Close your eyes and focus on one of your favorite memories.
How does it make you feel? What connections does that memory make? Does it stir up your value of family, give you a laugh, or make you long for the simplicity of childhood?
Memories like the one you just experienced reintroduce you to a part of your life. They’re like windows into your individual apartment in an infinite building that homes so many other equally unique experiences.
Thinking about these snippets of our humanity can utterly transform the buttoned-up social media formalities that tend to dominate B2B marketing. It’s all too easy to forget there are people behind the screens where we spend so much of our professional time crafting marketing messages.
Those people are the faces of companies you wish to impact. And that’s why empathy can be such a powerful tool in B2B social media marketing if given a chance to step into the spotlight.
People Aren’t Products
How often have you crafted a press release, blog, or other media source with overarching business goals as your singular focus? (Don’t worry. Your secret is safe.)
Marketers concentrate so hard on content that we sometimes forget about the audience on the other side of our messaging. Quarterly goals, stakeholder interests, and other concerns push empathy to the outskirts of the priority list. It makes sense. After all, there’s a bottom line to meet and services to sell.
That’s where empathy opens the window for a breath of fresh air—genuinely fresh, not a cheesy line that uses buzzwords to meet surface-level expectations. And certainly not a manipulative play on emotions.
As you can assume from your own experience, people are great at sniffing out disingenuous attempts at connection through social media. But it’s time to get vulnerable and acknowledge that B2B and authentic human connection can sit at the same table.
Maybe it’s time to remind ourselves that the numbers in our spreadsheets represent human beings. People who we want to buy our products, yes, but also people who have unique values, experiences, and desires. Empathy helps us tap into that and make real connections with the audiences we want to reach.
According to Forrester’s 2022 Marketing Survey, 74 percent of global B2B marketing decision-makers recognize that buyers expect a personalized experience that caters to their needs and preferences. One way to deliver on this expectation is to build a marketing program on empathetic pillars like transparency and communication.
Untapped B2B Potential
While digital transformation innovations help keep B2B companies competitive, it’s imperative to stand out with more than statistics. The human aspect of business is more important than ever. From avoiding burnout to combatting imposter syndrome, empathy plays a role in every part of our personal and professional lives.
Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” When trending topics have come and gone and the last person has logged off of the webinar, you should be able to define your impact on your target audience and know which personal touches achieved that effect.
Effective marketing isn’t a matter of who is most empathetic or whether or not you care about your audience. Of course you do! But thinking about the human element provides an opportunity to evaluate the untapped potential of injecting empathy into B2B marketing initiatives.
Let’s Have Fun With It
There is so much pressure to be the best at connecting with C-suite executives and other valuable players in the B2B game. However, the second we start telling ourselves to reach perfection is when we lose our mojo.
Let’s keep the mojo a-go-go with some brainstorming exercises that will remove some self-imposed barriers that keep B2B marketers from experiencing genuine human moments with potential clients.
Name three recent community events your company organized. How did you share those on your handles? Check if those moments could better enact empathy with employee quotes, candid photos, or captions that went a step further than “this was cool!”
Take an extra look at your most recent copywriting. Read the content through the lens of a customer. This is extra helpful after you’ve been deep in the productivity zone for a few hours. Does the message make you yawn from the tired use of repetitive jargon? Throw a bit of empathetic caffeine onto it—as long as it’s not right before bed.
Look up the top trending TV shows, musical artists, and pop culture moments within the last week. Pop culture won’t garner the most academic attention you’ve ever received, but it will reach the audience on a casual level. That has more power than you may think—as long as it follows client-specific guidelines and targets the desired demographic.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself to safe acts of empathy that proved moderately successful in the past. What’s an idea you’re sure will hit home with B2B readers but are worried is too creative for the industry? Treat this as one of those “Burn After Reading” pages and write it without pressure to share.
Feeling a spark of empathetic inspiration and want someone to share it with? Let’s chat!