EPISODE 76: SERIOUS SOCIAL – No Fluff, Just Stuff: Inside a Winning B2B Social Campaign

EPISODE 76: SERIOUS SOCIAL – No Fluff, Just Stuff: Inside a Winning B2B Social Campaign

A whopping 50% of B2B marketers struggle to measure the ROI of their lead and demand gen efforts. Time to change the game - well for social.

In "No Fluff, Just Stuff," we're not just talking theories; we're revealing the nuts and bolts of a Social lead gen campaign that slashed CPC by 58% and doubled CTR. Cut through the clutter and get ready for take-off.

Fed up with lacklustre ROI on your B2B social campaigns? You’re not alone. A whopping 50% of B2B marketers struggle to measure the ROI of their lead and demand gen efforts. Time to change the game. In “No Fluff, Just Stuff,” we’re not just talking theories; we’re revealing the nuts and bolts of a campaign that slashed CPC by 58% and doubled CTR. Cut through the clutter and get ready for take-off. ๐Ÿš€


  • Good morning, welcome. Thank you for joining us. And welcome along to this not-to-be-missed live edition of what we’re calling the No Fluff Zone. The title of this broadcast is “No Fluff, Just Stuff: Inside a Winning B2B Campaign”. I’m delighted to say joining me is our Senior Account Director, Tom. Good morning, Tom.
  • Morning.
  • If you’re a CMO or a marketer and you’re looking to crack the code on B2B lead generation on social media right now, which we know is a lot of you. The statistics tell us how many of you have this as a priority right now. If you are one of those that are trying to make your way, please do sit tight. We’re about to dissect a series of campaigns. So this isn’t a one-off hit on a single campaign. A one-off hit on a piece of content. This is hypothesis that we’ve been shaping for many, many years that we’ve taken to market and proven across many campaigns that has significantly shifted the needle. You are going to hear statistics like a plunging cost-per-click by 58%. You are going to hear statistics like doubling cost-per-click just by changing a video format. And if you start looking at the channels where your audience really are, you could see engagements quadruple. You could see clicks go up by hundreds and you can also see engagements increase by tens of thousands and this isn’t just vanity metrics. We’re going to talk to you about how we’ve then nurtured that into delivering marketing-qualified leads and, ultimately, through lead score into sales-qualified leads. But a lot of you are struggling to actually get the early stuff up front. So bit of context and the whole reason we got Tom along to talk to you this morning, B2B lead generation is a beast of its own, especially, in today’s climate. The buyer journey has become a labyrinth with 75% of B2B markets is focusing more on-demand gen than lead generation. And then, I mean, we haven’t even spoken about ROI yet. I mean half of us are in the dark about what we should be measuring accurately. What is a good metric of success? What should we be paying back to the business or is it purely about those form fills and downloads? Are we putting form fills up too early? Are we nurturing audience? Are we giving away the right stuff? Are too many of you shoving content behind the gate and not opening it up? We’re going to get into all of that. Many of you will know the pandemic changed how we talk about digital adoption. It has meant more of us are online, great opportunity. It’s meant more of us in social, great opportunity. But it has turned LinkedIn into what we think is a metaphorical equivalent of Oxford Circus on a Saturday in December when everyone out at Christmas shopping, it is bombarded with attention. Right, that’s enough for me. Let’s get Tom talking. Let’s pick up on that saturation for the marketers. ‘Cause a lot of the people watching this, will be thinking my audience are on LinkedIn, Tom, I need to get content out there. But why are we so worried about that crowded space and what concerns us about this LinkedIn saturation we speak of?
  • Well, I think we know, I think as you kind of alluded to, with all the roles that we’ve got on, well, that we know are present on social in terms of CFOs, CMOs, we know the crowded Oxford Circus analogy kind of makes sense because, obviously, these people are on there quite regularly, but they’re being bombarded by notifications about connections, profile views. You know all these kind of random things, in mails, all these kind of stuff. So I think if we think about carving out space, it’s almost not possible, right. So what you’ve got to do is try and stand taller. Maybe get on the shoulders of someone and try and stand out a little bit more. That’s not always going to be easy, but obviously, it comes back to content. It comes back to what you create and it comes back to your value offering. Now this is such basic stuff. I’m sure there’s people watching this now who are thinking, well, obviously. But I think when it comes to something like LinkedIn and something that we see quite regularly is that we do see the typical sort of corporate content. We do see the typical product-facing stuff. We do see the stuff that doesn’t really lend itself to a nudge-nurture philosophy, which we’ll come onto a little bit more. There’s not a lot of value added. There’s not a lot of learnings given up for free. There’s not a lot of information sharing. A lot of it can be product-led. A lot of it’s quite ambiguous. So the main focus that we had, and we’ll come onto the campaigns more specifically, is tapping into things that maybe resonate with people on a more personal level, not just at a business level. And we’ll come into that a little bit more. But yeah, I think when we come to talk about the campaigns that we’ve worked on, we’ll talk about video, we’ll talk about how we’ve reformatted them, we’ll talk about what we filmed and we’ll talk about how we set things out across a long period of time because there’s no quick solution to getting those leads and getting all that traffic to where you want it to go unless you’re willing to be patient and build trust with an audience.
  • I’ll pick up on some data which actually helps with this challenge that we have around just how saturated LinkedIn is. And part of that is because we all think our audience are on LinkedIn and that’s where the buyers are and that’s where the CXOs are. But look at this GWI data evidence that Meta channels have significantly more active daily CXOs than LinkedIn. Now for disclosure, we are talking in the case of this customer, they are a major technology company. One of the world’s top 10 technology companies and they’re a top five technology partner. So the CXOs we refer to here are in the technology space, but the bit you must pay attention is the active daily users. Just because the CXO is on LinkedIn doesn’t mean that they’re active. They kind of jump in, do something and come out. Something you said to me earlier, Tom, which really stuck with me is forget the purpose of where they are socially. If they’re spending more time on a Meta platform and you can stand out and resonate, doesn’t that make more sense? And you certainly took some of that thinking into this campaign in encouraging the client to actually look more at Facebook than LinkedIn, didn’t you?
