Ah yes, social media: a world where writing on walls and poking strangers is widely accepted by the online population. But of course, teenagers aren’t the only ones committed to a serious relationship with social media—your potential customers are, too.
There are several advantages of social media for B2B companies. For example, social networking gives organizations the opportunity to increase their exposure and gain marketplace insight. Not only that, but it’s also a way for businesses to drive traffic to their respective pages.
However, while some companies believe they are reaping the benefits of social media, they’re actually falling short of creating successful campaigns due to common misunderstandings. Here are four such misconceptions about B2B social media, and how to make sure you’re not one of the brands that fails to get social effectively.
1. Social Media Is Enough to Build My Business
Let’s set the scene. You just launched your small business, and are looking to build your presence by using the most popular social media sites as leverage. You find that sites like Twitter generate high engagement among prospects and influencers.
But, while the idea of generating leads through Twitter seemed promising at first, a quick look at Twitter Analytics shows that you haven’t quite obtained the number of retweets and shares you’d hoped for.
In reality, social is not enough to build your flourishing brand on its own. For starters, you need to combine your social efforts with an effective SEO strategy, among other marketing practices, to get the most out of consumer engagement and retention.
If you already have an SEO strategy in place, and you’re ready to add social to the mix, you need to implement an approach that focuses on who your buyers are and what types of services they’re looking for.
You should also be aware of the fierce competition on social networking sites like Twitter. According to a recent Twitter eBook, 87 percent of B2B companies use the site to distribute content. As an industry professional, bear in mind that networking through social media is a challenge, and that other measures need to be taken to make your marketing strategy watertight.
2. My Audience Doesn’t Live on Social Media
Some B2B companies are still under the illusion that their customers aren’t using social platforms to inform buying decisions. But the truth is, social media isn’t reserved for B2C only. In fact, more than 65 percent of B2B buyers use social media to get information about a company before making a purchase.
So what does this influx of B2B social networkers mean for your business? You need to know what to post on social media to separate you from other companies fighting for their attention. The content that you share across your channels needs to be relevant to both your audience and your organizational objectives. For instance, you may post about your company’s latest infographic or whitepaper, which ends with a call-to-action. By doing so, you’ll be providing industry-relevant data and information to your prospects while also creating an opportunity for a conversion.
Successful social media campaigns start with the content you produce or curate and how you integrate it into your overarching digital marketing efforts. By having a B2B social media strategy built on content, you’ll have a better chance of appealing to your socially engaged customers and prospects.
It’s not a matter of whether your prospects are on social media—that much is guaranteed. It’s a matter of how you present your brand through social networks. The advantages of social media won’t materialize themselves; it’s up to you to have the right resources in place to reap any real benefit.
3. Social Media is Free; There’s Nothing to Lose
You might think that social networking is as simple as setting up an account and posting on it daily. But in reality, it’s an all-out effort to turn prospects into consumers, and consumers into advocates—an effort that requires financial investment.
Though sites like Facebook and Twitter are free to use generally, their pay-to-play services should be a serious consideration. Not only do they allow you to reach more people, but they can also lead to increased brand awareness.
According to Reuters, Facebook advertisers from small businesses spend an average of $5 to $50 a day, which is significantly lower than the millions spent by larger firms. So paid social media marketing doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think, and it can help you shine against your B2B competitors and get more eyeballs on your content.
Beyond pay-to-play, your company also needs to invest in a dedicated team to put a successful social media campaign into action. While you could manage your own accounts, it’s much more time- and cost-effective to have specialists that regularly check for customer feedback and post relevant content. Importantly, you need a team that’s creative and able to plan successful social media campaigns far in advance.
4. There’s No Need to Measure Social Media Performance
So it doesn’t necessarily involve a measuring tape and weight scale—but now that we’ve cleared up the fact that social media is an investment, keeping track of your performance is crucial. While many B2B firms think that social has no real ROI, it’s important to keep track of what’s happening across your channels to see if your social media budget is being used efficiently. After all, who enjoys spending a large sum of money without any real return?
There are three main metrics to pay attention to when measuring the impact of social media on your business:
- Amplification rate, which shows how often your message is shared by your followers
- Applause rate, or the number of interactions your content receives on social media (including thumbs-ups, likes, and retweets)
- Conversion rate, meaning the percentage of online users who take a desired action
Unfortunately, without these fundamental numbers in mind, you’ll likely miss out on the huge benefits social media has to offer. But there may be many more that matter for your business, in which case there are a variety of online tools that can help.
And besides these, the most popular social media sites also provide analytics for their users. If you’re a Facebook user, for example, you can track your performance through the site’s Page Insights. There are even specific metrics to track for video-friendly B2B firms that post content on YouTube. Analytics integrated into your favorite social media platforms shouldn’t be dismissed; they’re equally great at improving the performance of your B2B social media strategy and helping you reach your goals.
With over 2.3 billion active users online, social media provides a goldmine of opportunities for B2B marketers to boost their online presence and foster credibility. Given how beneficial social is to marketing success, it’s time to crush common misconceptions about B2B social media to fully thrive in the digital world.