91% of UK marketers use social media– and social posts are the second most effective type of content, according to the Content Marketing Institute 2018 survey. But there are ongoing challenges when it comes to management and measurement. So what’s holding you back from reaping the full advantages of social media?
Here are 7 common mistakes that haunt B2B organisations.
1. Not defining your objectives
I know it’s obvious. And I know this is step 1 in every social media strategy article you’ve ever read. But you’d be surprised at how many marketers gloss over setting goals in favour of ‘seeing how things go.’ But this ‘wait and see’ approach comes back to haunt you because you have no way to demonstrate return on investment – there’s no baseline to measure from.
Even if your objectives are basic, you need to establish what you’re hoping to achieve – be it brand development, lead generation or something else entirely. Because only then can you determine how you’re going to focus your time and resource.
2. Not defining your audience
It’s easy for B2B marketers to identify ‘sales prospects’ as their audience. But we know that categorisation isn’t a homogenous group. Not all your customer types will be best suited to social media marketing. And we know marketing works best when it’s targeted.
Think about who your priority audience groups are for each channel. Then you can plan the content that will be most relevant and resonant – and can show how your social media efforts gel with the wider marketing strategy.
3. Not defining the right performance metrics
B2B marketers tell us the most common question they’re asked is: ‘How do we measure the impact of social media?’ The C-suite knows social is important, but they still want facts to back up the spend.
Even organisations that have defined objectives and target audiences fall down at this hurdle, because they lapse into the default of measuring followers, likes and shares without understanding how that activity fits into the wider customer journey. (AndB2B marketers have very different social media KPIs than their B2C counterparts, meaning it’s hard to pull a prospect all the way down the funnel using social media alone.)
To measure the true impact of social media, you need to put metrics into that wider context. Are clicks translating into enquiries? Does an increase in reach correspond to an increase in mailing list size? Can you see a correlation between social and email open/click-through rates? Are you building a bank of testimonials? Is your Net Promoter Score improving thanks to social media customer service? What about the cost and time of customer acquisition – are they shorter now because leads have self-qualified?
You need to factor the relevant elements into your measurement approach to extract the right insight from your analytics.
4. Restricting yourself to LinkedIn
Yes, I know – LinkedIn is the most effective B2B social media platform. And yes, you absolutely should continue to use it.
But if you limit yourself to one social channel, you also limit your scope for success. You’re busy producing all this great content – why not get more mileage out of it by starting conversations in more places?
As with other marketing channels, B2B needs to be human to human, not just business to business. And the average person has 7 social media accounts. So think about where else your target customers are, and start talking to them there as well.
5. Not actually reaching your audience(s)
Because social media moves so quickly and there’s so much competition for attention, it’s progressively harder for brands to cut through. Take a one-size-fits-all approach to posting content and you may well find yourself shouting into the void.
Instead, get into the head of the individual using each platform, and think about how to present your message in the way most likely to get them to stop scrolling and pay attention. It’s not just about distributing, promoting and repurposing existing content. It’s about making sure that content reaches your audience and ignites that spark of recognition/empathy/interest.
For example, on Twitter – pin your tweets to extend their value. On Facebook, create as much video content as possible. On Instagram, personalise. And on LinkedIn, use infographics, graphs and charts to deliver insight.
6. Not understanding what your social media tone of voice should be
When you get into the head of the individual using your social media platforms, you also need to think about how to speak. Articles and guides often use a corporate tone of voice to ensure your brand comes across as professional and authoritative.
But social media (as we’re so often told) is a conversation. At the critical moment, it’s you talking directly to another person. So it’s not the time to go corporate – it’s time to speak like you’re meeting someone at a networking event or a business lunch.
- Be conversational: Use ‘we’ or ‘our’ when speaking about your company, because nobody wants to deal with boring, faceless companies. More importantly, use ‘you’ – because it’s human nature to think ‘what’s in it for me?’
- Say it out loud before you post: if it doesn’t sound authentic, change it until it does.
- Give and take: Don’t be the person that drones on without listening. A simple like, comment or retweet can go a long way, making the person feel valued and show you’re genuinely interacting with that people are saying.
- Don’t be afraid to share a joke: A simple post on the back of hashtags like #MondayMotivation or #FridayFeeling shows your human side.
7. Creating inconsistent visuals
Often people notice imagery before words when they scroll through social feeds. Consistent visuals help people recognise you and know what to expect from you. The image captures their attention, and by being consistent in your design approach, you help your audience recognise you quickly and instinctively as they browse.
Above all: Don’t be scared to experiment
Don’t be scared to embrace the social media tools that could transform your customer journey and brand positioning. A cross-channel approach helps every marketing component work harder to improve customer engagement, expand brand awareness and increase your marketing’s efficiency.