In a recent post, on Employee Advocacy for B2B Companies, we foreshadowed a future post in which we planned to delve deeper into how to apply the concept of employee advocacy specifically to social media for B2B.
We think our model of each employee as an online ambassador is particularly suited to the B2B approach to social media sites, which differs from the B2C approach some critical ways.
B2B Social Media Style
Typically, when we think about Facebook or Twitter – or especially Instagram and TikTok – we think of young people, short attentions spans, humor (memes and gifs), and cultivated lifestyle images.
When we think about corporations using social media platforms to build their brands, we think of B2C companies. Wendy’s trolling McDonald’s. Steak-umm trolling everybody. It seems like the way to stay relevant on social media is to be cool, edgy, and casual.
And, in some ways, it is. The way to capture attention in the attention economy is to excite people. The language of the attention economy is informal. It’s great for advertising.
B2B brands can do some of that. But they’re not trying to reach a consumer audience. They’re trying to appeal to people in their professional lives, and – unless it’s LinkedIn – there’s this idea that if people are on social media sites at work, they’re probably wasting the company’s time.
But actually, social media platforms – not just LinkedIn – can be excellent for B2B selling.
There’s this image of social platforms as places where you need to be glitzy and flashy to stand out. Which doesn’t jibe with the image of B2B brands as professional and competent and unglamorous.
But Facebook was originally conceived as a way for people to meet other people. The concept was to connect people, to facilitate relationships.
And business-to-business marketing is all about relationships.
If your company caters to other businesses, you surely already have established channels for facilitating information-flow and relationships between employees within your company and employees within the companies you’re selling to.
But social media sites – again, not just LinkedIn – can connect you with people you might not otherwise be connected to – people who hold important roles inside companies you’re not currently selling to. Yet.
How Employee Advocacy Fits In
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter can allow potential buyers to establish connections with employees inside your company (who might work in product development, sales, environmental impact, design, etc.), who can give them the kind of information they need to move along the buying process.
But for that to happen, you need to allow those employees a little more license to use social media on your behalf. Perhaps not to post viral cat videos. But to interact with new buyers whom they can bring into your audience. This means allowing your workers to share information about your products and services, and about their own roles in your company, in order to facilitate the buying journey.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy at first. Just tacit acknowledgement on your behalf that part of the role of your engineers, truckers, managers, safety techs, and even forklift operators actually might require them to get on social media.
You can give them a few guidelines to start out. If you’re looking for advice, scroll back through our archives and see what we’ve written on the topic.
Go back and read what we wrote about decentralized content marketing.
The B2B buying process is already a little decentralized. Information doesn’t just flow through a tightly controlled funnel, but passes between employees at all levels of your company and employees at all levels of the companies you sell to, making employee advocacy all the more of a good fit.
If you’re ready to fully embrace what social media promised – building connections – go ahead and empower your employees to go out onto social media during the workday, so that they can build rapport with the audience who buys from you.
Let them post original content, reach out to potential new buyers, connect more directly with people in your audience.
We think you’ll see dividends with this approach, because we think social media is perfect for B2B employee advocacy.