Editor's Note: Unfortunately the audio in this episode was compromised, so we decided to run the transcript only for this amazing episode with Jonathan Wichmann. Please read it, Jonathan has some amazing tips for marketers everywhere, especially in the B2B sector. Also, please note that this episode was recorded prior to the passing of the great David Bowie.
In This Episode
- How an internally driven social plan (versus externally created) leads to a trustworthy and speedy network
- Why "social" means "democratic" when it comes to structure
- How letting down your competitive guard leads to a successful B2B social presence
- Why B2B social exists in more than just the Marketing/Communications Department
Jay: Welcome, everybody to Social Pros, the podcast for real people doing real work in social media. I am, as always, Jay Baer from Convince & Convert, joined as per usual by my pal, my special Texas friend. He is the executive strategist at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, live from Austin, Texas, still under the weather but here nonetheless, the one, the only, Mr. Adam Brown. That's Adam Brown.
Adam: Hey, hello, howdy and thank you. It is great to be here. As you said, Jay, the cedar fever has still continued to plague me. This week it's mold and cedar. That is your pollen forecast. We'll have the rest of your forecast right after these commercial messages.
Jay: We need a sponsor for this part of the season, like from Sudafed or somebody, "The Social Pros Podcast, brought to you by Sudafed."
Adam: I agree. Hopefully though this will resolve itself so these little messages will no longer need to be shared with our listening audience.
Jay: We'll take anybody's money. We don't care.
Adam: There you go.
Jay: I am so excited about our guest today who probably does not have a pollen issue because he's coming to us literally from halfway around the world live from Copenhagen, Denmark, one of my favorite people in all of the social media, in fact, a previous guest on this very podcast. I don't even know what episode he was on. I don't have my list in front of me. But it was early, like episode 4 or something and now we're at 200, Mr. Jonathan Wichmann joins us again on the big Social Pros Podcast.
Jonathan: Thank you. Good to be back. It's been quite a while. I think it's been… it must be more than two years, three years now.
Jay: I think it's almost four years since you've been on this show. You were in the penalty box for an entire presidential period.
Jay: Now, you joined us when you were at Maersk Line and talk about the amazing work that you did for that organization, turning the world's largest shipper of things into a social media powerhouse. Now, you are part of the consultancy Orca Social, which helps B2B organizations do great social media. Tell us a little bit about Orca and how that works.
Jonathan: Basically it works like after two years at Maersk Line, I found it was time to move on. I teamed up with a guy named Ed Major, who came from Oracle. He said, "You know, there's a model to how you've been working at Maersk with social, doing it from within. We need to capture that. There's an opportunity here because so many companies are in the B2B space."
They don't know what to do about this. He said, "I really share your vision. Somehow we need to capture the model and help other companies do the same." So I thought that was kind of exciting, not knowing if he was right or not.
Jay: You may be crazy, but we appreciate you taking the flier and starting this company. And full credit to our friends at Oracle, close your eyes here for this part, Adam, our pals at Oracle Marketing Cloud are the cohosts and sponsor of our sister podcast, Content Pros. So if you hadn't listened to that one, you should do it because it's like this show but for content marketing, content pros hosted by Chris Moody from Oracle Marketing Cloud and Randy Frisch from Uberflip.
Jonathan, recently you and Ed and the folks at Orca Social put together an eBook about key principles for B2B social media. One of the things I wanted you to talk about is you have certainly lived this principle in your own work, but it's one of the key foundational principles of Orca Social now is this notion of doing social media in B2B from within. Can you describe that a little bit and how that works in practice?
Jonathan: Yeah. I think first and foremost, I think it's important especially for B2B companies if they are to really reap the benefits of social that they realize that it's much more than just Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, etc., that it's actually a technology enabling people to communicate. So it's peer to peer communication. We all know this, but what does it mean in terms of how you can use it for business?
Often it ends up being something you have in the communications department, marketing department, maybe HR. I think with enterprise social networks and internal platforms and all of this, it's just becoming increasingly clear, at least to us, that so many other ways to use it for instance for supply chain optimization, but not as social media, not on Facebook but just by referring to it as social technologies.
