The social media landscape today is filled with potential pitfalls and landmines for the B2B brands attempting to navigate it. As such, B2B marketers are bound to have their fair share of snafus and slip-ups on social. However, for the sake of your organization’s reputation and social media success, it’s important to avoid those blunders and missteps as much as possible. Here are some top tips for avoiding common social media mistakes that B2B businesses often make:
1. Don’t be too salesy. Today, people respond best to marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing. In most situations, we prefer to be educated or entertained, or both, than to be sold to – even when we are making a business purchase. This is increasingly true on social media. Avoid the mistake of being too salesy on social by ensuring you strike a balance in the content you post. Many experts recommend an 80/20 ratio for your content, with 80 percent being helpful and 20 percent promotional. You may find, however, that this mix still may be too salesy for your audience. Experiment to find what works best for your brand, and keep in mind that it may vary across social platforms.
2. Go where your audience is. Have you ever wanted to tweet at a company only to find that they don’t have a Twitter account? It’s frustrating, right? For that reason, your organization should have a presence on all the top social networks, but prioritize your efforts based on where your audience spends their time. So, if LinkedIn suits your audience more than Twitter – as LinkedIn often does for B2B businesses – dedicate more time to your efforts on LinkedIn. Also, in addition to the larger social networks, don’t forget to consider smaller or more niche networks that might be a good fit with your business and your audience.
3. Listen. When you think of managing your company’s social media presence, posting content is likely the first thing that comes to mind. While publishing is an essential part of your social media efforts, listening should be too. Social media provides you a direct, always-on line to your customers and to sentiment about your brand. Listening can help you spot whether overall sentiment is trending positive or negative and can help you promote the good or put out fires, depending on what you are hearing.
4. Be timely in responses. You might expect to wait a day to have a company respond to your email or return a phone call, but the expectations for social media are far more immediate. Many companies fail to see just how much a slow response can erode confidence in and increase frustration with their brand. Be sure your team is prepared to monitor and respond in a timely manner to any messages or comments you may receive. Some issues may need to be directed to other departments, particularly in B2B businesses where the sales cycle and support process are more complex. So, have a plan in place for what goes where and for telling people who contact you via social what they can expect next.
5. Optimize. Social media isn’t something you can just set and forget. As you can see from the points above, it requires quite a bit of engagement and interaction. It also requires an occasional makeover, even when it’s successful. Always be on the lookout for ways you can improve your social media presence. For inspiration, think about the brands you like the most on social, both B2B and B2C. Perhaps experiment with new types of content, a different frequency of posting, new hashtags or using existing content on different platforms to see how it plays to your distinct social audiences. Sometimes even the smallest tweaks can bring the biggest results.
6. Don’t just measure social metrics. Likes, shares and comments are the bread and butter of social media metrics. But what do those actions really mean to your business? What impact do they have on the overall success of your company? Be sure that you have goals and metrics in mind for each social channel and that those tie in with your overall marketing and business goals. By not operating in a vacuum, you can achieve more meaningful results from your social media efforts. The right technology can help.