The top 5 mistakes B2B businesses make on social media
(3-4 minute read)
It’s no secret that social media can be used for B2B just as effectively as it can for B2C - but that’s not to say it’s easy. But, if you want to do it right and you want social media to work for your business avoiding the obvious mistakes is a good place to start.
Being able to reach other businesses 24/7 and worldwide is the standout power of social media when it comes to B2B marketing. We have come a long way since the days when LinkedIn and Twitter were considered the only effective platforms and today, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and even TikTok provide endless, creative ways for you to speak to your fellow businesses.
With the ever-changing social media landscape, it is easy as a business owner (fearing you’re already missing out) to jump on the bandwagon and start posting as much as possible. As social media can be such an important cornerstone to a successful marketing strategy in B2B, it is advisable NOT to just start posting without a clear plan in place.
Taking a novice approach to social media is not guaranteed to get you the desired results. In fact, going it alone, without having a thought-through strategy in place, can actually be detrimental to your business and weaken your brand.
Here are 5 common mistakes B2B make on social media and how to avoid them:
1. Fear of missing out
If you feel like everyone in your industry is already on social media, leaving you behind in the dust, you’re feeling like the majority of business owners out there. Most of the time, businesses feel under pressure to keep up with their industry and do social media purely because everyone else is doing it – not because it’s right for them. But, as we mentioned before, jumping into social media without a plan isn’t advisable.
Without having clear, measurable goals it is difficult to track the success of your social media efforts. It also makes it impossible to choose the most effective social media channels for your different campaigns and makes it difficult to determine how and which activity to engage with on these channels.
Try not to worry about what your competitors are doing, you don’t know if what they’re doing is working for them anyway. Take time to work out what it is you want to achieve with social media and figure out the best plan of action to achieve those desired results.
2. One-size doesn’t fit all
A lot of businesses will plaster their messages across each and every channel without taking the different audiences and different nuances of those platforms into consideration. Every social media channel has a different audience, who use the channels for different reasons. Even if you audience is the same across most channels, the reasons they’re on certain channels will change. If you go deeper and analyse the usage-style of each channel - Twitter, for example, may be used for more personal brief and succinct updates at events by sharing these experiences through images and ideas. LinkedIn, on the other hand, may be used for keeping on top of general industry developments and networking on a daily basis.
With this in mind, adopting the same approach on all channels, is simply not creating the tailored conversations needed for reaching the right audience in order to create profitable engagement and community growth.
As with any marketing channel, humanising and personalising your approach will always win.
Don’t simply broadcast your message, engage with your community and find out what it is they’re looking for when they come to a specific platform.
Once you know what your audience wants you can create a social-first content strategy and provide them with truly valuable information.
3. Going it alone
Your business may have the perfect social media strategy and even cater correctly to each individual social media channel but are you making the most of it? Teamwork makes the dream work when it comes to getting your content out to a wider audience and if you solely rely on posting branded content via your own channels you’re limiting your opportunities.
Algorithms generally favour individual posts over those from a company page, especially on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. It therefore makes sense to make the most of your team’s presence on these channels too.
Building company advocates is a great way to reach a wider audience.
Plus, users often don’t “believe” company posts as much as individual posts as they see an agenda behind branded content.
4. Tunnel vision
Too often companies just want to push their agenda and post accordingly. But by not listening to the general “conversation” their target audience is taking part in on the different channels, they are missing the mark.
Pushing your messages to achieve certain goals is okay from time to time, but those sales messages have to be part of a wider mix of content. It should be less about what you do and more about what your audience wants. People will trust and participate in the conversation if you also engage and share content that is of interest to them. Responding, instead of just posting for the sake of posting, is the key to a natural conversation.
Social media is part of a long, brand-building strategy don’t get stuck into thinking each and every post needs to read like a billboard.
5. Looking at the wrong metrics
Not establishing credible ways of measuring your social media strategy’s success could be your downfall at the last hurdle. It’s not all about likes and followers. There are a number of ways to measure your B2B marketing impact, but so called vanity metrics are not the right way to analyse.
This includes determining the success of your campaign by looking at the number of likes or followers.
It is okay to include these in your general reports and these figures are a good indication that your content is appreciated, but they shouldn’t be your main focus. Counting likes may boost your company’s ego initially, but they are not a reliable indicator when it comes to assessing true business ROI.
Failing to determine the exact metrics you will use to track your social media performance will make all your efforts in vain.
If your goal is to gain new leads, make sure your tracking is set up properly from the beginning so you know where those leads are coming from. This way you can put more budget towards effective campaigns and less towards those that have failed.
As with anything, strategy is key to success on social media. Putting information out into the public domain regularly without damaging your brand can be harder than it looks when not thought through properly.
If you know that social media could benefit your business but you’re not sure where to start, we recommend asking yourself these questions:
1. What do I want to achieve on social media?
2. Who am I trying to talk to?
3. What kind of content does my audience already enjoy?
4. Do I have the time to do this myself?
5. What do I need to track to measure success?
Once you know the answers, you can either start working on it yourself or you can hire an external agency to to help you.
Make impressions, don’t buy them.