Once upon a time, long, long ago ‘Advertising’ was the King of ‘All the World’. He reigned supreme unchallenged for decades until along came a new pretender to his throne called ‘Direct Marketing’.

‘Advertising’ laughed at this little upstart, mocking and belittling him. But, however hard he tried Direct Marketing (DM) wouldn’t go away. Over time DM got bigger and bigger until Advertising decided he needed to treat him as a serious threat.

So the best brains in the Kingdom of Advertising got together and came up with a strategy to combat this annoying DM.

Their response was genius.

The propaganda department of the Kingdom of Advertising declared itself as the King of ‘Advertising & Direct Marketing’.

After all DM is nothing more than a press advert that is folded up and stuck in an envelope” it told its citizens.

And so the story continued…until recently.

You see the so-called King of ‘Advertising and Direct Marketing’ has now declared itself as the King of ‘Advertising, Direct Marketing & Social media’! After all Social media is just advertising and direct marketing but without paper” or so the propaganda department want us to believe.

The point is this: do not try and ‘force fit’ the principals of old school marketing into social media. Treat it as its own distinctive channel with its own unique principals and rules of engagement.

Too often I witness first hand brilliant social media campaign ideas that get rejected because they don’t conform to old world product marketing principals. And usually the problem lies with senior marketers who just ‘don’t get it’.

Too much of Social media (especially in B2B) is geared to broadcasting dull and boring product information. Errr…“Wake up peeps” you already have channels that do that for you!!!!”

Social media is a Remarkable channel that allows B2B brands to get in touch with their emotional side and not just their rational side. Maybe this is why so many B2B brands are scared stiff of it. After all emotion and B2B are not obvious bedfellows.

I mentioned in a previous post that research into human behaviour has proven that we as individuals; Feel. Think. Act in that order. Our rational or System 2 brain is not as important in decision making as our emotional or System 1 brain.

So if you are simply churning out boring old facts, features and benefits then you are missing the point about how real decisions are made.

Injecting emotion into your B2B brand can be achieved in many ways; via traditional advertising, direct marketing etc but no other channel is as powerful, immediate or responsive as Social media.

Let your other marketing channels do the hard work, the heavy lifting and the dull stuff, but let Social media be the emotional side of your brand.

Here are some quick pointers:

*Liberate your employees to be front line ambassadors of your brand. Move away from faceless, corporate social identities to human and personal ones.

*Utilise Facebook as a platform where you engage with customers and prospects in a more fun, engaging and interesting way. Turn down the ‘Must sell stuff’ volume button and simply find ways of being useful and friendly. Think of Facebook as going down the pub with your mates.

*Engage your customers by actively seeking their opinions, ideas and thoughts on a variety of topics from customer service to product design. Reward them for getting involved.

*Take the role of Community Management seriously. If you haven’t got one, then you are missing out! The best ones will be hugely passionate advocates of your brand, enthuse the communities they engage with and help make friends with customers as well as with key bloggers and influencers.

*Use obvious emotional media like photography and video to create engagement with your customers. Platforms like Pinterest, Flickr, Vimeo and YouTube are excellent for this.

*Get involved in the key communities where your profile of customer is most prevalent and active. Engage by offering things for free (time / advice / products / money that supports the ethos of the community.

*Men and women use Social media in very different ways. Be specific about the way you engage with your audience dependent on their gender.

*Benchmark your ‘Social emotion’ against that of your competitors. Continuously find ways of trying to measure and improve it.

Okay, that’s me done.

Speak with your colleagues or agency and run an internal marketing workshop on how to get more emotional with Social media. I promise you, this is where the really big wins can come from.

And if your boss is still thinking it’s all too fluffy, give me a call and I’ll pop along to convince them :)