non-profit organisation, LPI’s purpose is to enable economic and creative opportunities for everybody by making open source knowledge and skills certification universally accessible.

Here at The Crocodile we’re looking forward to getting our teeth into developing global and partner marketing strategies for LPI, and defining, managing and delivering long-term content, PPC and social media campaigns.

Exchanging success with LSEG win

The Crocodile has been appointed by one of the most iconic brands in finance.

The financial services regulatory landscape is constantly evolving. The upcoming MiFIR deadline will require those firms affected to work with trusted partners and implement effective technology solutions, in order to stay compliant and get ahead of the regulatory curve.

UnaVista is the leading transaction reporting platform from the London Stock Exchange Group that enables financial institutions to meet the requirements of MiFIR and other associated regulations, and also benefit from a suite of LSEG’s solutions and its impressive ecosystem.

The Crocodile has won a five-way pitch against some B2B agency heavyweights, to be appointed a roster agency for the London Stock Exchange Group, and to develop a new campaign to promote UnaVista to those organisations affected by MiFIR. It’s another great win for the agency at the start of the year and we are delighted to be working with one of the world’s most recognised and admired financial services brands.

B2B Awards 2016: Winners with real-time marketing

We like to sing when we’re winning and at The B2B Marketing Awards 2016 we were in full song with Standard Life as we scooped Category 7: Best Use of Social Media for Adviser Voice – The Budget 2016.

This is especially satisfying as the campaign required Standard Life to try a new technique, in a short time frame, and trust in the combined team to deliver.

Susie Logan, Head of Marketing Standard Life sums this up brilliantly:

“The Budget 2016 campaign had a fantastic outcome for Standard Life – both in terms of creating differentiation in the market by delivering great experiences, engagement and sustainable relationships, and using a completely new approach of real-time marketing and user-generated content.

By listening to our customers, being innovative, organised and capable of applying a focused and purposeful real-time model, we dominated during a key event over the competition with a share of voice of 85%.

We assembled the key ingredients of customer understanding, data, technology and people, and then used our creativity to join these together in a way that delivered better experiences for our customers. Thanks to The Crocodile we won a ‘Superbowl’ moment with a relatively discreet budget.”

Read the full case study for a best example of b2b social media marketing.

Smart content marketing with Dell EMC

The merger of two of the world’s largest IT brands – Dell and EMC – into one premier end-to-end technology company has obviously created lots of news coverage over recent months.

During this transition, The Crocodile has worked closely with the Dell EMC product teams and subject matter experts to develop an exciting new content marketing campaign. The activity promotes Dell EMC’s advanced data storage systems under its new brand identity, around topics such as “the future of storage” and “building your data lake”.

Enterprise tech can be complicated subject matter – but our combined team has successfully created a clear and accessible content narrative using multiple formats. These include engaging articles and blog posts on the business benefits, eye-catching infographics and fun animated videos.

An advanced POEM (paid, owned, and earned media) strategy was also formulised to optimise SEO and drive reach, engagement and traffic via social media.

We’re delighted that the campaign is playing a key part in helping the new Dell EMC make a big splash in the IT industry.

Take a look at some of the campaign assets here: