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What’s Effective in B2B Social Marketing Today?

Posted June 20, 2024
What’s Effective in B2B Social Marketing Today?

Vahbiz Cooper, Sr. Executive of Digital Marketing at Demandbase, joins our host, Camela Thompson, in this episode of the Revenue Marketing Report. Vahbiz shares how to grab your audience’s attention by differentiating your brand.

I’m excited to talk to you as you are somebody who looks at metrics and what is going on. I would love to hear from you about what is and isn’t working in social media today. I know folks' ears have perked up when they heard influencer. Don’t worry, we are going to cover that tomorrow. Let’s get into social media.

“Awesome! What I think works, one main thing is authenticity. Many people post anything under the sun and it is hard nowadays to get authentic content and build that trust. That is something that people should work on and focus on while they’re developing their strategies. The other thing I think that works is visual content. 

“People no longer want to read a lot of long text or an ebook, which is all text and no infographics. Video content performs, especially short snippets, that definitely works. Particularly when there’s a story told in that. People say, oh! storytelling! However, it is hard to tell that story in a minute or two because that’s the attention span of the audience now. This is where I feel probably some user-generated content can help where you’re asking, okay, what do you think about it? Customers usually have success stories and they’ve actually experienced that entire thing, that entire process. Their story in a video format performs really well.

“Also, I think personalization and I don’t mean going into ChatGPT, writing some stuff up or I have seen people go on LinkedIn and copy and paste people’s about section and personalize things like that. I once got an email saying, “Hey, Vahbiz, I checked out your Instagram content and I loved it” and I have zero posts on my personal Instagram. I wondered, what exactly were you checking? People should do their homework. It is okay to send five emails in a day vs. shooting out 50 emails in a day, but they should connect with your audience. That is what is going to boost engagement and get all those business balls rolling. That is something you should focus on. 

“Of course, influencer collaboration, where they speak about what they like about your product and they tell their perspective of what you’ve got to offer. All of these things are important, but again,  everything funnels down to authenticity. If you are going to throw up random content, then no one is going to believe you. You might get a few followers at the start, but then people will begin realizing that you’re faking it.”

Yeah. I love this. Let’s break this into two parts. One is what works, actually three. Let’s talk about what works for company pages and this gets tricky. So I would love to nerd that out with you over that. Then, we will go to the individual side and then prospecting because we get so many of those prospecting messages. Let’s start with company pages. I have many clients who are trying to scale up following on the company page and they ask, let me see, how do I put this nicely? They’re hesitant to work with people within the company to represent the brand since they’re afraid if that person leaves, then no one will pay attention to the brand anymore. How do you coach people around this scenario?

“Firstly, unfortunately, always have a backup plan, your plan B. That definitely needs to be there. Usually, companies have one face for their social media brand. If it is TikTok, for example, utilize more people. If you’re holding up a sales persona campaign, ideally, take an SDR or an AE to make those TikTok videos vs. your social media manager who already has plenty on their plate. Take that load off and then you are getting proper content. That’s like an SDR saying it or AE saying it. You are not dependent on one person.

“Additionally, I think when it comes to company pages, a lot of the time actually goes with research to determine what exactly your audience is looking for. What do they want to hear? What do they want to talk about as well back to us? Sometimes, it’s like we think, oh, this post is going to get us a lot of engagement. There are going to be comments scrolling and we see that there’s nothing. On occasion, we have good leaders talking about good content and we believe in that content and say, this is going to knock it out of the park. Unfortunately, It doesn’t. A random post like, oh, it’s Friday and this is our small newsletter would perform so well. It is hard to analyze that, but much research is required when you do that.

“Also, in the context of company pages, I have noticed when people are designing carousels, there is, there’s no flow at times. This is our topic and these are five tips, but how would you execute those? I could get these tips off a Google prompt, but how are you teaching me how to execute those tips is going to be important and I need to have a flow in the carousel. Not just random thoughts thrown there.”

Those are great tips. I would like to know if you’ve seen this too: usually, I coach my clients to be regular since the algorithms do favor that, unfortunately. On LinkedIn, even do a meme, do a short post, a long post; do care about the content, but be regular. Are you seeing where that does help a little bit?

“Oh, yeah. Definitely! Consistency is key, especially when it comes to company pages for sure. I understand it is hard when it’s your own personal LinkedIn. Some days you are super exhausted, just writing captions for your company page and you don’t have that bandwidth. But yes, consistency is important. Research usually posits four posts and stuff, but keep observing what works well with your brand. You’ve got good content now, but if you push all of that at one go, then it would be, oh, you’re over-promoting or you wouldn’t have good content in the coming week. So schedule that. Yet, at the same time, give the audience that breathing space to consume it. It is also super important.”

