As a concerned consumer, I have to admit that I’m ambivalent about social media. On the one hand, it keeps me connected with friends and family. And it provides a platform for those whose voices have been marginalized. On the other hand, it can be a 24-7 outrage machine where I can ruin my blood pressure arguing with strangers.
As a marketer, however, I wholeheartedly celebrate social media. Brands have never had such rich opportunities to interact with customers and potential customers. They’ve never been able to so easily display what the brand is about, what it stands for, and how it can bring value to people.
This is especially important now that virtually all B2B business is done digitally and customers are using digital channels more than ever to find information, learn about brands and solutions.
If your enthusiasm for your brand’s social media has waned, though, I get it. Social has been around for over a decade now, and it’s become just another channel for a lot of us. But if your brand is treating social as a box to be checked, rather than an opportunity to be seized, it’s time to take an interest again. With the pandemic shifting in-person marketing to digital, more buyers are online than ever before.
You can start with the basics, like refreshing your brand’s profile pages. With a few adjustments, you can make these pages more welcoming to your audience and more reflective of your brand’s personality and values. Beyond that, freshen up images, ensure links are working, information is accurate and up to date.
But let’s go beyond the basics. For that, here are my top 5 tips, as well as some platform-specific suggestions.
1. Ditch the Corporate-Speak
This first one may be the hardest for B2B marketers who have been in the game for awhile. Corporate marketing has a language unto itself, and if your target audience isn’t other corporate marketers, you’re likely getting lost in translation.
Start by eliminating buzzwords. Any grand-sounding, but ultimately empty, words and phrases can go. Look especially for those phrases that are true of every business, but that some brands tout as differentiators. Here are a few to look out for:
Data-driven. Are there businesses who base all decisions on Tarot card readings?
Results-oriented. As opposed to intentions-oriented, I suppose.
Best-in-class. If everyone is best in class, no one is.
Disruptive. This is a bold yet nebulous claim, and an overly common one.
Customer-first. This will differentiate you from all those businesses who put people who are NOT their customers first.
Industry-leading/Thought leader. These are vague claims as well, and also are titles that should generally not be self-granted.
In general, strive to talk like a person, rather than a corporate entity. Even on LinkedIn, where a higher level of professionalism is expected, you will attract more attention with a warm, human voice.
2. Eliminate Problematic Language
By “problematic,” I mean, “likely to cause offense to historically oppressed groups of people.” This may not be a popular topic with some folks, but getting rid of problematic language is absolutely essential for modern marketing. The risk is alienating not just the offended group, but whole swaths of your target audience who prefer more inclusive language. And you risk attracting the wrong sort of audience, too.
What follows is just a few excerpts from a very long list:
Gurus/Ninjas Both of these titles have real meaning and significance to their respective cultures, and using them as part of a brand descriptor or job title is a bad look.
Tribe/Tribal/Tribalism Tribal connections are deeply meaningful to Native Americans, so it’s better to find another way to refer to your group. Double yikes if you’re the “chief” of your “tribe.”
Circle the Wagons/Pow-Wow Not only are these examples of archaic language that somehow persists in corporate-speak, they’re both offensive to indigenous folks.
Crazy/Insane It’s best to avoid words that describe mental illness in a trivial fashion. Your brand can be “passionately” devoted to its customers without being “crazy about” or “insanely focused.”
I know that some people call this type of language awareness “politically correct,” generally with an eyeroll. But in reality, it’s simply inclusive. If part of your brand identity is caring about marginalized people (and I hope it is), it’s important to make your language reflect that.
3. Say Why You’re Here
Okay, the language policing part of the blog is over. We can all breathe a little easier now. On to the next big, easy question: Why is your brand on social media?