It doesn’t take long for predictions to become predictable: The rise and rise of Facebook; advancements in analytics; the normalisation of chatbots; personalisation, programmatic, automation, authenticity… The prediction that’s missing from these lists is that in 2017 we will witness a resurgence of values-based marketing.
The proliferation of social media platforms means the pressure is on B2B marketers to listen and actively engage with their customers more proactively than ever before.
Speaking at the recent Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, DocuSign’s head of global social strategy and operations, Caitlin Angeloff, said the role of the social media marketer has now expanded to include so much more than just posting on social media. DocuSign is a digital signature and transaction management vendor.
"I’d like to think we do all the things and are like the unicorns of an organisation," she said. "We do so much more than just social media. You have to be a generalist, a trend-watcher, a social media listener, a strategist, a customer service representative, a media planner, a media buyer, plus you need to be able to do graphic design, photography and videography.
“You need to be a teacher, to show other people how to use the platform, and you also need to be a student, because you need to learn and keep up with how platforms are changing. You also need to be a good brand steward and be the governor of that brand.”
According to Angeloff, social media marketing is now in its normalising phase within the marketing mix and serves every part of the business. But she stresses it’s a dialogue, not a monologue.
"Social is a behaviour and all organisations say they do social media, but they don't say they actually converse with their audience or actively engage with them or comment back," she said. “Well that’s not really social. If you’re doing it right, you’re looking at things like engagement rates and you're not just sharing a voice, but also sharing sentiment and engagement rate."
With the proliferation of mobile devices, Angeloff stressed the importance of looking at all marketing research and consideration specifically in that mobile moment.
"You need to be discoverable in the B2B mobile space," she said. "It's all about support, loyalty and product innovation."
Angeloff also revealed DocuSign recently started crowd-sourcing all its content with a team of editors as part of a collaborative social media process.
"At DocuSign, we all work together to meet our social objectives so at the top of the funnel is awareness and making people discover your brand, and then research and consideration," she said. "I’d ten times prefer to have one piece of content that people engage with rather than five that nobody engages with."
In the face of globalisation, Angeloff agreed the key to success is to create hyper-local content, especially in a big organisation.
"A one size fits all approach does not work," she continued. “For instance, the guidance we might give to the UK might not necessarily work for say, Singapore, so we have to evolve and move accordingly."
In order to actively leverage social, Angeloff said it's important to look at it more from a data-governing standpoint and let those insights inform you as to whether or not your audience is reacting to what piece of content you’re sharing.
"You need a marketer who can put content up there and also rely on the data to target them effectively and then put money behind it," she said. "For those spending less than a $1000 a month, I’d say get really crisp on your measurements, and work closely with your Web analytics team. You need to see what is actually converting.”
Angeloff claimed DocuSign is using paid social in many different ways and while paid, earned, owned and shared used to be very structured and identifiable silos, the line is blurring as the role of the B2B social marketer is evolving.
"When you think about it, B2B marketing is really no different to B2C marketing, nowadays," she added. "Social media is about the intersection of social strategy, social content and audience management, so the reason why audience management is highlighted is because it is the third element of making social media work as hard as it can for you and for a B2B marketer. “Now the platforms have become really smart, you have to be equally smarter about who you target with what content, and when to put money behind it and when not to.
"It's all about tracking and measurement, in conjunction with the right paid piece of content for the right audience in the right channel with the right message."
- Azadeh Williams attended Dreamforce as a guest of Salesforce.
Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu