Sharon Peche, marcom manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa, shares her insights into online performance in a B2B environment that does not follow general trends.

If we’ve learned anything in the years since social media insinuated itself into our work and personal lives, it’s that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to engaging with people on the platforms that deliver consistent, measurable results.

If there was, everyone would be doing it the same way. Instead, we now know that making effective use of social media is a case of “horse for courses” – or different approaches work for different audiences. Thus, a varied strategy is not only recommended, it’s essential if we’re going to get the results we want, and what we want is to engage with our communities, partner networks, and stakeholders in order to generate leads from those interactions.

Fortunately, we have quite a bit of leeway when it comes to the world of social media, and we are slowly working towards figuring out what works and what doesn’t. And while the clock is ticking, it’s okay that we’re not quite there yet.

Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa (KDZA), specifically, faces three distinct social media challenges.

The first is that our target audience is split between our traditional hardware partners and the B2C ECM/BPM/BPA audience, and over the past five years of running various lead-generation campaigns for B2B we learned quickly that reaching them both with the same messaging just doesn’t work.

As an example, the latest developments in Enterprise Content Management doesn’t resonate with partners just looking for the most reliable high-volume printer to sell on to their small business clients.

The second challenge is that those audiences aren’t the same as for other B2B players, as reflected in the fact that our traffic numbers are the exact opposite of the norm. We also see far more traffic coming to the Kyocera website from desktops than from mobile devices. Thus, our approach to online communication absolutely needs to be optimised for our diverse audience.

The third challenge is that our industry only presents a few new offerings a year, and often, they are built to a client’s exact specifications and those clients don’t want to share their competitive edge with the world, giving us nothing to crow about.

The strategy we have adopted in the face of these challenges is a hybrid approach to our messaging that emphasises high-quality, targeted social media and ad content that’s tailored specifically for our two main target audiences and the most popular platforms used to visit us online. This brings both groups to our various online presences, where we attempt to convert them from a visitor to a sales lead by engaging with them directly.

We’ve made good progress in the last year, too. Total leads numbers for Kyocera year-on-year increased by 9.68%, driven by email and phone leads.

Organic search brought 75% of all traffic to our site, driven by an increase in website content and product information, which also increased the website’s ranks exponentially; our more-targeted PR approach coupled with targeted banner placements in industries such as law, HR, legal, and healthcare increased brand awareness; and our bigger push with LinkedIn content resulted in a more focused B2B push.

Overall, we increased the number of visitors to our site by a very satisfying 66%, going from 89 019 visitors between 2016 and 2017 to 147 456 between 2017 and 2018.

We’re not afraid to experiment, either: when it comes to online advertising, we put out two or three variations of each ad (Ad A/B testing) and watch to see which variation produces the best results. We target a click-through rate of 8, which is 4% more than the industry average, and if any of our ads don’t perform, we adjust accordingly.

Further experiments involve Facebook, a platform we’ve determined through trial and error over the past years is indeed important to be active and visible on.

Some may argue that Facebook is not relevant for a B2B, office automation brand, but we’ve proved that Facebook creates a positive perception in the market and allows us to engage directly with potential customers through the two-way communication offered by likes and comments.

We’re about to embark on a paid Facebook campaign to gauge the sort of response we can expect from our solution offering and we will tweak as necessary to obtain the results we want.

We continue to experiment on these and other platforms, like LinkedIn, so we can determine what does and doesn’t work, and that’s important because it allows us to use our time and budgets more effectively to generate higher returns and better lead generation.

Ultimately, “making mistakes fast “ is the point: if social media campaigns aren’t resulting in brand building or leads for sales people to follow up on, they’re a waste of time, money, and effort. It’s liberating and empowering to analyse the measurement numbers, to realise that we don’t fit into the industry averge or social norms, and then make empowered decisions for our business that keeps us on the right track.

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