One of the tools in all inbound marketers toolkits is social media. Falls right into the attract phase of the methodology. All you need to do is identify the social media platforms your prospects are using, create your company pages and go. Promote the content that you have created specifically for your target audience and they will like it, share it and engage with it. Sounds easy enough, right?
As it turns out, it’s not that easy. There’s a lot more to an effective social media approach than just creating a profile and promoting your own content. In fact, if we go back to the toolbox idea, social media is more like a miter saw than your average hammer.
For those traditional marketers out there (like me), social media isn’t something we grew up using. It may feel awkward and uncomfortable which makes it hard to fully understand how to use it and implement a successful approach.
For those of you who do not consider yourselves traditional marketers, implementing a social media approach for a B2B company is a far cry from how you engage with social media on a personal level. This also presents it’s own set of challenges.
The bad news is there are a lot of places B2B marketers (of all kinds) may be going wrong with social media. The good news is that if you can identify where you’re making mistakes, you can fix them and move forward.
Here are seven common reasons your approach may not be achieving the results you hoped it would and some ideas for making improvements.
1. You haven’t developed a clear social media strategy
Remember what I said in the intro…figure out what social media platforms your target audience uses, create profiles and promote your own content? Well unfortunately, I think there are many SME B2B marketers out there who think that is a social media strategy and the hard truth is – that is not a strategy at all.
Start by establishing goals. What result is it that you expect or want to achieve with your social media strategy? Is your goal only to create awareness? Is it lead generation? What percentage of leads? Is it website visitors? Is it number of followers or amount of engagement?
Before you can develop a strategy, you have to determine what your goal is. From there, you can identify the tactics you will use to achieve the goals. Tactics include selecting the platforms you will use, determining how often you will post, what you will post and how you will engage…just to name a few.
Your strategy should also include how you will measure your success. What metrics will you use and how often will they be evaluated?
Until you have a documented strategy, it will be impossible to really know how social media is impacting your business.
2. You don’t engage with your audience
Social media is meant to be, well, social. When you go to a party or even a networking event, if you just stand in the middle of the room and share things about yourself or what you’ve done without paying any attention to the ongoing conversation, how would that be received? I think you’d get a lot of puzzled looks from the other attendees and you’d leave without any new friends.
The same is true for social media. If you expect results, you have to be social. If you only promote the content you create and do not engage at all, your success will be limited.
Start conversations with your audience. Ask questions. Be human.
3. You post inconsistently
If you want to make an impact on social media…you have to be there…all of the time. Posting something randomly here and there - no matter the platform – will have very little impact.
Social media is about building relationships. How can you build a relationship if you’re only going to post three times every six months?
Be consistent. Determine a schedule for each platform when you develop your tactics and adjust it as you go.
4. You only post things once
This part of social media has always bothered me. Personally, my thought process lead me to believe that posting the same thing more than once would be annoying and obnoxious to followers. Why would I repeat myself over and over again?
Turns out, that while you may be talking, not everyone is listening all of the time. I learned this lesson at Inbound14. I attended a presentation by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. They were talking about their book The Art of Social Media.
For Twitter, they recommend (and have the data to support their recommendations) that you schedule every post four times in the same day. Their research shows that only a certain percentage of your audience is engaging with Twitter at any given time. If you post four times, most of your audience will see the post.
At Imagine, we post to Twitter four times per day but each post is different. We do repeat posts but spread them out over a four-week period. That approach is working for us but may not work for you. Find what works best for your audience for all of the platforms you are using but don’t be afraid to post the same thing multiple times.
5. You’re posting commercials
When you post something to social media, it should be helpful to your audience. Share things that teach or explain new ideas. Make everything about your buyer personas – not about you.
No wants to go through their social media feed to see commercials or sales pitches. If you want social media to work for you, lose the “we do” approach.
6. You always post the same old thing
If all of your posts are exactly the same – a sentence or two and a link to a blog post, for example – your audience will get bored. If they know they don’t have time to read your post, they’ll skip over it – even if it sounds interesting.
Mix up what you post. Be visual when possible. Use compelling graphics. Try video. Don’t be boring.
7. You never like, comment or share other people’s content
Another way to bore your audience is by only posting your own content. This goes back to the concept of being social and engaging. If you read something you like or find interesting, chances are your audience will too. Share it with them. Like it. Add your own commentary.
In addition to mixing it up for your own audience, it helps you develop relationships with other thought leaders. They will be more likely to reciprocate by sharing your content.
Like, comment and share content from others. Let your personality shine through. Don’t be a robot on social media.
Yes. Social media isn’t easy but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Tweak your approach and stick to your strategy. The results will be worth your efforts.