In this Insider Insights episode we’re talking to Mohammed El Daly, Social Media Director at Create Media Group in Dubai, about the B2C versus B2B environment and how companies from each of these areas have to behave, post and react on social media.
Mohammad has been tackling social media since 2011 while working for a number of advertising agencies and companies giving him a unique perspective on how to best manage social media for different segments and different audiences.
With nine years of experience under his belt Mohamed spends his time devising social strategies, overseeing content creation and developing digital campaigns for his clients.
And he's built an impressive arsenal of more than 100 brands across the middle East, including Microsoft, Google L'Oreal, Coca Cola or GoPro.
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Find out some of our main conversation points in this partial transcript⇣
Social media for businesses
- Starting to work in social media
- What it means to be a social media director
- The one skill that a social media director must have
- What it takes to create successful social media campaigns
- B2B vs B2C: common social media mistakes
- Differences and goals in B2B vs B2C social media
- B2B vs B2C objectives
- Tips on how to successfully get to know a brand's audience
- Agency pitches for B2B and B2C clients
- Results and benchmarks on a B2C vs a B2B company
- Content done right: examples of B2B and B2C accounts
- Best B2B social platform after LinkedIn
- B2B and B2C brands on TikTok
Starting to work in social media
I joined social media around 2010. It was something I did back in college. It was something very new, of course.
A friend told me we're doing this for a popular TV channel back in the day, called Rotana, it's very popular in the middle East.
It was basically just launching their social media account. And for me, that was very exciting. I didn't know much about the field back then. And, uh, I joined that company to start the social media channels. We started by doing the basics, of course, in terms of community management, replying to people, posting and preparing calendars for whatever the schedule was going to be.
And it just kind of took off from there. I was still studying, but working in the field and starting in the social media space just gave me that passion towards that career in general and that industry.
And of course it was to something a bit baffling to a lot of like friends and family who thought you're just spending time on Facebook.
Of course that misconception has started to die off a little bit with people now seeing how important social media is, especially in the last couple of years.
And of course the rise of digital agencies and digital in general.
What it means to be a social media director
So of course over the past nine to ten years, I've been working in the space and just climbing the ladder, doing everything from, like we said, the community management, the posting, the scheduling.
And then slowly, bit by bit, just starting to work on the strategy of the accounts: Why are we doing such things? What's the business objective and starting to think of the bigger picture.
It's not just about social media posts. It's about what are the business goals of the brand. What are the brands trying to achieve by being on social media? Which platforms should we be on? What kind of audience are we trying to reach out to?
You know, so as I said slowly and bit by bit, um, I grew in my role. Now I've been a social media director for the past, I think, five years or so, two and a half of these in my current role at Creative Media.
So what that job entails is basically managing a big team of currently 30 people who work across many different accounts.
So making sure that when we onboard a new client or an existing client, that we prepare a proper social media strategy for them. And then a big part of my role of course, is to make sure that we amplify or apply that social media strategy and also make sure that we're always on top of new trends, new platforms dealing with the team in terms of client servicing, helping them on that, holding the meetings and the brainstorms across each and every account per month.
The one skill that a social media director must have
I would say people management.
It's really, really important to make sure that you have the basics right and to have that kind of empathetic mindset.
In terms of managing people, it's really important also for the social media director to have gone through the ranks. You know, someone who's done it all before.
Because a good leader or a good director is someone who actually leads by example and not just someone who sits back and watches other people do the work.
So it's really essential for any social media director to have the knowledge of the job, have the technical knowledge of doing any aspect of the job, because you're going to be facing a lot of questions from the team.
What it takes to create successful social media campaigns
So when we encounter any social media campaign, it's very important from the start to set the objectives - and not just like any general objectives and KPIs.
They need to be what we like to call SMART objectives. So SMART stands for:
That will make sure that the objectives you set from the start and these goals that you're working towards are very specific.
They actually are very customizable, according to your business needs, according to the audience that you're trying to reach, whether it's a B2C audience or a B2B audience, or what kind of segmentation you need to do in terms of that audience, that's also very important to not deal with social media platforms as a one blank page.
Basically, it's really important to have what we call a content strategy. So what are we going to do on each social media platform?