When you start looking or seeing that, we're talking about social business and all of that. Then it's really clear that you can, of course, use external help and that's something we provide and many other people, but really you need somebody on the inside to drive it so it becomes trustworthy and speedy. And that's, of course, a difficult part because in a B2B company, who has those skills, understanding of the business and social at the same time?
I don't think that you'll find many B2B companies who have sort of the budget to really go big in the beginning. So often you need to build it from scratch with very little means. So in order for it to be cost efficient right from the beginning, I think it has to be driven from people on the inside.
Jay: One of the things that you talk about in your new eBook about B2B social on a related topic is that social can help create a shared culture in the organization. What do you mean by that? How does social as a discipline manifest itself that broadly and help everybody in the organization think and feel the same way? That seems to me like a tall assignment, even for something like social.
Jonathan: It is. But it's like the chicken and the egg discussion in a way. Sometimes if you have a very social organization to begin with, then of course social media will be a true or pretty easy reflection in that and it would be easy to implement it in theory at least. Whereas when the opposite is happening, then we find that social technologies can be sort of a silo breaker, in some cases at least.
With social, because it's not top-down, but democratic in the way it's structured, in the way the communication is structured around it. It will have a tendency to be more about people sharing knowledge and promoting that notion of sharing rather than protecting, that you see that you benefit from sharing knowledge, really, in the culture. So I think that's the basis of that.
Jay: You mentioned earlier social business versus social media and that we're not necessarily talking about Facebook and Instagram and things like that, although certainly B2B can make great use of those and we'll talk about that in a little bit.
I found it interesting that for Orca Social, for your clients and members of your consultancy, you actually use a Facebook group to bring those people together. The last time you were on the show, I don't think we had Facebook groups or if we did they weren't very good. It seems so amazing to me that now, just even in a context like that, you need to have a group to deal with your own customers. Instead of doing that either on a private social network on LinkedIn, now you're using it with Facebook as well. Do you find that unusual and interesting as well?
Jonathan: I do, really. It actually was not a fun process, but it was an interesting process where we started doing our own custom group. It's really difficult to get people on board there. Then we moved on to LinkedIn for a little while. So we did exactly what you said and it didn't really take off until we ended up at Facebook, where you have a more lighthearted dialogue, really.
But I think for us it's really part of the value that we provide our clients that they can join this Facebook group and in there have these conversations with each other instead. So actually, they can share knowledge with each other. I find that's really interesting as a business model.
At the end of the day, it's not about us just doing consultancy again and again saying the same things. So really trying to live it, in a way, it's the way to go forward, I think. But that being said, it's not that it's easy to have a successful group, I think. There's a critical mass thing, of course. You need a certain number of people in there before you have enough to answer each other's questions and have a meaningful discussion.
Jay: Yeah. Absolutely. Otherwise it's the sound of a tree falling in the forest. One of the things that you and I have talked about in the past, and I still hear this from B2B companies and clients of ours and perhaps you do as well and Adam does at Salesforce, is when we talk about more proactive social media marketing on behalf of B2Bs and we start talking about editorial calendars and maybe doing something in Facebook or Instagram or even Pinterest.
What I sometimes hear, maybe it's not phrased exactly this way, but essentially what I hear is, "We're B2B. We're not interesting enough to do that. We don't have good stories. We don't have good pictures. We don't have good videos. We're not Pepsi. We're not Coca Cola, I should say that for Adam as a former Coca Cola social media, we'll edit that out. Actually, we won't, but let's pretend we'll edit that out.
So Jonathan, what do you tell those companies who say they don't have stories to tell that will resonate in social media as someone that has proven that it can be done in B2B. Maersk Line is not what you would consider to be a sexy organization. What is your advice and counsel for those people?
Jonathan: More often than not, I actually firmly think that they have better stories to tell, stories that are not invented in the marketing department, but just basically what they do and the employees they have and expertise in the company and then it's a matter of sort of convincing them that this is actually the case and inspiring them to see that. They probably don't have a very developed communications function compared to B2C companies.
So that can work against you, but I think it can actually work for you. What we saw in this eBook and what we're also talking about today is that there are many things that just the branding and marketing side of social. I think there's an opportunity to move beyond that right from the go get, right from the beginning because they don't have that clearly defined story. So it doesn't belong to marketing necessarily in the beginning.