  • Yeah, without giving too much away early on, we do know from information, obviously, Facebook’s been around for a very, very long time, right. We do know the connections between those that are on LinkedIn are going to be on Facebook. Now, one of the main questions people are going to be having when watching this is, and they may have had the same problems themselves, is okay, but I can’t target that CXO on Facebook or I can’t target that brand or I can’t be sure that I’m going to be able to have my content relevant for the platform. And I think with this particular campaign was that we tried to move away from focusing on what’s appropriate for platform and think about what’s appropriate for that person’s mind and what people are going through at the moment. If we think about the client that we did this with, they obviously operate in multiple verticals, some multiple products in different areas. But our focus in terms of the early nudge-nurture process was to make sure that we’re not selling a product, we’re just selling what they understand and we’re selling their knowledge. Now we’ll come into how the filming was done in a bit, but when we looked at the content that was produced it talks about AI, it talks about technology. Conversations around government came into it. Conversations around climate came into it. Now, it doesn’t matter whether you’re at work or you are at home on the sofa waiting for the ad break to finish, these things are in your mind constantly. Sometimes they’re dormant and sometimes you’re thinking about them more and more. Whether you’re a CXO and you’ve gone onto LinkedIn or Facebook, you are not thinking I’m on these platforms. Sometimes if you go onto LinkedIn and you see a picture of a dog or a baby, you might wonder why. But it doesn’t matter, because essentially your mind is open to all of these things that are going on in the world right now and your brand doesn’t have to be tied to a specific product. It doesn’t have to be tied to exactly what it’s selling. Always in the nudge-nurture process, as you know, you’re selling your trust and you’re selling your knowledge. Your knowledge doesn’t have to be outright, upfront, everything about what you’re selling. What do you know about the sector? What do you know about the problems that people might be facing and, overall, how can you be memorable? I just get a bit frustrated sometimes when you see brands thinking, well, we can’t put that here, we can’t put this there. That doesn’t make sense. Or you know we need our audience to know about this. But the problem is your audience aren’t thinking about you most of the time. They don’t care about you. Most of the time when they go on their platform, if they’re on LinkedIn, they’re on Facebook, most of the time you’re not going to look for anything in particular. Sometimes you are, but most of the time you’re going on with a kind of dormant mindset. I’ve got time to kill. I’ve got a train I’m waiting for, there’s a train I’m on or I’ve got some time to waste. So entertain me. My mind is open. I want to learn. I want to understand what’s going on. And if you’re pushing a product that’s incredibly niche and something that you know I don’t care what the product name is, it means nothing to me. It’s not going to be memorable, right. I got a prime example this morning. I mean for those of you who I go on LinkedIn, you probably know a lot about Steven Bartlett and the content that he puts up. I won’t say what I saw on him this morning. You should go and check it out for yourself. I’m not going to mention this on the call, but had nothing to do with the B2B sector. Most of his content has nothing to do with helping you do your job better. He’s talking about mental health. He’s talking about diet. He’s speaking to celebrities who just want an hour of martyrdom to, basically, get stuff off their chest. None of it has anything to do with how it helps your business. But he gets a heck of a lot of engagement, a heck of a lot of interaction and yes, that’s him, that’s his brand. But there’s no reason why you can’t be doing something, not exactly the same, on a similar level that ultimately is memorable and resonates with people. That’s all at the beginning. That’s what we’re touching on at the moment. So we’re not at that lead gen phase yet. We’re just talking about building that knowledge and the understanding that you have and being able to promote stuff that is interesting and connects with people on a day-to-day basis. Doesn’t matter what you’re selling, you can do it. You can find a hook and you can find a way to do it.
  • That resonance part is really interesting. And I know that the early resonance in video is one of the reasons that you drove such compelling completion rates on a specific series of content. So filming flipped into short-form animations and short-form edits across the campaign. I think I’ve got this right, Tom, but correct me if I’m wrong. You ran at a 22% average video completion rate on the campaign and we’re talking films at 30, 40 seconds long in duration, just to be honest with people and one of the films peaked at 33% completion rate. So that’s not a three-second view. That’s not a 10-second view. That’s not people scrolling and it registering and those really crap rubbish metrics of a video view. This is high-intent people that have consumed everything. How important was the resonance part that you’ve just spoken about in grabbing attention to drive the completion rates do you think?
  • It’s basically everything, right. We’ll talk, again I don’t want this to come across as disjointed so far, but basically we’ll come onto why the video was filmed and what we did. But CJ alluded to vertical there and we’ll come into why that’s so important with everything being mobile first. But when we looked at the videos, you know we did some filming and we filmed some experts talking generally about the situation regarding this particular company’s area in their sector and we just let the conversation flow. Now we had an hour, an hour and a half long video, which we know that full-length video’s going on YouTube where people can watch it in full. And it lends itself to a well-produced, back-to-front, here’s a full story, full tale kind of video. We know and you all know that that’s not useful for social. No one’s looking for award-winning two-minute videos that tell a story from back to front unless you’ve got a really cool, maybe, animation story that’s quite unique. So with these videos, we looked at shattering down an hour-long clip. We got maybe 15 to 20 different segments and these were interesting soundbites that, once again, none of them talk about the brand. None of the conversation talks about what they sell. None of them talks about how they help or their presence. We’ve just got a bunch of intelligent people in a room to talk about their understanding and their knowledge. And what we did was we looked into these short two to three-minute clips where we have a wraparound topic. And I want to go back to Steven Bartlett again. One of the reasons that he pulls everybody in is he’s got that really impactful opening, four to six seconds, where he’s got powerful captions with topics and content that resonates and we look to do the same thing. And a lot of these topics talked about AI and global warming and government, like these are all buzzwords. They’re deep in your mind and when you see them pop on large captions, by the way not your typical just small captions, we have to have captions on social, la, la, la. We put them out pretty big and bold so that they were seen when we were scrolling. Such a simple and effective method. But it’s no surprise that this was the video content that performed so well because they were short clips. And we made sure we focused on the first five to eight seconds to pull people in most effectively before playing the video through on full, with more context behind what was being said and that was a good way of sort of getting attention. And obviously for quite a few members of the audience, it was a case of just watching it all the way through, hopefully, without realising they were watching a 30 second or a one minute clip. That it was so engaging that they watched all the way through. We’ve definitely taken some learnings from that.
