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Technology & InternetShould You Brand Yourself or Your Business?
What is the difference between presenting company and personal expertise in social media? Should your account showcase your knowledge (and face) or your business' ethos (and logo)?
Traditionally, the goal in B2B marketing was to enhance knowledge about the product or service of a brand. A top-notch marketing campaign would not only tell you what the company provided, but convince you that you were missing a key element to your success or happiness without what they had to offer. Company expertise, then, would be ‘anonymous’ for the effect of branding the company as a whole.
Often, the primary goal in B2B is still to brand a business. However, social media and online marketing now allow for more diverse opportunity. Today, we not only want to be exposed to information that gives us professional and personal value; we want to know who is giving us this information and why they are qualified to do so.
Head Shot VS The Logo
Without a name, face or personal contact, we are less likely to trust a source. In today’s social media landscape, a company can decide to act as a single entity or as a collection of informed individuals. The new wave of social media strategy involves balancing the desires of the business brand with the opportunity that can arise from highlighting individual expertise and intelligence from company members.
The Content Team
A singlely, branded unit (one person or homogeneous firm) will publish and share content from a homogeneous perspective, creating a unified social media strategy. This method can be highly effective. Allowing internal content experts and external content marketing specialists to collaborate and present a message from one vantage point can certainly enhance a company’s exposure and reputation.
However, relying on the ‘marketers’ to relay information with which they are not familiar risks misconstruing expertise, missing out on communication with the desired audience, and compromising credibility and personality of the actual experts. Around 60% of companies worldwide outsource their social media activity, while only 44% of these companies are satisfied with the outcome. It’s hard to make out exactly why the various companies are dissatisfied, yet this pattern should draw our attention.
Social media can be a volatile place by nature, but especially in the case for B2B brands, communicating expertise is vital in establishing trust. Outsourcing, or relying solely on talent from the marketing team, seems an intelligible strategy, but when the valued knowledge and personality of company experts is absent, we may be wise to reconsider just why we are sacrificing these essential elements.
Let’s compare this situation to ‘offline’ content marketing: do you trust an expert at a business fair who has spent years arriving at their conclusions or a firm they hired to speak on their behalf? Would you be more likely to collaborate with the professional that can independently express his or her ideas, or the third-party charismatic speaker who has been paid to provide representation.
There is nothing wrong with hiring much needed public relations or marketing help. It is, however, important to assess the costs and benefits of making this decision. Often times ‘experts’ do not represent themselves as cleanly as the sweet talkers in the marketing biz. But does this also mean they are not the best people to perform the job?
When experts and social media strategists are integrated in the content marketing processes, the true value of a company can be expressed. High-quality content will be different for every company. But allowing different voice from within to voice their knowledge, allows the brand to ressonate on similar and unique levels. Combining individual expertise to build a collective company reputation may just be your best bet.
Want to read more on content marketing and building a reputation in social media?