Wendy’s has set the bar high when it comes to a social media persona. Listen up B2B social media managers (I didn’t capitalize social media managers because lots of various titles manage their company’s social media platforms), stop being boring.
Over the past few weeks I have spent plenty of time being highly entertained by Wendy’s on Twitter (@Wendys). They are roasting people, burning their competition, and interacting with their unique client demographic on a platform that fits the audience. Their jokes are relevant and they are creating a massive conversation online around their food. It started in mid-December with a snarky comeback to a Twitter handle (now deleted) trying to make fun of their food. Now people are purposefully interacting with their Twitter handle for entertainment.
And Wendy’s is capitalizing on this momentum! They are still responding to complaints that come in through the platform (they acknowledge the complaint, ask the person to send them the details via direct messaging, and handle it offline) but they are also pushing what makes them different than their competitors. And people are PROMOTING that they are going to Wendy’s because of their social media interactions.
For those of you in a B2B industry who aren’t sold on social media affecting your bottom line I’d like to point out exhibit A.
(insert Law & Order “DUN DUN” sound)
I’m going to bridge the gap between the B2C (Wendy’s) industry and B2B industry. Ready?
What Wendy’s has shown those of us who manage social media platforms is that having a unique voice, a unique persona that connects with our target audience, HAS A MAJOR IMPACT ON OUR BUSINESS!
I’m not advocating roasting your company’s followers or talking poorly about your competition (kind of destroys the relationship building we’ve been working decades on). What I am advocating is having fun on social media. Interacting with influencers, posting memes relevant to your business, be hilarious, and be part of a conversation that you didn’t start. Here is the real kicker … you can’t use an automated system to have honest conversations. It has to be real time. And if you can’t afford to be on social media in real time then don’t put tons of effort in that platform. Don’t be passive just to be on the platform if the platform isn’t working for you or your company.
I have seen some B2B companies only using social media to post job opening. You know what that gets you? Not a lot. Worst yet, it may end up giving you a commoditized applicant pool of people who are job hunting on social media. YIKES! No, thank you.
So let’s get started with taking a page out of the Wendy’s example:
- Know which social media platform works for you. This involves diving into your analytics and digesting the data to figure out who is interacting with your company and how. This step will save you a lot of grief and time down the road. Depending on your company’s resources, this will help narrow down the platforms you maintain.
- Don’t have good data? No problem. Find out which platforms your clients are on. This requires a little research. Ask your contacts at your top 10 clients what they use. Then spend a little time looking at their company’s social media platforms to see if they are actually using them the way you want to interact with them.
- Create a company persona on social media. I talked about it here in a recent blog post and walk you through the steps of setting it up.
- Get management buy-in. Taking risks on social media is scary because the majority of B2B companies don’t have a standard go-by for this marketing initiative. You’ll be creating your own waves and sometimes that means faltering along the way as you figure out what works and doesn’t work. Also, your company’s brand is closely tied to your management’s brand. If you screw up one, you could screw up the other. Communicating a social media game plan that is open and honest is key to making it work.
- Can’t get management buy-in? Then stop doing social media for the company. You’ll just be spinning your wheels and they’ll be frustrated about you “wasting your time”. Social media is a business tactic. If the company doesn’t put thought behind the tactic then it is bad for business.
- Be different. Don’t do what your competition is doing. What is going to set your company apart? Whatever that is, capitalize on it.
- Don’t know what different looks like? Follow your competitors. If you think “I would have done that campaign differently” then do that. Also, follow non-competitors/high influential social media people (like I did with Wendy’s). Study what they are doing. Apply what you learn.
- Track it back to the bigger picture. Be able to communicate how your social media is affecting your company. No one in your company cares about how many followers you have, whether your picture was liked 47 times, or how many clicks your post got. What they do care about is which influencers/clients are following you (FYI … interact with person), if a potential new client liked that picture (FYI … tell your sales/BD manager about it), or if clicks are resulting in generated leads (FYI … promote which platforms and posts are generating leads then duplicate those efforts). Also, they want you to give them direction on what they can do to part of this effort (i.e. generate content, retweet/like, take a picture on a project tour)
- Be prepared to turn on a dime. Welcome to the world of social media management. What is working for Wendy’s today might not be newsworthy in 6 months (or next week). Be prepared to capitalize on the next idea to continuously drive engagement and interest in your company. Having a rigid social media program can be the downfall of your efforts. It needs to be fluid and agile. Many B2B social media programs don’t allow for the real-time magic to happen. (Most likely because the majority of B2B companies don’t have a social media department like B2C companies.) How do you know your current tactics are no longer working? Through your analytics. How do you know what might work down the road? Through your analytics and research.