Adam: Jonathan, I agree. I think when you have a situation where you don't have as many resources, where you think on the surface you don't have the same number of stories, it almost forces you to be scrappy and it forces you into perhaps telling a different story, using different strategies, using different tactics. I love that. I also really like the point that you and Jay have been talking about as it relates to social media being not just a platform play and going beyond Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like.
It's one of the reasons I think many social media tools, including ours search over one billion sources because social media can take place really on any corner of the internet. Jonathan, what do you tell the social media manager who's already maybe a little overwhelmed by the big three that they need to look beyond it. How do you tell them how to best manage social media beyond just those Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the basic networks?
Jonathan: I think I often talk about having their own platform in a way and thinking about what does it take for a platform to become social. What is it that you can do with these plugins and then create something like a forum or something where you can perhaps use these technologies to add value somehow.
I think there are many good examples of that also in the B2B space of how you can have your own platform and use it to involve people and innovation or customer service. Provide a platform, basically, for communication and for sharing knowledge. So I think often they need this hub that is not Facebook.
We also see in the B2B space people, depending on what part, B2B is such a broad concept, but customers would rarely go to a Facebook or Twitter to air their anger towards a company or ask questions. They would just call the key plan manager. So what they would like to as customers, for instance, be involved in is more high level discussions around products.
They actually want to be because often a B2B company is a huge part of the supply chain or of the operation. They want to be part of this. As it is today, it's from a technology perspective, really easy to create something where this can actually happen. So it's all about the mindset, really, that people don't really know, "This is not how we do it". So find ways to demonstrate that it is actually doable and you can arrive at really hardcore business results very quickly just providing the right technology. I think that's something along the lines of that, at least.
Then also I think early success is often a good thing. Having sort of trust internally because you need to have people ask you about more strategic questions so you don't just become the Facebook manager, but someone who's actually looking for business results from day one.
Adam: I think certainly the ROI is so important for whether you're doing B2C or B2B. Are there any special strategies or any special things that a B2B social media manager or leader can do to help distinguish that? Is it more of a focus, as you mentioned, Jonathan, on those internal communities, on the message boards and the forums? I think technology companies have always been a great pioneer and user of those. Is it something else?
Jonathan: I think HR, nothing is easy in this world, of course, but it's an easy win, in a way, because the tools are already available and the HR organization, it's already tuned in and we know we need to use LinkedIn and we need to do this and that and there's an employer brand taking on all of this. Some communication around that, we need to attract the next generation. I think management understands that.
So that's at least one area where there are plenty of opportunities. It will involve communication as well. But again, it's an area where what we see is it's not that it's all about social ads and it's all about doing great, cool videos of tell the world about what you are. What really works is that people, what really works is that you show rather than tell.
So instead of saying we are good and we are just talking about all your EVPs, it's much more effective to empower some of your thought leaders in the company on the block and have them talk with their own voice in an authentic way and forget about sort of the corporate because people want to work with people who are maybe even smarter than them, people they admire, really. So if you can do that for instance, then I think you're onto something.
Adam: You mentioned social ads. Certainly social ads on the paid side of things have impacted all of us as social media strategists and users.
Do you think that social ads are having as big of an impact on the B2B side and are B2B managers understanding and accepting that they are going to need to allocate their media mix and typically in many instances, fewer dollars to spend, but they are going to have to spend those dollars if they are going to have a modicum of success, at least on the bigger social media networks.
Jonathan: I think they do realize that they need to, some do. Those that are successful, they do realize that you cannot just open a profile and then something will happen. You need to tell people about the fact that you are there, actually. You need to be highly targeted. But that being said, I don't think they have very . . . they don't know the ads platforms very well. They don't know how to use them beyond just growing followers and promoting some posts and things like that. So it's not very, what I find, sophisticated part of the marketing mix and how they go to market.
I think for instance, they should allocate resources to grow influence of some of their key employees, talking about employee advocacy a lot this year and the past couple of years has been a hot topic, right? Supporting some of your thought leaders and giving them a bigger voice to me is a very sound and good tactic.
