Simon Hurrell – new Head of Digital

The Crocodile’s appointment of Simon Hurrell as new Head of Digital signals a statement of intent as the agency looks to integrate smarter digital customer experiences across our clients’ businesses.

Simon joins with a stellar B2B agency track record including DNX and McDonald Butler – and brings with him a vast array of experience to help guide our client brands through a marketing landscape rich with potential.

Jason Talbot, Managing Director at The Crocodile says: “We took our time to find the correct balance of strategic capabilities and cultural fit to meet our ongoing ambition to exceed the performance expectations of our clients. In Simon I saw someone who wants to improve whatever he touches and a restless nature that doesn’t settle for second best. We are very happy to have him as part of our leadership team”.

Stop and Rethink B2B Social – Part 3

With 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook is simply too big to ignore – even in B2B.

Facebook is the largest social platform in terms of active users, followed by YouTube with 1.5 billion and WeChat with 889 million.

Apart from YouTube, the only other social media platforms with more than 1 billion users are Facebook Messenger and Facebook owned WhatsApp with 1.2 billion each. You can bet that Instagram (Facebook owned!) won’t be far behind.

With a 17% hike in users this year, Facebook is growing faster now than any year since 2012, despite the fact that the platform no longer appeals to younger users – an audience that doesn’t really concern us in B2B.

The ubiquity and reach of Facebook alone should be reason enough for B2B brands to invest in the platform – B2B buyers are Facebook users too.

Yes, it’s true that the usage profile of people on Facebook is different to that of LinkedIn and Twitter. And it’s true that people typically aren’t using the app for work, but show them something great that happens to be work related, and they’ll click on it.

People use Facebook to be distracted and entertained. Maybe part of the problem is that in B2B generally, we’re not confident enough in our ability to entertain. Long sales cycles and complex propositions are frankly poor excuses for not at least trying to bring a little joy to B2B marketing.

To explore the difference it can make, we did some A/B testing on a recent Facebook campaign for Dell EMC, comparing static image ads that were on-brand with gif based ads featuring a distinctly off-brand dancing man. The dancing man outperformed the brand ads by 194%.

B2B brands need to stop fearing failure and push themselves to discover and deliver what audiences really want and the best place to do that is on Facebook.

Facebook vs. Twitter

To understand how B2B audiences stack up on Facebook, I consulted TrackMaven’s 2016 B2B Social Media Industry report and discovered that in B2B overall, the average audience size is bigger on Facebook than on Twitter.

The only industries cited in the report where that wasn’t the case are Pharmaceutical, Chemical, Medical and Engineering. People working in those industries are still reachable on Facebook using targeting parameters like Job Title, Field of Study, Employer and Industry, but how many marketers in those areas are exploring Facebook’s potential?

Part of the problem is there are too many senior stakeholders in B2B marketing who don’t use Facebook, don’t like it or literally don’t know a thing about it. We need to set aside our personal preferences in the same way we do with traditional media. I don’t read Tunnels and Tunnelling magazine or Medical Design Technology but I understand the role they play in reaching certain audiences. I also know that many of the people who read those magazines are on Facebook…

Cost-effective, scalable advertising

Of course there are many millions of companies with Facebook Pages. Over 50 million in fact, but only 6% of them are actively advertising. That’s a massive untapped opportunity. But it’s only a matter of time before the 94% catch on!

Facebook is the most cost-effective and scalable advertising platform on the market, and without doubt, the best video ad buy for your money right now. We often see CPM rates as low as £2-£3 on Facebook that are likely to be £20-£30 in three or four years time.

Facebook data shows that in the US, the average person now spends approximately 60 minutes each day on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. That’s almost 50x more than the average time spent on Twitter, and for comparison, the average LinkedIn user only spends a couple of hours a months on the site.

Think of Facebook as TV. That’s how Facebook thinks of itself these days. Facebook doesn’t care about Twitter or LinkedIn. Facebook is going after Amazon and Netflix. Facebook Live will soon be as big as TV for advertising. Certainly around those Superbowl type moments.

Facebook Live essentially puts TV cameras into the hands of anyone with a smart phone. However, fear of failure is stopping B2B brands from exploiting the opportunity to deliver real-time and personal brand experiences in the most cost effective way imaginable.

The critical forces driving the success of Facebook (like mobile and video) have already converged and you need to ask yourself are you in step and are you moving with the curve?

In next week’s blog… The truth about social content.

Click to read part 1 and part 2 in the Time to Rethink B2B Social series.

New talent. Bright futures

Any good agency knows it’s only as good as the people it has. As an agency, going through growth, recruiting great people with ambition, drive, intelligence and likability is a constant focus.

So it is pleasing to have early success in the summer transfer window with the arrival of Georgie and Hannah.

Georgie joins as an Account Manager having made a strong career start in B2B. Already her infectious appetite for great marketing has made a positive contribution through the agency.

Hannah joins us as an Account Executive with huge potential and the hunger to be involved – qualities any agency would welcome.

We have an exciting summer breeze flowing through the agency at the moment. Welcome Georgie and Hannah.

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 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