CROC BOLSTERS STRATEGIC SOCIAL CAPABILITY WITH RABIN APPOINTMENT

Meet Tom Rabin, the latest addition to our award-winning B2B social media team.

Tom joins from social media communications agency, 1000heads, where most recently he was working as an Account Director in their Sydney office, looking after accounts including Google, Intel, Samsung, and Microsoft.

At The Crocodile, Tom will be leading social strategy and campaigns for tier one accounts including London Stock Exchange Group, Videojet, and Verizon Media.

The Crocodile’s Account Directors are among the industry’s best, combining top-end skills across strategy, planning, client relationship management, and team leadership.

The Crocodile’s Head of Social Media, Robyn Pierce, says: “The demand for talent in B2B social is at an all-time high. We are delighted that Tom has chosen to join the team. As well as being a confident and accomplished Account Director, he is an exceptionally talented social media practitioner with a deep understanding of how social media fits within an integrated marketing environment.”

Peter Berg joins The Croc as Senior Copywriter

The Crocodile continues to attract the very best talent in the B2B market with the appointment of senior copywriter, Peter Berg.

He joins us having built a wealth of experience at the likes of Earnest and April Six working on accounts including Facebook, Cisco, Microsoft and O2 to name but a few. He hails from Minnesota, along with Prince, Bob Dylan and the Coen Bros, and (like those noir-loving brothers) has a passion for script writing (cop thrillers) as much as copywriting and creating big ideas.

Creative Director, Chris Tongeman says: “At The Croc we believe in the importance of data and technology in getting in front of more of the right people, however unlike many others we also believe in the importance of ideas, experience and creativity to convert those moments into meaningful engagement. This requires intelligence, critical thinking, customer empathy along with the bravery to make a creative leap beyond the obvious. It takes people like Peter and we’re delighted to have him on the team.”

5 nominations in The Drum Social Buzz Awards

We’re buzzing to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for five awards in this year’s The Drum Social Buzz Awards.

Social Buzz are the big guns of the social media awards circuit and there’s some fierce competition. But with nominations for our very own agency rising star Lotte Wilkinson, Social Media Agency/Team of the Year, and three nominations for our Linux Professional Institute (LPI) campaign, we’ve certainly got a fighting chance!

Nominations:

  • Social Media Agency/Team of the Year
  • Social Buzz Rising Star – Lotte Wilkinson
  • Best B2B Sector Social Media Strategy/Campaign
  • Best Professional Sector Social Media Strategy/Campaign
  • Best Charity/Not For Profit Social Media Strategy/Campaign

Chair of the judging panel and head of social media, news and content for Cancer Research UK, Cecilia Dominici said:

“The category that stood out for me was Best B2B Sector Social Media Strategy/Campaign. It was really interesting to see because it’s a difficult category towards creativity, which the entries really had to drive.”

And drive we certainly had, in droves, as we pushed the creative for this campaign full throttle to help LPI certified Open Source IT professionals to Stand Out in DevOps for LPI – with the global media campaign exceeding its conversion target by 400%.

Fantastic results for LPI, let’s hope it’s the same result for The Croc. We’ll find out at the awards ceremony on 28 November. Until then, here’s the list of nominations

Social awards nomination hat-trick!

We’re delighted to have been shortlisted in this year’s UK Social Media Communications Awards, in three noteworthy categories:

  • Best Strategic Use of Social Media for LPI
  • Best Charity/Not-for-Profit campaign for LPI
  • Best In-Agency Team

These awards recognise and reward individuals, companies and organisations that are using social media in fresh and innovative ways.

Over the last 12 months, The Crocodile’s social media team has gone from strength to strength, winning new business with market-leading brands including Renault Trucks, Google Campus London, Zipcar and the Financial Times.

We continue to deliver outstanding results against a range of briefs, from social transformation and training, to event activation, brand social, international strategy and paid.

Stand Out in DevOps for LPI (Linux Professional Institute), was a global media campaign created to support product development and then to launch a new certification. It exceeded its conversion target by 400%, thanks to a hyper-local targeting strategy, and a suite of creative content that resonated with Open Source IT professionals.

The Crocodile’s head of social media, Robyn Pierce says: “We’ve evolved into one of the best and most well-rounded social media offerings on the market. These nominations are a testament to the strength of the agency’s strategic thinking, and the talented individuals that make up our team.”

Live-streaming Ignite 2018 to the world

Being asked to live-stream the world’s biggest B2B marketing growth event to marketers across the globe is an exciting brief.

And after the huge success of Ignite Live 2017, we plan on making it bigger and better for 2018. It plays to everything that excites us: video, social, mobile – it’s real-time and it’s conversational. Viewers can get involved, share opinions and interact, which makes it a great digital event experience, second only to being there in person.

If you’re interested in taking part, drop us a line – it could be time for your 5 minutes of fame.

