“They have a complex, underappreciated, difficult job.”
You can't treat social media as a demand generation machine.
That's Matt Wolpin, Senior Manager of Social Media at Juniper Networks, talking about their target audience — the individuals who work with networks. Wolpin says, “Big networking boxes aren't sexy, and they can be hard to sell without explicit knowledge of the product.”
But what draws him to his work in the BtoB tech industry is the people who keep the data centers up and running. He explains that computer network technicians and engineers can be an active, engaged audience in social media — but only if the content is relevant to them.
At Juniper Networks, Matt started with an audit of their social content.
He wanted to find the content that engaged and inspired their audiences and get rid of the content that turned them off. The audit helped Matt shift the social strategy at Juniper Networks from one of demand generation to developing brand advocates.
“The audit paid for itself in showing us that our social media audiences did not want or relate to some of our content. It's not just that they don't like it — they kind of hated it. You can't treat social media as a demand generation machine. That's not its core strength,” he explains.
So instead of sharing more white papers and asking for more email addresses, Matt's team turned their attention to content that their audiences want to engage with.
Their new social strategy uses content to build brand advocacy.
I'd like to see more of a true peer-to-peer conversation as opposed to a brand-to-person conversation.
Now their goals are to reply to every Facebook message, favorite and retweet tweets, and respond to their community whenever possible. With a team of two full-time employees, monitoring and engagement are an ongoing part of their day. They're also working to launch a Facebook Live strategy that gives their audience inside access to Juniper Networks.
When they have time, Matt's team tries to educate more employees on the role of social media. They're starting an internal series on teaching employees how to become brand advocates as well. He says he is inspired by people like SocialMedia.org member Elizabeth Jurewicz who led Rackspace Hosting's Social Enablement program.
“What I hope to see in the future is less about corporate accounts driving engagement and more of a combination of advocates and employees driving engagement. I'd like to see more of a true peer-to-peer conversation as opposed to a brand-to-person conversation.”
One of his favorite examples: A photo of a stack of books.
“It was one of the most simple posts we've shared,” he says. “But in one comment thread of about 30 comments, someone asked about the difference between us and our biggest competitor, and 15 comments replied to that particular comment, advocating for us.”
He says that simple posts like these are big hits among his community — especially when they recognize user-generated content. Even just a photo of a server rack or a rack of equipment with cables can earn over 1,000 engagements organically.
“That's the stuff that gets us excited and keeps us engaged day-to-day. When the community responds in that manner, we know we're doing something right.”
Matt has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2016. Follow him on Twitter here.