Social Media Management, Community Management and Influencer Marketing are services that are increasingly required by communication and strategic marketing consultancies such as ours, which support companies in defining their brand strategy and increasing brand awareness.
Although these topics can be considered well-structured and consolidated in B2C market sectors, such as Fashion, Luxury, Design, but also FMCG, in Business to Business there are still many grey areas.
Which are the best social channels to reach your audience? Is it essential to have a social media strategy in B2B? We talk about this with Daniele D’Amico, Community Partner & Brand Ambassadors Coordinator of ‘Digital Innovation Days Italy’.
- Today the Community Manager is highly sought after in companies because his role is fundamental in building storytelling and consensus around a brand in the new media. But if this figure is now quite well known in the B2C sphere, it is perhaps not as well known or yet very well understood in the business-to-business sphere. What are your thoughts on this?
We are far removed from the days when marketing and communication acted as a purely commercial vector. Nowadays business, or rather the people who animate the market, demand something different. They reject pure consumerism and purely utilitarian ends in order to go in search of the primordial values of existence. I am referring to the relationship between individuals and their stories. These stories, although dissimilar, are linked to common brands. So, the Community Manager disrupts the technicalities of B2B and B2C to enter the H2H infosphere. I am referring to Human to Human, which literally means person to person. Talking to the target audience, addressing each human, understanding their needs and finding an answer to their individual needs and what a company is called to do. So the Community Manager is the connector between the brand and the stakeholders.
We live in an era in which Brand Purpose influences purchasing decisions, the Community Manager through listening grasps the positioning of people on the issues of current affairs and creates alignment with the company values. In a single word, affinity.
- In your opinion, what is the role of the CM in the B2B environment and what are the objectives that should be set? Which social networks should you focus on?
B2B Marketing refers to a business-to-business environment, i.e. the commercial space where there are business transactions with respect to products, services and data. The purchase is usually only the first step in a relationship that needs to be lasting.
It is vital to make sure that expectations for pre and post-sales support are met. In many areas there is a lot of work to be done with regard to questions: technical issues, order requirements and pre-purchase information. In this case, the main role of the Community Manager is to take care of customer care which can be in-house or outsourced. A Survey conducted in 2019 by B2B International on 2000 decision makers in European, US and Chinese organisations showed that affinity between brands and buyers is important especially at the beginning and end of the buyer journey. Suppliers need to work in synergy with a strong brand with which customers can identify and invest emotionally.
There are four relevant emotions that increase the choice of one supplier over another by 50%:
- trust in the credibility of the wholesaler
- confidence in the supplier’s ability to deliver the desired service/product
- optimism about what the supplier could do for the client company
- pride in the prospect of being able to work with the provider
The three elements for creating a sense of trust are:
- The supplier must be perceived as trustworthy, meet deadlines, be responsive, meet or exceed industry standards and always deliver on promises.
- The wholesaler must show competence: show understanding of the anomaly and provide a fast, quality solution. Competence must be reinforced with content and case studies to show how other companies in the industry have been helped.
- Customer experience.
The supplier must offer the buyer a simple and smooth experience at all touchpoints.
The digital platform to focus on is undoubtedly LinkedIn. How to do it? On their websites, many companies write that they are leaders in their sector, through the “social of work”, you have the opportunity to inform, nurture, update and educate your target audience.
Amplify your skills and competences in relation to the market in which you operate.
But in building the network, strategy is the priority! The contents designed to generate leads and those relating to loyalty must be consistent with the mission and of practical use to the audience.
Today, communication is image, brands have moved to Instagram, so it is good to be present there too, through the publication of content that is unique, authentic and imaginative. The content represents the company and the product. The more interesting, educational and engaging the content is, the more the product or service will be perceived as having quality and the brand story as having value. I recommend mixing product awareness and brand awareness.
- Is there currently more and more talk about Employer branding and Employee advocacy? Would you like to explain? Are they really synonymous?
Employer branding is a marketing activity that takes its cue from the increased value of the company, as a physical location. It tends to contribute to the advancement of the image and business on all fronts. The aim is to highlight internally and externally the quality of production and the working climate. In fact, the audience for this discipline is made up of employees, collaborators, potential and aspiring collaborators, and in cascade, all other stakeholders.
Marketing, communication and HR are involved, with the aim of communicating value, mission and vision externally. It is now a fundamental prerequisite for any self-respecting recruitment strategy: research carried out by LinkedIn shows that 75% of potential candidates inquire about the company’s reputation before applying for a position. Nearly 70% of those surveyed would not accept an offer from an employer with an opaque reputation.
Employment advocacy is nothing more than the promotion of an organisation or company by the people who work there. It helps to improve the company’s image, attracts the interest of new potential customers, increases employee engagement and generates greater consumer trust. It can take many forms, but today the most common and effective channels through which it is developed are social media.
TRUST BAROMETER research conducted by Edelman back in 2016 confirmed that employees are twice as trustworthy – in terms of credibility – as a CEO or executive. While Cisco noted that employees’ social posts generate eight times more engagement than their employers’ posts. People are 16 times more likely to read a post by a friend about a brand than one posted by the company.
In today’s social context, the best ambassadors of the brand are the people who work for it, who must feel at the centre of the project, both in terms of remuneration and in the marketing and communication processes.
- Do we have to imagine a future in which B2B and B2C will naturally meet and mix in social media communication? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this perspective, and what is the role of CM in this new future?
Indeed it already is. The keyword for a company that wants to excel is human capital, i.e. people for people. There will be no disadvantages if brands are authentic and invest in training policies. Communication on social media is also what others perceive, the message goes through effectively if brands’ actions are in line with reality.
Community Management, Employer Branding and all the main themes relating to the transformation of Marketing and Communication from a digital perspective will be discussed from 29 to 30 October at Digital Innovation Days, the reference event for 360° digital innovation.
Take part with a 30% discount in the 3-day DIDAYS, this year com cc pletely online, buy here and enter the code: didYou30.