I'm convinced those of us guiding social media strategy at B2B brands have to be even more creative than our B2C counterparts in many respects.
No offense to my awesome B2C colleagues - many of whom are creating great social experiences for their fans - but B2B brands have to work harder because they generally don't have the same broad appeal and brand affinity built in that B2Cs typically come with.
Simply put: We're niche. Moreover, our brand voice is often less playful than our B2C counterparts and, thus, less of a natural fit for the lively, snarky, cacophonous conversations happening on most social networks.
It can sometimes feel like we're the Carlton of the social media world.
But, being B2B is no excuse to be boring. The social medium specifically encourages users (brands and individuals, alike) to leverage emerging communication methods to more deeply engage with their audience.
B2Bs, when crafting your posts, bear this in mind.
1. Be decisive with content guidance and governance
Fundamentally, your brand's social presence should align to your corporate brand - this means you need to be thoughtful and diligent in planning on what networks to activate a presence, and what your mix of handles ought to be. And, if there's a handle that's not performing, then be bold enough to shutter it.
Oftentimes, having too many LinkedIn pages, Facebook pages, or Twitter accounts serves to only fragment your brand identity, especially if these various accounts aren't regularly sharing unique content and, instead, parrot one another. There's no real value in that.
As an example, we at Level 3 continually evaluate our various Twitter handles - and in fact, right now we're discussing whether one of our handles should be shuttered or if we can pivot our content strategy to see greater success. I also spend a great deal of time in content creation discussions offering guidance (based on our data) around what content performs best on social (hint: NOT brochures). Not all content we produce makes it to our social networks.
2. Use memes, GIFs, and more
As noted above, social media specifically encourages us to utilize various communication methods.
In a medium where character count is everything, including memes, GIFs, emojis, video, and the like not only serves to give your brand personality, it also helps extend the conversation beyond character limits. And in the perma-scrolling environment that is most social networks, it can help capture greater attention from your audience.
If we can't get our audience to stop scrolling and read our post, how can we expect them to engage?
Pro Tip: Google has just launched their own GIF maker. Use it in good health, friends.
3. Go non-traditional
Test networks you wouldn't normally consider. For instance, we have an active presence on Pinterest and Spotify. Both add personality to our brand and help buttress our overall social content strategy.
4. Deliver exceptional CX
Any brand delivering a particularly excellent customer experience is already ten steps ahead of everyone else.
A good example here: Buc-ee's. The Texas-based company, doesn't particularly excel in social media - they haven't tweeted once this year. However, a quick search of what folks are saying about the brand on Twitter and it's obvious they're well-loved.
Now, are they missing out on some unique opportunities by not being more social? Yes, but the point here is this: If you get the experience right, your audience will do the heavy lifting for you.
And customer experience is definitely social. Commit to make your social customer experience outstanding (even if other areas of your business will need to catch up). For us at Level 3, that's taken the form of regular review and collaboration on our crisis communication plan and process in an effort to expedite resolution times.
5. Leverage other people's good stuff
It gets said regularly:
"Brands, stop talking so much about yourself."
Because, really, stop talking so much about yourself.
One way to do that is to include other references and sources in your social content calendar.
Read a great research report? An interesting infographic? Share it - even if not sponsored or authored by your organization.
The content you share on your social networks should be all about what's valuable to your audience, not what's valuable to your brand.
In addition, activate your employee base. Go out and build that employee advocacy program to not only expand your reach, but to also utilize your employees' good content. I regularly retweet our employees when they share an interesting story
Get excited - there's a lot of opportunity to take your brand from "A Carlton" to a "Fresh Prince." If you're in B2B, I'd would love to hear more about how you're using social media as an effective brand communication channel. Leave a response in the comments below.