People plus brand gets better results in social media

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Stuart Turner
© 2020

There are some things in the marketing world that are universally useful and effective, yet remain mysteriously overlooked by most businesses in the b2b space. 

Peer to peer marketing is one of those things. 

This is odd because so much of the decision making in b2b is focused on trusted relationships and social proof.

With that in mind, I have conducted some desktop research (which you can do yourself to assess your own business - see the link at the end of the article) to support our proposition that almost all businesses are sitting on a dormant, untapped marketing resource right now - their people. 

Do more with what you already have to hand

Interesting fact; individual people usually have a greater reach, engagement and influence in social media than corporate properties such as company pages or profiles. 

Yet most of the time and money is invested into the corporate presence, and the people are ignored or simply left to their own devices. 

Based on our experience and our work to date, if you activate your people and combine the two - you can achieve a whole lot more with your social media activity. 

From my conversations over the past few years, most businesses fail to take advantage of this opportunity this represents because they are:

  • Completely unaware that this is the case and don’t consider people in the business as marketing or growth assets 
  • Relying on employee engagement platforms to “encourage” brand advocacy 
  • Think they’re “doing social” by relying on ads / promoted content - the push methods - alone and miss the pull opportunity 
  • Feel like it’s too hard to coordinate across diverse groups in the business and don’t know where to start or how to build a case

Our own research shows that significant amounts of time are being spent on social media in B2B brands right ni

  • 70% of employees spend between 2 to 10+ hours a week on social media in their roles - for a business of 10 people that’s the equivalent of 1 FTE 
  • ‘Researching’ and ‘interacting with other people’ in their network are the top two activities in that time - but only 52% of people measure this activity

52% of people do not measure their social media activity - The Social Revolution - B2B marketing

“I don’t believe that’s true for my business”

My partner Tino recently had a teleconference with a marketing manager of a global financial services firm headquartered in London. The marketing manager wasn’t convinced that a ‘people first, brand second’ approach worked. 

When he gave a couple of examples – Richard Branson and Bill Gates – who had built their brands from their own influence, she was pretty convinced that they were exceptions to the rule. 

It’s always good to be challenged. After the conversation, Tino did some research and happened to come across this article about the “Top 8 most viewed CEO profiles on LinkedIn” (thanks Chris Pash). It’s a few years old now but a good proportion of the CEOs are still in the ‘most-viewed’ lists and all of them remain influential.

He produced an article writing up his findings from 2019 and 2020 over here

Being a natural contrarian; I decided to take a cue from his approach and do something different. 

Our reach and engagement analysis tool for LinkedIn

Following on from Tino’s article we’ve produced a tool you can use to analyse this yourself - either within your own business or against your competition. 

The tool calculates potential organic reach and engagement based on the people and/or pages you select, and the data you capture. 

We have used LinkedIn’s average organic reach in feed of 11% (this is based on our previous interviews with LinkedIn content specialists), however having analysed my own recent activity I’m hitting nearer 25% on average, so this is also worth checking if you’re looking at your own profile!

LinkedIn are still making it a pretty manual affair to measure and calculate these metrics for personal profiles - despite the fact that the information is very valuable for any business using the network.

Want to check this for your business and team?

This analysis will require 30-60 mins depending on how well you know your business and people! 

You can download the template here.

If you’d like to chat about the results or how to use this information to start building a business case to expand your marketing activity, give me a shout. 

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