Adam: I love that, Jonathan. As a matter of fact, last week I was giving a speech on B2B social media marketing and one of the things I remarked about was that I believe in B2B, there are typically more true subject matter experts within the organization.
The key to social media marketing is for not just the social media marketers to be building in that engage and the conversations, but to empower those engineers, those technical experts, the people who know the product intimately to have those engagements. There's some Altimeter Research as well as some research that I know Jay has incorporated and included in a lot of his books that shows how the social media manager is moving from a doer to more of an enabler.
Adam: It's less about them writing the content, but enabling that. It sounds like you kind of agree with that sentiment.
Jonathan: Certainly. In general, I think research shows that as well. People are not following companies, really. I don't really care about what Adidas has to say about the weather today to really stress it. But what I would like to follow and many other people is other people within what I care about, the same arenas, I think it's realizing that… I think Mark Zuckerberg has been brilliant at so far, he's sort of told companies that they can have fans and they can get likes, which is in the corporate world, if you think about it, fans, that's something a football team would have or a rock band, not a B2B company.
So that has, of course, for many CEOs, they rarely go beyond sort of just the fan count when they meet at conferences. That's what I've heard recently. That's how they compare when they talk about social media. Right there, all the many benefits of social technologies in the broader sense, social in the broader sense is, of course, lost. So I think we're very aligned on that one. I think it's about the people, basically. But then when you hear is, "What about if they leave the company? What will happen then?" I think that's just an occupational risk, in a way.
Jay: I think people always have that fear that if you put some sort of trust and emphasis on humanity, that what if the human's change. But I think if you have that culture of humanity, that culture of customer experience, that culture of shared belief systems and social is just a signal of that, then even if that person were to leave or those people were to leave, the train keeps on rolling. I think we're starting to see more and more examples of companies "surviving" the departure of a well-known social media manager.
Jonathan: Yeah, or a well-known thought leader, engineer, whatever, who has established him or herself as someone who's knowledgeable around that topic. It's an extra reason for staying that you're supported by your company.
Jay: Yeah. Speaking of support, I want to acknowledge this week's sponsors of the Social Pros Podcast. Our friends at Salesforce Marketing Cloud are the wise employers of one Mr. Adam Brown. They also have produced a fantastic free eBook that you should read as soon as you finish reading the eBook on B2B social from our friends at Orca.
It is called "Winning at Social: Four Steps to Enhance Your Social Media Strategy," all kinds of tips and tricks to help you put into practice some of the principles we've talked about on today's show, including one to one customer journeys on social media, social touchpoints across the entire organization, etc., grab a copy of this over the holidays or beyond the holidays, whenever you get a chance to listen to this. Go to http://ift.tt/1PUdKFG to get the "Winning at Social" book from our friends at Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Also this week, the show is brought to you by our friends at Cision. Cision has a terrific eBook as well called "Five Social Audiences Brands Cannot Afford to Ignore." I think if you listen to this podcast, you're pretty dialed into the fact that social media is about listening first. But are you listening aggressively enough, broadly enough, hard enough? That's what this eBook is all about. I was delighted to contribute to it, "Five Social Audience Brands Can't Afford to Ignore" from Cision. Go to http://ift.tt/1mU0dEV to download that.
Also excited to announce here for the very first time that we are starting a new podcast here on the Convince & Convert Media Network. We'll have a new show starting February-ish called Influence Pros, all about influencer marketing. That is going to be sponsored by and cohosted by our friends at Cision. Heidi Sullivan, who's one of their vice presidents and a terrific friend of Convince & Convert, she'll be on the microphone for that show. Next year be looking for that, Influencer Pros.
Also this week, last but certainly not least, our long-time sponsor Sprout Social as has a fantastic eBook and it's exactly what we were talking about a moment ago. It's called "The Power of Your People: Employee Advocacy on Social." Let's remember that on average, an employee has 846 connections in social media.
When you add that up, your employees can and in many cases do have more social connections than the brand does itself. We've got to harness that capability to help spread our message. This eBook tells you just how to do that. It's "The Power of Your People: Employee Advocacy in Social Media" book from our friends at Sprout Social. Go to http://ift.tt/1PUdHKb. Thanks as always to our friends at Sprout Social. Adam?
