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A handy guide to B2B social media

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B2B social media can resemble the wild west, writes Jon Bruford. But it plays an important role – keeping the industry truly connected.

Every so often, I see someone posting something personal on LinkedIn and, before long, some kind soul will point out to them that it’s not Facebook, as though they might have forgotten and just plain got it wrong.

It’s never me that points this out though, I was dragged up far better than that. But every time I see the responses explaining to people that it’s not Facebook, or The Platform Formerly Known As Twitter (can we just call it Twatter? It’s really slid downhill fast), or whatever, I die inside a little bit.

I’ve worked in several industries, sometimes on the consumer publishing side, sometimes on the business publishing side and of all the areas I’ve worked, none is even close to being as relationship-driven as the casino industry. Not one.

The gambling industry is one hundred per cent about the people. We all know who has dogs, who has kids; we know bits and bobs about each other, the smaller details that are the building blocks of simple social relationships. We see each other all over the world and it’s generally always very nice when we do, isn’t it?

There are people who have seen me wearing a bowl of nuts on my head and trying to smuggle an alabaster lampshade out of a bar down my trousers. These kinds of shared experiences are priceless and they are a huge part of doing business when you work in a hospitality-adjacent industry.

Our LinkedIn should be like Facebook, with a couple of caveats. Politics is really rather tricky and tends to angry up the blood; I know plenty of people whose politics flat-out oppose mine, but luckily I’m from a generation where I can disagree with you and still really like you.

Bringing it all together

But I think on LinkedIn we should mostly avoid politics. Mostly. And religion, of course. If there’s one thing just as divisive as politics, it’s probably religion.

I’m one of those crazy people that believes things work better, are more interesting and far less dull if they have some personality injected into them. Some actual character, a bit of opinion, something. Anything. Even if I don’t agree with it.

There is nothing more interesting to read or hear or see than passion and if we are not careful, we will end up in a sanitised version of social media which is likely to be very, very boring indeed.

Be personal, be passionate and make social media work for you. Why the hell not? Use it to grow a network, because one day that network will make finding a new role much easier. Or they will be able to offer some support when you need it. Don’t get me wrong, I truly loathe social media, but while I loathe it I recognise that sometimes it can be priceless.

A chap I know was extremely ill many years ago and Facebook interactions helped him keep his act together when he was basically incapacitated. When I was in the middle of a two-year drunk, I had late-night conversations with an old school friend who I hadn’t seen to talk to for some time. I later learned she was struggling to sleep because of cancer treatment and she died shortly after. So, social media can definitely be good, but you have to game it and make it work for you.

Working with the algorithm

I don’t use Facebook, haven’t for years, but I learned that I could disable my account so you can’t find me on the platform but I can still use Messenger. Perfect! I WIN.

With LinkedIn, it’s a good idea to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and LI has its own algorithm that plays by its own rules. Different platforms value different things, but luckily I just read an article about this….

There have been weeks where I have posted solely about The Gambling Files podcast; one week the post will hit well over 1,000 views, another only a few hundred. Other weeks, I might share an article with a few erudite words and a bit of swearing, only to see it sink without trace. It has always seemed like there is some arcane force behind what makes a post sing, but it turns out it’s pretty simple.

On LinkedIn posts are filtered into three categories: high quality, low quality and spam. That means, take your time. Make the post good and aim for the high-quality bucket rather than putting out 10 pieces of crap a day. A well-crafted post promotes greater interaction and this is vital because apparently the backend uses machine learning models to predict post engagement, particularly in the first hour.

Playing the game

That’s where some other bits come in – the relevance of the post to your connections is assessed based on keywords, hashtags and comments. Who knew that hashtags would still be useful in 2023? Consistency is also key – post well, and frequently, and you will see the metrics on your posts rise and rise.

And engage with the posts of others, wish people a happy birthday, remind them of the time they tried to smuggle that lampshade down their trousers, don’t just like or whatever, bang a comment in there that you’ve thought about.

Enriching the environment is good for your own posts ultimately too and you will benefit from increased engagement because you’re the person that posted a comment and… you get the idea with that.

All of this applies to your business page as well as your personal, so use it for both. Go on, don’t be shy. But combine gaming the algorithm with a bit of passion and personality and you’ll have the best of both worlds – and LinkedIn will be better for it. Actually, we all will be.

Jon Bruford has been working in the gambling industry for over 17 years, formerly as managing editor of Casino International and presently as publishing director at The Gaming Boardroom, with Kate Chambers and Greg Saint. He owns a large dog with a sensitive stomach and spends his free time learning about stain removal.

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