We have all done it – been captured by a craze, consumed our life with it only to sit back a couple of years later and ask – why did I do that? When I was in my final year at college I got obsessed with juggling. I had to learn to juggle. I would sit for hours chucking little bean bags into the air and failing miserably to catch them until one day I finally got it. Although now I reap the benefits of having my children think I am some sort of demi-god with the power to juggle, to be honest it is not really a valuable life skill and definitely not one that was worth that huge investment in time.
So, time to be controversial, B2B social media can be just as pointless as my quest to juggle. Let me explain.
It’s not about being sociable
We need a presence on Twitter. We need to update our profile on LinkedIn. We need to do more with Facebook and Instagram. These are all statements that I hear on a regular basis and to be honest, it is just like the twins saying to me that they need chocolate! Do they really?
My common response to these questions, including that of the twins is WHY? The usual response I get is that ‘our competition is doing it’ and what normally goes through my mind is my mother saying “if your friends jumped off a cliff would you follow them”?
From a B2B perspective, social media is not about being social. It is about marketing, and as with any marketing tactic, it is about getting return from your investment.
Saying a lot to a few
How many followers do you have on Twitter? How many people follow your company on LinkedIn? Do you know who they are and are they the right people? These are all questions you need to be asking.
The painful truth is that unless you are a major brand, most companies do not have a huge number of followers. If you analysed your followers you will find they are mainly employees, competitors or industry generalists and very few are customers or prospects.
Despite this, companies meticulously tweet and post updates, consuming endless time and, in reality, are either preaching to the converted or keeping their competition well informed.
Social needs a strategy
Like everything in the world of marketing, social has to have a purpose. If it doesn’t then it will never deliver a return. In simple terms, for each social strategy you need to have a clear understanding of (i) who your audience is, (ii) what you want to communicate to them and (iii) what the desired outcome is.
For example, you may want to use Social as a way to better engage with your customers. First, you need to focus on how you get them to follow you. Then, you need to deliver up the content you are sure they will engage with, and encourage them to your desired outcome – whether that be getting them to web pages, getting them to register for an event or to download some collateral.
A different strategy may be required for each different audience, and you need to place as much thinking around your social tactics as you would on any other marketing campaign.
Key tips to making Social Marketing count
Here are a few Gary tips you should consider when re-booting your social marketing:
1. Don’t do it because you feel pressure to do it. Unless you can clearly see its contribution to your measurable marketing objectives – don’t waste your time.
2. Put as much thought into building audiences as you do in posting content – this is where it counts.
3. It is not just about what you say, it is about where you say it. Many companies post great content on their own feeds when, in reality, their target audience is actually consuming content in other forums and groups; focus your attention where your audience is.
4. Don’t forget ‘paid’ social; there is a whole market of people who do not follow you, so if you have something good to say, don’t be afraid of paid social to reach a wider group.
5. It should be give and take. Social Media is an interactive platform, so don’t just post updates but draw people in. Depending on who you speak to, people need to be given 5-6 pieces of content before they are ready to be asked for something in return. Earn the right and then execute a campaign that draws them in.
6. Measure effectiveness. You would not run any other type of campaign campaign without analysing its effectiveness, so why should you be less rigorous with social media? Leverage marketing automation to track engagement from social posts and measure the impact of your social activity throughout the stages of your marketing and sales funnels.
In summary, social is a powerful channel, but only if you utilise it in the right way and for the right purpose. If you are just doing it because you think you need to, you are likely to be wasting your time, harness it for the right reasons with clear objectives, it can most certainly deliver.