Dealing with the opposite of the norm on social media

13 August 2018

Sharon Peche, Marcom Manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa. 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.

Sharon Peche, Marcom Manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa. Sharon Peche, Marcom Manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa.

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", ie, 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, says Sharon Peche, Marcom Manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa.

Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa (KDZA), specifically, faces three distinct social media challenges. The first is that its target audience is split between its traditional hardware partners and the B2C ECM/BPM/BPA audience, and over the past five years of running various lead-generation campaigns for B2B, the company 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 Kyocera's traffic numbers are the exact opposite of the norm. The company also sees far more traffic coming to the Kyocera Web site from desktops than from mobile devices. Thus, the company's approach to online communication absolutely needs to be optimised for its diverse audience.

The third challenge is that the 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 the company nothing to crow about.

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

Kyocera has made good progress in the last year, too. Total leads numbers for Kyocera year-on-year increased by 9.68%, driven by e-mail and phone leads. Organic search brought 75% of all traffic to its site, driven by an increase in Web site content and product information, which also increased the Web site's ranks exponentially; its more-targeted PR approach coupled with targeted banner placements in industries such as law, HR, legal, and healthcare increased brand awareness; and its bigger push with LinkedIn content resulted in a more focused B2B push. Overall, Kyocera increased the number of visitors to its site by a very satisfying 66%, going from 89 019 visitors between 2016 and 2017 to 147 456 between 2017 and 2018.

Kyocera is not afraid to experiment, either: when it comes to online advertising, the company puts out two or three variations of each ad (ad A/B testing) and watches to see which variation produces the best results. The company targets a click-through rate of eight, which is 4% more than the industry average, and if any of its ads don't perform, the company adjusts accordingly.

Further experiments involve Facebook, a platform on which Kyocera has determined (through trial and error over the past years) is indeed important to be active and visible. Some may argue that Facebook is not relevant for a B2B, office automation brand, but Kyocera has proved that Facebook creates a positive perception in the market and allows it to engage directly with potential customers through the two-way communication offered by likes and comments. Kyocera is about to embark on a paid Facebook campaign to gauge the sort of response it can expect from its solution offering, and it will tweak as necessary to obtain the results it wants.

Kyocera continues to experiment on these and other platforms, like LinkedIn, so the company can determine what does and doesn't work, and that's important, because it allows Kyocera to use its 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 the company doesn't fit into the industry average or social norms, and then make empowered decisions for the business that keeps Kyocera on the right track.



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