It needs to be customized according to what audience we have on each platform, the nature of that platform.
B2B vs B2C: common social media mistakes
I would say the biggest mistake here is someone who doesn't actually identify that they have different audience segments.
You know, they kind of put their strategy and their social media campaigns to reach one large audience. Of course, in some certain situations that would be applicable in terms of like big reach or awareness.
But if we're talking about most social media campaigns, they need to have specific goals and you need to have specific audiences as well.
If we're running that campaign on Facebook, what kind of audience are we trying to reach on that platform?
So that's, that's a very important thing.
And also identifying, if we have B2C and B2B audiences. Some brands do have services or products that cater for both audiences. So it's really important to analyze that you have something to offer for both audiences.
And then what's the message that you're going to reach out to the both of them, because you can’t sell to the B2C audience the same way you sell to the B2B audience, even if it's the same product.
Differences and goals in B2B vs B2C social media
So if we're talking about a B2C brand, we're talking about a product or a service that we were selling to a wider public and individuals, you know, anyone can just buy that product or subscribe to a service, while at the B2B is mainly focused on businesses.
If we're trying to reach the individuals, from the B2C perspective, what kind of message are we going to put out to reach these individuals? And also the platforms. You can just consider your different social media platforms to reach the same audiences in the same way.
If we're talking about LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, they're much better suited towards a B2B audience than businesses who cater only for B2C. That's not a general rule, of course, because I've seen a lot of successful B2B companies who have very strong Instagram presence, for example, but it's just something to consider.
What kind of platform is the best for me as a B2B or B2C brand?
Of course, I would definitely advise doing a social media listening exercise at the start to understand what kind of sentiment does the audience have on not just my product, but our industry, whatever your service is, whatever that industry is.
Just to understand what people are looking for in that space.
People are very selective about what kind of accounts they're following on any platform, especially on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
When you log into Facebook, you see more like groups content, and video content, and not necessarily so much brand content and ads like before.
So this is something all brands need to consider because what kind of value or what kind of addition am I giving to the audience in order for them to follow me or click that ad or follow my campaign?
You know, so that's one of the main things to consider as well. What am I adding to people's lives basically, in order for them to engage and follow me on social media.
B2B vs B2C objectives
If I'm selling a product or a service, my main objective would be conversions, you know, just to make sure that I'm selling my product and getting my message across in that regard.
But the secondary objectives are the ones that are going to differ a little bit.
If we're talking about the B2C, then of course awareness would be a very good objective in terms of educating the audience about what kind of products and services I have.
Engagement would be another very important objective because that's also a common trait of B2C audience.
But if we're talking about the B2B audience, I'm not really looking for them to engage with me on social media.
More important here would be an objective like lead generation: for me to connect with them on a deeper level, take their contact details and have my customer care team contact them, for example.
So, like I said, I think the primary audience would always be towards the business goals. What am I trying to achieve in general? And not just from social. And then identifying the secondary goals, according to what kind of audience am I trying to reach and the goals for the specific platform.
Tips on how to successfully get to know a brand's audience
So we would definitely start with doing that social media listening exercise that we spoke about just analyzing people's conversations in the wider social space.
What kind of sentiments do they have against the brand, but also against the industry in general.
If we're talking about specific product, let's say for example, I don't know, toilet paper. If a company is selling that product, they need to understand when people buy that certain product.
Do they go to a certain brand? What is the sentiment in general around that product? What are people saying on each platform.
Your Twitter audience is going to go on Twitter, for example, to reach out to a brand, to complain about something or to get information about the service. But your Instagram audience is more likely to engage with the brand.
Your Facebook audience is more likely to write a review about the brand or get in touch with them via messenger. So it's also important to keep in mind that you have different sentiment across the different platforms. So that's the first thing.
The second thing is definitely to check out the competitor pages.
What kind of content are they putting out and how is the audience engaging with them? Competitor analysis is always definitely a big part of any social media and content strategy.
Just to understand What you are lacking in terms of your other competitors and what are your sense points as well in order to capitalize on them?
Agency pitches for B2B and B2C clients
So I would say the B2C pitches are mostly focused on like content.
