When James Thomas first joined Allocadia as their CMO in 2014, he took a look at the marketing strategy as a whole before making any major moves. Social, he noticed, had very little presence and investment, and as he watched the brands of his peers in other marketing technology companies show up here more and more, he made the decision to try.
"At the beginning, I honestly didn't know if it would work. But I knew I had to try. My philosophy as a CMO is really about execute, monitor, reiterate and then perfect. All of us were experimenting with social media over the past few years. It started as a leap of faith but now we've made it part of everything we do, we know it's part of how you communicate", says Thomas.
When he approached Mad Media to talk about procuring our services, Allocadia had around 700 Twitter followers, about the same on LinkedIn and a Facebook page that was mostly bare bones. Clearly the company had enough foresight to know social would be important (always a good idea to secure those profiles early!) but he was ready to take it up a notch, and we were ready to help.
We started by building a strategy with Allocadia, that was a pretty largely cast net. We defined a brand tone and a target audience, we looked closely at competitors - how they were succeeding and how they were failing and from there, we began to brainstorm. Much like Thomas’ philosophy to “try everything” - this is very much the way we like to approach social media for new clients. While industries and different platforms do have best practices, each brand and each corresponding audience is a little bit different.
Over the past few years, we have experimented with different platforms, different types of content and tried different tools to help us along the way. We've seen some great successes, and have always been able to spot when things were not working as effectively as we'd hoped or quite simply "fallen flat". On the plus side, we have seen over 1000% growth in Allocadia's following, which means that with this much larger audience, it's a lot easier to amplify your message quickly.
"The big benefit now is that when we have news to share, the amount of activity we get is significant. The amount of people picking up our blogs, the more reach for our content and our story -- it's a real network effect that makes a huge difference to our engagement in the market. While it's hard to track to specific deals, we definitely know we're on the map. Allocadia is known and is part of the conversation in our industry. And that's a huge benefit for us", says Thomas.
Social media is able to support various other marketing efforts, like content or webinars, to increase reach and therefore, increase their effectiveness.
One are of marketing that social media has been able to really help support is at events. If you're not already aware, Made Media offers social media services at various events - from conferences to webinars - to help you promote beforehand, engage with attendees and share live while things are happening. We've attended over 10 events with Allocadia in the past few years, and it's had a huge impact on their even success.
"Our reputation at evens improved dramatically. Our events got a lot more effective. People knew us before our events, met us at our events and then they engaged after" says Thomas.
At this point in the game, two and a half years in, we have a pretty good sense of what works for us, but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped iterating, improving and revising. For instance, we know that LinkedIn and Twitter are the best platforms for us to invest in to have conversations about our product and our industry with our peers, customer and potential leads. But we are now working to redefine how we use Facebook to tell a different story -- the story of our people, our brand and our culture.
We're also keen to get out message amplified even further by bringing our own Allocadians into these efforts. We've set up an Executive Social program to support key members of our leadership in starting and joining relevant conversations and making key connections. And, as part of our #AllocadiaEverywhere initiative, we encourage our people to spread the word on their own networks whenever we have news to share.
"I think we moved from a social as an after thought to a social-first mentality. In a social-first world you had to think about how you don't know everybody - unlike in an email world. You have to come up with a voice and personality. You had to figure out how to be more concise in your messaging. There's all kinda of barriers social brings to simplify your message and it forces you to think about your message", says Thomas.
As far as lead generation, especially in B2B, social media isn’t always the best for direct conversions – it tends to work more to brand awareness than in closing deals.
At Allocadia, in one year, they were able to attribute 8 opportunities where social media was a key part of the lead conversion. And we know social influences more than that. In B2B marketing there is always a multi-touch scenario, where customers didn't buy as a direct result of one tweet, but they did engage on social media as part of their buyer's journey.
"We saw it show up in our pipeline as well. We started to see social as a touch point in our engagement with prospects. It may not have been the one thing that drove them across but it was part of what drove them into the funnel. We track every touch point a customer makes with unique codes so we can see that specifically. and we can also see this anecdotally as well", says Thomas.
Allocadia uses its own marketing performance management software to track all of their spend and returns, so everyone in their marketing, finance and Executive teams know exactly what's working and what isn't. Here' a peek at an Allocadian dashboard and how it can track social media spend and ROI.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE
Email response rates are still continuing to lag. The phone is less effective. So social has to be part of your overall engagement strategy. At this point in time, it’s proven it is here to stay. And you can’t afford to ignore it.
"I don't think social is optional anymore. Social is not going anywhere. It's always evolving. My advice would be to get started now. Think of it like a billboard or radio advertising - not everyone who sees it will fit into your market or will convert, but getting out there, being part of the conversation, using a platform that's been proven to be effective and telling your story -- that's what marketing is all about", says Thomas.
If you'd like to get in touch with us to discuss how we can support your social media needs, please reach out. We've love to talk!