When the pandemic forced people to work for home, many companies discovered all the ways that they were unprepared for the coming digital transformation and had to adjust on the fly. Others, like revenue intelligence platform Gong.io, were positioned well for the changing habits, and Gong actually tripled its revenue during the pandemic.
Gong CMO Udi Ledergor was a featured speaker at Socialbakers Engage Global. His presentation covered how Gong identified LinkedIn as its primary channel of communication and the content strategy that they’ve used to great success on the platform.
Ahead of Engage, Socialbakers caught up with Ledergor as well as Gong content marketer Jonathan Costet and Gong event marketing manager Danny Hutto to discuss Gong’s social media marketing strategy, tips for boosting employee advocacy and how to make virtual events special in 2020 and beyond.
Watch his presentation and learn how Gong has succeeded on social media:
What kind of analysis did Gong do in order to determine that LinkedIn was the best channel for the company to utilize?
Udi: More than anything, we looked at which channels were creating conversations around our posts. On LinkedIn, we saw folks tagging each other to make sure they didn’t miss a post, commenting with agreement or disagreement (which is great!) and overall being more engaged with our content than we ever saw on Twitter and Facebook.
Our articles and posts are often shared on LinkedIn, further suggesting that it’s the channel of choice for our relevant audience.
How do you guys actually determine how successful a post or campaign is – what benchmarks do you use? And is there an example of a campaign or post that you could point our audience to?
Jonathan: We want our content to be consumed by as many people as possible, and that starts with reach. On a platform like Linkedin, optimizing for reach means not posting links (or adding them in the comments), getting more reactions (people tagging their teammates, disagreeing), and writing copy that can be consumed directly in Linkedin (giving value upfront, rather than sending to a blog or gated asset).
True story: this post was a word for word transcription of a conversation between one of our SDRs and a sales leader which was recorded in Gong and which our team posted as is.
Part of Gong’s success is due to strong employee advocacy. What advice would you give for someone struggling to succeed with this tactic?
Jonathan: LinkedIn’s algorithm favors individuals over company pages. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drive engagement on your company page, but that alone isn’t going to be enough (especially at the beginning).
For example, our page currently has 50k followers, but the average reach of each post is only about 5-10k. Take Udi’s personal account on the other hand; he has 17k followers but his posts regularly get in the 100k impressions.
The way we do it is:
1. We explain our social media strategy to all new Gongsters as part of our onboarding program. It’s important for them to realize that, for example, when they connect with a prospect on Linkedin and like a post on the Gong page, their prospect will see that post in their feed.
2. We make it easy for them to engage. Our team sends out company-wide invites and posts reminders on Slack with several versions of copy for Gongsters to pick from and easily personalize it (by giving them a prompt to fill in for example).
3. We encourage and support individuals who want to invest time and build their brand on a platform like Linkedin. Devin and Chris have done so very successfully on my team, but it goes beyond marketing. Sarah Brazier, who was an SDR and is now an AE, also shares her unique voice on Linkedin.
You’ve written about the necessity of pivoting to virtual events during the pandemic. Since this is something that nearly all marketers must deal with, what do you see as a couple of key factors to making an online event successful in 2020?
Danny: First off, that this is something everyone is dealing with – not just marketers, but individuals. This new experience of WFH and being fully remote is largely a shared experience in that respect and we should not only acknowledge this, but lean into it.
I think it’s also important to look at virtual events as their own unique channel and not a stand-in for in-person events. Likewise, virtual events are not webinars. When was the last time a webinar felt like an “event”?
Find ways to differentiate virtual events from these other channels – make them fun, light, exciting, and packed with valuable content that people come to expect from in-person events. The barrier of entry for many folks to a virtual event is low, but don’t take that for granted.
What I mean by that is that it’s easier to get people to sign up for a virtual event than it is an in-person, right? But how do you ensure they actually show up and stay?
We like to keep it fun, and pack the day with surprises and ways to engage the audience. Find what your audience misses from in-person events and try to come up with something new to replicate the feeling, not the activity itself.
And finally, be timely. Stick to schedules, plan your follow up, and have a plan B.
2020 has been a year that has forced a lot of experimentation in content marketing. Are there any trends you’ve seen emerge or new tactics you’ve tried that you expect to continue into 2021?
Jonathan: March 17, when California announced its shelter in place, levelled the playing field for content marketing:
1. For the first few months, everybody in a given industry was thinking about the same thing. And there was no existing content to address those questions.It’s a reminder that great content needs to be timely – why should I read this? Why now? If your audience can’t answer those questions upfront they probably won’t end up reading your content.
2. The shift to virtual events has given marketers an opportunity to reach a much larger audience. Our last Celebrate conference in October saw 6.5k registrants and over 2k live attendees.Compare that to the hundreds of attendees at our in-person conference in 2019 and we’re talking to a much larger audience, many of whom aren’t in the Bay Area. Only the big conferences like Inbound or Dreamforce could pull a crowd like that; now it can be done by virtually anyone.
3. Production standards have shifted. Podcasts, videos, customer interviews; none of them can be done the way they used to in a studio or with a film crew.This means we get to produce more content, faster, and cheaper than before. So now the biggest difference in content isn’t the production value, but how creative your team can get with what they have at their disposal.For example, for our Series D announcement we used real customer conversations recorded in Gong (we didn’t show their name or company and just used the audio) and presented their reactions to seeing the product. It took less than a week to put together and we already had all the footage we needed (we just needed their approval to have their voice in the video).
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.