You’ve read all the articles and you’ve listened to all the experts. You know that social media marketing is a key component of the B2B sales process – then how come you aren’t seeing the results you were hoping for?
Well, all those social media advocates weren’t wrong – social media marketing (SMM) is a key marketing and lead-nurturing tool. Just look at the statistics below.
- 83% of B2B marketers use social media; making it the most common B2B marketing tactic (Source)
- More than 70% of all B2B marketers use at least one of the “Big 4” social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) to distribute content (Source)
- 54% of B2B marketers said they’ve generated leads from social media (Source)
So what is your B2B company doing wrong? You’ve followed the guidelines, you’re on all the most popular platforms, and you are regularly sharing content; yet you still can’t gain any traction. Find out below some of the most common reasons why B2B companies fail at social media marketing.
Five Reasons Why Social Media Marketing May Not Be For You
Social media is only a little over a decade old. As a result, its ‘shiny and new’ status has captured the imaginations of millions of entrepreneurs and marketers around the world – spouting endless articles and discussions online, in universities, at business events, and in boardrooms.
Nowadays, it is blasphemous to say social media doesn’t work for your business. You could be labeled a ‘luddite’ or your views as ‘antiquated’. But, in reality, social media doesn’t work for 100% of businesses 100% of the time.
There are five questions you need to consider before investing heavily in social media.
1. Does Your Target Audience Use Social Media?
Social media may not be as ubiquitous as you think. Only 24% of small businesses in 2017 found social media important in acquiring new customers; whilst over 51% said they saw little to no benefit to their bottom line according to Statistica.
The B2B buyer journey is a complex one, requiring different messaging to each of the different stakeholders that play a role in the decision-making process.
Although social media might engage a younger millennial workforce; it may do little to engage an older upper management demographic who have grown up without it.
Social media is limited by who is on it. In B2B SMM, you are relying on the social media users in a company to filter the information up to the decision makers.
2. Will Your Messaging Work On Social Media?
Social media is transient – very little of your company messaging will stick with customers. You only have to look at YouTube, with its five-second ad windows, to see how difficult it is to get your message across.
Social media relies on a constant stream of content. Many marketers will advocate that you have up to six seconds to win over your prospect with your message – this isn’t much time.
Recent Nueromarketing research indicates your impulsive ‘reptilian brain’ takes precedence over your rational decision-making neocortex processes; even in B2B purchases. As a result, you may have less than a second to make a real impression on a viewer.
Given the complexity of B2B products and services and their delivery, it is hard to convey those types of messages using a channel like social media.
3. Do You Have A Solid Online Sales Funnel?
Social media is a great way to drive engagement and awareness of your product; however, engagement and awareness aren’t good enough if they don’t lead to sales.
Having a well developed website, with clear and enticing calls to action, should be your first consideration.
Consider your online sales funnel like a body of freshwater thawing its way down a mountain into a freshwater lake. Your social media is the snowy peak; it is very early on in the process. Your funnel is the series of glaciers, rivers and wetlands that lead to your figurative ‘lake of sales’. The better you establish your funnel the more of that snow is going to find it’s way to you.
Understanding the sales funnel can be complex. There are many ways to measure and evaluate your marketing activities. In the past, many marketers traditionally attributed the success of a campaign to whatever activity led to a sale – this was known as ‘single-source attribution’. However, with the advent of analytics and advanced measurement tools, the value of the marketing mix as a whole has gained a lot of traction.
In team sports, such as basketball, the players that are assisting are just as valuable as those making the shots. The same is true of modern marketing. Today, marketers attribute success to many channels and activities – this form of marketing is known as ‘multi-touch attribution’.
For an overview of multi-touch attribution follow this link – B2B Marketing Attribution – How Single Source Attribution Is Hurting Your Business.
4. Do You The Have Time and Resources For Social Media?
Depending on the size of your business you might find that managing several social media accounts can be time-consuming, especially if you are one of many people who see social media as a chore and not a pleasure.
Having some form of social media is important. Even if you aren’t constantly updating it, setting up a Facebook and/or LinkedIn account with as much information as possible can be highly valuable to your potential customers.
Depending on your industry, finding content can be difficult. Don’t use up all your best stuff straight away; be sure to spread it out.
Minimise your commitment till you have the time to work on it or the resources to have someone assist you with it.
5. Is There A Better Way To Spend Your Marketing Dollars?
Social media and other online channels can seem like easy ways to spend your marketing dollars. At the click of a button you can get your message out to thousands or even millions of people.