Jason Talbot, Managing Director says: “This is the biggest B2B marketing event in the calendar and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. Extending the event experience through social is something many try, but don’t necessarily get right. A number of elements come into play from video, production values, art direction, as well as building a non-attendee viewership. Last year was great and we expect this year to be even better.”

Going behind the lens with Leica

It’s a privilege to work with a world-famous brand whose craftsmanship defines them, but with that privilege comes pressure to deliver work of the highest standard. The latest brief from Leica presented us with this tough but exciting challenge.

The task was a social media-led awareness campaign for Leica’s APS-C system, including the new CL with classic 3-part Leica design, the intuitive TL2 (which has been co-created with Audi), and complementing lenses. These are entry-level camera systems, so targeting strategy and positioning were crucial.

The Crocodile took Leica in a new direction with the #LeicaXMe campaign, which aimed to tell the stories of the people behind the lenses – Leica ambassadors, Cat Garcia and Kim Leuenberger. The concept was simple: two photographers, two cameras, one location.

For efficiency, all campaign content was captured in a single shoot day. Keeping the target audience front of mind guided the focus on ease of use and functionality of the cameras.

The strategy included organic and paid tactics, as well as innovative, high-performing social content formats:

  • Facebook Canvas – This immersive, mobile content format told the #LeicaXMe story through a real 360° view of the two cameras and the variety of accompanying lenses.
  • Instagram Stories – A full-screen engaging mobile format provided a sneak peek into the #LeicaXMe story before the full campaign launched. See the Story highlighted on Leica UK’s Instagram profile (on your mobile) here.
  • Behind the scenes video – A dynamic, engaging look behind the scenes.

Showing the strong personal connection between photographer and camera throughout was particularly important. When you own a Leica, the camera is as inspiring as what you are photographing, and it was key to convey this emotional aspect of the brand through the content.

The campaign harnessed the power of immersive social media content to give viewers a full experience of the two cameras from a real photographer’s perspective, and create the narrative and connection needed to drive high-quality engagement with the target audience.

Giving customer experience the AR treatment

In the business world, so much is focused on offers, acquisitions and sales that it can leave some of the most important people a little overlooked. We’re talking about the current customers: the business bread and butter.

And Nectar wanted a way to thank them, to give them something fun and engaging, a reminder of the good that comes from collecting and spending with Nectar. It had to be different from the usual offer-led emails, but to still give customers something to get excited about.

So we built an email to send to customers on the month of their anniversary with Nectar, to commemorate their ‘Nectarversary’. It showed them the points they had collected along their customer journey, and how many times they had swapped points for rewards along the way. With customers armed with the stats, they now needed only one thing: a way to celebrate.

We created eight AR filters to use through Facebook’s camera effects platform on mobile. Customers could then have some fun and share their Nectarversary news online easily, as the filters open straight into the Facebook app.

The effects include virtual doughnut deely boppers, and a revolving cupcake hat (complete with icing and sprinkles, obviously). Of course, there are seasonal variations; our bow-tie, party-hat-wearing Easter bunny filter was rolled out for March, and there are Halloween and Christmas variations to come. It gives all the fun of a party photobooth, complete with dress-up props, but right from your sofa or your desk at work.

It’s a reminder that in our marketing, we shouldn’t forget the value of things that are fun and shareable. As well as being engaging, they allow the customer to feel valued, creating something that they will enjoy and remember.

Love them or hate them? New social features to boost your brand into 2018

Popular opinions are sharply divided on many of the big changes and happenings during 2017 in social media. Influencer marketing rocketed, and fake news was fought by Facebook. But what are the major developments of the past year in social platform capabilities that marketers should be aware of? Let’s take a look…

Instagram: Polls, filters and influencers

In 2017, social photo sharing platform Instagram went Face Filter crazy – in a game of catch-up with rival Snapchat. Instagram also enabled users to save and bookmark favourite photos, create multiple-photo posts, and added new desktop functionality. With this constant evolution, Instagram’s popularity continues to grow at a rapid rate, predicted to reach 1 billion users in 2018.

But even more interesting from a B2B perspective, Instagram’s new Business Profiles – its equivalent to parent company Facebook’s Pages – are now being used by more than 25 million marketers. With a handy ‘Contact Us’ button on the profiles, plus invaluable in-depth analytics about the number of impressions and unique reach that each post achieves, it’s no surprise that businesses want a slice of the action, with 80% of Instagram’s 800 million users now following at least one business account.

Influencer marketing is exploding right now on Instagram. Brands of all sizes are forming both paid and unpaid partnerships with influencers to spread their message. In the spirit of enhanced transparency – and with the added benefit of bringing even more credibility to influencer marketing – Instagram rolled out a ‘Paid Partnership With’ tag in June 2017 for posts and Stories.

