Here’s a question for you: how can B2B marketers be so gung-ho about content marketing, but still seem so lukewarm on social media? Isn't social media the “marketing” in content marketing? Or is content marketing just about creating relevant and helpful content that you then blast to your email list, push via your website and hand off to the lead generation networks?
In my experience, B2B marketers still rely way too much on their in-house mailing list to turn content marketing into downloads, subscriptions and registrations. The result? Few, if any, “net new leads.”
Sure, lead scores go up for those in the database that engage with your content and that’s a good thing. I’m a big believer in lead nurturing and fresh, relevant content helps with that, but still … where are the net new leads?
You can solve the problem by going the paid media route. Online publications, lead generation networks and paid search need good offers to engage their audiences to generate leads for you. But it’s going to cost US$ 20 to US$ 100 per lead depending on the profile of your target audience. All is good if you have the marketing budget for paid media. But wasn’t “earned media” supposed to offer another way? What happened to leveraging social media to boost your content marketing results?
Here are 5 reasons why B2B marketers are failing to generate content marketing results with social media (and what you can do about it):
1. Low quality social media channels
Have you ever looked through your company’s Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn fans and followers? Maybe you’ve engaged lots of folks but don’t be shocked when you find that very few (less than 5%) will get your sales (or PR) team excited. It’s not your fault; it’s just that you’ve been focused on growing the size, not the quality, of your social audience. No wonder you’re not generating clicks or downloads from your social channels! How can you when few if any are qualified prospects?
How to fix? Focus on quality not quantity when it comes to your social channels.
2. Not producing enough content
If you generate quality content on a consistent basis, the SEO and social sharing benefits start kicking in big time. No question there. That’s why your blog should be the hub of your social media strategy. But anyone that’s tried to keep the company blog afloat already knows it’s really hard to do. Not to mention you’ve got all the other marketing work to do. Is the solution to round up executives and employees as content contributors? Good luck with that …
How to fix? Invest in dedicated content resources otherwise you won’t move the needle.
3. Don’t know the numbers
Ask any B2B marketer worth their salt how many monthly leads they generate, what they pay per lead, the average email open and click rates … and they’ve got the numbers down cold! Ask instead about top Twitter followers, best performing blog posts, number of social media clicks and which hot prospects engage on social media… and they’re not so sure. Who was it that said, “What you measure gets results”?
How to fix? Set goals for your social media efforts (shares, clicks, conversions) and start measuring progress.
4. Not clear who owns social media results
Who’s in charge of engaging prospects, customers and influencers on social media? Is it the B2B marketer, the PR agency, the social media manager, the part-time college intern or maybe the individual sales reps? Everyone, no one, not sure? Hopefully it’s someone that truly understands the target buyers and is focused on lead generation. But probably not.
How to fix? Don’t delegate social media results. Even if someone else does the work, you still need to own the goals and the outcome.
5. Not leveraging social insights for content development
What’s the process for developing new content? Too often the marketing team comes up with ideas on its own, without taking into account what’s happening on social media. For example, wouldn’t it be interesting to know what content your prospects are sharing and talking about on social media (right now)? Wouldn't that influence what content you create? Sure it would! Simply put, social listening is critical for B2B marketers.
How to fix? Invest in social monitoring tools, follow your top prospects and customers, and listen for more than just “brand” mentions.
So what’s the good news?
Fixing even one of these problems can transform your content marketing results. Not overnight, but over time. So what are you waiting for?
Now it’s your turn.
Which of these reasons is most impacting your content marketing results? Have other reasons that failing at social media is hurting your content marketing? Feel free to share!
Title image courtesy of simon johnson (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: To read more of Carter's B2B marketing tips, see Scaling Social: The Future of B2B Social Marketing