However, depending on your product, brand and target audience, spending that money on an ad in your local newspaper could bring in a much greater ROI.
Eight Insights to Better Your Social Media Marketing Efforts
So, you are convinced social platforms is the right channel for your business; yet, your posts go unliked, your followers will not engage with you and you’ve sunk a lot of money on sponsored content with little return.
Below are six lessons to guide you in your B2B social efforts. Find out what you are doing wrong, and how you can make SMM more meaningful and beneficial to you.
1. Perspective Is Key
Before you can begin marketing your business properly on social media, you might need to re-evaluate your expectations. What outcomes do you want from your social activities?
Let’s be clear that social media is a fickle thing. You might prepare a campaign and you might do everything right, but there is no guarantee anyone will engage.
Returns from social media aren’t a straightforward matter of investing and seeing an equivalent pay off. Marketing on social platforms is more of a gamble. You have to be ‘in it to win it’ as they say.
You might have grown up in a world where your Twitter following had no impact on your sales; but the world is changing and social media has come out on top.
Think of SMM as more of a necessary expense, like insurance or start-up costs, which you need to keep your head above water in a sea of competitive businesses.
2. Have A Firm Strategy In Place
As novelist and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once wrote, “A goal without a plan is a wish.”
Auditing your social media accounts and developing concrete goals for each is important. This planning process will also give you an idea about the type of content that your audience relates to.
Once you’ve established where you want to be and where you are now, you will be in a better position to discover the right tactics for your business
For more tips about to setting up your own strategy, try reading this article about B2B Social Media Marketing.
3. Remember Your ‘ABC’ Rule – Always Be Consistent!
According to CMI research, one of the major challenges for B2B marketers is maintain consistency in their content.
Finding the right voice for your brand on social media, and consistently using it, will help distinguish your business amongst all the other vying businesses online.
As platforms like Facebook are beginning to deprioritise pushy sales content, giving your audience a genuine reason to follow you will be more and more important.
Deciding amongst your administrators what types of hash tags, emoticons, grammar and style to use will help make your audience feel like they are conversing with your brand on a more human level.
4. Find The Right Channels
Just because Facebook has over two billion users doesn’t mean you should be using it as your primary social media channel. Find the right channel to suit your industry and audience.
If your business is involved in fashion and textile for example, sites like Instagram may serve your business much more.
For example, Ravelry is a social media network for crocheters and knitters. If you really want to engage with your customers, meet them on the sites they are likely to be.
Niche social media platforms are becoming increasingly popular. Find out what is out there and see if you can reach your target audience on these platforms.
5. Make Your Brand Exciting
You can spend several hours a week working on your business’ social media sites, but see barely any movement in followers or engagement. This can be very discouraging, you may find yourself questioning the point of it all.
You look to other competitors and see how popular they are and wonder how they are achieving all that success?
The reality could be that your brand needs a refresh.
The problem is that it’s very hard to gauge what will make your brand exciting to your target audience. After all, ‘exciting’ is a relative term. And, to be clear, we aren’t suggesting that you follow the ‘cool’ brands by loading your content with irreverent hash-tags and pointless click-bait.
The real way to find what works is to experiment. Be bold and try and new ideas often. For some hot tips, read this article on Marketing ‘Boring’ Brands On Social Media.
6. Synergise With Your Sales Team
Marketing and sales don’t like to be confused for one another, but it is understandable why people tend to amalgamate these two professions. Sales and marketing feed off each other.
With metrics and analytics being increasingly common, using a mixed attribution system to measure the success of your marketing campaigns will help you understand what is and isn’t working much better.
Coordinate your marketing efforts and share data with your sales team. Find reliable ways to monitor you customers’ buyer journeys. This will give you an idea of what social media channels are going to work for you.
You may find that all that marketing on YouTube has had little effect and that you could be spending your money on advertising on Instagram for better results.
Hopefully, some of these tips have helped you reconsider your social strategy. Perhaps, you have been relying on social media at the expense of other channels, or maybe your content just hasn’t connected just yet.
Creating value for your consumers is the only real way to convert users on social media. Keep experimenting, be bold and don’t be afraid to play around with your social media sites.
For more expert tips on improving your B2B social media, have a look at this article on B2B Social Media Strategies and Best Practices. If you are in need of a professional B2B marketing agency to manage or provide advice in regards to your social media efforts, contact The Lead Agency today.