This year also saw Instagram Stories celebrating its first birthday by adding an interactive poll function – so your brand can now ask customers topical questions and easily share the results. It’s a great way to add more interaction to your Instagram visual storytelling.

Facebook: Smarter Stories, plus more Live and 360° video

Facebook created its own Stories function in 2017 and then rolled out an option to link Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories. The big news for business was that Facebook Stories also opened up to include Pages, allowing brands a new useful marketing tool.

Facebook 360 was also launched in 2017. Over 25 million 360-degree photos have now been posted on Facebook, plus 1 million immersive 360-degree videos.

Pushing forward with Facebook Live this year, it became possible to start broadcasting directly from your laptop or desktop computer, and to add comments to your live broadcasts. A great tool for PR, and experiential events, The Crocodile has used Facebook Live with a number of clients this year, including Volvo Construction Equipment, Swatch, and B2B Marketing – with exceptional results!

Twitter: Character-building experiences

In 2017, Twitter turned eleven years old – and decided it was time for an interface makeover, such as turning square profile pictures into circles and repositioning tabs, toolbars and sidebars.

The update was mostly cosmetic.

However, 2017’s big development on Twitter was the increased character allowance for each tweet – from 140 to 280 characters. This was a major long-awaited change for consumers and brands alike, and probably one of the biggest social media news items of 2017. The move followed criticism that it was not easy enough to tweet, and was seen as part of Twitter’s masterplan to attract new users, increase growth and compete with other social platforms. While Twitter currently has 330 million active users, this is a relatively small user-base – Instagram has 800 million, and Facebook over 2 billion users.

The good news for marketers? While it’s still early days, some preliminary research indicates that tweets longer than 140 characters get more engagement. Analytics company SocialFlow has reported that people are liking and retweeting longer tweets almost two-times more than shorter ones.

LinkedIn: Generating leads and leading generations

The big LinkedIn news for B2B this year was the introduction of Lead Generation Forms, allowing users to opt-in to your offer with just one click. According to, AdWeek: “marketers have reported that using the lead gen forms have helped lower their average cost per lead by more than 20%”.

Another major step forward for LinkedIn was the rolling out of native video capabilities this year, allowing B2B marketers the chance to stream live video to a professional audience.

The Crocodile was an early adopter, joining the LinkedIn closed video beta trial for client the London Stock Exchange Group.

All in all, 2017 has been an exciting year for social media, and an interesting time for B2B social marketing. Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog – about hot topics to watch out for in social media in 2018.

No prizes for second place…

Turns out that’s not quite true. This year team Standard Life and The Crocodile scooped ‘Runner Up’ trophies for our ‘Step Ahead With Confidence’ SME workplace pensions campaign at both the B2B Marketing Awards and the Social Buzz Awards.

At the B2B Marketing Awards we won silver in the ‘Best B2B Lead Generation and Nurture’ category and at this year’s Social Buzz Awards, we were runners up in the ‘Best B2B Social Media Campaign’ category.

Truth is, we don’t rate coming second and as much as we like to see a new trophy in the boardroom, silver isn’t good enough. It is however industry recognition that collectively our thinking, craft and execution are up there with the very best in key categories.

You can expect us to find another gear in 2018 as we push for the top spot. Game on!

Jason Talbot
Managing Director

Croc Robyn up for WIM Award

The Crocodile’s Head of Social Media, Robyn Pierce, has been nominated for a Women In Marketing Award. The award for Contribution to Marketing recognises women who have contributed significantly to marketing as a result of the work they have achieved for their organisation or for the industry as a whole.

Robyn is arguably one of the most accomplished social media practitioners in the UK. She has built The Crocodile’s social media division from scratch, fulfilling her role as an entrepreneurial, commercially accountable department head in a busy agency, and in the process building an enviable roster of global clients.

“I’m very fortunate to work with a lot of talented people – both agency and client side,” says Robyn. “WIM provides an important source of support and inspiration for women in the profession and I’m excited to join their ranks.”

Commenting on the nomination, The Crocodile’s managing director, Jason Talbot, adds: “Being an early pioneer of B2B social has given Robyn a unique perspective. She’s passionate not just about the techniques and technologies, but about challenging perceptions and evangelising the possibilities.”

The WIM Awards ceremony takes place on Thursday, 16th November 2017 in Soho, London.

Beasting the B2B Awards

The B2B jungle is a competitive place with lots of fierce creatures. Turns out that team Standard Life have what it takes to be at the head of the pack having been shortlisted in no fewer than four categories:

  • Category 1: Best Multichannel
  • Category 16: Best SME
  • Category 22: Best Lead Generation & Nurture
  • Category 24: Bravery Award

There are no easy categories and all require a deep pool of skill sets, both client and agency side, to achieve connected strategies – with exceptional customer experiences that deliver results.

