“Only 6% of B2B Product Marketers, and 17% of B2B Services marketers believe they can quantitatively establish the business impact of their social media.” -The CMO Survey
That’s a damning statistic if there ever was one, but to be honest it doesn’t really faze my agency, Midas Touch. Clearly, as B2B Social Media specialists we cannot afford to ignore this perception, but we firmly believe that when done right there is considerable, and real value to be had. Doing it right starts with knowing what could go wrong – and that’s what this post is about.
We have had more than our fair share of first discussions with prospects starting on the note, “We did social media but it didn’t work for us.” More often than not, we could trace this soul-sapping loss of confidence back to one these five mega-blunders.
Making it all about you
Take a quick peek at your blog site –do most (if not all) of the blogs out there talk about your products, your offerings, or about your company? Is that the flavor of your social channels as well? If so then I hate to say this, but you’re that self-obsessed guy at the party who tells everyone within earshot how he used to be a great athlete. You know, that guy standing all alone near the bar, desperate for an audience. Your content and your social channels have to be about the customer – give them the information they need, answer the questions they have, and essentially help them along the buying journey. This helps you create a perception of your company as one with similar interests and with the expertise to help them when it comes to actually deploying a solution. It’s all about information – this is why 59% of B2B Marketers cite eBooks and Whitepapers as the top B2B lead producers (Source MediaPost).
A Rush into Selling
There’s a disease sweeping through LinkedIn these days – have you felt the ill-effects? Just as soon as you accept a connection request, an elaborate mail follows with a laundry list of product or services offerings and an exhortation to do business. Other social channels are also suffering from the same “Connect and start selling” super-bug. In relationship terms this is like going down on one knee and proposing without putting any time, thought or effort into the “let’s get to know each other” phase. Do you see nuptials in the near future in this case – I don’t! The social channels have to aid the courtship – help to engage the prospect, build a bond based on respect, gain their trust, and help to start a conversation. If everything else fits then the inevitable outcome follows quite naturally!
The social channels can also play a key role in lead nurturing – just as valid an example of putting thought into building a relationship. This is worth the effort – 67% of the B2B Marketers who engaged in such structured lead nurturing grew sales opportunities across the funnel by 10%, and a further 15% saw sales opportunities increase by 30% (Source: Iconsive)
Broadcasting without targeting
It’s been said that if you’re talking to everyone, really, you’re talking to no one. By definition, you cannot target everyone – resources are limited, so is time – you have to prioritize and choose a limited set of target segments. Focus, Low-Hanging Fruit – these are all ways to acknowledge the need for targeting your messaging, your social efforts, and your content. The tighter the targeting, the more personal will be the message, the more specific will be the value proposition, and the greater will be the emotional impact. A Corporate Executive Board & Google survey of over 3000 B2B buyers revealed just why this is so important.
- 86% of the buyers surveyed said that there was no longer any “real difference” between vendors.
- Those B2B brands that formed an emotional connect with their prospects created 2 times the impact as compared to B2B brands selling purely business and functional value.
- The buyers were 60% more likely to consider, buy or pay more for a brand with which they felt a “high brand connection.”
Campaign not strategy
Good things come to those who wait right? This is definitely true in B2B Social Media. And it’s even truer that this isn’t for those not ready for the long haul. If you’re launching a new product, or a webinar program, then a flurry of tweets in the days prior to that is unlikely to significantly drive up visibility or interest. The audience builds up over time, as does their interest in what you have to say. It also takes the audience a while to take the action you want them to. 80% of B2B buyers now take longer to do their research and just as many of them view between 2 – 7 different pieces of content before making their decision on engage with a vendor (Source DemandGen Report). Clearly, this stuff takes time to work it’s magic – no instant miracles here!
The Channel Conundrum
Virtually every single one of your target customers has a facebook profile. Does that make it the right choice for your B2B Social Media efforts though – not unless you want to connect with your buyers in a space they consider personal. A lot of the disenchantment with social media is based on an improper channel strategy. The fact is each channel has its strength, its own audience, and that audience has a specific intent while there. This is not the place to try a “one size fits all” approach – the channel mix you pick has to be specific to your needs, and the needs of the audience you are looking to connect with. The content you share on the chosen channels, the language, tone, frequency, and schedule all has to be designed with the audience in mind too. Some channels work better than others here. This is the reason why 94% of B2B marketers pick LinkedIn for content dissemination, but only 29% pick Instagram, despite it being the fastest-growing social network out there.
Vince Lombardi said, “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” Speaking for my agency, we have seen so many times how B2B Social Media done right can create a positive overall impact that amps up the sales and marketing effort – you should try it too!