Is social media a waste of time for B2B business?

Anyone involved in comms and marketing will be spending a chunk of time on social media but, with mysterious algorithms to contend with, it can be a frustrating and unpredictable strategy.

Ayo Abbas, Emma Drake and I discussed whether social media is a waste of time for B2B businesses in a LinkedIn live stream

So is it worth the time spent? This is what Ayo Abbas, Emma Drake and I discussed on a LinkedIn Live stream recently, and these are some highlights from that conversation.

If you want to watch the video of the full discussion, including audience questions, scroll to the bottom of the post.

Is social media all it’s cracked up to be?

Emma: I think people don’t often get a lot from it because they’re perhaps not using it well or effectively.

And the algorithm makes no sense, it’s not one thing you can solve. It is continually changing and morphing, and that is a huge challenge.

So anyone who tells you that they understand the algorithm on a social media platform is lying.

I had a post on LinkedIn that had multiple likes and shares, but it got under 300 impressions. I’ve had a post that had two likes and got over 2000. Go figure.

Social media can be really useful, but you need to have a plan.

Me: Yes, you are at the whim of the algorithm. Some platforms are ‘pay to play’, and they’re promoting content that has been paid for.

So you have to go in with your eyes open and realise there’s no silver bullet with social media.

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How to make industry awards worth entering, without actually winning

In the latest, It’s a B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live stream, Ayo Abbas, Emma Drake and I spotlight industry awards and the value of entering.

It takes a lot of time to pull together a good awards entry, and there may be entry fees or the cost of a table at the ceremony on top, which can make it pricey.

It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live stream on getting value from awards

So we talked about how worthwhile it is to enter an award, whether you can make the most even if your name, company or project doesn’t get called out on the night.

Why and when should you enter an industry award?

Emma: The first thing is timing; make sure you’ve got something really compelling, and it fits with your timing as a business.

Have a broad range of things that you’re looking at, whether it’s your product, your service, your campaign or your business. But it has to be really special, it has to really stand out.

You have to do research and have a lot of facts. There’s quite a lot of work that goes into writing that award, so make sure that time spent is worthwhile.

Ayo: Does it fit into your overall campaign objectives? You have to ask: Is this project going to help propel us where we want to go? So there has to be a reason why you’re entering.

But also, I have used award entries as a way to get our story straight. It’s a test bed, it forces you to answer those questions and get the basics. And that can be a good hook, even if you don’t win.

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Personality in B2B content and why its good

Some thoughts on showing personality in B2B content and if it’s ‘professional’

There seems to be a fear about showing personality in B2B content. Either that it doesn’t sound professional or makes people feel exposed.

Showing some personality can be using a particular turn of phrase or choosing more conversational words in your writing.

Or perhaps using an anecdote or talking about a personal experience or how something made you feel, something that shows some of your personality.

What is ‘professional’?

First of all, being professional isn’t about sounding or dressing a certain way.

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B2B content writing that stops the scroll: The art of the unexpected

Back when I was a B2B property journalist, I started a bog-standard, state-of-the-market feature by drawing comparisons with famous pieces of art.

I wrote that if the market were a painting, it would be less like Monet’s Water Lilies and more like Dali’s The Putrefied Donkey.

Writing something unexpected can be a good way of grabbing attention. Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The point was to grab attention with my opening line by throwing in something unexpected yet illustrative of the point I wanted to make.

I chose words and created an image that readers flicking through the magazine wouldn’t usually read.

Whether you are writing an article or a LinkedIn post, if you are following the usual tropes with all your content, you risk being lost in the crowd.

It’s not necessarily about saying something different to everyone else; you can have a similar idea just present it in a different way.

Getting creative

I could have said the property market was challenging or leasing conditions were difficult. But that’s what everyone else would say, so I got creative.

And I returned to the art theme running, concluding how the market might be a different painting in 6 months.

Let’s look at it another way. Which quote would make you want to read the piece more:

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Grappling with personal brand: My voyage of discovery

Personal brand has become a bit of a buzzword, and I confess I wasn’t entirely clear about what it meant and its relevance. And I know I’m not alone.

Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

The May edition of It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live was all about personal branding: What it means, what opportunities there are in B2B and tips on building a personal brand.

Watching the replay of the Live with regular hosts Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake and guest host Eimear Strong (who stood in for me) gave me some clarity. And it made me realise that I’d been building a personal brand without realising it.

The first question of the Live does a great job of answering what personal brand is, framing it as how your reputation and values are perceived in your industry or by your target audience.

It is also about personality and authenticity, and there is huge value in that. People do business with people – Ayo had some stats on just how that manifests in engagement on platforms like LinkedIn. (You can find the video of the Live at the bottom of the post).

Standing out

And given that no two people are completely alike, personal brand is an opportunity to have a point of difference and help you stand out.

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