In the past few years, social media has become an indispensable part of B2B marketing. When social marketing messages are consistently crafted in a targeted way, 84% of B2B marketers have found they pay off. But, like any other medium, social is still a space that’s plagued by mistakes.
Still, there’s hope. If you catch the issues early enough, you can put your marketing efforts back on the path to success. In this post, we’ll talk about some specific ways to hit “reset” on any of your B2B social media marketing errors and breathe fresh life into any ailing social campaigns.
Reset #1 – Reuse and Revamp Your Content
One mistake that’s often committed is delivering content that misses the mark. If your tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn status updates aren’t resonating with your audience, you’ll know by a diminishing number of fans.
If you publish content that generates interest, capitalizing on it should be part of your overall social strategy. Engaging content shouldn’t just be published once and then forgotten—that tweet about a compelling case study, customer testimonial or insightful whitepaper might have only been seen by a small number of your most important prospects. Marketers looking to get the most out of such content should create ‘social drip campaigns’, so great content has a better chance of being seen.
Older content can also be translated into other forms—a series of blog posts can become a whitepaper, or a research report can become a SlideShare presentation. For each high-performing piece of marketing collateral, think about how its life cycle can be extended. Often, you’ll get more out of it by simply publishing it again, or publishing it in a different form.
Another misstep is content that doesn’t provide engagement opportunities. Your prospects want two things: to learn more about how your products and services benefit them, and to gain knowledge that helps them do their jobs better. Often, B2B social media content gets it wrong on both counts: marketers create content that’s all about the brand, and the content isn’t informative and educational enough for the audience to chew on.
How do you hit “reset” on your social content approach? Make sure that it accomplishes two things: selling your prospects on the benefits of your products and services, and being helpful and useful in a way that makes prospects want to partner with you.
Reset #2 – Change Your Social Platforms and the Ways You Use Them
Marketing through the wrong social channels is another common mistake. Not every B2B company will succeed on Facebook—much better results might come via LinkedIn. Or instead of Google+, Twitter might prove to be a more worthwhile investment.
One way to clarify which social channels are best for your business is to refer to your buyer personas. These profiles, as long as they’re fully-defined, tell you where your prospects are spending the most time along with the type of content they’re most likely to consume and appreciate.
For example, a 2010 Forbes study found the following:
- 75% of executives’ watch industry-relevant videos on business websites on a weekly basis,
- 65% have visited the websites of vendors after watching a video, and
- Executives consistently share videos they like with their peers and colleagues.
This makes video platforms like YouTube or Vimeo great prospective channels for distributing content aimed at a C-level audience.
Another important tactic is to engage with your audience in communities. Places like LinkedIn Groups— and Google+ Communities foster in-depth conversations about important topics in your clients’ industry. Participate in a helpful, non-promotional way, and you can develop relationships and find promising leads.
Finally, consider traditionally B2C outlets. B2B marketing might be buttoned-up and data-driven, but it doesn’t mean that image-sharing sites such as Instagram and Pinterest won’t work for your brand. Again, rely on what your buyer personas tell you; these sites might do wonders for your brand visibility. Also consider other visual content forms such as infographics (which you can always tweet, blog about or share on Facebook), and hosting webinars on Google Hangouts and other platforms.
Reset #3 – Tighten Up Your Lead Generation
The promise of social media marketing lies in one of its most prominent functions in a B2B social media strategy: to generate leads. Having a ton of social media followers is great, but without a deliberate way to turn your social “fans” into qualified leads, you’re missing out, and your conversion rate, as well as your marketing ROI, will suffer.
After you’ve made sure your content is engaging the right kind of people, you’ll want to draw them into the meaning and purpose behind your brand. This is best accomplished by including strong calls-to-action pointing to inbound marketing pieces, such as case studies, whitepapers and research reports.
For example, your B2B company might typically make contact with middle managers, who need several layers of approval on corporate purchases. With calls-to-action on the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn for prospects to download your articles and reports, you gain valuable name and business demographic information on gated landing pages, and you’ll arm your new readers to make a strong case to their superiors. And at that point, you’ve successfully converted a “follower” to a lead!
Also, be creative about how you engage prospects on social platforms. Speak their language to make them comfortable with you and create the feeling that you “get them.” This can be comprised of using industry relevant keywords, being a whistleblower for major shifts in the industry, and answering specific questions and quelling anxieties (whether those are gleaned through social listening, or interactions with current or former customers) through a series of social posts.
Reset #4 – Regain Focus with Consistent Social Monitoring Tools
In keeping track of all the places your potential customers frequent, and all the social messages you’re using to reach them, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. To make things more complicated, your company might have several verticals, comprised of products and services that are exclusive to several particular buyer personas.
Enter the solution: software that manages the headache for you. A B2B focused social media marketing tool will give you a global overview of your social campaigns, enabling you to act with more precision and efficiency.
The right platform accomplishes the following things:
- See everything at a glance. Having your social profiles, all on one screen, at one time, lets you immediately interact with prospects as they seek information from you.
- Provides in-depth, relevant analytics to refine campaigns. Reach, social traffic, engagements, conversion rate—these are all metrics that form a critical part of your ROI assessment. Proper tools can help you put the numbers in perspective and enable you to focus on optimization.
- Lets you schedule social posts to recur. It’s a basic function, but an important one. As discussed earlier, content can be given life that extends well beyond its original publication, and your social media management software can enable you to do this automatically.
The best strategies fall flat without the right tools at your disposal. Using software to manage your social campaigns is just as important as having any social strategy at all.
It’s never too late to hit “reset”—until it’s too late
B2B marketing in the digital age is a dynamic creature. With the right tools, you can always step in and make refinements to campaigns. But never wait so long that your brand becomes associated with inept social engagements. Fix whatever leaks exist in your social strategy, and you’ll put your company back on the path to marketing success in no time.
What would you change if you could hit the social media reset button?