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.

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