Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight? Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!
This could be a typical conversation between two B2C marketers, anywhere in the world, who are primed and ready to use every weapon at their disposal to reach their audience. This is pretty much what the likes of Coca-Cola, Nike and other giant consumer brands have done –– taken over the world.
But what if this could also be true for B2B companies? You’re probably not buying it – so let me explain.
Since the emergence of Social Media channels, some B2B companies have spotted the opportunity to reach their audiences – LinkedIn, SlideShare and Twitter are examples of where B2B brands have begun to take the space. There seems to be an unwritten agreement that only the so-called “professional” Social Media channels are valuable or – fit for purpose – for B2B brands.
Although this statement probably held some weight when B2B content was limited to serious content, we certainly have the right to challenge this status-quo and question its validity.
Bring your audience where you want them to be
Most people will tell you that you need to be where your audience is, but it is equally important to be able to take your audience to places that they haven’t yet been. On the so-called professional Social Media channels, you can find both serious and story-telling content. But why not use non-professional Social Media channels as a chance to connect with customers on a deeper emotional level?
Many of us would be annoyed by a B2B white paper pop-up promotion on Facebook or a 6 second salesy B2B promotional video on Instagram. But that does not mean that we cannot use these channels to offer something different, something fitting, to connect with the audiences accessing these platforms. It is not to say that we should all-together abandon the so-called professional platforms – but we should complement them with other social media channels. The end goal is to create a strategy that encourages the creation of a personalised digital ecosystem, to further fulfil economic and branded goals.
This no doubt comes with great challenges for B2B companies because you will need to have a pretty strong Social Media strategy to do so. But some socalled “un-sexy B2B industries” have already succeeded.
Social Media is like playing Jazz
Maersk is one of the best examples of a successful brand on social media. Jonathan Wichmann, the Social Media leader has managed to make the shipping industry ‘sexy’ and has created a very strong brand. They have created a fine balance juggling between professional and non-professional platforms, to create different experiences for different audiences. And to avoid straying into the territory of dry, boring and safe posts on Social Media, remember his quote:
“As a jazz musician you respond to the moment and the vibe. Great jazz musicians play a new version every time. You get closer to the audience. Continuing the jazz analogy: There is a lot of improvisation in it. You just need a clearly defined structure. You must not try to control it just as you cannot control the rhythm of jazz. It evolves with the situation and the audience’s feedback, like the most advanced kind of rhythmical music.”