10 Reasons Why B2B Companies Are Failing With Social Media

Too many B2B companies are flat out failing at social media marketing. It isn’t their fault. This isn’t an attack on the companies. Heck, they are at least brave enough to give it a shot. Instead this is an explanation for why a new marketing channel has been slow to grow in the B2B space. This shouldn’t be news to anyone though. Email marketing has been around for decades and many companies still don’t have that mystery figured out yet.

Instead of placing blame, let’s diagnose the reasons B2B companies aren’t seeing success with social media.

10 Reasons Why B2B Companies Are Failing With Social Media

1. Massively Under Investments In Content
In the old days of B2B marketing, space was the core limiting factor. Marketers needed to work in the size constraints of a direct mail piece to get their message across. On the social web, space is unlimited. Instead, attention is now scarce. To grab the attention of leads online, marketers need more content than ever before. One blog post a month isn’t going to cut it. With the need for multiple blog posts per week and daily social media messages many marketing teams find themselves under-equipped to keep up with the content demands. If you are a B2B executive shift some of your paid advertising budget to content creation resources ASAP.

2. Haven’t Used Paid Social To Bolster Organic Efforts
Advertising shouldn’t be a dirty word in social media marketing. Instead paid social media marketing efforts on platforms like Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook should be used to bolster your organic marketing investment. Use advertising to attract new connections on social networks. They will see the content you are sharing and engage with it to increase your lead generation.

3. Aren’t Focused on Lead Generation
Stop counting followers as your primary metric of social media success. Engagement is not a goal, it is a metric. Put a lead generation and revenue goal on your social media marketing efforts so that you can demonstrate the value in order to get additional budget consideration. Heck, we though this was so important, that we wrote The B2B Social Media Book.

4. Management Support Doesn’t Exist
Social media doesn’t succeed as a rogue one-man or one-woman project. Instead take our advice from #3 and build a model that projects social media lead generation growth over the next year. Share this with your executive team to get the funding and support you need to be successful.

5. Aren’t Looking At The Right Data
Social media is nothing more than another marketing channel. Stop looking at weak metrics like followers and engagement. Instead look at social media as you would any other marketing channel and look at key metrics like visitor-to-lead conversion rate by social channel, as well as visitor-to-customer conversion rates.

6. Customer Personas Aren’t Clear Enough
To win in the world of B2B social media you must clearly understand the daily pain that your target audience is facing. Your customer personas are critical to understanding this important information. If your social media efforts are missing the mark it is likely because you are failing to address your targets’ core pain. Revisit your customer personas with a new round of customer interviews to better understand the challenges they are facing.

7. Failure To Make The Boring Exciting
Your business is exciting. I don’t care what you do, someone in the world thinks it is important and awesome. Brainstorm with your team about some of the awesome, yet unexpected applications of your product. You never know, you might end up like BlendTec.

8. A Terrible Website
You could be rocking social media and sending tons of traffic back to your website but if your website sucks, it won’t do you much good. Conduct user testing on your website to make sure that it properly communicates your company’s products and services. Examine the conversion paths of your website to make sure that when someone arrives from social media, that they actually have a chance to become a lead.

9. The Belief That It Can Replace Everything
Social media isn’t a cure all. Don’t think that it can replace your other marketing channels. Instead, work with your team to get tighter alignment between social media and your other marketing activities.

10. Still Making Too Many Excuses
“Well social media doesn’t work for my industry.” “My business is different.” “We are boring.” “We have a different model. It doesn’t apply to us.” “We tried, but after a few weeks it just wasn’t working for us.” STOP IT!!!!! Quit making excuses. I hear these statements all the time from countless businesses. Never have I said “Wow, you are totally right.” Instead, I simply nod my head and then walk away thinking that this is another business who is condemned to failure because of a “can’t do” attitude. Don’t let this be you. Open your mind and attack big and bold ideas. You just might be inspired by the success you find.

Don’t fall victim to these mistakes and situations. Instead learn from them and crush your competition.

Photo: Flickr

Preview of Twitter Advertising Platform for B2B Companies

Earlier this year Twitter announced a partnership with American Express to make their self-serve advertising platform available to a limited number of small businesses. We signed up for SocialMediaB2B.com because access to Twitter’s advertising platform previously has been limited to those with big budgets. This leaves out many B2B companies. We offer this preview of what Twitter’s advertising platform looks like, so you can explore the option of promoted accounts and promoted tweets with the knowledge of how the platform works. Choose a target and a budget, and Twitter does the rest. Click on each image to enlarge it and view in new tab.

