Over the last few years, B2B companies’ relationship with social media had been curious at best and dismissive at worst.
After hearing about the benefits of social from various sources and how they absolutely must be on it, they’ll set out with high expectations onto a few channels that they heard would be a good fit for their company.
From there they’ll post content without much thought or strategy behind why they’re doing it and quickly become confused when they receive little to no ROI.
Sullen and discouraged, most businesses give up and state, “It doesn’t work.”
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
When executed with forethought and efficiency, social media can be leveraged as a powerful outreach tool and can even generate a significant amount of leads, clients, and sales for your business.
To achieve that, you just need to make sure that you avoid these common B2B social media management pitfalls.
Failing to document a content strategy
It’s never a good idea to just wing it when it comes to B2B social media management. If you do, you’ll end up wasting time, money, and effort on content creation that won’t reach anyone, let alone your target audience.
A documented content strategy will help define your goals, your target audience, what channels to find them on, and what kind of content will best engage them. In addition, it’s the perfect opportunity to establish what metrics to follow to see if your objectives are being met. These categories—goals, target audience, content, analytics—can be further broken down per channel.
When done correctly, it’ll ensure that you publish consistent content—with no noticeable breaks between posts due to poor planning—at the right time, to the right audience.
Focusing on irrelevant, vanity goals
Another mistake B2B businesses make when it comes to social media is expecting quick results. For example, if you’re just starting out, gaining 2,000 followers in one month is probably unrealistic, especially without prior online or offline marketing initiatives.
Instead, you’ll want to set SMART goals.
You’ve probably heard this term a million times before, but it’s still important—if not THE most important—first step to take to ensure you aren’t fumbling right out the gate. SMART goals are effective because they’re structured to cover all the bases you’ll need to succeed.
First, your goals need to be specific. What do you hope to achieve on social media? Is it to build brand awareness? Authority? Think of it as the actionable part of your goal, such as improving engagement or generating leads.
Next, it needs to be measurable. For instance, if you want to measure engagement, then examine appropriate metrics such as likes, shares, retweets, and mentions to establish baseline numbers and monitor growth.
You’ll also want goals that are achievable, relevant to your overall business objectives, and time-bound. Like the example above, gaining 2,000 followers in a month may be out of reach, but gaining 100 is more than likely attainable, and if it fits in with your goal of building brand awareness, you’ll fulfill three SMART goal requirements.
While some of this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many businesses focus on achieving vanity goals instead—goals that look nice and feel nice, but ultimately don’t impact your bottom line.
Vanity goals are often flimsy in structure, aim too high, and don’t fulfill a greater purpose for your business. Building a huge Twitter following is great, but if your buyers or potential clients aren’t on Twitter or simply aren’t being reached, those 2,000 followers are nearly purposeless—especially compared to the 100 targeted, engaged followers a SMART goal would achieve instead.
Content is too sales-y and not diverse
Let’s be real, self-promotional content can be effective when employed correctly, but who wants to see their social media feeds littered with obvious sales grabs and self-aggrandizing posts?
Even if you have a lot of excitement brewing, like events, press mentions, and product launches, frequently posting content based solely on yourself runs the risk of alienating your target audience. No one likes to be bombarded with a stream of advertisements. It adds no value to them.
And when those messages are deemed stale and unimportant to your audience, they will disengage from your channel. In fact, according to Hubspot, “45% of people will unfollow brands because they post too many promotional items.”
To avoid this, you need to diversify your content. Try following the 1/3 rule: 1/3 of your content should be self-promotion, 1/3 curated content found elsewhere, and 1/3 focused on engagement.
Sharing the exact same messages across platforms
With their own unique guidelines and supported content formats, each social media platform is different—meaning a one-size-fits-all approach won’t likely work.
Avoid posting the same message to more than one channel, especially at the same time. Content that resonates with your audience on one platform is not guaranteed to have the same impact on another, so it’s best to tailor your message to take advantage of each channel’s strengths.
For example, if your LinkedIn audience is interested in industry related news and educational articles, then focus on sharing that rather than pulling content like event news coverage, which is usually better suited for Twitter.
Furthermore, when you share the same message across multiple channels you run the risk of your post appearing wonky and unflattering when published. Copy that was written for Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn might be too long for Twitter. And while hashtags are being used on most major social media platforms, it doesn’t mean a good hashtag on one channel will instantly gain the same traction on another.
In short, the content you share on each platform should be relevant to its target audience and crafted to follow its specific guidelines.
Not establishing a unique brand voice
A business account’s messages don’t have to be written in a bland, robotic voice in order to be deemed professional. It’s perfectly fine for your content to be witty, sarcastic, and even humorous if prior research on your target audience has shown that they, too, communicate in a similar manner.
When it comes to B2B social media management, it’s important to remember that you aren’t actually selling to other companies, but to other people—people that you’ll want to converse and share information with in a natural, relatable fashion.
Ignoring paid social initiatives
It’s no secret that organic metrics have shrunk in recent years. For instance, in order to connect with current and potential new followers, Facebook is pushing companies to invest in their advertising platform, which has caused a decline in their organic reach.
While this has led some marketers to abandon Facebook, others have realized the opportunity paid advertisements offer. Sprout Social reports that 70% of marketers pay for ads on this channel, citing it as their most useful means to achieve their goal.
The paid approach on Facebook allows you to create lookalike audiences, a segmentation tool that is able to target ideal users that closely resemble your existing customers based on data pulled from customer lists, among other sources.
LinkedIn is also another vital channel for paid initiatives, which should be no surprise given that 80% of B2B leads come from this platform.
The decision to use paid social should be included in a documented social media strategy alongside your SMART goals, target audience information, channels to focus on, and relevant metrics to prioritize.
Ultimately, B2B social media management doesn’t have to feel like a lost cause. With a bit of patience and dedication to creating quality content, you can turn your social channels into a powerful network that’s able to generate leads, sales, and clients.
If you’re looking to kick-start your social media strategy, then you’ll want to contact us today.