Social intelligence is very important in B2B and still widely underused by companies who went through exercises searching for their brands on social, found none, and abandoned the effort. Social intelligence for B2B when done effectively offers powerful, actionable insights into the state of a market, industry or audience, and the opportunity for live engagement with prospects.
The president of McMillan Agency, Robert Hyams – a marketing strategist with strong background in B2B and social marketing planning and execution – is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 75-person creative agency. His expertise includes B2B marketing, social marketing, cause/advocacy campaigning, messaging and brand strategy, which he brings to McMillan.
Social media channels are inundated with new content, yet Hyams manages to stay on top of it – without sacrificing his life to do it.
“A big part of social listening is time management,” said Hyams. “I find that it’s a good idea to block off a small amount of time in my calendar to scan my social channels and see if there is anything I want to earmark to view later,” he said.
Part of that is being selective and knowing what matters to you and your business – and ruthlessly sticking to it. “It’s a good idea to be disciplined about who you follow so that you don’t end up taking extra time scanning through content that isn’t relevant to you,” he said. “On Twitter, for example, it’s tempting to follow back everyone who follows you just to build up a large following, but I am laser-focused on specific interest areas so I only follow people or businesses that align with my interests,” he said.
The majority of his social listening efforts are on B2B, simply because that is the focus of the agency. “I believe that B2B marketers are more cautious and therefore not on the vanguard of trends in social like you see in B2C,” said Hyams. “They want to see something work – they go with what’s proven.”
Hyams recommends choosing just a few social channels to follow for business, so it doesn’t get overwhelming. He focuses on LinkedIn and Twitter, where he gets a lot of good B2B-related content, as well as Slack for specific topic areas.
These techniques have worked for McMillan. Social intelligence helps the creative agency stay informed on its clients and their competitors, particularly useful when its team members are preparing for a pitch, developing a strategy or creative work, and looking for ideas to pitch to a client. “For instance, we might learn about something a client’s competitor is doing and bring it to the client and pitch a countermeasure,” Hyams said.
McMillan also uses social listening to stay abreast of trends in the industry. “Our clients are always looking to us to come up with new ideas to promote their businesses,” Hyams said. “We also want to know what other agencies are doing and always enjoy seeing what cool ideas different companies come up with.”
Image credit: Jon Evans
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