“Social media hasn’t just swallowed journalism, it has swallowed everything. It has swallowed political campaigns, banking systems, personal histories, the leisure industry, retail, even government and security” said Emily Bell, Director of Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia J School.*
Social media to build trust
Social media is about sharing trends in the market and original insights. Try not to talk about your brand every time you communicate. Consider social media as an online conversation. People will loose interest if you always talk about yourself.
How can you gain trust? Make sure your posts are regular and consistent with your industry topics. To find original ideas, you can follow influencers in other regions, as their perspective might be very different.
What builds trust? Education, share and reward. Lendix, the first lending marketplace in France understands this well by posting educational articles on the blog, sharing recent news on companies borrowing money through their platform and not forgetting to thank its community for its support.
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO and entrepreneur explained that community engagement should never be taken for granted and that the most important thing was to thank and interact with followers.
Social media to connect and become an influencer
Why should B2B companies use social media?
- to Connect with your current and future clients
- to Become a thought leader
- to Monitor brand keywords
- to Launch « how-to articles » and videos
- to Create branded infographics
The UK government also uses YouTube, Flickr and LinkedIn to communicate with audiences such as the wider civil service, the media and the digital and tech industries. “However, social media doesn’t fix services that are broken or poorly designed” explained Georgina Goode of the UK’s acclaimed Government Digital Service.
How to become an influencer?
Understand your environment and classify influencers in your sector. These could be people (eg: Eileen Burbidge), brands (TechCrunch) or topics (fintech). Take the temperature of each event and build your own perspective.
Here are the top six social media channels you can use:
- Twitter: ideal for relationship building
- Blogs: ideal for content-lead influencer marketing
- LinkedIn: Strong presence of niche topics groups
- Facebook: limited data access, not ideal for B2B influencer relations
- Instragram: overtaking Twitter in celebrity and lifestyle sectors
- Videos: lead channel for social content creation
Another way to become an influencer could be to publish articles on the Huffington Post. Check tips from Janet Murray, journalist, PR coach and public speaker. According to Janet, there are three types of opinion articles you can use: The call to Action, the Question and the Statement article.
Social media to become and remain “the 1st”
Remember: listen first, and then speak up. Having access to such a wide variety of articles allows you to build a voice and prepare for your next action.
In social and traditional media, you either want to be the first to comment or come just “after the wave” to share a thorough analysis. The most interesting articles on the Brexit were published a few days after the vote.
Social media to engage conversations at an event
Ahead of an industry event, follow speakers and key influencers on twitter. This will help you engage conversation during the event you attend. Smart companies launch white papers and top influencers list ahead of events to attract attention. For instance, the Onalytica fintech 2016 top 100 influencers and brands report was launched just before the London Fintech Week taking place this week.
Social media to reach influential journalists
Often bombarded with emails, twitter can be an alternative way to contact journalists. However, this should only be done if you have done some research on their preferred topics and interests.
Note that press releases are not dead (especially in the financial sector) but they are not as effective as before. A PR push can be used instead: a few bullet points on an announcement, a partnership, a coffee invitation via email or social media.
Social media to reach traditional media
For some startups with tighter budget, social media is a way to get attention from traditional media. Clever online strategies with the right # and at the right time attract attention from mainstream journalists who will contact companies. Maximize your reach by building a team of online ambassadors amongst your employees, partners and clients.
The use of social media has dramatically changed over the past few years. Companies and brands that don’t embrace this revolution have already missed the boat.
Final tips: Prior to posting anything online, always ask yourself the following questions: What is your goal, Who is your audience, Where is your audience, What do they read, How can I connect with my audience, How can my audience introduce me to other people?
Use online to drive offline relationships with journalists and influencers and consider engagement as measurement criteria for your actions. “The key to the future of social media for communication experts is the ability to harness the way content is discovered, consumed and how content inspires action” said Lee Odden, CEO at TopRankMarketing.com