  • I’d encourage anyone to go and look at your own metrics about video completions. And when you see them, you’ll understand why these statistics are so standout. If you were to ask me the key, look, everyone wants to do bold social media. It’s one of the mantras of Immediate Future. And I have not met a stakeholder yet who has said, no, I want to do boring content. But here’s the thing, lots of people say they want to do it and very few then walk it. They get caught up in concerns about what will brands say and how does this reflect on leadership? We have a client that lives, give us bold content. So even when there’s a provocative conversation going on, AI is it really the revolutionary technology enabler or is it just causing ethical messes across the world? We were allowed to go and front that question and actually ask insightful people, as a case in point. And then once that’s bridged, you’re naturally talking about how AI can impact category, opportunity, market share, revenues. So it comes back to the enabler story at the right time, which then ladders to the demand generation. But CXOs are worried about, well, should we have an AI? Is it going to change the business? Is it just going to cost us a fortune? Is it going to create an ethical mess? These are valid questions. So if you as a brand aren’t helping the CXOs come to an opinion or an understanding around it, you’re missing a vital opportunity and that’s just one example of what you can do across industry. I know, Tom, you wanted to pick up on some of the ROI challenges that CXOs face at the moment.
  • Yeah, I think one of the questions we always, well we don’t always get, but perhaps we’re always having to think about as marketers is ROI when it comes to a campaign. And it’s always difficult because I think with enough data that we get now, right. It’s not the old times where you had either newspaper display ads, billboard advertising or radio advertising. You had no ROI then. There was no way of explaining it. It was all awareness advertising. You know you didn’t have a a billboard with a QR code that was scanned, you didn’t have any of this. So with social, there’s more to drill in. You can see how every penny’s being spent with cost-per-click and everything like that. I think when we look at the specifics of ROI of a particular campaign, yes, you’ve obviously got your main aim. So if you set out a campaign where you’re thinking of, oh, well I want to drive traffic to this landing page because I want to get registration or I want to increase our followers or I want to get video views or I want to do, you know there’s always an intention with a lot of these campaigns. But there’s so much data that’s being produced that you can paint a picture however you like. You know it might be easy to look at a high cost-per-click on website visits and people go, oh, that cost-per-click’s way too high, that that’s not good. That means it didn’t serve its purpose. But your audience isn’t necessarily thinking the same way you are. For all you know what you shared on social before the website visit was a highly interesting animation. Perhaps the copy was really interesting. Perhaps they didn’t follow you and now they do follow you. So always measure the other elements, the other clicks, the video completions. Were there comments? Were there engagements? You know if it’s a lead gen campaign, for example, you know that your leads might not be huge. But if you look at lead gen forms opened, which is a metric you can measure on LinkedIn, you might see that hundreds of people opened them. In which case that tells you that, actually, the content did perform well. There was a buffer somewhere that was maybe out of your control. So it’s a difficult question to answer because you can look at ROI on top line and go, what was the intention? Did it work? Or you can drill into the data a little bit more and say well, actually, while we didn’t get this working there was a lot of interest in these other segments and so other elements of it performed really, really well. So all I’d say is that don’t lean entirely on what you are doing. It’s like the video thing we’ve just spoken about, the aim was to sort of drive traffic to website. But what we did realise of course was that, yes, it’s video content. We want to see what the video views were. We wanted to see how well it performed. But the key thing we spoke about at the beginning was how much traffic it drove to website. That wasn’t even the intention initially. The intention was to build awareness and just get people watching the video, but what we found was most of the drop off, I think, came around the 25, 50% mark, which is very common I imagine for videos. But people had obviously seen enough and then wanted to go through to the website. So you just need to look at your data of your ad performance and you can paint your own picture. Because I know that you’re going to have senior people in C-suite or director level that are going to be asking those questions about, well, how much did we get then? How many leads did we get? How many website visits did we get? And I think if you lean on that solely and it’s performed well, great, you’ve got something to report back, but you can also look at other things that also did well. So that’s a long answer with not one single answer. My advice is don’t look at ROI of a campaign based on one singular thing because there’s so much you can look at and you can learn from-
  • This comes back to a key philosophy and you referenced earlier on nudge-nurture, right. So the people are watching this thinking I need demand gen. I need clicks. I need traffic to site. Everything you’re saying. Yes, give me some of those videos with 33% completion rates. I’ll have some of that. But all my board are really caring about right now is driving market share, revenue and showing how we’re spending our budget and getting a return on it and I get all of that. But here’s the thing with social media and any regular viewers of Socialive would’ve heard Casey Bell, myself and many others say this many, many times over the years, if you just put a form fill out, a single asset, one post, here’s a great report, here’s a single statistic, download a report; I promise you, you are going to fail, right. You will have such a low click-through rate. But the nudge-nurture philosophy that Tom’s talking about is broken down into nine touchpoints, because data shows us you need between five and nine touchpoints to deliver a conversion. And a conversion is a value exchange, an email value exchange, where you understand who the prospect is in return for them taking a report or a round table attendance or a webinar sign up, quite common conversions. But it could take you as many as nine assets to get to that point. The first few assets and, although I can’t sort of screen share, I’ve got something on my desktop at the moment which I’ll refer to. The first one to three assets are what we call the trigger posts. This is where you’re driving resonance, where you’re establishing in the audience minds your credibility, your understanding of their marketplace, you’re understanding of their positions. When Tom was talking to you about those 22% completion rates on average and the peak of 33%, that’s showing high intent, high resonance on the trigger assets. Posts numbered four through to sort of six, seven, this is what we call the nudge-nurture. So the what and the how did your business deliver the impacts and deliver on some of those statements that you’ve made and you should lead with why orientated content at this part. Because