With over 3.2 billion social media users globally, it's not surprising that B2B marketers are increasingly focusing on social media marketing. It's quite likely your customers are on social media, so not only is it important to engage with them on these social platforms, but it's also important to engage with them correctly.
To help you refine your social media approach we spoke with marketing experts and asked them to share the main ways they see B2B brands fail at social media, and how they can improve."
Posting Without Purpose
"If you don't know your company's identity and your purpose then you won't have a good marketing strategy," said Andrew Ruditser, co-founder and lead technology coordinator at MAXBURST. You need to have a thorough understanding of your products, and what makes your company different from the competition. "So many companies — especially within the CMS industry — look and sound the same online," explained Matt Garrepy, CDO of Solodev, "even if they vary greatly as software platforms." Knowing your purpose will help you engage with your audience better and grab their attention.
Not Knowing Your Target Audience
You also need to study your target audience, or you'll be wasting time and money marketing to people who have no interest in your product or company. "Pay attention to who follows you on social media sites," recommended Ruditser, and ask yourself questions like "what time of the day do they engage, how old are they, where are they located, are they men or women, etc."
From there you can focus on creating highly relevant content to promote through social channels. Having a clear purpose will help ensure your audience is actually interested in your company and could lead to higher social engagement in the long run.
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Not Creating a Universal Strategy
"So many marketers are leveraging Facebook in combination with other channels like Google," said Brian Finnerty, senior director of marketing at Marin Software, "but they don't have insight into how their campaigns are connected or performing across channels." If you approach social media channels as silos, you won't be able to optimize them to drive your marketing campaigns. Finnerty explained that disjointed social media marketing is ineffective because of the overexposure of messages on multiple platforms and uncertainty of which channel drove a particular sale. That's why you need a holistic approach to social media marketing that leverages each platform to reach your target audiences best.
Not Serving the Customer Journey
The huge variety of ad types and social platforms means marketers have a greater risk of wasting their budget on ineffective ads for particular stages in the customer journey. "For example, certain ad types like lead ads on Facebook and lead gen forms on LinkedIn capture buyer intent at the engagement stage, while other types, like Facebook's dynamic product ads or Instagram's shoppable posts, are designed to move buyers from the consideration phase to conversion," said Finnerty. You want to engage with your customers across channels and devices all the way from prospect to customer by using specific channels and ad types effectively. By not engaging customers throughout the buyer’s journey, you could miss out on sales conversions.
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Not Using Data Effectively
"The amount of data that brands have at their fingertips is nothing short of overwhelming," revealed Oz Etzioni, CEO of Clinch. Along with making sure you're tracking data using SEO and other analytics tools, you need to ensure you're taking full advantage of the data sets you have in your CRM, ecommerce platform and CMS. Etzioni recommended, "creating one data set of consumer profiles, behavior, audiences and performance insights, as opposed to creating a data set per provider and its execution channel." He said you can do this using automation, machine learning and other cutting-edge technologies. From there, you can use the data to gain insights into your audience and better personalize your content and social media outreach campaigns.
Following the previous tips will help you succeed with social media marketing, but what it comes down to it, Garrepy said, "Stand out as a B2B brand by showing your humanity and [talking] to people who engage with your online presence."