Adam: Jonathan, during our pre-show research, I got to look at your background, look at your resume on LinkedIn, another social media property, imagine that. And I was fascinated by a couple of things, but one is that you have bachelors in music and a master's in literature. I just love that. One of the things we often talk about on this show is being a good storyteller. Obviously you have that storytelling DNA.
I have to ask though, how do you believe that your very creative background has led to what you're doing now and how is it impacted especially what you've done for some fantastic B2B companies and of course the work you've done with your agencies and your consultancies?
Jonathan: It's hard to tell, isn't it? It's very fluid because when are you a storyteller, when are you a student and when are you a marketer and all of this and social media manager, whatever. But I think I'm always, to pat myself on the back, I'm good at looking at it from the recipient's point of view. I have sort of the bullshit alert.
So I've been thinking a lot about what the company has to say really add value and what does it say for anything to be shared by anyone. I think there's so much noise out there already. Very often in these big corporations, it's very consensus driven, even in B2Cs when they do campaigns and what comes out is sort of washed away from anything interesting. So it's just noise and people don't notice it once it's out there because it's just like everything else.
So I'm actually applying often, "Do I really care about what this story is about? Does it add anything to what's already out there?" The answer is, as you can imagine, often no. It's more the same.
Then at the same time, I've also been doing journalism and stuff, so instead of inventing things, really just making the most of what you already have got, I think that's my method, in a way, looking at that. Surprisingly, people always find that they often say we didn't even see that. Once it's day-to-day on a daily basis and you don't see all the many great stories that you have within the company or within the organization.
So I think that's often my job to go in and help them identify the good stories that are often lying there. Then it's also all about how to execute it in a way so people will click on it and read it to the end or watch it or whatever. So to me I think it's all tied together. I don't know about the jazz, but of course there's some story thing in there. But I think I needed a break at some point.
Adam: It's your creative outlet. We all need one. It's great how you've wrapped that into what you do. It certainly, I think, has a profound impact on the stories you tell.
Jonathan: I use music as a way to escape, basically. Then I escaped to London at a jazz college. Then after, I think, two weeks I was already tired of it because it was just rehearsing ten hours a day.
Adam: "This might be a good hobby, but I don't know if this will be a good occupation."
Jay: I just like the idea of a jazz college.
Jonathan: It was more the idea of it actually.
Adam: One of the other interesting things I think we're often asked about in this industry, industry being public relations or advertising, is what do I do next. So often times we are told as marketers and as communicators to be successful in this space, you've got to work on the agency side and you've got to work on the corporate side. You've really kind of got to do both. You've got to work on both sides of the fence.
Jonathan, that's something that you have done with your corporate experience at Maersk Line and of course the agencies that you've founded and cofounded. Do you believe that one of them is a good boot camp over the other? Are they both required? What would you tell the person who's thinking about hopping to other side of that proverbial fence.
Jonathan: I think I've seen it go wrong a lot of times when agency people join the corporate and vice versa. I don't know why. Maybe people are just not as flexible as they should be. So as positive in the outlook of different opportunities in the two settings. You need to adjust a lot. But I think there's something about the tempo when you're used to working on the agency side and you register your time by the minute, almost, and then you join the corporate world and it's like, "What do I do today?" It's a different tempo.
So you need to keep the momentum if you really want to make a difference because I find often there are many meetings, a lot of politics. So you really need to be careful about working with the right people and finding out you need people around you with a shared vision. Where on the agency side it's, I think, it's different criteria that you need to look for before joining, like with the clients and what is the environment like. Is it a party environment? Is it more of an accountant environment or is it both at the agency side? I don't know if that makes sense at all.
Adam: No, it does. One of the great things about this show that I get to enjoy is I get to listen to you and Jay and the guests kind of banter about as I sit here copiously taking notes because it's great stuff. I want to come back to one of the things that you and Jay were talking about. It was this idea, Jonathan, that you said that social is democratic. That's it's about sharing, rather than protecting content. That really kind of hit me.
I think even as it relates to what we've been talking about with corporate versus agency. So you find that brands are more or less likely to kind of want to share content, to share insight rather than individuals? As you consult with brands and companies, how do you help them balance that risk and reward of not really trying to control the message as much, but really trying to enable and foster more authenticity in that dialogue?
