There’s no denying that our professional lives have become intertwined with social media in a way that was once reserved solely for our own personal scrolling. Of course, LinkedIn has been an early and consistent presence, but even platforms like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and others have evolved from exclusively personal content, to B2C involvement, to B2B brands increasingly staking their claim.
We know as marketers that our B2B firms need a social media presence, but many social managers aren’t approaching their corporate accounts with a nuanced appreciation for how the objectives of the brand’s account should differ from the objectives of their own.
After a while, it becomes clear which marketing teams have done their homework, and which are throwing caution to the wind on their social media strategy. To avoid falling in that latter camp, here are 4 common social media mistakes that B2B brands make, supplemented by some actionable tips on how to get a solid handle on your social game.
Measuring the Wrong Metrics, Or Not Measuring Them at All
If you’re throwing content against the glass to see what sticks, not tracking metrics is like throwing content through an open window and letting it fall into the ether. You need to see what’s working, and what isn’t. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time.
Purposefully not tracking metrics just because you’re new to content marketing and afraid of a disappointing result is like avoiding the dentist specifically because you suspect you have a cavity and don’t want to have it addressed. It’s ok if the metrics you’re seeing are below what you were expecting. We get it, making solid content, and especially building a following to consume that content, takes time.
Even if the dashboards are showing zeros, that’s going to help illustrate that your approach could use an update.
As you create more content and you have some real numbers populating your metrics, it’s crucial to focus on tracking the correct metrics. This will depend largely on your marketing strategy and what you’re looking to grow, but generally, it’s a good rule to not overvalue the hyped up metrics if they’re not leading to real engagement. What I mean by this, for example, is don’t get too excited over the number of clicks on an article if the bounce rate on that page is also high. That’s a red flag for click-bait. Not the best way to gain a loyal audience!
Sharing the Wrong Content
Keep human interest stories at a minimum. Occasionally sharing a pic from a team outing probably isn’t going to hurt, especially if how you treat your employees is a big selling point for your clients. However, don’t turn your twitter into a highlight reel of office activities. A good exception here could be a solid human interest story highlighting how your product has directly improved the lives of your clients, or of your clients’ clients.
For a B2B brand, focus instead on knowledge sharing. Create white papers, ebooks, and webinars, knowing that in addition to the ways you’ve traditionally distributed these resources, they’ll make killer social media posts, too. Share information that stimulates the motivation system of your audience. If your ideal audience is mostly developers, lean into the creation and posting of technical white papers. If it’s mostly channel partners, perhaps focus more heavily on case studies.
Regardless of the exact function of your audience, one thing holds true: You need to provide real value to generate meaningful engagement.
Lack of Consistency
You need to prioritize a consistent output of content, or building any meaningful following is going to be an uphill battle. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience: If you stumbled upon a great piece of information, sure, you’re going to be happy you found it, but you’re probably not hitting that subscribe button until you’ve been shown that it wasn’t a one time fluke.
How many of us have found a well made, easy to understand, and value-adding piece of content, only to be disappointed when we navigate to the publisher’s profile and find that only that one single resource shines any light on that topic? On the flip side, how many of us have navigated to a similar profile and discovered that a great piece of content was actually part of a broader, and ongoing series? That’s the kind of consistency that makes the subscribe button hard to resist. A great piece of content earns you a reader, while a great series of content earns you a dedicated follower.
That’s why it’s important to be intentional with your content. Fine, give yourself a quarter or two to experiment with different types of content, but pick a date — actually mark it in the calendar — and know that on this date, you are holding yourself responsible for defining your niche and clearly spelling out your social media objectives.
Limiting Your Brand to One Social Platform, (or Focusing on Too Many)
Many B2B brands are guilty of putting 100% of their social media effort into LinkedIn. Granted, this is more likely a symptom of lack of time than lack of aspiration. However, you can expand your reach to other platforms (and by extension, new audiences), by remixing existing content into a new format.
If you’re doing content marketing correctly, the social media post itself isn’t what’s most resource demanding — instead it’s more likely the creation of that resource (case study, white paper, etc.) you’re linking back to that’s demanding your time.
Sure, a white paper can be written in part because it’s destined for a LinkedIn post. However, you can get much more mileage out of a piece of content by expanding to other platforms than you otherwise would by distributing the piece of content via a single post on a single platform. For example, you can modify the caption and make it appropriate for twitter.
Maybe for a few hundred dollars more you can even repackage the content into a video for YouTube. Once that videos posted on YouTube, it should be called out with a link on both LinkedIn and Twitter. By focusing on creating an original, platform agnostic piece of content, you now have fuel for potentially dozens of cross-platform posts.
Careful though, and understand where to reel it in and focus your efforts. Don’t post the same piece of content on every social media platform under the sun. Some formats just won’t support certain types of content without some serious re-working, and at that point the additional effort to distill an entire Reference Architecture into a Tik-Tok may not be worth it (or make any sense).
There’s a sweet spot on the ROI you’ll get from Social Media content marketing, and it often boils down to your bandwidth for maintaining a consistent, focused effort curtailed to each individual platform. Make a sub-strategy for each platform, rather than assuming each will naturally gel with your broader social strategy. At the same time though, understand when and where content can be modified and posted on another platform for additional mileage.
Social media is an intimidating beast on its own. Making it work for a B2B brand is a whole different animal. That said, when you keep up on best practices and learn to work smart, not hard on your social media strategy, your effort is likely to be rewarded. By tracking the right metrics, sharing appropriate content with good consistency, and deciding on which platforms to focus your efforts, you’ll be on your way to wrangling the beast and making it work for you.