4 social media mistakes every B2B marketer must avoid

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Although many B2B companies are embracing social media as a communications and marketing tool, many are still falling victim to a number of oversights and missed opportunities.

Here are four common missteps to avoid when executing your B2B social media strategy.

1) Not speaking like a human being

Although maintaining professionalism is crucial for B2B businesses, it’s important to remember that social media exists for people to connect with other people. Adapting your tone of voice to be approachable and personable will increase the chances of your content being shared and encourage more engagement from your followers.

One of the best ways to start adapting your voice is by removing jargon from your vocabulary on social media. Not many people use words like “synergy” or “leverage” when speaking with their friends and you’re not likely to find those words in any of the blogs, videos, or posts on social media that have been shared the most either.

2) Jumping on trends that are irrelevant to the business

Certain phrases or memes can take social media by storm and be tempting for businesses looking to quickly gain retweets, likes, and new followers. But one look at the Brands Saying “Bae” Twitter account provides some compelling examples of how awkward it can be when businesses get too involved in Internet culture.

For B2B organizations trying to maintain professional relationships with potential customers, avoiding these types of blunders is crucial. Remember that social media isn’t a shortcut to instant engagement with a young, hip audience. Attempting to jump on these trends can actually come across as a sign that you’re struggling with how to use social media in a meaningful way.

Keep your target audience in mind; if you don’t see them using the phrase or participating in the trend, take that as your cue to sit this one out.

3) Missing out on social selling opportunities

It’s no secret that the Internet and social media have changed the buying journey for nearly every industry. According to research from the Corporate Executive Board, the average B2B buyer is already 57 percentthrough the purchase decision before engaging a supplier sales rep. As a result, the selling process must be evolving and adapting accordingly.

Monitoring social conversations for phrases with buying intent is the easiest place to start when it comes to using social media as a sales tool. A company that specializes in accounting software, for example, could use a social media management platform to set up search streams for mentions of a competitor such as: “frustrated with [competitor name].” This allows you to immediately identify potential new leads, and begin engaging with them in order to build a relationship.

However, mentions from potential customers on social media shouldn’t be viewed as a green light to start aggressively marketing your product. Similar to traditional sales processes, the key to success is contributing value (this is where content marketing plays a key role), earning trust, and putting the customer first.

4) Not measuring the ROI of social alongside business goals

Social media metrics—such as the number of retweets or likes a post gets—with no other context or insight offer little value for marketers trying to prove the impact of social media on the bottom line.

Measuring social data alongside other digital metrics, such as website traffic and e-commerce stats, will create a holistic picture of how your entire online presence is affecting the bottom line. Your social media management platform should be integrated with your other technologies, such as your marketing automation and customer relationship management platforms.

Also, some firms invest in data scientists and analytics managers to better sort through social media metrics to learn more about the efficacy of social media campaigns.

B2B businesses should be aligning social media metrics with overall business and marketing goals. For example, if one of your goals is to increase brand awareness, your corresponding social metric would be the reach (both potential and actual) of your posts. If your business is aiming to create more leads, measure the click-through rates on links you post to gated content across your social networks.

These are only four of the mistakes that can plague B2B marketers in the social media space. However, if you keep these tips in mind and have a strong strategy in place (including a crisis communications plan), your social campaigns will be set up for success before they even begin.

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Sarah Dawley

Sarah Dawley

Sarah is an Ecosystem Copywriter at Hootsuite, where she writes a variety of materials about social media and its impact on business. Prior to joining Hootsuite, she was the Social Marketing Manager for the Music & Entertainment Channels at Bell Media, where she spent nearly four years building the presence of Much, MTV Canada, M3 and E! Canada into social communities of over 2.8 million fans and followers. Find her on Twitter @sarahdawley