How are we going to engage the audience? How are we going to build the community? And of course still with a focus on business goals and social media e-commerce or selling if it's a factor, but when it comes to B2B pitches, it's more focused on what kind of thought leadership we're going to offer.
Or what we can do for this brand in order for them to stand out from the rest?
Still again, focused on business objectives as a whole. Are we trying to collect leads? Are we trying to push traffic to the website? But of course, an element of thought leadership will definitely need to be there.
That would be in the form of maybe putting out content pieces in the form of videos, whether it's interviews and animated infographics.
Sometimes it's writing blog pieces from key stakeholders. So it's just taking the business itself and seeing what they can offer for that industry on social, in order for them to stand out.
Also, another element that would be more related to B2B businesses is an employee advocacy program.
The biggest advocates always sit within your company. You have your workforce who can advocate for your brand online. And this is something often people don't really make a good use of, while it's one of the easiest tactics you can do. So this is definitely one of the tips I would advise everyone in the B2B space to utilize.
You have to have some sort of, uh, employee advocacy program in place:
- What's life?
- What's the atmosphere?
- What's the environment?
Because that will also help with the talent acquisition side of things, but it would showcase to everyone what kind of culture your company has?
And that ultimately will also affect your consumers because people don't want to buy from businesses they don't know.
Results and benchmarks on a B2C vs a B2B company
It’s more about paid media in general. Are the clients willing to invest in paid media or not? And what's what kind of budget are they willing to commit to? Because as you know, social media platforms right now, most of them are just pay to play, especially now with Facebook and Instagram.
The organic reach is lower than 5%, sometimes even lower than 1%. So of course we have a lot of tactics to overcome these things and make sure that we do have strong, organic reach. And something that we always advise our clients, we have to have a strong paid media strategy in place.
Even if it's not a huge budget, but at least it's a fixed budget to make sure that we're reaching a wider audience.
Because if we're agreeing to reach a specific audience in terms of lead generation, for example, or conversion through our website, then the KPI setting would be according to these objectives, how many leads are we going to collect per month?
How many people are we going to need through a website? How many purchases are we promising, uh, for the website, for example, do you have any
Content done right: examples of B2B and B2C accounts
So let's tackle the B2B first. I think a company like General Electric has been doing a really good job on social media.
When you think of General Electric, you don't necessarily think that this is a company that's very active on social media, you know, but they are, and they've been for a good couple of years.
You look at their Instagram, they offer a storytelling approach to a lot of the content that they do or a lot of the services that they offer.
And they also have a lot of like behind the scenes of how their employees perform their different jobs.
You get that insider look into the company and they put out a lot of educational content as well.
Another good example of that would be MailChimp, which is a tool for email communication.
MailChimp has been active on social media since I can ever remember and they're very on top of it when they see a specific trend or when they see changes in a social platform, I would say.
I've seen that they're one of the first to apply these changes.
So if you look at their Instagram account, once you land on it, you don't really recognize that this is a B2B company, or this is a tool.
The content they offer is very colorful. You can also see that insider looking to the company.
Best B2B social platform after LinkedIn
So this is going to sound surprising to a lot of people, but I would say actually Instagram. And the reason for that is Instagram over the last couple of years has really changed from like a food/ influencer focused platform to a very educational platform.
A lot of businesses have taken that shift and you can see a lot of big brands like National Geographic or NASA invest a lot of time and effort into putting very educational content on Instagram.
And the reason for that is people are hungry for that kind of content.
People are very selective, especially on Instagram, about what kind of brands they follow, because they only follow the brands who add value to their lives, who are going to offer them something different. So people are hungry for that kind of content on Instagram.
B2B and B2C brands on TikTok
Honestly, I think any brand can do it. The only variable is the content, not the kind of brand.
The only exception from that I would say maybe if your brand image would be at risk.
Maybe if your brand is more towards luxury, for example, if you are on TikTok, maybe some of your audience would perceive it in the wrong way. So that would be the only exception.
But other than that, I would say in general, TikTok is a strong platform for any brand to be on.
Links to references
Mohamed El Daly on social media
Create Media on social media
Socialinsider on social media
Mentioned brand accounts