We’re now well into 2018. In the last year or so, you may have seen social media go through some remarkable transformations.
As numerous cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data, and the internet of things (IoT) have become mainstream, it’s only natural for the social media to adapt to the changing digital ecosystem. The days of posting on social media just for the sake of it are long gone.
An increasing number of B2B businesses are turning to social media to target their audience and improve their brand image. With the ever-increasing competition, only those who can take advantage of the prevailing trends and the ever-evolving social media landscape will stay ahead of the social marketing game.
Here are five B2B PR tips that will help you sail through these stormy changes.
Put a Face in Front of Messaging
A few years ago, B2B companies would have used brochures and whitepapers full of high-dollar vocabulary to communicate with customers. But, this ambiguous language isn’t going to resonate with today’s social media-savvy audience. You don’t need just tailored messages; you also need to try to make your brand more human.
It is often difficult for humans to relate to a faceless company or organization. People like to interact with other people. It’s no surprise that putting a face to your brand will allow you to connect with your audience on a personal level.
Does this mean you have to get a brand ambassador or a celebrity to promote your product? Not necessarily.
Everyday people can also be the face of your B2B brand. You can find them right in your office or among your clients. It can be something as simple as blog posts featuring photos of your employees and their role in developing your product or service, or videos featuring some real-life examples.
Take a look at Moz’s social media profile. If you examine their social media posts, you will see human faces put in front of every single one of them. Not just employees, but clients also actively promote Moz in social media.
Make Video an Integral Part of Your Strategy
Video content will continue to be the most dominant form of brand promotion on social media. Almost all social media, including Instagram and Facebook, have invested in video streaming capabilities because people love watching videos more than anything else.
According to a recent HubSpot survey, where video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people prefer using video to learn about a product or service over reading the text. Further, 83% of consumers would consider sharing a video with their friends if they enjoyed it.
For example, TD Ameritrade’s Human Finance Project has created a video showing real-life financial advisors sharing their thoughts and inspirations on taking up this profession. It’s the perfect combination of video marketing and putting a human face to your brand.
Zendesk, a cloud-based customer service company, takes a slightly different approach. They have created just 16 seconds-long, but highly offbeat and humorous videos. Though short, the quirkiness ensures higher engagement. You also need to find out what type of videos resonate with your target audience and plan your strategy accordingly.
Live streaming is the next big thing in B2B social media marketing because Generation Z loves it. This is why all leading social media platforms have started offering real-time video streaming in the recent years and made changes accordingly. For instance, Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm favors live videos over other types of video content.
Streaming videos accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic and is expected to jump to 82% by 2020. On Facebook alone, more than one in five videos are streaming live. They are watched 3X more than the ones that aren’t live anymore. You will also need to shift your approach towards making live streaming video content that resonates with your target audience.
As a B2B marketer, you can use live video to walk your customers through a process, introduce a new product or service, stream your customer service, provide potential customers a real-time sneak peek into a project, or create featured live events. One of the earliest examples of leveraging Facebook Live was a video shared by BuzzFeed, where two of their employees tried to burst a watermelon with rubber bands. More than 800,000 people were watching the 45-minute-long video at its peak time.
Watch us explode this watermelon one rubber band at a time!
Posted by BuzzFeed on Friday, April 8, 2016
Get Involved in Groups
You can get actively involved in social media groups where your target audience hangs out. You can either start a group of your own on your blog, or create/join a group on LinkedIn. With hundreds of professionals and potential consumers in one place, you have the opportunity to generate new sales leads without excess effort.
Additionally, you get the opportunity to learn from experts in your niche and potential clients, too. However, you will need to take things slow. Don’t start sharing links to your website or landing page right after you have joined a group. First, you will need to establish yourself as an industry expert and help some of the members solve their problems.
Remember, LinkedIn groups are not meant for water-cooler gossip. They are also strictly off-limits for self-promotion. Make sure to become a contributing member in the group. Once you have done this, you can slip in a link to your blog post or a social share eventually.
Showcase Your Transparency (Data Management)
In the recent years, the demand for transparency has gone up. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) officially going into effect, you will need to handle consumer data carefully. Make sure all your data collection processes on social media and other channels are compliant with the GDPR regulations. This is non-negotiable, given the immense financial ramifications. The last thing you need is Cambridge Analytica 2.0 taking place in your office.
Always provide your customers with the opportunity to choose what information they want to share. Tell them why you are collecting this information and how you will store and use it. The recent data breaches at prominent organizations have left the average customers feeling uneasy. Never use data to target your customers with products and services that could be objectionable, offensive, or detrimental in any way. Data gives you exceptional power. But, with power comes responsibility, and in this case, also respect for privacy.
Social media offers an excellent opportunity to B2B companies to improve their brand image and reach. However, it is in constant flux. Digital marketers need to stay up-to-date with the changing social environment. Hopefully, these five pointers will help you survive the upcoming drastic social media changes in 2018. If you still have doubts, leave a comment and we will get back to you as soon as possible.