Jenna Roberts from Retortal shares some outstanding expert advice on how social media can be used for B2B brand building! Retortal is a white label, social media management dashboard that can be used as a B2B sales funnel for its reseller and a social management tool for its end user.
Jenna takes care of their social media and marketing, and we’re delighted to have her excellent advice!
Over to Jenna!
“Strategically, B2B brand-building is a bit of a Catch-22.
In today’s digital landscape, brand-building – the process of building a brand, forging a unique persona, and then building it up – is all about creating emotional connections with your customer. (Nothing prises open wallets like a teary eye, case in point). Tapping into those emotions, telling stories, grounding your brand with an authenticity, a voice with personality, a humanness as its foundation, and making these special, more emotive connections elevates an impulse buy to a personal investment in your brand and its ethos.
But, within a B2B context, where your customer is a middle-management buyer or key business decision-maker, how 'emosh' should we realistically be getting?
B2B brands seem generally to assume they need to be anchored in the logical and strictly serious, their brands encompassing stability, security, efficiency – which, of course, they do, but can come across lacklustre, corporate and, dare we say, bland.
So, how do you strike that balance between professionalism and infusing your B2B brand-building with more character and maybe even a little more feeling?
Here are our top 3 brand-building tips for B2B business starting out.
1) First impressions count, and online, you’ve got about 50 milliseconds
Within seconds, your brand image can do what an entire sales team might spend hours attempting. You’d be surprised how emotions, and initial emotional impact of your brand, factor into a buyer’s process alongside the logical. Though you’re not looking to evoke those John Lewis feelings, you are looking to reassure – within a B2B context, consider your brand as the buyer’s shortcut, the pivotal first stop in their decision-making, sizing you up and evaluating the risks.
Your brand should consolidate your business’ expertise and experience, project a confidence and command but throw out the thinking that these will be your differentiators – a flair, vision, your brand’s character and values are what’ll set you apart.
Take the time to refine and really hone in on those USPs. Call us shallow, but aesthetics are everything. The quality of your brand, especially visually, will directly translate as the quality of your product, and those brands selling tangible goods have to work twice as hard in this regard – consider your website your shop front, take pride in it and make it as slick as possible. By the time a company’s actually reached out to you, they’ve done their research and your brand and its online presence has sealed the deal for them.
2) Everyone loves to feel part of something + everyone loves the sound of their own voice = the Twitter chat
Consider Twitter chat as the new after-work drinks. Think up a unique, nifty hashtag, round up the eager Twitter-ers within your industry and spend an hour, scheduled for one evening a week, sharing your thoughts, tips, and tricks. You want your brand’s voice heard? Start the conversation! It’s an opportunity not simply to anchor you, as its host, as an industry authority, asking the big questions and dispensing your wisdom, but to actively reach out to other industry professionals and businesses, to form relationships and build something of a community.
Though a little easier said than done, it’s in fact minimal effort once you’ve got your chat established and off the ground, but it will take a solid investment of time - get involved with Twitter chats already happening (here’s a super handy, user-moderated Google doc to browse what’s already out there ) and work to build up a targeted, engaged following.
Once you’ve launched, don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting huge waves of social traffic early on - consistency is key and as your chat grows, keep it interesting. Invite guests and get co-hosts involved, sync your chat with Periscope to put faces to Twitter handles, use Storify to create post-chat round-ups the morning after. Keep your topics varied and your voice strong.
3) Brand-building never sleeps
LinkedIn is the obvious choice for B2B brand-building.
It’s the business social network and is a crucial way of connecting with those higher-level execs, but be wary of getting wrapped up in the corporate and drifting into facelessness.
B2B or otherwise, your social media should never be conducted as a means to an end, with business it’s only driver, as this’ll not only prove transparent but seriously boring. According to our own recent social survey, Facebook is in fact the most popular medium of the SME (62%), Twitter second (51%) and LinkedIn coming in third. The lesson? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Communicate a strong, cohesive brand voice across all touchpoints (your website, social profiles, newsletters, all mail-outs and physical literature etc.) –at all hours.
The B2B buying process is pretty much the exact opposite of an impulse buy, it’s carefully considered and thoroughly mulled-over (it’s harder to return a turbine than a jumper, right?) and those B2B buyers don’t switch off completely when they’ve get home and log into their FB, or are scrolling their Twitter on the tube. Nothing simulates reassurance like consistency, nor breeds familiarity.
Keep LinkedIn between 9 & 5 and keep your social social. If you’ve not got the manpower, invest in a social media management platform, so you can schedule content and have it firing out at all hours. Also, never forget: 1.30am here is lunchtime someplace else in the world. Think global!”
Thanks for the great B2B brand building advice and all the very best of luck with Retortal!