psychologically we process that better, although, we still need to understand the how to fully understand what a business does. And you have to land all of those posts before you start hitting with the value exchange request. LinkedIn will sell you form fills on a single asset. They’ll take your money. They will give you it. They’ll allow you to crack on. But what they won’t tell you, and here’s the frustration, their strategic team when pressed will answer this, they know that the performance on a single asset is virtually non-existent. You need the nudge-nurture piece up. Hell, go and take a look at some of their webinars. They will tell you this five to nine touchpoint stuff, but they’ll still sell you a form fill on a single asset. And that’s really frustrating because that’s not understanding the business and putting your needs first. One of the questions we regularly get asked, and I just wanted to pick up on it, with so many people doing demand generation, why did we focus on it to deliver standout content? This is where we’re going to sound a little egotistical, and when I say this, it’s not a personal attack on B2B marketers, but there’s an onus on us telling you a reality, a truth to what’s going on in industry and you need to hear the reality of it. While 75% of people are focusing on it, it’s a very lean digit the number of people that are doing it well and doing it right. People are just taking content from a brochure or an event and putting it up. They shatter content thinking, well, that’s important. I see posts of come and say hi at stand whatever, so that we can pitch you a concept and get a business card for a lead. Here’s the reality, guys. Nobody other than your own employees or your best client that you already have a relationship with has ever come to your stand and gone, hi, saw your post on social and I’ve come to say, it just doesn’t, it’s wasted time. As is, taking brochures fit for other mediums, shattering them and putting them in the social. It’s not social-first content. It is content. It might have the gems in it. It might have a statement in it. It might have a statistic in it, which you should use, but it needs to be social-first content. That’s where we’re going to move the conversation on to, because I’m going to get Tom to talk to you about why it’s not LinkedIn anymore. And I’m going to show you some statistics from content performances of how we took a 16:9 film, a traditional film that you said put it in LinkedIn, what was the metric when we flipped it to vertical what was the increase in metric and then what happened when we took it into meta targeted? And we’re going to share all that with you. Um but, Tom, you’re really passionate that it’s not just LinkedIn anymore for some of the reasons you’ve already said. Where else did you strike gold and what kind of ROIs are we going to be talking about?
  • Well, I mean I kind of answered this previous, I sort of jumped ahead. But I think the Facebook conversation is, you know, we look at Meta and I know that we as marketers on this, I’m sure you’ve had other people in parts of your business asking about why aren’t we on TikTok and why aren’t we here and what are we doing with this? So we’ve had an account on Instagram for three years, but no one’s posting on it. What’s going on? I think it’s easy to gravitate B2B to LinkedIn and there is definitely a good reason for that. We know there’s a very tailored audience there we know we can target so specifically. You know I might know the name of Mr. X at company Y, I can’t target him directly on LinkedIn with an ad, but I know that he is this role at this company. I’ve got a very good chance of nailing down an ad to him if I do some campaign ads on LinkedIn. But what we are seeing is that we know the audiences span multiple platforms now. We know that the age demographic of these people moving on to multiple platforms is changing. You have more avenues and more areas with which to approach people. So focusing on a single platform isn’t necessarily going to be the most valuable. Now when we looked at Facebook for this, and we’ve done Facebook before, we’ve done Facebook for campaigns a while ago. And I think we’ve brought them back now with the emphasis of focusing on purely video. And I know there’s a question in the comments about this and we’ll come onto the comparison between imagery and carousels and video a little bit more. The essence with it was that we know that a lot of these platforms now video is king, right. And it doesn’t matter if you’re doing it on LinkedIn or any of the other platforms. With Facebook we knew we could duplicate that content across and not have to alter it because we know that it impacts those people. We know the way we set it up, it was cross channel safe, like it could be used in multiple ways. There’s no adapting copy or visuals anymore. We know there used to be a time where everyone was like, well, you can’t put the same copy out on Facebook that you do on LinkedIn. That’s not really true. You can do that, but the main focus is obviously on targeting. We know that the targeting on Facebook is going to be a much wider net. We know we can’t go as niche as we can on LinkedIn. However based on your campaign budget, you can spend a lot less on Facebook and reach much, much wider. Obviously ever changing way of Meta. Meta is always, I think, for some people I think it’s Marmite for a lot of people, Meta. But there’s ways of reaching all of these people and more. You’re casting a wider net. You’re going to get some flotsam and jetsam. You’re going to get maybe some clicks and some engagements that don’t necessarily correlate with who you’re looking for. But again, it comes back to the fact that if you are seeing these engagements and you are seeing this interaction. You are seeing the results and you’re seeing the very low cost-per-clicks you know below a pound and all that stuff, then you know that it’s performing, right. So if you think about a large company that sells a product into multiple verticals or even there is perhaps a B2B2C element, think of these people as saying, well, this is brand awareness. We come back to ROI again, right. If we’re thinking about Facebook and we’re saying, well, we want to generate leads through this, and I know that Facebook’s working on that at the moment. But if we’re thinking about, well, we want website clicks and we want this and we want that, Facebook’s a great way to generate awareness and awareness is the pinnacle of good advertising right at the beginning of a nudge-nurture strategy. For all you know, that person at somewhere down the line is going to see something related to what your company sells and it could be pivotal. It’s just about having multiple ways of targeting those key people which you want to target, which you know you can. It’s hard to be prescriptive, but it’s also reaching those wider people that you might not necessarily have been able to on LinkedIn and that-