Jonathan: I think I've been lucky or fortunate because of the way it worked out with Maersk, my work at Maersk. That's been an example. They've known about that before consulting with me. They wanted some of it. Then it's easy to say you need to let go of control. You need to get ready to learn first and actually when you get started on this, you know very little. You don't know your own tone of voice, you don't know the audience and you don't know the platforms.
So now we need to start exploring for a while. We need to make a lot of mistakes, all of this, very basic stuff but extremely difficult to do for a large corporation like that where everything has been controlled and all the people that you meet, executives, they have one experience which has brought them to the top, that's staying in control, being very structured in everything you do. Then you'll get to the top. This is the opposite learning all of a sudden that we're trying to get across. I've been fortunate having that history from Maersk to use.
But apart from that, I think what strikes me now and then is when you look at large, it goes for most Fortune 500 companies. If you look at their mission and vision and all of that, they want to do something beyond just earnings. They want to provide better lives to people or even save the planet now and then. But when you then look at how willing they are share knowledge for common good, they're not very eager.
I think something what Elon Musk did a year back by opening up or letting go on the patents around the Tesla thing, that kind of approach where you say, "We cannot do this alone. We need the rest of you. We need to do it together. It doesn't mean that we'll lose. Actually, we'll benefit from it because then we'll have other companies in the crowd working for us instead of against us or in silos." That kind of approach, luckily we're seeing that more and more. So that's sort of the stuff that I will tell them, but it's not easy.
Jay: Just going to drop the mic right there. That would be spectacular. Jonathan, thanks so much for being back on the Social Pros Podcast.
Jonathan: Yeah. It was great.
Jay: Congratulations to you and Ed and all the success at Orca Social. We'll make sure to link up your new eBook in the show notes. We'll also link to the previous episode you did with us when you were at Maersk line. We talked a little bit about that today. My favorite person in the great land of Denmark, I am part Danish myself, so Jonathan and I are somehow related back to the Viking days.
Jonathan: We are.
Jay: We are essentially the same person. Next time you're in Denmark, if you need a friend in the great city of Copenhagen, my favorite city in all of Europe, look up our friend, Jonathan Wichmann. He will do you right. Jonathan, thanks for being on this show. Always fantastic to talk to you.
Jonathan: Thanks for having me on the show. It was a pleasure.
Jay: Ladies and gentleman, we've got a bunch of great guests coming up in the next few weeks. Our next episode is with Lindsey from the commercial real estate organization CB Richard Ellis. We've got Neil from Mack Trucks coming on. So we're going to talk about how we're doing social media for a giant trucking company, a whole bunch of other great guests lined up for the next month or so. So make sure you tune in to Social Pros.
Also I mentioned Content Pros earlier in the episode, make sure if you haven't listened to that you give those guys a listen. And super excited about the launch of our new show, Influence Pros, which will be coming up soon. Listen for more details on that.
Until next time, I am Jay Baer from Convince & Convert. He is Adam Brown from Salesforce Marketing Cloud and this has been Social Pros.
Quotes From This Episode
"For B2B companies to really reap the benefits of social, they need to realize that it's actually a technology enabling people to communicate peer-to-peer." —@JonathanWich
"There's an opportunity to move social beyond branding and marketing." —@JonathanWich (highlight to tweet)
"Often they need this hub that is not Facebook." —@JonathanWich
"You need to have people ask you more strategic questions so you become someone who's looking for business results from day one." —@JonathanWich
"It's much more effective to empower your thought leaders in the company and have them talk with their own voice." —@JonathanWich
"People want to work with people who are smarter than them, people they admire." —@JonathanWich (highlight to tweet)
"If you have that culture of humanity—and social is a signal of that—even if somebody were to leave, the train keeps on rolling." —@JonathanWich (highlight to tweet)
- Jonathan Wichmann on Twitter: @JonathanWich
- Orca Social
- 10 Reasons B2B Companies Need Social Media
- Instagram Lessons from a Giant B2B Company
- Content Pros
The Must-Follow Principles of B2B Social Media Success
from Convince and Convert Blog: Social Media Strategy and Social Media Consulting http://ift.tt/1ZYohof