Ogilvy Chicago was thrilled this week to take part in the city’s debut hosting of international Social Media Week, a hub of the newest, brightest trends in social and mobile media.
Yesterday, Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence’s Ian Sohn led a panel of brand, agency, platform and technology specialists to discuss how B2B brands should approach social media. Judging by the event’s standing-room-only attendance, it’s clear the topic is on the mind of many marketers.
- Content is still king: OgilvyOne’s Mark Skroch explained that this adage may apply even more so to B2B companies who sit on untapped treasure troves of content; be it in the form of experts, thought leadership, multimedia, etc. Knowing how to find and mine that content is challenging for sure, but the payoff (in terms of customer engagement) can be huge.
- Find your voice and value: Skroch also talked about how it’s essential for B2B brands to clearly and authentically express their brand voice, and that there must be a purpose driving the engagement. The value exchange between B2B companies and their online audiences may (will) be different from consumer brands, but even if the focus is, for example, on thought leadership rather than entertainment, the value still has to be there.
- Facebook is important, but not at the expense of everywhere else: Buddy Media’s Myles Kleeger understandably argued that every brand even B2B”needs to be on Facebook. But he was also quick to point out that a brand’s Facebook page will not and should not (in most cases) be the final customer destination. The major platforms today allow brands to have a presence on multiple channels at a low cost, through free company pages, handles or groups. But the next step, then, comes in examining your brand’s objectives and choosing which platforms on which to focus your resources, both time and budget. For example, Kyleen Fishwick of LinkedIn highlighted why their platform can help B2B brands target their niche professional audiences and build viral impressions throughout their LinkedIn connections.
- Identify your advocates and raise their voices: Lauren McCadney from CDW (client), shared how the brand saw success in amplifying its existing advocates among IT decision makers online. Empowering and enabling CDW’s advocates to share their positive feedback through online reviews helped the brand leverage a powerful source of word of mouth and drive ROI; the advocates spent twice as much per order and actively influenced others awareness and engagement with the brand.
- Get your house in order: Kleeger’s first word of advice to B2B brands? Define from the start what role social media will play in meeting your business objectives, where it will live within the organization, who will own (and contribute), and what resources must be secured before you start thinking about tactical execution. Even if budget is a limitation, mapping out a clear, internal plan for social media from the beginning will set you up for success as your company looks outward and starts engaging online.
Do you have any questions or thoughts to add to the panel’s discussion? Share below in the comments.
Thank you to all of the panel representatives for offering their expertise and participating in this event.
You can follow the tweets from Ogilvy’s panel and all of the Social Media Week events by searching #SMWChicago on Twitter.