It’s time to address the elephant in the room.
Most B2B social media sucks.
It's boring reports read on camera, endless talking heads, a maze of technical guides and stuffy research papers mixed with a distinct lack of authenticity. It's nobody's fault but B2B brands struggle immensely with social media. They don't know whether to get their CEO to post TikTok dance videos or pay a few thousand pounds to a self declared influencer to promote their new software solution.
There are millions of people broadcasting on social media but few do so well. It's an auditorium where everyone is screaming but nobody is listening.
B2B social media has differences to the more commonly known B2C campaigns but most critically it involves three things:
1. Buying journeys are changing
The buying journey is fueled by content but critically the buying journey is now amplified by the experts in your organisation that can communicate it well. Content is shaped by the personal networks of your sales team. It's critical to activate your people and get them creating content.
This process consists of three critical phases: a “creation” phase, “translation” phase and finally a contextualisation phase.
The creation phase is the brand content which usually exists in abundance. The translation phase is the step where content and creatives “translate” brand assets in digestible snapshots of content which can be shared on social media. The third and final phase is the contextualisation phase - this is where people add their own context and narrative to the content.
2. Your brand is only as valuable as the people in it
LinkedIn allows your people to build communities around their personal brand. The relationship between this is crucial in understanding the role social media plays in B2B communications of the future. The term “people buy from people'' is used too much because it is true. Good B2B social media content should be told through human stories.
3. Communications are a dialogue not a monologue
To add to this, social media is a contact sport – it involves a two-way conversation between you and your stakeholders. The best content we see on social media brings in the audience and allows them to shape the narrative. This is true in B2B marketing, but it's rarely executed well. There is a rich treasure trove of content which involves debates and the free sharing of ideas. It's okay to not know all the answers but what people value is the thought processes and mechanics as to how you got there. The platformisation of content is the future of content on social media. B2B brands are well positioned to create forums for communities to discuss and forecast the future of their respective industries.
To conclude, the best way to transform your B2B content is to look inwards at the wonderful people that make up your organisation and understand that creating a platform for conversation and stimulating debate in your community lay the seeds of fantastic B2B content.
James Saward-Anderson and Maxwell Hannah are co-founders of Social Tree Global, Europe's largest dedicated B2B social media agency