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How Hard Can Social Media Marketing Really Be?



Looking from the outside in, social media management can, at first, appear to be very much at the 'falling off a log' end of the B2B marketing spectrum. The informal nature of social media apparently gives businesses license to say and do pretty much as they please. And, once you've learned the basics, isn't all this tweeting, sharing and liking caper actually bit of a doddle?


Anyone approaching social media marketing with that attitude is in for a rude awakening. Once you realise that no one seems to want to follow, connect or engage with you, it will become clear that there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye. And you’ll be asking the age-old question: "What are other people doing that I'm not?"


In a useful article on the Business2Community website, Carter Hostelley has identified four ways in which he believes B2B firms are getting social media wrong:

1. You've failed to identify your target buyers' social media habits

What type of content are your buyers actively engaging with on social media? Without knowing this sort of basic information, you're effectively guessing as to what content will prove a winner when you hit share.

However, you can quickly gain an insight into your target buyers' social media patterns by investing in a structured social listening programme. Listening is NOT an optional extra. It lies at the heart of any effective social media strategy and if you’re not prepared to invest time and effort into getting this element right you may as well give up now.

2. You're taking a hard-sell approach to content

Both social media and content marketing require a deft touch. Sure, you'll want readers to come away thinking "I really like what that company has to offer", but you have to allow them to make their own minds up.

Therefore, in the main, keep the promotional messages to a minimum and make posts genuinely interesting, without any obvious agenda.

3. You're ignoring the ‘quality, not quantity’ mantra

Your posts are only as good as the quality of your followers or connections. You can curate the most wonderful industry-specific content in the world, but if your followers have no interest in that subject matter, it will all be in vain.

It's vital, therefore, that your follower base has a strong core of clients, partners, staff, industry influencers and prospective buyers – people that are most likely to engage with your social media offerings. Thousands of irrelevant followers and connections might give you a short-term ego boost, but they’ll do nothing whatsoever to help deliver meaningful results.

4. Your posts are sporadic and inconsistent

Are your social media posts like London buses - you wait hours for one then a whole bunch of them arrive all together? Do you even know what the optimum time is for posting on Twitter or LinkedIn? If not, you're missing a trick; that time should be informing when you post, rather than just when you have a spare half an hour. 

Perhaps time is the issue? If so, consider outsourcing your social media management, as it is crucial that you give social media the level of focus and resources its strategic importance merits nowadays.

Be honest with yourself: are you guilty of any of the above?