  • I’m just going to interject, Tom. There’s a couple of questions and one of them’s really pertinent to this conversation. So Katy’s essential question, how important is video in social compared to imagery and carousel? Katy’s absolutely right, but that nudge-nurture piece that we spoke about in the middle, get your animations in there. Whether it’s a podcast or a filming talking heads piece you’re doing, that content can be flipped out into audiograms. It can be flipped out into statements and carousels, whether still or animated, make huge impact in social. That should be part of your content bundle, definitely do that. Tom Jayola, I hope I pronounced your surname correctly. I’m really pleased you asked this question. Does Meta still apply to service-based businesses or mainly product based? Right, there is an urban myth that Meta is not for B2B businesses. And I take pleasure in going to stakeholders and convincing them that they’ve been caught up in this myth. I’m going to show you on the ticker tape below some data which adds credence to what I’m about to say. So we had a 16:9 video, so this is a normal video shot, put it into LinkedIn. The run rate was about 1% click-through rate, which if you look at industry statistics for organic content, you will see that’s actually at the upper end of what LinkedIn tell you is reasonable performance. We then took the same film, published as vertical into LinkedIn and just that one format change, double click-through rates, reduced cost-per-clicks by 58% and quadrupled engagement compared to the performance on the 16:9. To answer your question, though, what gets really exciting is when we took the same vertical films that I’ve just told you about, published to a targeted audience on Facebook, CXOs within technology, engagement rocketed to over 11,000, with 766 link clicks and the CPCs plummeting to just 34 pence. We have applied a big channel strategy change for a lot of our enterprise businesses because of this data. And I go back to what I said at the start of the call, this isn’t one video, this isn’t one story that overachieved in a moment. We’ve been running this hypothesis across many campaigns for many months, different seasons. So from the early part of the year for those on a traditional fiscal year where 1st of April becomes a new budget year, we had content running through the February, March, April period. We then had content running through the B2B window when people have unlocked budgets and started to do stuff. We even ran content through the summer lean period when people tell us they’re all off social and they’re all holidaying and then into the busy period we are, if you’re a B2B operative right now you know your event season, H2 is well and truly underway and, in fact, your eye is probably on your end of year targets now and how you fill that up. But every business is doing this and every business is putting out content, but the majority of businesses are putting out rubbish content into LinkedIn. Hardly anyone is looking at data of who are our target audience, where are they active, what are the formats for those channels and how can we go and create social-first content using the insights and the intelligence that we’ve got? And just to show you that it goes beyond what we’re talking about, some of are going to be really shocked by this. GWI data shows that CXOs in technology age 25 years up, spend more time on TikTok than they do on YouTube and the demographic splits at the bottom there. So then one of the questions we’re now asking in enterprise businesses is why are you putting your content on YouTube? Tom’s answered one of the questions that’s valid. If you’ve got an hour and a half film, YouTube is the place to go and put that. But again, the question we’re now looking at, particularly around ESGs and CSR initiatives, why isn’t that going into vertical video? Why isn’t it going into TikTok? Why isn’t it going into the Meta channels in those formats? Because we’ve got data showing it absolutely kicks ass when it does it and brings you closer to your audience. Crap content, crap performance, no demand gen. Social-first content packaged with the right format makes huge inroads. I hope that’s answered your question, Tony. Tom, where are we at? Let me get back to the questions. ’cause when I start talking and waffling and get distracted, I drag us in directions we’re not supposed to go. And the script writers are then thinking, ask that question, ask that question. Right, we covered demand gen. Why are we focusing on it, when 75% out there are already doing it? Because they’re not doing it well. Be better. Be stronger. Be bolder. Something Tom said to me off camera, which I do want to bring into this is when to use gated content because nearly every B2B company wants to put good content up on a landing page and put a form fill behind it. But you’re creating a barrier there and one of the points that Tom makes in his nudge-nurture philosophy is you’ve kind of got to give away a bit of content to hook people on the trust to drive the download. Or if you’ve got a crap layout on your landing page, it’s not going to work, right, Tom? And there’s an argument for, you call it being generous, I think.
  • Yeah, well or sort of charitable. I mean it’s easy to look at lead generation as being like, you know well here’s a campaign we want to run for a month where we’ll gate some highly valuable PDFs. So they’re either white papers or incredibly interesting thought leadership articles or whatever else. And that’s fine and it can work. But I think what we’re increasingly starting to see, and I think we’ve read about this in the last week, is that lead generation in effect, trying to use lead generation forms on LinkedIn, can be effective. But we’re starting to see a little bit, perhaps a little bit of hesitation from the audience here. And that might be due to, I mean again we don’t really know why, but it could be because they’re receiving a lot at the moment, a lot. We know of a campaign that we did recently where the lead gen form rate openings were brilliant, really, really good. In terms of the rate of percentage of opens, they were really, really good. But there was a barrier to download and we know that from, and I probably don’t have to tell other markets this that are watching but, yes, that you do have to give things up for free at the expense of maybe not getting that information. But ultimately, if you’ve got a valuable piece of content that builds trust in your brand and allows people to learn about you and what you understand, then they’ll come back. They’ll be there further down the line. You can use that four or five page white paper which, frankly, most of the time it’s not really interesting to read. But you know break it out into different animations. Someone raised a question in the comments carousels, right. You can use carousels. You can use animations. You can use different ways to break down this information and give it for free. And in your particular role, in your position, if you can explain a click or a like or a click-through to a landing page or a comment, you know that that’s not a physical lead, but if you can see who those people are, you can get an attraction, get an idea of who’s interacting and who is interested and you can monitor performance based on that. Lead gen has its place. I think we’ll look to try and fine-tune what we do. We obviously know what we’ve seen. What we know with the B2B sector, okay new financial year, April, May, busy; September, busy; October, busy. January, boom, we need to get everything out before the end of financial year. These are busy months within B2B. So always think about, with your campaigns, how you’re planning. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Don’t be afraid to maybe push things a little bit later. Start things a little bit earlier. B2B doesn’t turn off during summer and it doesn’t turn off during Christmas, it’s a myth. You can take risks here and there, right. Don’t be afraid to do things, not full pelt. Don’t put 100% effort behind it. But test and learn is another thing I would suggest. I always come back to-
  • This is where your vertical video push came into play-
  • Yeah, yeah.
