Social media suits some businesses – but not all

Written by Jim Walsh

Last month bookmaker Paddy Power was celebrating its success on social media around the World Cup in Brazil. It attracted almost 150,000 new customers during the tournament.

It ranked the seventh highest brand globally for social mentions, ahead of many of the official World Cup partners and sponsors.

This achievement was fuelled by a series of online stunts, including a ruse that duped people into thinking swathes of the Amazonian rain forest had been chopped down.

Michael Nagle, Social media manager at Paddy Power, said: “Four years ago, we were only just beginning to dip our toes in the water when it came to social – but 368k Twitter fans and 1.3m Facebook likes later we knew this one was going to be a very different beast, the first truly social World Cup.”

In addition to its success on Facebook and Twitter, Paddy Power also grew on other social platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Vine.

But for every Paddy Power there is a B2B company that doesn’t need to put social media at the heart of its marketing or customer engagement.

It all comes down to audience. If your audience includes a large number of male students with an interest in sports and music, as was the case with Paddy Power, then social media is a must.  But if your audience does not have the time or inclination to actively engage in social media, then look for other means to engage them.

But even if an organisation doesn’t use social media, it can learn from how social media has brought a sea change in the way marketing content is now viewed; less product-focused and more about relationship-building; less features and benefits and more storytelling.

Engagement is the key to winning the loyalty of brand advocates on social media. And you won’t do that with traditional market-speak or by being overly product focused.

To create content that attracts and builds customer relationships throughout the customer life cycle, B2B marketers in particular, must make a fundamental shift from writing about features and benefits to delivering valuable information that drives business results.

Social media may not suit every business approach but it has valuable lessons for everyone in business.

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