There are many ways marketers can use social media, and we often see a lot of great examples of social media marketing from products or national brands and local businesses that really thrive on generating brand loyalty and involvement from their customers.

But what if your product or service is something with a long sales cycle rather than a sought-after consumer product, or if your target audience is composed of IT managers or CFOs rather than moms or college students? You can still reach key B2B stakeholders through social media marketing. But without the right strategies and tactics in place to reach these buyers on the right platforms, your social media efforts can end up hurting, rather than helping, your business.

Here are some of the biggest social media marketing mistakes to avoid – and what to do instead.

1. Dedicating Resources to the Wrong Platforms

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Regardless of your business size or industry, building a robust social media presence is vital – but it doesn’t have to be everything to everyone. It’s important, especially if your resources are limited, that you’re focusing your social media efforts in places that will generate the most return for your efforts, but you can’t just guess at which ones those are. Not knowing where to start your social media strategy might be the result of a bigger underlying problem: not knowing your target audience. So, take some steps to figure out who your current buyers are and what your audience really looks like.

If you’re not exactly sure of the answers, or want to focus the majority of your efforts on a single platform, start with Facebook. It is the most widely used social media site by far, with 1.65 billon active users, and 66% of users logging on daily. So, chances are, your target prospects at least have a personal Facebook profile and are spending time there regularly. In fact, Facebook users spend an average of 50 minutes a day on the site. And, research shows that popular days and times for Facebook are Wednesday-Friday afternoons before four p.m., prime time for B2B organizations to reach out to their target audience.

2. Having a Narrow Definition of Social Media Marketing

Many businesses may think social media marketing just means having a claimed and active business page on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social channels. But this narrow view of social media marketing overlooks a wide variety of channels and strategies that can expand a business’ reach, create communities, and drive engagement.

Here are a few social media tactics that your B2B organization can benefit from:

3. Having a One-and-Done Content Strategy

What do all social media platforms have in common? They’re all content driven. But many B2B organizations don’t have a sustainable content strategy to fuel continuous interest and engagement on social media. On Twitter, your content typically only lives for about 20 minutes; on Facebook, a few hours. But, too often, businesses are struggling to create and share new content multiple times a day to post on these sites.

To achieve a repeatable content strategy that saves you time and effort, here are a few tips for generating and repurposing content for your social media marketing efforts:

4. Avoiding New Content Formats (like Video)

Does your business only post 1-sentence status updates to your social media channels or link to curated content? You may not have experience creating live videos, presentations, or Buzzfeed-style articles, so you use this as an excuse not to try your hand at these tactics, but adding them to your toolkit can help you engage more of your audience on social media.

Here are a few ways to reach and appeal to your target buyers with new formats:

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5. Not Paying to Play

So, you’re regularly publishing content on social media – but you’re not really moving the needle. Do you still refuse to consider that today, a successful social media strategy involves paid content and advertising?

To reach both your existing fans and followers and new audiences within your target market, you need to invest in advertising or sponsored content on a variety of social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn all offer native advertising solutions, and Instagram ads can be delivered through the Facebook power editor. But, not all of these sites will be lucrative in the B2B market. For the sake of this post, we’ll continue to focus on Facebook for B2B marketing, although depending on your industry, you may want to test the effectiveness of Twitter or LinkedIn advertising solutions.

Facebook offers two paths for promoting your content: boosting posts or running targeted advertising. Both can effective but have different results for your business.

6. Keeping your Social Media Separate from SEO

One important result of social media that many B2B leaders often miss is the organic traffic and leads you can capture outside of the social media site itself. In fact, robust, optimized, and active social media profiles for your business or product are likely to show up in natural search results, especially for searches for your business name, so failing to integrate these efforts could have a negative impact on your business.

In addition to your social media pages, individual posts and content like videos, images, tweets, and articles can also populate in SERPs for your business name or keyword searches. Interested prospects may find and check out your social media pages, company profiles, and more when researching your company, so it’s important that they are up to date and portray a positive view of your business. This also means ensuring you’re also taking note of comments, mentions, and reviews on social media and responding accordingly.

Go Forth & Be Social!

The most important thing to remember is no matter what you’re doing on social, be active. One of the top mistakes B2B businesses make is simply failing to be social. Because social media is so fluid, you have a lot of opportunities to try new strategies, test tactics, ask for feedback, and be more agile than you can with some other marketing methods. Even if you think you’re just selling boring software, social media can your chance to dedicate some of your most creative minds, time, and budget to your efforts.

 

A great way to up your social game in B2B is to live tweet industry events.

Learn more about successful tactics for live tweeting and social event coverage in this episode of Marketing Nerds.

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Image Credits

Featured Image: Syda_Productions/depositphotos.com
Screenshot by Tamara Weintraub. Taken August 2016