Welcome Screen

Geographic Targeting

Select where your target audience is located. You can break this down by country or metropolitan area. I looked at Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to determine top countries for the SocialMediaB2B audience.

Promoted Account

Select a daily amount to spend on promoting your account to relevant people. Twitter will charge you a variable amount for each new follower. Many B2B companies have successfully used promoted accounts to grow their followers to increase the reach of their content.The amount entered is not a recommendation, but is just for example purposes.

Promoted Tweets

Select a daily amount to spend on promoting your most engaging tweets to relevant people. Twitter will charge you a variable amount for each click. Twitter will only promote existing tweets, and their algorithm chooses the more popular ones, based on retweets and clicks. The amount entered is not a recommendation, but is just for example purposes.

Payment Information

And finally, you have to pay for all of this. In the case of this example, I am required to use my American Express card since they sponsored the promotion. Once this is fully rolled out, there will be other payment options.

Have you considered Twitter advertising for your B2B company?

5 B2B Social Media Tactics Inspired by Facebook’s IPO

Now that Facebook has officially filed for their initial public offering, what does that mean for B2B marketers? Many IPOs bring a needed infusion of cash to companies, but according to their submitted documents, Facebook already has profits to the tune of $1 billion. 85% of their revenue comes from advertising. That means they encourage users to share information about themselves and Facebook uses the data to target users with advertising. Here are some ways you can better leverage the platform to reach your B2B prospects and customers now that Facebook will have to answer to public shareholders.

1. Explore Facebook Advertising

Normally I would work my way towards advertising as the last item in the list, but I am starting with it because it is so important to Facebook’s success. There are a number of ways you can use advertising on Facebook, but here are two that have been shown to be most successful. Sponsored Stories target the friends of your fans to grow your fan base. You can also target your own fans with updates to increase Page engagement. The Facebook ad platform lets you target by demographics and keywords, as well as set your budget so you can begin testing this to reach your B2B target audience.

2. Monitor Facebook Advertising Changes

Look for Facebook to roll out more targeted and creative ways to reach people on the platform. They have expanded their ads to the point that they are engaging and active, for example people can like a page right from an ad. Since this is so core to their business, look for a new, non-disruptive type of advertising that feels even more like regular Facebook updates. Facebook users may balk at new ideas, but if Facebook can come up with a way to show targeted, non-ad like content (as they are likely working on), advertisers would pay for that. They could be a pricey option for many B2B companies, but if you can keep up with all their tests on the advertising category of Inside Facebook then you can evaluate options for your company.

3. Get Ready for the Timeline

If you haven’t yet heard of the Facebook Timeline, it is the new way personal profiles are shown on Facebook and they are coming to Business Pages soon. If you don’t have the timeline yet on your personal profile yet, click the link above to get it. Not only is the layout more visual, but there is a great branding opportunity with the large cover image at the top of your page. Think how you want to portray your B2B company with a large horizontal image. Don’t assume the staff photo from the company holiday card is the best thing you’ve got. Get creative. But don’t make a Photoshop montage of your products either. The other big change about a timeline is that you can post items to past dates. This is a chance to build a company timeline with historic photos as part of your Facebook Page. This can give some depth to your presence on the social network.

4. Post More Often

With all the changes on Facebook, it is more imperative to post content more often than before, at least a few times per day. This means sharing blog posts from your company and other sources, posting photos and videos, asking engaging questions and showing the fun or human side of your B2B company. There is so much noise on Facebook, as well as an algorithm that only shows people content that Facebook thinks they are interested in, that you need to get people to engage with your content so Facebook will show it to them. There is a balance here. Look at the Facebook Pages of B2B companies that you admire for examples.

5. Drive Facebook Likes from Other Sources

One of the ways to ensure that you have an active Facebook for your B2B company is to make sure you remind people that it is there and they should like it. If you are still printing catalogs, include your Facebook Page address. Add it to email signatures. Display it at your tradeshows. Make sure employees know the kinds of things you share on the Page so they can tell customers and prospects. Start with your own network of employees, customers and partners, and grow the Page from there.

What have you been doing on your B2B Facebook Page and what do anticipate changing in the future?