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Social media, what hasn’t been written about it by now? It’s easy to assume that you’ve heard it all and perhaps you have, but perhaps you haven’t. If you’re a B2B business and maybe even a B2C business you could find this new strategy really works for you. And, like all the best ideas, at its heart it’s very simple.
Firstly, let me highlight a point made by a good friend of mine recently. Social media is about socialising. Or, more specifically, it’s about people being social with each other. It’s a thing that people do with other people. People don’t socialise with companies or inanimate objects or anything else.
This is a problem for B2B businesses because they are companies selling to other companies. It’s a ‘double-whammy’ for them. Businesses are just that, businesses, they’re not social. However, despite this B2B businesses have found social media impossible to ignore.
So, how to meet this social challenge? Do B2B businesses pretend they are B2C, act like them and hope it all works out? Or do they try something different? Here’s how one such B2B business is now using social media in a different way. And it’s quite an effective way too.
Recently I undertook some marketing consultancy with a growing, mid-sized B2B company. The CEO was very keen on social media and there was a big push to continually post content on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, typically two-three times every day.
However, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are markedly different in the way they are used by their audiences and the content this company pushed out went onto each one, whether it was appropriate or not. It’s a real scattergun approach which wasn’t really working. Sure, there were lots of postings but as is so often the case, little engagement. Social media posts were like wallpaper, magnolia wallpaper in a magnolia room in fact.
So, what was the solution? The solution came from chance conversations with some new recruits which led to a fundamental change of social media strategy for the business.
Every potential new employee I had spoken to had used Facebook and Twitter to find out what the company was like. And when I say ‘what the company was like’ I mean what it was really like, not what it did.
Due to the multitude of posts from within the company, showing employees enjoying their work, socialising and working together they could see exactly what type of company they could be working for. They gained a valuable insight into what it could be like working for them, something that other companies simply failed to do. This type of content was less appropriate for potential clients but gold for recruitment and to show the company’s human side.
Of course, it helped that the company was continually going through training and team building exercises, and very much following the mantra ‘work hard, play hard’. Nevertheless, such a positive insight into the company made their Facebook and Twitter feeds far more effective.
This was a fascinating revelation and one which was having a considerable effect on the number of applications for new positions. It gave the business a really great advantage in recruiting the very best people.
Whilst none of these softer, social type posts had any negative effect on the company’s existing, professional social media face on LinkedIn, it was clear that they could be separated from the platform and used exclusively for Facebook and Twitter where they were doing the most good.
Two distinct social media strategies were then created from one light bulb moment, one for clients, and one for potential new (and existing) employees.
For potential new clients LinkedIn was used exclusively to showcase thought leadership content, awards, business successes, testimonials, business operations and corporate developments. Each type of content conformed to specific criteria, which encompassed the elements necessary to make sure that it added value and had a distinct purpose as opposed to simply being posted for the sake of posting (an all too common approach in many businesses, unfortunately).
For potential new employees and to showcase the business’s excellent culture, the criteria for posting was much less specific and direct. Facebook and Twitter continued to be the focus on the softer, human culture of the business with video snippets and snaps taken on smartphones of employees working together, socialising and generally enjoying their work and the ethos of the business. Much of this was humorous and showed off the business in an extremely positive light.
By adopting this new strategy for each type of social media the business has been able to improve the effectiveness of LinkedIn, and Facebook and Twitter, and increased its ROI (don’t forget that this is ultimately what social media is for).
There are, of course, countless strategies for social media, which work for many types of business, and even if this strategy doesn’t work for you I’d like to encourage you to give a little thought to exactly what and why you’re using social media. It can be a huge asset for your business.
Ross Meigh is the director and owner of marketing business Groundlevel Publishing. You can read his last article on solving the business website conversion conundrum here.