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8 tips to ensure B2B social media success: What can we learn from Thomson Reuters?

44203871_mI was delighted to hear a presentation recently at the B2B Marketing Expo in London from Kelvin Lee, Director of Social Media for Financial & Risk at Thomson Reuters. Lee talked of how his organisation had steered towards a more social future and embraced change in the face of potential risks, making calculated decisions, using social media to narrate and communicate Thomson Reuters proud history (take a look at their History of Innovation YouTube video).

Thomson Reuters are supporting their history of innovation by embracing social media (they even have an Instagram account) but many financial organisations are only just starting to test the water in enterprise social media. The introduction of the FCA guidelines on digital media in 2010 and a further revision and update last year supports the need and requirement for financial organisations to take the social media bull by the horns.

Learn from Thomson Reuters social media journey with Lee’s 8 tips for B2B social media success and my reflections from the session:

  1. How social is the captain of your ship?

83% of companies believe they’re not leveraging the full power of social media. In our experience senior management buy in is often cited by our customers as one of the biggest challenges they have for rolling out a social media strategy across their organisation. Lee reported that 50% of senior management are convinced of the value of social media, but there’s still some education to be done with 23% who are not, with 27% in the ‘don’t know’ camp. (State of corp social media 2014 infographic)

TIP: Aim to have at least one of your senior leads on board. However, it’s important to train them, offer support, and in some instances partner up with the PR/Comms team.

  1. Measuring: Do you know the effectiveness of the content?

Social media provides a fantastic opportunity to monitor and track data in order to evaluate it’s impact. However, with so many different metrics available it’s easy to get lost in a storm of reporting. The first step is to ensure you are clear on the objectives of your social media campaign and then select metrics that will support the objective. For example, if the objective is to raise awareness of your organisation, recording the increase in social media reach would be the key metric. Social media management tools help to provide a quick and effective way of monitoring your accounts and recording your progress.

TIP: Choose 5 – 7 metrics to track over a six-month period linking to your objective. This will make it easier to identify improvements and spot trends ready to report to senior management).

  1. Plan social content: Effectiveness vs Difficulty

Content was a key theme at the Expo. However, Lee made a valid point that in B2B markets we need to need to consider the pay off between effectiveness vs difficulty to create. Traditionally in the B2B world we often focus on white papers. However, articles and case studies are shown to be less difficult to produce and more effective (Content Marketing Trends survey, Ascend2 published March 2015).

In fact, Google’s UK Head of Marketing Raja Saggi highlighted that a customer has already spent 70% of their journey researching before they get to contact a sales/organisation representative. A key part of the social media content will be to ensure that you are providing the education piece (webinars, blog posts) as well as the sales materials (product features).

TIP: Develop content mapped to your buyer’s journey. Starting from unawareness, discovery, diagnosis, research, evaluation, comparison, validation and close. (Accent Technologies Inc)

  1. Optimise, optimise, optimise

Another of Lee’s tips for successful social media was to ensure that the most effective content is used to deliver maximum impact. For example, there are plenty of statistics highlighting the benefits of visual image-led content to deliver a message over text based content. As Forrester Research’s Dr. James McQuivey once said “If a picture speaks a thousand words, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million.”

Tip: Visual is the headline act, ensure it plays a significant part in your content strategy

  1. Distribution: Play across all channels

The Content Marketing Institute’s Annual Research (2015) ranked the top B2B social media channels by effectiveness. LinkedIn (63%) naturally came out on top of the rankings, with Twitter (55%) and YouTube (48%) closely behind. However it’s important not to underestimate the power of Facebook particularly in driving employee engagement.

TIP: Don’t focus on one channel, test and pilot across a variety. You will soon identify that certain content resonates better on certain channels.

  1. Paid amplification

More often than not an organisation is well rehearsed at ‘preaching to the converted’, sharing messages with their existing fan base. However, the key to true social success is being able to cast the net wider and cut through the noise. Lee stressed the importance of developing a comprehensive amplification strategy, which will involve the incorporation of paid content. The 90:10 rule states that 10% of content drives 90% traffic, with this rule in mind Lee recommended picking your winning content and putting the pounds behind it.

TIP: Bet big on your top 10%

  1. Employee advocacy

Another common trend discussed at the B2B Marketing Expo was the benefit of employee advocacy. Lee referenced that “Just 60 employers can boost an organisations reach by over 1000%” An excellent place to start on boosting your social media strategy right from within your organisation, particularly in consumer markets, although this approach may not work for all businesses.

Tip: Train your employees on how they can contribute to your social media strategy, give them the power to innovate and create, expand across the organisation.

  1. Collaboration – social is a team sport.

Perhaps one of the most encouraging tip from Lee’s session was one of collaboration, involving multiple departments to contribute to the organisation’s social media strategy. At CrowdControlHQ we are firm believers that social media is best delivered across the organisation enabling a more credible and wide range of content, as well as more targeted delivered of specialist areas such as customer service.

Tip: Move fast, test, scale and adopt a cross departmental approach

A truly enlightening session by Kelvin Lee with plenty of thoughts for consideration, definitely an organisation @thomsonreuters (and an individual @iamkelvinlee) to keep an eye on for innovation across the social sphere in the financial sector!

CrowdControlHQ the UK’s leading risk management and compliance platform. Proud winners of the FStech 2016 Awards ‘Risk Management Software of the Year’ and supporting organisations across FCA regulated industries in their social media delivery. Contact us today to see if your organisation is compliant with the FCA social media guidelines.

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Lewis Jones