Lauren Silverman acknowledges the risk-taking nature of digital first strategies in B2B. The London-based Strategy Director at Doremus & Co says it is a balancing act.
“We are constantly working between risk aversion versus risk romance,” she said in a recent interview. “There are still inherent risks in social media because it is a conversation. It’s not like one-way media, but it’s about engaging in a two-way or multi-way conversation in which everything is iterative and interpretive.”
Silverman says marketers should not fear the iterative and interpretive aspects of social media when it comes to brand building and expressing brand identity.
“As practitioners and marketers we talk a lot about humanizing B2B bands,” she explained. “When we consider what to disclose on social media, we are asking brands to act like people. That disclosure has value because it has vulnerabilities and with those vulnerabilities, you have a face to show people. It creates communities.”
According to Silverman, the latest tool to enter the social media workshop, TikTok, presents great potential for B2B marketers.
She points to the success of Dave Jorgenson, Washington Post’s ‘TikTok guy’ as one example of how brands can use the new medium to extend their audiences.
“By putting confidence and empowerment into Dave as a content creator, the Washington Post has expanded its brand into delivering the news and embracing what makes TikTok powerful,” said Silverman. “His recent coverage on the need to get younger people vaccinated in America was hugely successful. He expressed the same message as the newspaper, but on a more relevant platform that spoke directly to those young people who needed to hear it.”
Silverman’s examples also delve deeply into the world of B2B brands. The Institute of Management Accountants recently conducted its ‘Difference Makers’ campaign to highlight the impact management accountants had on returning workers to their jobs after the initial pandemic lock downs.
“Brands used to anticipate people having to get to their web sites, but with TikTok we bring the messaging directly to the audience without them having to go anywhere,” Silverman explained. “That’s why the humanity in social media is so powerful when it comes to transmitting messages. You are on someone else’s property, but expressing your own voice.”
Silverman advises brands that are aware of TikTok and curious about it should spend time consuming that medium. Then, brands have to explore their budgets and see if they can find interesting ways of connecting with the audience that is already there.
“The key is to create educational content that is very entertaining,” Silverman said. “B2B brands have always embraced the opportunity to educate consumers, but a lot of that content was too technical or too long. Media created for other social media channels doesn’t always translate well on TikTok. You can’t just post a video you created for YouTube or Instagram on it and expect success.”
The impact of a successful TikTok experiment can be hugely interesting for brands seeking to grow.
“The use of TikTok has doubled since the start of the pandemic,” Silverman explained. “There was this huge appetite for virtual learning. We saw it in the massive success of Master Class and Skills Share. The power of the algorithm is one that enables us to passively learn without having to seek it out. That is a game changer. I can sit on the couch and learn woodworking on TikTok because that is what they are bringing to me. Learn from the TikTok experience is the short form and, I believe, it brings equity to educational content.”