  • Because, look, I’m going to be honest about it. Tom and I were talking Meta with B2B probably a year ago. And Tom was rightfully advocating some of the challenges with Meta. There was trolling going on. There was assertions of it being a toxic platform. And we had to listen to all of that and go and look at it and then look at the data, is this still going to work or is this going to be brand damaging? The vertical video campaign we’ve run has had no trolling. Now the interesting thing about, yes, it’s a targeted audience but if it’s good content that’s informing and educating the audience and it’s using vertical, so it’s going full display on mobile, if you’re putting 16:9 out on mobile, 16:9 now goes into a small block within the feed within your mobile. I mean I’m getting on now. I’m well into my late 40s. It’s not too long before I’m going to need a microscope to be able to see some of that content in social. But by going vertical, you get the full display. The other tip I would encourage businesses to not be fearful of is it’s okay for that content to look consumer-like with the block text. Don’t just put those boring subtitles at the bottom that appear in full. Somebody who does it really well, I mean Steven Bartlett. I mean we’ve known Steven for many, many years when he incepted on SocialChain and the successes he has grown that group together. More recently, he’s become known as a “Dragons’ Den” investor and all the great stuff he’s doing with “Diary of A CEO”. His production on “Diary of A CEO”, you cannot knock it. But look at the block text that he’s pulling apart. You’ll see the same applications on “5 Live Sports”. Now these are big platforms, but they weren’t big platforms when they launched. They had to work hard for their audience. It was about serving meaningful content connected with the audience that drove advocacy. So please, please, please use vertical video. But a question I’m asked all the time is, can I just take my existing video and flip it to vertical? The short answer is yes. But if it’s a boring video and it wasn’t edited or produced getting to provocative questions and provocative insights, it might underwhelm. When we produce and we go out and do shoots, we’re always asked what do we do differently to Pure Play video companies. Well, Pure Play video companies will use the rule of three. So what I mean by that, on the screen now if they’re framing the rule of three, my head will appear either in position one, the middle or position three. And the same goes across the frame on a horizontal, as well. They will very rarely put you in the middle because it’s a boring shot. They’ll set you off, normally here, occupying position one and two or three and four because it’s a more interesting shot. But what happens when you flip that video to vertical? I suddenly appear like this on your mobile because the rotation of vertical crops in. So what we do when we film is we create some extra dead space on 16:9, but we make it look attractive. If we’re at an event, we might put a walkway here where you see people going past. So it’s an interesting shot. But then when it’s cropped in for vertical, you’ve got the perfectly framed vertical position. You absolutely need to think about that and the other gem that Tom gave you at the top of the call, don’t just run the story sequentially from how you start. Find the most controversial question or the kick ass insight that was given, open with that. Shock people, then bring your branding in and then start with the story. Why is that branding point really key? Well, if you start with your branding on every asset, go and take a look at your social feed, what’s it full of? Frame shots of your branding. Thumbnails of your branding and everyone thinks they’ve already seen the content or they skip past it ’cause it’s boring. Grab people’s attention with your people, their insight, their intelligence and go and show the world how great the collective intelligence across your business is and you’ll see magic things happen with the data, right. Back to the questions. What am I missing, Tom? Uh, budget. You wanted to ask about budget allocation-
  • Yeah.
  • And it’s a juggle. How do you decide-
  • Yeah, how did you decide where to put your money, basically?
  • Well, right now on every campaign we are doing, we are putting a vertical filming line item in it, where it gives us enough time where we can work with the customer to identify stakeholders that can participate. We can work with them to understand how to present themselves and how to conduct themselves better in an interview. Then we get out on site and we film it as if it’s live, end-to-end, candid conversation. I do host a lot for customers and I’m regularly asked why? It’s a tall order getting somebody that can learn a script, being able to talk competently and confidently to camera without getting nervous about it. But I’ve not met anyone in industry that if you stop them ask them a question about their business, their product, their offering, their service, they give you an answer. It’s about identifying the juicy questions and having the confidence to ask them the questions that CEOs are really caring about at the moment. The CEO knows he’s got to look at AI, but the question that they’re asking right now is, how does AI move my business on in my category? Is it going to drive market share or is it going to replace staff? From a staff perspective, am I going to lose my job? Am I going to be replaced by a robot? The answer is no. But you’ve got to give more than that. What are they going to be doing if you bring AI into automate some duties? How are their strategic minds going to be applied? What does that lead to? Where does the opportunity come from? Where does the value impact come from? The efficiency, the impact story has to be told, but it starts with having a real provocative question around the AI, as a case in point. So we put a line item in for vertical, we then go and film it as if it’s a live. We’ll then go and edit it and flip, going back to one of the questions earlier, some of that content into audiograms, carousels, animations. We’ll even apply colour treatments. So we have been putting black and white video content into social. It was Tom and our lead designer, Chantelle’s, idea. The engagement went up again. Why? it looks different. It stands out, it draws attention and then you get the the resonance. So vertical video filming line item and anyone that’s got ESG messages or CSR messages, please connect with me afterwards. We have a dedicated offering coming out the ground at IF and we believe we can take your CSR storytelling and your CSG storytelling to the next level with tangible metrics and engagement and having you use TikTok, as well as, your other Meta channels. So please come and talk to us about that. We can turn things around very quickly for you. We then have a content production line item in and you’re going to need paid budget, the copywriting obviously in the content production, but then you’re going to need paid media. Social media is a pay-to-play model these days. Anyone that thinks you can achieve demand gen through organic, oh, you got to have a word with yourself, because you can’t. Less than 1% of your audience will see your good organic content. Your mediocre content is going to be even lower. But there are things that are good with organic. If