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May 11, 2017
Top B2B Social Media Insights from SMSS 2017
CBD
CBD

When the question, “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” took the Twitter-verse by storm in late 2016, ConAgra Brands understood the frivolity — but also the fervent interest — in ascertaining the true identity of America’s beloved ballpark snack. At SMSS, ConAgra representatives discussed how they positioned their Hebrew National brand at the center of the conversation with a viral video campaign. In the video, titled, “A Frank Discussion,” actual customers weighed in on the debate. Engagement across Hebrew National’s social platforms quickly skyrocketed, generating nearly 10 million impressions in a matter of days.

Similarly, speaker James Chong of American footwear company TOMS® spoke about how they were able to capitalize on a trending moment to increase brand awareness.

When people began using the hashtag #tomstans to caption pictures of their funky shoe tans (reflecting the distinct shape and style of the TOMS® shoe), TOMS® engaged by liking and reposting users’ content, amplifying engagement on their Twitter and Instagram accounts and winning over new brand fans in the process. The concept of #tomstans even provided inspiration for a successful paid social media campaign later that year.

For B2B marketers, an ideal way to determine trending topics among your key audiences is to engage in online monitoring, including social listening. Once you’ve identified a trending topic or item, you can find an entry point into the conversation that will allow you to showcase your brand or industry expertise.

CBD jumped into the quartz vs. granite debate, tapping into homeowners’ and influencers’ opinions of both quartz and granite countertops in our Battle of the Stones Report. The report provided insights for building products manufacturers, home builders and renovators about why the popularity of quartz was surging across the country.

1. Insert yourself in online conversations.

When the question, “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” took the Twitter-verse by storm in late 2016, ConAgra Brands understood the frivolity — but also the fervent interest — in ascertaining the true identity of America’s beloved ballpark snack. At SMSS, ConAgra representatives discussed how they positioned their Hebrew National brand at the center of the conversation with a viral video campaign. In the video, titled, “A Frank Discussion,” actual customers weighed in on the debate. Engagement across Hebrew National’s social platforms quickly skyrocketed, generating nearly 10 million impressions in a matter of days.

Similarly, speaker James Chong of American footwear company TOMS® spoke about how they were able to capitalize on a trending moment to increase brand awareness.

When people began using the hashtag #tomstans to caption pictures of their funky shoe tans (reflecting the distinct shape and style of the TOMS® shoe), TOMS® engaged by liking and reposting users’ content, amplifying engagement on their Twitter and Instagram accounts and winning over new brand fans in the process. The concept of #tomstans even provided inspiration for a successful paid social media campaign later that year.

For B2B marketers, an ideal way to determine trending topics among your key audiences is to engage in online monitoring, including social listening. Once you’ve identified a trending topic or item, you can find an entry point into the conversation that will allow you to showcase your brand or industry expertise.

CBD jumped into the quartz vs. granite debate, tapping into homeowners’ and influencers’ opinions of both quartz and granite countertops in our Battle of the Stones Report. The report provided insights for building products manufacturers, home builders and renovators about why the popularity of quartz was surging across the country.

2. Cultivate relationships with influencers.

ConAgra’s social media team is adept at discovering opportunities to engage influencers. It runs like a newsroom, responding in real-time to users’ comments, questions and mentions about all of its brands — even sending product care packages to reporters and celebrities in an ingenious play for brand endorsement.

In this model, they’re looking at everyday social media consumers as influencers in their own right because they could affect whether their friends and family purchase ConAgra products.

Although daily community management is just as crucial for B2B social media as it is for B2C, B2B brands usually don’t have to devote quite as much time to identify opportunities for authentic engagement. Instead, take the time to pinpoint a few key influencers — those who wield particular authority over a trend, issue or topic relevant to your target audience — and interact with them on a regular basis.

Throughout his session, “It Pays to Be Social: How B2B brands are using social media for sales success,” CBD’s Bob Musinski highlighted the community management tactics that have contributed to client Firestone Building Products’ impressive organic social media growth on seven platforms.

By consistently sharing thought-leadership content from trade publications, sending shout-outs to industry leaders and conducting targeted social media outreach around trade shows and conferences, CBD has established relationships with key influencers across Firestone’s key audiences and opened the door to customer service interactions for current and potential buyers of its products.

Which leads us to…

3. Picking the right platform(s) for your audience.

For some B2B brands, the number of likes and shares matter as much as who is interacting your content, Musinski noted. With so many diverse social media platforms to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right medium to reach your most important audiences —those who will ultimately become leads and drive sales.

When CBD saw contractors posting photos of ITW’s BuildClean™ Dust Control System on Instagram, we jumped at the chance to launch our client’s branded account. BuildClean received immediate engagement from contractors and influencers, and has since increased its following by more than 360 percent.

Instagram’s photo- and video-sharing format allows BuildClean to accomplish two of its most important marketing goals: educating the contractor about how the product works and leveraging positive peer reviews to establish credibility. By liking, sharing and commenting on other contractors’ posts, BuildClean has also established Instagram as a powerful customer service and lead generation tool, utilizing the direct message function to interact with current and prospective customers.

If there was one key takeaway from SMSS, it was this: social media success isn’t defined solely by the usual numbers of “likes” or followers, but rather the impact that you see as a result of your integrated efforts. It’s important for B2B marketers to understand where they can meet target audiences throughout the customer journey by providing meaningful content and sparking conversations about the issues that matter most to them.

Listening leads to a better market strategy.

The most significant marketing change in the past decade was brought about by social media. Conducting social listening research is key to a marketing strategy and is crucial to being successful. Not only can a marketer spot trends among target consumers, but he or she can further this by discovering ideal timing and frequency for social posts. What better way to make sure that consumers will see your posts than to track when they themselves are posting?

Online listening can be an especially effective tool for B2B marketing, helping companies develop refine or create personas, develop key messaging, solve problems, research opportunities and find the influencers in their market.

Interested in more ways to optimize your B2B marketing? Check out B2B Trade Shows: Turn Customers Into Loyalists and Digital is Taking Over B2B Marketing Budgets.