Why (and How) Boring Brands Need Social Media

Edwin Boring. Totally unrelated to social media. But if the pun and image fits…

Some industries have it easy on social media. The hip retailers, the Red Bulls, the cool restaurants where people post clean Instagram shots of their snail froth and parmesan salads…

But what about the office equipment salespeople, the lawyers, the accountants, and investment bankers?

There’s an open space in social media for the 9–5, b2b (and boring b2c) brands of the world. And within that space, there’s a HUGE opportunity to drive value and increase ROI

Who’s Boring?

First of all, I understand if your brand may not seem to be boring to you. I had a thrill as a copier salesperson. I LOVE creating cost-benefit-analyses of depreciating business assets. But as I bounced from copiers to digital marketing, I realized that not everybody shares the same humor and enthusiasm as myself.

These are the “boring” industries I’m referring: legal, insurance, real estate (commercial or residential), manufacturing, equipment sales, office supplies, investing/banking, accounting, science/engineering, medical…

Why Digital Marketing?

Buyers today are tech-savvy. They do research and make informed decisions for their business and personal needs. They are also quick to call BS on the hard-sell tactics that don’t translate well digitally.

Social media and the digital world is the place for businesses to build brand awareness and credibility without cramming cold pitches into prospect’s earholes. And more importantly, a strong social presence establishes digital credibility (SEO).

Who still uses the Yellow Pages, seriously?

Some Stats:

  • 94% B2B buyers do research online before making a purchasing decision
  • 77% use Google search
  • 84.3% check business websites
  • 80.1% of people use mobile for internet based activities
  • 81% of non-executives have a say in purchasing decisions
  • “Customer-facing front-end B2B e-commerce will reach $559 billion”

Are you dipping your ladle in this money pond?

Leveraging digital platforms is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business. They are often free to set up, and if you have an office with several employees, chances are one of them is wasting company time by playing on online. Turn that bum into a brand ambassador and social coordinator (it looks good on the resume too).

Digital media also comes with insights and analytics. With a click, you can see measured results. You can target consumers, and spend your ad dollars with pinpoint accuracy.

Who’s Making The Buying Decisions?

A common objective I hear is that executives aren’t wasting their time on social media. I wouldn’t doubt it. But their employees are. And employees have a voice when it comes to making the final decision.

Employees are doing the research for the boss and will highlight the benefits of the product/service they trust and like. Nearly half of these B2B researchers are millennials.

Sold yet? Email me for a quick review of your business’ digital potential.
Want to do it yourself? Keep reading.

Best Practices for Boring Brands

Social 101

The first thing you need to do is stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about your consumer (who are thinking about themselves). Don’t tell them about how great your company is. Show them that you understand their needs by providing answers and solutions to common problems within your industry.

When you create and distribute content, you need to answer their question of “What’s in it for me?”, “How am I going to benefit from this piece of content?”

Social 102

It’s Social: Become a part of the community, have your fans join you in the conversation, leverage fans to become micro-influencers and brand ambassadors by curating content created by them (incentivize and credit them).

Ad Spend: If you’re going to do social marketing, you’ll need to spend some money for it to be effective. It doesn’t have to be much. If you’re cheap like me, you can boost a post for as little as $1!

Sponsored Posts: Boost content that’s engaging. I’d recommend posting content and monitoring which pieces are most popular. Put a few dollars behind the good posts. This will help lower your CPA. I am often surprised at what does well and not so well, so I let the data decide for me.

Trending: Follow what’s trending, Facebook and Twitter are great sources for this. Share posts relevant to trends as long as they are loosely relevant to your brand (use #’s on Twitter, but NOT on Facebook).

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: Even though Gary Vee doesn’t reply to my emails, he deserves an honorable mention. If you are serious about social marketing, read his book. It’s a few-years-old but highlights the importance of giving, giving, giving, then asking. Of course, if you’re a business, you’ll want ROI from your efforts. You get ROI when you provide the right content and ask for business at the right time.

Quality over Quantity: Don’t overwork yourself (or employees) to crank out content. If you don’t post 5x this week on Facebook, you’ll probably still be in business next week. Do not compromise the quality of your content for the sake of maximum exposure.

Personify Your Business (Branding): “Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand.” — Amy Jo Martin

Want to know which platforms are best for boring brands? Read 8(ish) Social Platforms For Boring Brands

Sources: Statista 2016, Think With Google & E-Commerce & B2B

Dan blogs at www.raaf.la and has an unhealthy addiction for Quora.

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Dan Raaf is a Social Media Director, Influencer Marketer (and monetizer), and Digital Marketing Consultant at Raaf Media.