Other things I see, I would love to have you verify it isn’t just me. So platforms change their algorithms all the time, but what we’re seeing consistently from LinkedIn is that they tend to favor individual contributors over company pages. There are a few things we can do. I noticed that anytime we do an in-person event and we are on the company page and we are tagging everybody there and getting some engagement, those posts do well. Have you seen other things where you can pull in the audience and get a little extra lift on a post?

“Sure. We have noticed that as well. They do perform pretty well. The strategy that we use, from time to time, is to convert our content. If we have a blog and it is highlighting our influencers, what we do is we make a carousel and showcase our influencers and we tag each and every single one of them who are part of that carousel. When they share it and then promote it, it gets us engagement. Of course, we do give a little something to them as well. Hey, do you want some cookies, maybe? It’s good for them as with the brand. It also gives them a feel-good  factor and they say, oh, we’re part of a big thing.”

Yeah. I love it! It’s so good. Then, LinkedIn has pretty good analytics on content engagement and determining which posts worked. Do you want to talk about that, perhaps just a little bit?

“Often, carousel-type posts work the best. They get us the most engagement. After that videos, small audiograms, or any sort of thought leadership snippets, they work very well. The other thing that I’ve noticed is if you are making an audiogram for promoting a podcast, I always try to leave it at a cliffhanger so it gets the curiosity rolling. What does the post or guest have to say next? 

“Yeah, sometimes when you leave them at that cliffhanger, those posts perform very well when compared to other thought leadership posts. Again, the least performing ones are plain texts every now and then or code cards. Just no animation thought of the thing that works the least.”

What I love is that you’re emphasizing a lot of value add content that’s not a sales push. What sort of distribution between promotional and non-promotional, self-promotional content do you usually recommend?

“Honestly, I feel like many times, a lot of organizations use the push strategy where you say, oh, we came up with this product or this is what we offer now and this is a value add. I think they tend to forget that their competitors are doing the same thing. I feel on occasion, you have to create posts that are a reminder like, here we are. And if we come to know there’s this problem that our customers are facing, we’ve got a guest on a podcast who is talking about it or a guest who has written a blog about it. We use that snippet to say, hey, this is the problem and we hear you. It’s not all salesy and pushy like, hey, we’ve got this or we have that. Of course, you’ve got to do that when you are launching a product or from time to time, in between.

“However, oftentimes, companies are all up and say, hey, this is something new, this is a product or would you like a demo? You can only learn so much in a demo about a company unless you are giving them an entire trial run, which is super rare. If you’re being present by saying, hey, this is me and I know that this is the problem you are facing and I know that I can solve it because I did it with X,Y or Z. You’ve made cold lead a warm lead without doing much. 

“You can use influencers as well and their stories or webinars sometimes to talk about it like, hey, you know what? I used X, Y, or Z product and this is what I got. Or you can promote  the customer sales stories as infographics like, hey, this is what happened and if you want to make money, we’re here.”

Yeah, focus on the results first. Don’t hide the punchline. tell a story. What I would love to hear from you, what I’ve coached people and I don’t know if this is wrong now because things change over time. In the past, I noticed people are really picky about audio quality, but they’re not as finicky when it comes to video. If you can get a good iPhone, and your customer authentically talks about something. The video quality doesn’t matter quite as much. Now, if you could have a high production value come in, even better, but what do you feel about getting that authentic piece, whichever way you can?

“On occasion, we have guests who share good content and we don’t just want an audio going out since that video gives that impact. But yeah, we do face that too where the video quality isn’t that good. What we tend to do is use stock images to support. So we still have something that is good and off quality, but you aren’t missing out on the content. Those posts have also performed pretty well on our LinkedIn at times. Nevertheless, from time to time, it doesn’t work where it is glitchy and the person hasn’t completed the sentence in whole and the first sentence is good, but if I cut it here and join that, would it make sense? Or should I keep it as it is? 

“Again when promoting on Instagram, sometimes, it’s hard when it goes above a minute since a person’s going to swipe up on your reel. Those things get hard. But use stock images or stock videos at that time so you aren’t losing out on the visual aspect of the past.”

I know I have gotten plenty of ideas in my head for my own clients and I hope marketers out there, their brains are spinning the same way. Thank you so much.

For more content on B2B marketing trends, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.

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