you get more than a dozen people commenting on a post, you get little micro boosts and you can extend it a bit. But you’re never going to drive double-digit engagement metrics organically unless you’re kick-starting attention with paid. But then balance your paid. Do not go and put it all into LinkedIn. At this time of year if you’re a professional services brand, you are doing well to get your cost-per-clicks between five quid and 10 quid. I’ve got some alarming stories I could share with you about server companies struggling to get cost-per-clicks under 15 quid. Why? Because the audience is being bombarded. They’re super competitive. Everyone’s going after the same keywords. Everyone’s going after the same job title as the audience. The content doesn’t stand out, because it’s boring. You get penalised. Your cost-per-click goes up. But if you put good content out you can, as we’ve already shown, you can get those cost-per-clicks dropping by 58% and getting into a really good area with a high quality conversion. But if you then go into Meta or other vertical channels with vertical content, you can get great efficiency. People sometimes say Facebook’s not for demand gen, maybe go and have a word with Zuckerberg and ask why he bought a company that interfaces data straight into Salesforce now. So you can actually collect leads in Meta flow straight into your demand gen. Why did he go and buy a data insights company that sits in the backend that plugs into their M robot machine that actually helps with the targeting. For years he has been building an offering, quietly in the background, to go and compete with LinkedIn. ‘Cause LinkedIn has a reputation of being the corporate networking tool, right. But there are flaws with it. They were the last channel to bring live to market even with the Microsoft power behind them. They were three years behind some other channels. Really, really slow. The targeting, it’s costly, it’s expensive. You need big budget and you need good content to stand out. If you’ve got modest budgets, you’ve then got to look at how we can make it work smarter. So put a bit into LinkedIn but put a big chunk into Meta to get the quality reach. And do your touchpoints. Build a nudge-nurture campaign. It is going to cost you. You’re probably going to have to put 20 to 25 grand aside to run a campaign over an eight to 12 week period. But I promise you this, if you allocated the budget, did it how we asked, your marketing qualified leads and going through to your sales qualified leads will be better than anything you’ve got within social. If you allow us to be bold with the content, incorporate vertical and ask your stakeholders some pretty juicy questions that all your audience are thinking, they just want somebody to be ballsy enough to answer it and have an opinion and magical things will happen. If you’ve then got data going back to your board showing how you’ve got incremental returns, getting more budget to scale, things will be easily done. But you can’t shortcut this. You can’t get great outcome on the cheap. Social isn’t free. You might get lucky flipping a bit of content into social and it suddenly goes viral, but you are an anomaly rather than the norm, it’s fair to say. And you probably need an external stakeholder to pull you away from where you get dragged to. We’ve got to talk about this message because that’s an important offering. We’ve got to talk about this service because the board is saying that’s where our numbers are going to come from in the next six months. Okay, right, but how do we talk about the problems in industry that are solved by your offerings rather than buy this product now? There are companies out there who are today publishing assets about computers and servers and with a buy now message. Put your hands up if you’ve ever bought a server based on seeing a fricking social post. Nobody has. It doesn’t happen. It’s wasted. It’s boring. People scroll past, right. So stop, take a step back and look at some juicy stuff and not only will you have more fun, but you’ll have far more impact. Rant over. I’m sorry. Tom, I might’ve just answered this, but one piece of advice for our CMO audience on social media and B2B demand gen, what should they do?
  • I guess kind of following on from what you just said, it’s kind of hard to, I mean it’s hard to reduce this into something that’s not going to sound like I’m telling you what you already know. But I’m going to pick up a little bit on what you sort of alluded to there, CJ. We talked about LinkedIn and we talked about the audience, we talked about cost-per-click. Part of the reason the cost-per-click is high, particularly if we’re looking in technology area or you know since post-COVID, the general cost for targeting this audience has gone up. You know we know the technology now. We’re leaning on it more than ever. Hybrid IT, all of these elements, we’re now leaning on them more than ever, right. So more companies are advertising to these senior people who are looking for these solutions. You’ve got a more crowded marketplace than you ever have before. So part of the move over to Facebook is if we go back even 10 years you had marketing people or senior people who were really cynical about social who said I don’t know why we need to do this. I don’t know why we’re on this. I don’t know what it does for my brand. I don’t know what it does for my company. We’re now at a point where those same people or the people that have replaced them have now said, right, we have to be on social and part of that leans on, oh, our competitors are all on social, right. A lot of the time your competitors are doing stuff wrong. So don’t always learn from them. But there’s a slow message that we’re seeing here. One is why do we need to be on social? Now, it’s okay, we do need to be on social. There’s still a gap between how do we do it right, okay. This is not PR. This is not editorial. You haven’t got to pitch to a journalist. You haven’t got to get everything, you know you haven’t got to dot the I’s, you know cross the T’s, whatever. You haven’t got to get everything perfect. Social is a blank canvas which you can use for a very minimal cost and if you nail it, you’re going to do really, really well. Moving on shortly from what CJ said, we’ve now got this area of cynicism around Facebook. Okay, I’m on LinkedIn. Our brand’s on LinkedIn because it makes sense as a B2B brand. We don’t need to be anywhere else. Again, you’re a few years behind. It’s wrong. You should be everywhere. You can be everywhere provided you’ve got the resource and you’ve got the time and you’ve got the budget. We are seeing movements, particularly on Meta, where as we see Zuckerberg’s doing things to try and pull that B2B element through. Whatever you think about him, Facebook has done, it’s still doing really, really well. And there is trepidation around the brand itself and whether or not people should be using it. But I think from a B2B aspect, you’ve got a good chance here where you’ve got less budgets, where you’re going to reach more people. Yes, there’s still question marks over the targeting, but I think that’s going to be rectified in the near future. If I have to talk about another bit of advice, I know we’re pressed for time, just always think about what interests you. What do you see on social on a day-to-day basis that resonates with-
  • Right, right.
