Top 10 mistakes to avoid in B2B Social Media
July 31, 2012 § Leave a comment
Published by Dr. Susan Hardwicke, Ph.D. & Jason Yu
#1. Jumping in without a strategy. You’ll only go so far with a “let’s throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks” social media approach, or the Nike “just do it” mentality. A social media strategy should be based on understanding which tools to use, who will be responsible for what tasks, what your goals and objectives are, and how you will measure success. Ask yourself why you are engaging in this specific marketing tactic and what results you want to see from it. Your objectives should be measurable and time-specific.
#2. Failure to integrate with other organizational entities and activities. The greatest risk of failure in social media is treating it as a standalone activity that’s layered onto existing activities or added to the existing org chart. Integration and bringing in the appropriate marketing, sales, service, and other staff can create a more powerful strategy and ensure buy-in.
#3. Failure to use analytics or use them effectively. First, companies need to understand the power of analytics in developing detailed knowledge about customer demographics, needs, and expectations. They need to learn how to use the information for continuous refinement of their approach, and for developing their unique success factors. The adage of “data does not equal information” applies here.
#4. Assuming that B2B social media marketing is qualitatively different from B2C social media. Authentic customer intimacy is the means of developing business and sales, regardless of whether the target audience is a consumer or a decision-maker in a business. Common denominator: they are both people. In a B2B model, you may need to address more “touch points” than with a consumer sale, but it’s easy to forget that those “touch points” are people with specific needs and expectations.
#5. Failure to understand the customer and effectively use customer information. This point sounds like Marketing 101, and, to a certain extent, it is. The challenge of social media is that you can get so distracted by posting and responding on the plethora of channels that you can lose sight of your original intention. In engaging with customers in social media, take care that you don’t build up expectations that the company can’t meet.
#6. Expecting too much too soon. Some of our clients come to us expecting the phone to ring or contact requests to flood their email inbox within days of implementing a social media strategy. With the increasing information overload in all forms of media, the length of time from initial impression to engagement or conversion can only increase. Through successful customer intimacy, companies can continuously refine their approach and successively decrease that time interval.
#7. Failure to optimize your website and integrate it with social media. While social media offers opportunities to connect and deliver your brand without your website, the website can neither be ignored nor exist in a silo. Companies should add their social media to their website to help rank higher in search results and become successful in spreading content far and wide around the world wide web.
#8. Missing opportunities to reengineer customer service and customer relationships. The ubiquity, convenience, and low cost of social media offer the most advantageous opportunities for cost-effective, high-performance customer service and customer relationships since the inventions of the Internet and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Companies can offset the cost of social media implementation by reengineering.
#9. Reductionist thinking that content equals text. Ebooks and white papers are a must for building your reputation and “mind share,” but don’t limit yourself to them. Videos, podcasts, and interactive applications aren’t just “nice to have”: they’re expected.
#10. Hiring an intern for the heavy lifting. If you believe that social media can be understood only by the “wired generation” or that it consists of simple content posting, you are likely to undervalue its importance and err in prioritizing the use of resources. The time you take to understand the importance of social media and how each channel works, along with online ads, will be well worth the effort. A corollary is using a student intern who may not have sufficient expertise to gather and disseminate mission-critical data or recognize a problem or opportunity soon enough. Interns can serve your purposes well, but they must be trained and managed by professionals on your team.