In B2B Marketing: Tomorrow’s Best Practices Today, we feature expert interviews about the state of B2B Marketing and what the future holds. In this post, I interview Rory Schaff, Senior Social Media Manager for Wrike

Tell us about yourself?

Wrike Logo (image via Twitter)

I’m a Senior Social Media Manager for Wrike, which is a versatile, collaborative work management platform.

Prior to Wrike, I spent 10 years heading up social media efforts for a PR agency that was based out of Silicon Valley.

I got into social media at the ground floor and have been fortunate enough to have a front row seat to its evolution.

Outside of work, I enjoy tennis with my husband, chasing our chatty two-year-old around, and working my way through the Harry Potter series. (I felt like a fraud watching the movies without having read the books!)

Note: Follow Rory on Twitter (@rorymohon).

Tell us about your background in B2B marketing?

It started when I was fresh out of college and joined a PR agency in downtown San Jose.

While we had clients in the consumer space, most were B2B and more specifically, tech B2B. This was not surprising given our location. I’ve worked with B2B organizations in essentially every industry from teleconferencing to contact centers to SSDs to cybersecurity to educational nonprofits.

In my early years, I took what was then the traditional path in PR. You begin as an entry-level employee focused on maintaining a client program’s foundation, such as media lists, speaking abstracts, award grids, etc.

A few years in, our CEO approached me about heading up the agency’s social media team. I said yes, and never looked back!

Tell us a best practice of tomorrow that B2B marketers should be doing today?

I think a big one is the constant re-evaluation of channels.

The world is growing up. Target audiences are aging. Right now your audience may not be into channels like TikTok and Instagram. In five years, it could be a different story. Stay on top of every channel, whether it resonates with your target audience or not; otherwise, you may find yourself behind.

What’s the one thing B2B brands are NOT thinking about on social media?

“Just make sure you stay true to your brand voice and build your own loyal audience. The engagement will follow.”

In my experience, they aren’t thinking about social media as a marathon. They want it to be a sprint.

They want followers, engagement, and website traffic to increase exponentially in a short amount of time. The truth is, that doesn’t happen at all for most brands. When it does, it takes years to build up.

Yes, there are a few lucky brands that hit it off, such as the Ciscos and Intels of the world, but most brands just don’t have that level of support. That said, don’t fret over metrics every day. Just make sure you stay true to your brand voice and build your own loyal audience. The engagement will follow.

How do you think about organic vs. paid social media campaigns?

“You can’t just throw $100 at it and hope to get 100 followers or even 100 likes.”

They should go hand in hand.

I’ve found the most success in making sure you have time set aside for organic efforts and budget set aside for paid efforts to support your social campaign.

Thanks to the vast amount of content online and the constant changes in social networks’ algorithms, it has become difficult for even the largest brands to secure and maintain a heightened level of engagement.

I’ve also found that the metrics derived from paid social can more accurately validate your efforts.

For instance, by placing a tracking code on your site, you can see when a follower visits the site and converts. Keep in mind, it’s getting more expensive to compete in the paid realm.

You can’t just throw $100 at it and hope to get 100 followers or even 100 likes. There are other companies trying to do the same thing. You have to think strategically.

Tell us how you used a new channel (or platform) in a PR campaign?

YouTube logo - image via Twitter

YouTube is obviously not a new channel, but one of my favorite social media success stories leveraged video when it was still fairly new.

One of my clients sold solid-state drives (SSD), and they had a new product they wanted to unveil at a major industry conference.

SSDs aren’t the most scintillating things on the planet, so we had to get creative. Enter “The NAND Band,” a Blues Brother style band that was comprised of members from the executive team.

We wrote lyrics that spoke to the value their products provided and filmed a series of music videos that were shared on social channels established specifically for the band.

SSDs aren’t tacos. Not everyone knows what they are and needs them; however, we generated a lot of buzz in the right communities with our NAND Band campaign.

Should B2B brands use live video on social media?

I’m all for it if done properly.

Plan it well before you execute. It’s so easy to pull out your iPhone and start filming, that some brands want to dive right in. But there are so many ways in which live video can take a turn for the worse.

Before you do anything, I highly recommend developing a strategy specifically for live video content, even if it’s woven into your overall social program plan. Think about what your brand wants out of live video, which target audience you’re trying to reach, and how you’ll do it successfully.

This is a great time to get creative! Think of a fun series that can be sustainable over time or plan to launch a product exclusively via live video. By planning in advance, you will have an easier time tracking success later. That way, you can more confidently recommend doing it more often.

I understand you’re a Hemingway fan. What’s your favorite Hemingway novel (and why)?

Definitely “The Sun Also Rises.”

The imagery still plays out in my head. Just give me a warm summer day, a cool rum drink, and that novel. I’ll be set.