Chris Roche, CEO at Catalyst Consulting, joins our host, Camela Thompson, in this episode of the Revenue Marketing Report. Chris shares his insights on emerging trends in social media marketing, recommendations for companies just starting to build a social presence, and the biggest missteps B2B brands make on social media.
Chris is the CEO of Catalyst Consulting which is a demand generation agency focused on revenue and pipeline growth.
What are you seeing in the SaaS market?
Social media management is one of those things that marketers have a hard time trying to figure out since what works today may not work tomorrow. At the beginning of this chat, Chris discussed the social media trends he has seen in the market.
“Across the market right now, there seems to be this very big push from lead generation to demand generation and focusing on moving out of what we call the hamster wheel. So trying to further qualify prospects before handing them from the marketing team to the sales team. That’s a huge push right now. As popular as marketing becomes, the more it becomes a buzzword where everybody wants to do demand gen. It’s not necessarily applicable to every company in every industry and it doesn’t work with every marketing campaign. However, that’s one of the big pushes that I’m seeing is this huge shift from lead gen to demand gen.”
What recommendations do you have for companies that are just starting to build their social presence?
The internet is additive. It’s always gathering more content and working towards getting your website to show up through in searches through SEO strategies just keeps getting harder and harder. This theme seems very similar in social media in that there’s a lot of noise out there. Chris provided his recommendations on how brands that are new to social media can stand out from the rest of the pack:
“There is a tremendous amount of noise in content, and in my opinion, it has evolved into the next level of SEO. Whereas, a decade ago you would write blog articles, try to push traffic through Google, and have that be a way of driving traffic to your website. Today, there’s this shift to this variety of content marketing where everybody has a podcast, everyone’s producing content, and everybody’s putting it on LinkedIn. How do you cut through that noise? So when I’m working with my clients (CEOs and founders of B2B SaaS companies), we’re always looking at different ways for them to invest in their own personal brands.
“It’s about making sure that the content they’re creating, first of all, is high-quality, it’s engaging and in a format which is readily consumed. Then, being able to distribute that across channels where their audience isn’t actually going to be forced down their throats. Kind of “force the square peg in the round hole” metaphor. Where you’re trying to push people into consuming content in a way they don’t naturally do.”
That’s such a great point because people don’t always realize that different platforms have different demographics. So doing research upfront is always critical. On the other hand, marketing is a blend of art and science. We test things and then measure them and determine what we should repeat. Social also follows this same theoretical algorithm as Chris agrees.
“Absolutely! It’s a blend between art and science. The fact is you have to have the creativity to see what’s going to work and give it a fair enough chance when you’re producing content. If you are creating video content, if you’re doing it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or whatever platform, look at the type of content you’re creating and invest in creating that type of content. Really set up the different pillars by the kind of high-level conversations you can talk about. For me, it could be demand gen or talking about running a business. Those are topics I can talk about all day long without running out of anything to say.
“When you look at those, start testing which of that sort of content and topics you are publishing have the most engagement, the most interactions. What’s resonating with your audience? And when you have an inbound lead come in and you ask them hey! How did you hear about our company? How did you hear about Catalyst Consulting? What made you want to work with us? And they are citing specific podcast interviews that I’ve been on or specific videos they have seen. That for me is how you can start to blend the scientific approach of seeing what’s working and then double down on those avenues and channels that are really delivering the end results for you.”
What are some of the biggest missteps you see B2B brands making on social?
Too much selling
One of the bigger mistakes I see B2B companies commit is they focus exclusively on their product and showcasing it and doing nice sizzle reels. Granted, they’re indeed beautiful, but that’s not really what people come to social media to consume. Chris went on to elaborate on some of the biggest missteps B2B brands make on social media marketing.
“First, most B2B SaaS companies are commodifying in the type of servicing they offer. There are also very similar competitors out there. So when it comes to differentiating yourself simply through UI and UX design, it’s not enough to justify why somebody would work with you vs. someone else. You have to be able to resonate with your audience. When you’re going on platforms like LinkedIn or TikTok and the video content is being consumed in a very natural, organic way, you don’t want that content to stick out like an advert.
Thought leadership is key
“Therefore, when you’re publishing either organic social media or paid social on LinkedIn and it’s very clearly a commercial for your product, the consumer now in your ICP is so educated in advertising that they just gloss over it and never actually consume that content. Whereas if you can get more creative with it and for me, podcast interviews is where I see real value. Taking this long-form content and distributing it and repurposing it across multiple channels. That for me, is a great way to be able to further myself as a thought leader in this space and continue to push for the authority and domain authority that I have in marketing and demand gen. Allowing that to be readily consumed in a platform that they already consume content on without knowing it because it just blends straight into what they’re already consuming.
Play the long game
“So it’s a little of a subtle approach over a long period of time that allows you to educate your potential buyer over a 6, 9 or 12-month period. When they are ready to enter that buying cycle, they will already know everything about your brand. They will be invested in you as a founder, in that personal story, and they will have an affiliation with your company. That is going to be the driving force behind them working with your company compared to a competitor.
Drive on-platform content consumption
“A lot of mistakes center around not focusing the content on the actual consumption itself. When you’re producing content and you’re trying to take people away from the newsfeed, we focus very much on LinkedIn. So we are running paid social on LinkedIn, we also start to educate the founder on how to create their own personal brand. When they’re trying to constantly drive the attention of the potential buyer back to their blogpost, back to their website, back to the different pages there, you’re going to lose the vast majority of your potential audience.
“This is because you are going to have a very low click-through rate and if you have a click-through rate of even 2% to 3% on LinkedIn ads, that’s a pretty respectable figure. However, it means 97% to 98% of those that could potentially consume your content are not. When we are looking at running these demand generation campaigns, we’re really focused on content consumption within the newsfeed in a natural and organic manner so it doesn’t feel like any advert. Then from there, being able to re-target as we move people through that buying mode as they move through that sales cycle up until the point where they can reach out to somebody with the company, get on a call with an account executive. Talk to someone that understands the issue that they are going through and be able to ultimately provide a solution.”
For more B2B marketing content, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.