We hope that we have good cause to be swinging from the rafters come November 23rd when the winners are announced.

Standard Life: Step Ahead With Confidence

Social media: for the intern or the expert?

Southern Rail’s Eddie the social media eagle got us thinking…How brands view social media plays a key role in who they trust to own it.

Here at The Crocodile, we’re believers in bringing in the experts (or certainly using experts to develop the expertise before being let loose). Here’s why:

  • Tone of voice – the way your business communicates on social media is important. It’s what you stand for, what your company is about and how you represent yourselves. This responsibility shouldn’t be left in the hands of an amateur.
  • Accuracy – social media is arguably the closest channel to your customers. One wrong move, misrepresentation or error can have detrimental effects on your brand. The biggest social media fails of 2017 so far are examples of businesses dropping the ball.
  • Relevance – your audience follows your social feeds because they know what they’re getting. Social media managers are skilled at considering content, timing, frequency, customer insight, online behaviour, trends and more, in a way not possible by a non-expert.
  • Strategy – social media is a contributor to delivering against business objectives. Market knowledge and insights should be important informers of your social approach and content planning. A newbie won’t have such insight.
  • Integration – social media doesn’t stand alone. Understanding the value and role of social media in the marketing mix both in driving and supporting brand awareness, website referrals and lead nurturing is important, particularly in B2B.

For a break from the customary customer criticism and the dreariness of delayed train updates seen on @SouthernRailUK, it’s easy to see why they took a chance on Eddie. There’s no doubt he brought a welcome feel-good factor, and analysis from leading social media analytics tool Crimson Hexagon shows positive impacts on engagement, sentiment and emotion levels, compared to the days and week prior:

Engagement Sentiment

Emotion

Eddie demonstrated personality in abundance but also evidence of careful planning and preparations behind the scenes. This doesn’t mean he had a rigid editorial plan or business objective beyond inducing smiles, but certainly was competent in quick thinking, wit, staying on-brand when it mattered, and selecting only the atypical tweets to respond to. It was also clear that Eddie wasn’t left entirely to his own in-experienced devices, with Neil (Southern Rail’s regular tweeter) intervening at one point to ensure focus.

To be fair, Southern Rail/Eddie have played a blinder here but, word of warning: don’t be fooled into thinking long-term social media success lies in the hands of your next intern. I’d guess it was an expert’s decision to let Eddie loose on @SouthernRailUK – and not a flippant one.

 

Stop and Rethink B2B Social – Part 1

Speaking in the Experience track at Ignite 2017, I challenged B2B marketers to take a step back and rethink their approach to social media. After 8+ years’ working in B2B social, I’m frustrated by the lack of innovation and the fact that in so many cases, social’s role within the business has yet to be clearly defined or understood.

Arguably, many B2B brands have lost perspective (or never really had it!) on the game-changing role of social as a one-to-one, real-time engagement channel. Scratch the surface of a typical B2B social media strategy and you’ll find little more than a content calendar and short-term tactics to drive one off engagements.

What’s needed are clear plans, with definable roles for each platform, across paid and organic, aligned to PR, marketing and event calendars, which can be articulated back to the business.

Sounds straightforward right? It’s not!

Social is a really complex and misunderstood area of marketing: across organic and paid, across many and varied platforms, formats and targeting options, factoring in integration with CRM systems and MA platforms, as well as opportunities for data capture and business intelligence…

It’s hard graft that requires clever thinking and a greater investment than most B2B businesses seem willing to make. Which is why we need to take a step back and start over with defined strategies by platform, clearly aligned to long-term business objectives.

It’s time to move beyond content calendars and tactical asks around short-term engagement with the latest blog post or eBook, and start building our social strategies around the functionality and potential of each platform, across paid and organic, taking into account the make up and behaviour profile of our followers, and respecting that the platforms have different strengths and different roles to play.

In B2B, social still gets treated like a junior partner in the business but social is not a junior partner – it is the business! Social is the best scale contact opportunity the business has. The social department could be driving as many conversations as all the best sales rep put together, but how many B2B marketers are giving social the opportunity to achieve that ambition?

It’s an exciting time in B2B social as the platforms compete to launch features that help brands expand their presence, reach the right audiences, and measure success. LinkedIn Lead Forms and Matched Audiences are game changers for B2B, but LinkedIn is only playing catch-up with Facebook who introduced lead forms in 2015.

B2B brands tend to lean heavily on Twitter and LinkedIn, a fact that was confirmed by a live survey at Ignite 2017.

In this blog series, I’m going to focus on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (because let’s face it – Facebook is too big to ignore). I will look at the different roles each platform can fulfill in a way that will help you deliver better brand experiences and more real-time, personal engagement with your followers.

Ultimately your social media strategy will only ever be as good as the sum of its parts and in B2B, we’re just not focusing enough on the individual parts.

Read the second blog in the series.

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