  • [Tom] Do not think for one second, just because you’ve seen something funny on TikTok or you’ve seen something interesting on Facebook that you cannot incorporate that into your day-to-day B2B role, because you can. Okay, no you can’t take that dog on a skateboard or no you can’t you know, perhaps use a turtle doing something weird. That’s a reach, right. But it doesn’t matter because you remember it, you remember it. Just do something interesting, do something fun and if it doesn’t work, then you don’t do it again. Or you delete it or you try something different. People do get married a little bit to brand guidelines as well. That is one of the other things that I know a lot of people watching this might feel a little bit like, but the guidelines say this. Guidelines are guidelines, they’re not rules.
  • Yeah.
  • So sometimes I would say and some of the things we’ve tried to do in the last year or so is not break the rules, but find where there are no rules and then try and be a little bit fun with that and see how we can push the boundary. ‘Cause once it’s out there and it performs-
  • Yeah.
  • Matter. You’ve basically gone, well look, it worked. So all I would say is, I know this is probably going to sound lame, but just try and be brave. Like just try and push it. Try and experiment and just try and insist that you try it and see how it does before anyone senior tells you that you can’t do it, because-
  • But you can address brand guidelines, right. Go buddy up with the person responsible for it. I bet that they’re not being restrictive or their intent is not to be restrictive with you. The minute they understand how guidelines should be applied differently on social, when they get good impact they change. The major technology brand that we’ve spoken to you about, they’re adding elements to their brand guidelines for this very reason. The head of brand knows me personally and will tell you that I’ve got form for constantly challenging what they do, but now she really appreciates the fact that we’re challenging what we do because it’s for the good of industry. It’s never seen as a negative. We’ve got to get over that mindset of stay away from the brand police because they’re going to pull our campaign. You can bridge it. But be bold. I love that. Do we also consider Insta as part of the Meta brand for B2B? Hell, yes, Cato. My view, and I’ve put this in a deck recently, Instagram B2B content should be about people, personality, purpose and phenomenon. What do I mean by phenomenon? The standout stuff your brand is doing or has done and how it’s impactful. 2019 we were at an industry event broadcasting live. Belle Lawrence, one of our directors, she helped a major technology brand realise that Instagram was a key channel for taking people behind the scenes of what was going on in their world and then it’s become a key recruitment and people channel for the brand since more can be done on Insta. But yeah, short answer it should be part of the B2B mix, but you’ve got to film vertical.
  • Yeah.
  • And everything we were talking about, you absolutely have to be ruthless in making sure that your vertical content lives the sort of guidance we’ve given you. But again, that’s where you probably need an external partner. A bit like when you go into BBC studios, whenever I’m in there’s a producer pulling me back to the core questions and the core topic and the editorial agenda that we need to live. You need that partner pulling you back. Well, the CTO might want you talking about how we’re going to drive market share on servers by 25%, but nobody out there gives a hoot about it. But if you offering increase in security by, I don’t know, 30% and you’ve got blockchain technologies embedded in it which is going to make it easier for secure documents to be shared for example, let’s talk about the challenge and the threat of sharing secure documents online and what can happen when that goes wrong and why you need to have end-to-end security, for example. That’s just me thinking on my head. We can apply this to every industry. Professional services, B2C, even B2B2C. We’ve got lots of examples that we can share with you. I’m sure you appreciate a lot of our data is behind stringent NDAs, as you would all sign if you engaged us working with us. But there’s more that we can show you or share with you on a one-to-one basis about how we’re making impact. Paul Collier, I love hearing that. The fact that five years ago you had a conversation with Katy, she’s rarely wrong by the way, it really frustrates me how, I don’t know why I argue with her because she’s always right. Five years ago she was pushing Facebook with you, you were sceptic. Now you’re seeing it completely different. Smart people take a step back and reevaluate things and don’t allow judgement to cloud them. Like I said, Tom wasn’t on board with Facebook for very good reasons, but he looked at the data, he pursued what was needed. He looked at outcomes, ran tests and proved, now he’s one of our biggest advocates for B2B as a result, come full circle.
  • Yeah. I think following on, just yeah, I mean we’re seeing that shift now. Not just Facebook, but we’re seeing Instagram and TikTok becoming so much more part of the social conversation. This is not a consumer conversation. This is a person conversation, right. It doesn’t matter whether you’re B2B or B2C. What do we know about these platforms? They’re visual and they’re brief. You’ve got to be video. You’ve got to have emotion. You’ve got to get attention because you have less time than ever. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. So hopefully, they’re not so short that you’ve managed to stay with us throughout this whole video. But they’re to a point where you have to start being bolder and braver onto different platforms. And what we all know in the B2B area is that you’ve got 5% of your audience that are ready to buy now, 95 are not and the 95 are the ones that you want to get your hooks into now so that when they are ready to buy, who are they thinking about? And that’s what I’ll end my segment on, CJ.
  • Cato, expect to see that flipped out into a carousel and appearing in social content very soon. I think Tom’s just given our us our closing quote there. Thank you all for watching. It goes without saying, this is just a snippet of what is happening within B2B and affecting the demand generation landscape at the moment. But that this is a really successful campaign, tangible data. If you would like to hear more and explore how this can apply to your brand, Katy Howell, myself, Tom, we’re all available. You can find us online or through our social channels, we’re happy to talk to you about it. And if you are looking at pushing your ESG-CSR agenda right now, please come and talk to me about vertical. I believe we’ve got a means that will make it stand out significantly and quickly. You’re up against time scales. We could probably get stuff done before Christmas, but come and pick that conversation up with me separately. Thank you all for watching. Thank you for the comments. Let me just check there hasn’t been another one. No, there’s only been compliments. That’s lovely to hear. Thanks for watching, guys, and we’ll see you again very soon.